How to file a Marriott Best Rate Guarantee claim (Look No Further claim)
This is the third post in our series about understanding BRGs. Now Marriott calls its version the Look No Further Guarantee but it's just the same thing.
Marriott's BRG strength are it's rather flexible terms and it's speedy, no-nonsense processing.
Here are the Terms & Conditions for the Look No Further Guarantee.
If your claim is approved you will receive a 25% discount on the lower rate you have found.
Here's how to file a marriott.com BRG claim properly:
1) Identify Marriott hotels in the location you'd like to stay
Marriott has quite a portfolio of brands and you may have noticed they cover the planet very well. It's really hard to find a place without a Marriott these days.
JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts
Renaissance Hotels & Resorts
AC Hotels by Marriott
Marriott Conference Centers
Marriott Vacation Club International
Marriott Executive Apartments
Now unfortunately the Look No Further rates does not apply to Ritz Carlton bookings as they are to be done on ritzcarlton.com. That's a real shame as we all love Ritz's so much.
2) Compare prices between hotel booking sites and marriott.com
I usually start out with kayak.com, wego.com and trivago.com. These sites are all meta-search sites where you can browse multiple sites at once. There is also hotelscombined.com, which works very well but has rarely ever found me a BRG, not really sure why. I use up to 50 other sites if I can't find anything there.
3) Find matching room types
Once you have identified potential 'targets' narrow it down and make sure it's really the same room description. Marriott is flexible with room descriptions. For instance if you find a 'Standard or Run of House' room at the comparison site they will match it against the cheapest room type the hotel provides at marriott.com.
4) The fine print
Marriott is probably the easiest to work BRG but there are some pitfalls.
- you can use any currency to compare with
- average response time is under 12 hours, often much less
- generous room type matching
- marriott.com prepaid rates can be cancelled free of charge within 24hrs of booking
While this is strictly no BRG benefit, it makes filing successful BRGs so much easier. Many hotels make the best rates only available at prepaid rates. It's hard to use them for BRGs as you have to book a much higher rate and if the BRG fails, you can't go back.
marriott.com usually applies a 24hr free cancellation period which makes filing a BRG risk free as you get a response from the BRG team almost guaranteed within 24hrs
- some 'voucher sites' are not eligible for comparison for properties outside US/ Canada
This restriction still seems arbitrary to me. But sites like otels.com and olotels.com are not eligible for a BRG comparison. What constitutes a 'voucher site' isn't exactly clear until you try. Luckily the BRG team has not begun to classify the whole Internet as a 'voucher site' like the Hyatt BRG team (more about that later this week)
- marriott.com rarely provides 'package rates'
As you have seen in my installment about IHG this can greatly complicate the comparison - most marriott.com rates are clean of this clutter and only come with our without breakfast.
- some public rates that show on a comparison site are deemed ineligible by the team
This has come up recently that comparison rates I'm finding come back with 'for seniors only', or 'membership required' although they clearly do not need that when being booked. Once I check the rates again they have been 'fixed' by the hotel and disappear.
5) Make your reservation at marriott.com
Marriott requires you to have a completed reservation before filing a claim.
You do have 24hrs to make your claim after making the reservation.
6) File your claim
Marriott has a simple customer friendly form to fill out.
Once approved your rate is changed immediately, no further processing or waiting needed.
The BRG teams sets the rates - the hotel is not being involved in the process.
I really like the no-nonsense, rather predictable BRG. Marriott has some great hotels and the Megabonus promotion used to be enough for me to go out of my way to stay at Marriott.
With the recent award chart devaluation very few good category 4 properties are left. So all things being equal it's hard to justify staying at a Marriott outside of Asia. The suite upgrade policy for Platinums in Asia/Pacific is still a big benefit though.
I have often found rates which reduced the price by 70%-80% compared to the rate shown at marriott.com.
Now if they would just include Ritz Carlton hotels...
What is your experience?