Best Rate Guarantees
As most regular Readers know, there are 3 things I love:
- Ultimate Rewards Points for their flexibility
- Southwest for their extremely cheap awards on Points, which coincidentally can be transferred via Ultimate Rewards
- Kayak.com for its ability to find really easy Best Rate Guarantees.
For those of you not familiar with Best Rate Guarantees (BRGs), they are basically guarantees that Hotel Chains make to Customers to entice them to book directly at the Hotel Website instead of clicking thru sites like Expedia, Kayak, or Hotels.com, whom the Hotel ultimately has to pay.
With a Best Rate Guarantee, if you can find a lower price on sites like Expedia, Kayak, Hotels.com, etc, then the Hotel Chain will match you to that lower price and then give you an additional discount.
Via Loyalty Traveler, here is a run down of what each Hotel Chain offers as compensation if you file a successful Best Rate Guarantee. This is on top of matching you to the lower rate you found:
- Best Western – $100 Gift Card
- Club Carlson – Additional 25% Off Lower Rate
- Choice Hotels – 1 Free Night
- Hilton – $50 Gift Card (USA/Canada/Mexico) or $50 Off Hotel Folio at Checkout (International)
- Hyatt – 20% Off Lower Rate
- Intercontinental Hotel Group – 1 Free Night
- Marriott – Additional 25% Off Lower Rate.
- Starwood – Additional 10% Off Lower Rate or 2,000 Bonus Starpoints.
- Wyndham – Additional 10% Off Lower Rate
I personally feel that Marriott and Club Carlson have the best BRGs because it is a whopping 25% off the lowest rate you can find.
The Intercontinental and Choice Hotels BRG are also really great because they will give you a FREE night if you can find a valid claim. If you are only staying for 2 nights, this basically means you are getting 50% off your total bill. I have never filed a BRG with Intercontinental or Choice Hotels, but now that I am aware of their policy, it is definitely something I will consider going forward.
The great thing about BRGs is that YOU STILL EARN POINTS & STAY CREDIT!
I have talked about in the past how to file a Marriott BRG and Club Carlson BRG. Both have saved me tons a of money in the past. In the case of Club Carlson, in France they mistakenly entered the BRG rate code as $0 EUR a night, so my 3 night stay which should have cost upwards of $700 was free…
The reason I bring BRGs up is because they are really easy to find via Kayak.com, but a pain in the butt to file successfully because you have to fill out an online form and then wait 24 hours while the Hotel tries every trick imaginable to find a reason to deny your claim. With Club Carlson, it took 3 separate attempts to file a successful claim but in the end it certainly was worth it ; )
That being said, yesterday I was filing a BRG with Hyatt and I have to give them a ton of credit for having the easiest BRG claim process in the industry!
How To File A Hyatt BRG Claim
As part of my Free One Way that I tagged on as part of my France Trip, I am once again going to LA in 2 weeks right before the start of the Domestic Leg of the Star Mega DO 4. From LA, I will be using 3,400 Southwest Points to get a One Way to SFO.
I am going with Friends to LA, so we needed a place to stay and LA Hotels are fairly pricey. After doing a quick search on Kayak for any pricing discrepancies at Marriott, I was surprised to see a pricing discrepancy for the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza near Beverly Hills.
As you can see, booking via Hyatt.com, 3 nights would be a whopping $358 a night ($1,073 total), whereas booking via Booking.com would only be $269 a night ($807 total). That is a difference of $266 or basically 1 extra night.
I wasn’t familiar with Hyatt’s BRG policy, so I just figured it was something crappy like Starwood’s 10% off, but in actuality Hyatt is 20% off. According to Loyalty Traveler, it used to be 25% off. While 20% off is pretty good, the reason why I think Hyatt has the best BRG process in the industry is because there are no dumb online forms to fill out. You simply call Hyatt’s dedicated BRG line at 1-888-964-9288 and tell them the website where you found the lower rate and they will look it up.
