In my last post, I wrote about hotel booking websites’ best rate guarantees. This time around I am looking at the Best Rate Guarantees offered by the major hotel chains.
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG)
The largest of all of the hotel chains has one of the most enticing best rate guarantees (if you can make it apply to you). On its website it is stated that:
“We’re so sure the best prices for our hotels are found on our websites that we were the first to offer the most powerful price guarantee ever by a global travel company. Find a lower price elsewhere and your first night is free. That’s our Best Price Guarantee and just one of many benefits you get with the Book With Us Advantage.”
However, they are a little bit cheeky. In order to qualify, you must have made your booking with them by selecting the rate from the Best Available Rate search results:
“A guest must book the lowest available hotel room price through the Best Available price search – for the type of accommodations sought – in order to qualify for the Best Price Guarantee.”
In addition, you are required to not just have a total price for your stay, which is less than the price you paid for your reservation with the IHG through its own website, but also a nightly rate which is less in order for the Best Price Guarantee to apply.
“find a lower room price and a total room cost that are both less than the room price and the total room cost for the IHG hotel on a “competing Web site” within 24 hours of your IHG reservation”
As with a lot of the hotel consolidation websites, the cheaper price and the claim must be made within 24 hours of your reservation having been made.
The Best Rate Guarantee Terms and Conditions state relevantly as follows:
“ If you find a lower room price that also has a lower total room cost (including taxes and fees) for a one-night stay, or a lower average nightly room price that also has a lower average total room cost (including all taxes and fees) for a multi-night stay, on a non-IHG website within 24 hours after booking on an IHG website for the same stay, we will provide you with the first night’s room price at the IHG hotel free and match the lower average nightly room price found for your entire stay for the rest of the nights of your stay after verification of the lower average nightly room”
So, to put this in real terms, if you paid $100 plus $20 of taxes ($120) and fees for a one night stay through the IHG Hotel’s website but you found the same hotel room with same inlcusions, exclusions, refund policies, etc. on a non-IHG website for $95 plus $18 taxes ($113) for the same one night stay, within 24 hours of making your booking, you would meet the requirements.
However, if you found the same room for $105 plus $5 taxes (so a total of $110) you would not qualify as it would not have met the requirement to have a lower hotel room price despite it having a lower total room cost (including taxes and fees).
For a multi night stay, if the IHG Hotel website price is $100 per night with $60 in taxes and fees for a 3 night stay (total $360) then in order to qualify you must find the same room for both less than $360 in total for the 3 nights and also less than $100 per night before taxes and fees.
The Hilton Worldwide founded by Conrad Hilton in 1919 with a modest 40 room hotel is the world’s second largest hotel chain. It has a best price guarantee, which as with most requires a claim to be submitted 24 hours after booking with the Hilton through its own website (or through a travel agent through the various travel agent booking systems).
“Rate comparisons will be made net of taxes, gratuities, service charges, early departure fees, or other fees and incidental charges.”
This unfortunately means that if your other rate is only cheaper once taxes and fees are added but does not have a cheaper base rate before those then it would not qualify.
If your claim is successful, Hilton Worldwide will both match the rate (by giving you a refund or if payable at the hotel when you stay, adjusting the rate) and give you $50 off your bill or for bookings in the US and Canada a $50 American Express Gift Card.
The 3rd largest hotel chain has a guarantee in the following terms:
“If within 24 hours of making your reservation, you find a lower hotel rate for the same hotel, room type and reservation dates, and submit a qualified claim form, we’ll match the rate + give you an extra 25% discount on the room.”
As with the others, the comparison is made net of taxes and fees:
“Rate comparison will be made net of any taxes, gratuities, or any other fees associated with the room rate”
So if the total for your reservation is less on the hotel booking website but the nightly rate before taxes and fees is higher then you will not qualify for the guarantee.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
This Best Rate Guarantee is a little more generous in terms of timing than the others but only offers a price beat of 10% on the other deal. It allows claims to be made from one day after booking through the hotel’s own website to two business days before your stay starts.
“Guest must submit the claim within one business day after booking the original Wyndham Hotels and Resorts reservation and at least two business days before scheduled arrival at the hotel. The hotel’s check in time is considered the scheduled arrival time. If the original reservation was made within two business days of arrival, the Best Rate Guarantee is not applicable.”
As with the others though it does not apply to the rate inclusive of taxes and fees.
“For purposes of this Guarantee, the “rate” includes the room rate only and does not include any taxes or tariffs (i.e. federal, state, provincial or local) or any guest fees, charges (i.e.- resort fees) or incidentals which may be imposed by the hotel on the guest’s stay.”
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
The Starwood Group offers a guarantee in the following terms:
“Find a lower rate and we’ll give you a 20% discount or 2,000 Starpoints.”
Claims must be made within 24 hours and with all the others be for the same room, amenities, extras (breakfast), cancellation policy, etc. (48 hours is allowed if the booking is made through a non-English Starwood Hotels & Resorts website).
“Booking fees, extra adult fees, fees for children, rollaway charges will be included in the rate comparison. Taxes, gratuities, or any mandatory charges that may apply at Starwood Hotels (e.g., resort charges) will be excluded from the rate comparison.”
Interestingly, booking fees are included in the rate comparisons but taxes are not. This is a difference from the other comparisons mentioned above, in which all additional fees are excluded.
Is it worth the hassle?
So, it’s up to you whether you bother going through the claim process. As always, it is worth shopping around and if you are able to find a cheaper rate as you are making your booking, you can then submit the claim as soon as you book. In the case of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, the first night free is quite an incentive to do some shopping around before you purchase to see if you can then take advantage of the guarantee.