Two Successful Hotel Best Rate Guarantees For Me + BRG Tips and Policies

A few friends of mine have been bugging me to join them in South Beach, Miami for July 4 weekend for some time now, and I never bit the bullet because I had forever been under the impression that Miami is SUPER expensive in general, and would be ridiculously-priced, especially during the holiday weekend.

Well out of curiosity, I decided to play around with flight prices just for fun, and I was super surprised and thrilled that I was able to find a round trip non-stop flight from EWR-MIA for just $264. But before officially booking the flight, I needed to scope out hotels. In my head, I was expecting South Beach hotels to be in the $500 range per night (which I’d never pay). Yeah…

I first started off by searching availability at Kimpton properties since I am on the road to maximizing my new Inner Circle status with them (related post). I was surprised to find out that their South Beach location, the Surfcomber Hotel, had open availability at the AAA rate of $350 for the date I had in mind. Mind you, that was a bit more (OK wayyy more) than I was looking to spend, but I booked it anyway “just in case”.

I’m naturally deal-hungry so I immediately went on HotelsCombined.com to see if any other booking engine was offering the same room at a cheaper price for the same room type and date I had just booked.

The good excellent news was this:

Olotels.com was offering the same room for $227 including all taxes and fees! This excited me. Since Kimpton’s reservation phone systems were down last night, I sent them a tweet asking if they could contact me so that I could submit a BRG claim with them and rebook the room. Within two minutes or so, I received a phone call from the Kimpton Twitter team and they went ahead and matched the $227 all inclusive rate and also threw in a $25 food and beverage credit. Awesome!

Feeling like I was on a roll and using the same technique, I went ahead and searched for more hotel nights for the time I’d be in South Beach. I searched on Olotels and found an incredible rate for $203 with all taxes included for the Marriott South Beach. Based on the range of prices I was seeing at other nearby properties, I knew that I’d have a good shot at qualifying for a best rate guarantee at Marriott.com. The same room was being offered at $405 at Marriott.com, so I immediately booked it and submitted a claim.

When I woke up this morning, I saw that I had received an email from Marriott saying that they would be honoring the claim and rebooked me at the rate of $125.38. The room rate reflects the nightly room rate, before tax, and an additional 25% discount for submitting a successful claim according to the terms of Marriott’s “Look No Further(SM) Best Rate Guarantee.” Not only did I feel I lucked out with an amazing rate, but I can also stack this stay with Marriott’s new MegaBonus promotion, allowing me to earn a free night certificate after completing two stays.

Best Rate Guarantee Tips and Policies

Many hotel chains offer an attractive best rate guarantee (BRG) policy as a way to promote direct bookings instead of bookings through a travel agency where they will likely have to pay a commission. As a general rule of thumb, it’s also always best to book directly with the hotel when it comes to earning points and miles because most 3rd-party bookings will not count towards stay credits and promotions.

Here are some tips to finding a lower rate that you can use when submitting a BRG claim:

  • Check the Hotel Deals forum over at FlyerTalk.com
  • Follow the Best Rate Gaurantee blog. (note: I have never submitted a claim based on information I’ve found on this site, but I do know of those who have).
  • Compare rates across the board using a site like HotelsCombined.com

Here’s a summary of best rate guarantee policies within the major hotel chains:

  • Kimpton: Will match the lower rate and throw in a $25 food and beverage certificate
  • Marriott: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 25%
  • Hyatt: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 20% (related post about my experience).
  • Club Carlson: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 25%
  • Starwood: Will match the lower rate and give you a 10% discount or 2,000 Starpoints
  • IHG: Will give you the first night free if you find a lower rate than what they offer directly through them.
  • Hilton: Will match the lower rate and give you a $50 American Express gift cheque or $50 off your bill for reservations outside of the US.
  • Choice Hotels: Will give you the first night free if you find a lower rate than what they offer directly through them.
  • Wyndham Hotels: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 10%.
  • Best Western: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 10%.

What other best rate guarantee tips can you share? Feel free to share your own personal stories in the comments as well!

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Comments

  1. Bundy says

    Is best rate guranteed against other third-party only? What if the price drops for the Kimpton website? Say within 2 weeks the room dropped to 250$? What kimpton matched that also?

  2. Troy says

    Thanks Angelina. I think this was one of your best most useful posts since you started your blog. Good job;)

  3. Nickfromct says

    This is probably the best summary I’ve seen on BRGs. I’d like for Angelina to present this topic at FTU or in Chicago one of these days.

  4. De says

    Good luck with Hilton. I’ve submitted two separate BRG’s and have had them eliminated due to “not meeting” the T&C’s. this is despite taking and submitting screenshots of the rate and terms from above mentioned sites (which I still use). No worries though, as Hyatt gladly accepted my business!

  5. Jamie says

    I found Kimpton to be very helpful with their BRG (as they reputedly are in general). There was some kind of computer glitch (probably because it was the day of check in) so they had to manually cancel my res and rebook at the lower rate. Probably related to this, the food & bev credit did not automatically come off, but the res was flagged as BRG, so I had no problem at the desk getting them to take the $25 restaurant bill off

  6. says

    The Marriott BRG (or LNF) is probably the best BRG in the industry now. It reacts fast and presents no excuses. Much better than Hyatt or Hilton. I have a 90% approval rate. The only thing that could be improved is the prohibition on ‘voucher sites’ for non-US properties.

  7. Jeff says

    I don’t think most hotels or OTAs will match Olotels, as they charge a $15 fee if you cancel your room after booking. This means that their cancellation policy doesn’t match any other hotel/OTA and the BRG won’t work per their Terms and Conditions.

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