The reason why I think this process is 1 million times better than Marriott or Club Carlson, is because if you file an online claim and then the person on the other end is dumb and can’t verify your lower rate, then they will deny your claim.
With Hyatt, if they tell you they can’t find the lower rate (like they did for me), then you can wallk them through the process of how you found it, over the phone. Similarly if they say the room rates don’t match up for the exact room type, you can convince them other wise.
So after I made a refundable booking for my dates on Hyatt.com, I simply called into Hyatt’s BRG line. In my case, the 1st Hyatt Representative I talked to couldn’t find the property on Kayak.com or Booking.com, so I had to manually walk her through the process which she wasn’t really enjoying. Either I was hung up on or the connection got “dropped”, but when I called back the second time, I walked that Hyatt Representative through it once again and she was able to validate my BRG claim.
Another thing I will point out, is that the Hyatt BRG Representatives seem way more flexible on validating BRGs than most Hotel Chains. As I said earlier, normally to get a valid BRG Claim, every single thing on both sites (the site where you found the lower price and the Hotel’s website) has to match up 100%.
If the claim you found was non-refundable and the lowest price on the Hotel’s website is refundable, you will get denied. If the claim you found was for 2 double beds and the lowest price on the Hotel’s website is for a King, you will get denied. You get the point…
Below is a screenshot from Booking.com, which Hyatt visited to validate my BRG claim. As you can see, the lowest price doesn’t even give any specifics on room type. It just says “Room Selected at Check In”. Also you can see that it doesn’t even show the nightly rate, just the total for 2 nights.
When I told the Hyatt Representative that this was the lower price I found, I honestly thought it would get denied and I would have to resort to the next cheapest website I found via Kayak which was EasyClickTravel.com for $273 a night. However to my surprise, there were no questions asked and she approved the Booking.com rate.
In the end my original refundable reservation at Hyatt.com was booked at $309 a night ($1072 total). That is way out of my price range since even with 2 people splitting the room that is still over $150 each a night.
After my Hyatt BRG claim was validated, the rate dropped to $215 a night ($746 total) after the additional 20% discount. That is a savings of $326 total or almost 30% off the original rate! Still a bit much but when you split the cost in two, it is only $107 a night which isn’t terrible.
What makes this even better is that come November 1st, because I am doing the Star Mega DO 4, I should have Diamond Status with Hyatt until February 2013. As soon as that Elite Status posts to my Hyatt Account, I am going to sign up for the Hyatt Credit Card which will get me 2 Free Nights in a Suite at any Hyatt Worldwide.
Additionally then once I have the Hyatt Card, I will earn 3 Hyatt Points per $1 spent during my stay in LA plus an additional 6.5 Hyatt Points (I think but am not 100% sure) per $1 spent as a Diamond Member. On top of all of that, as a Diamond Member I get 4 free confirmed Suite Upgrades a year (which I will use in LA), as well as free internet, free breakfast, club access, etc!
If I did the math right, the $746 I am going to spend at Hyatt for this stay should net me something like 7,087 Hyatt Points, plus double stay points as part of the SMD4 Hyatt Promo, which may or may not bring the total to 14,000 points. Not exactly sure on how all those promos stack on one another but needless to say I will earn quite a few Hyatt points..
Although $746 is not small change, LA is expensive, the flights are free, and I am splitting the cost of the room with someone else so oh well. In the event that I can find a lower price at the Hyatt Regency or cheaper Hotel elsewhere (Hopefully Andaz West Hollywood!), I can simply cancel my reservation because it is fully refundable!
Although there is a bit of work that goes into getting a successful BRG claim, as you can see, they can save you a ton of money. For this Hyatt BRG, I’d say in finding the pricing discrepancy on Kayak.com and calling it in to have it validated took about 20 minutes. I’d say 20 minutes to save $326 isn’t too bad!
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