This is the second post in our series about understanding BRGs. Now IHG calls it Best Price Guarantee but it's just the same thing.
IHG can be the most rewarding of all BRGs because it gives you the first night free even for one-night stays. This means your whole stay is FREE.
Now they know this is a big claim and they do not want to be overly generous with us. So they make it harder than other BRGs to get a claim approved.
There used to be an important limitation that you could only file a BRG every 30 days which has been removed some months ago.
Here are the Terms & Conditions for the Best Price Guarantee.
Here's how to file a IHG BRG claim properly:
1) Identify IHG hotels in the location you'd like to stay
This often sounds easier than its actually being done. IHG has tons of brands and in many metro areas tons of hotels.
The London area brings up 71 (!) hotels, Shanghai shows 30 hotels and I'm sure there are more markets with such an enormous footprint. Now each hotel can be BRG'd but it will quickly strain your resources comparing each hotel. I usually pick the Intercontinental, Crown Plaza's and Hotel Indigos.
2) Compare prices between hotel booking sites and ihg.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 and the same 'package' i.e. extra service like breakfast included or not.
There used to be common understanding that you can only compare the lowest price on the ihg.com website. i.e. if the site would show an advanced saver rate you would need to find a rate that is lower than that and less (or similarly) restrictive. This is not how it works anymore – you can just find the same room for a lower price and compare it against what ihg.com shows. i.e. you did find the suite at the
InterContinental Shanghai Pudong for CNY 1,400 with flexible cancellation you will be able to compare it against the suite price with the best flexible rate on ihg.com.
4) The devil is in the details at IHG
IHG can really drive you insane about their 'little details' making it really hard to file a successful claim.
– the comparison site must price in the same currency as IHG
The is a completely arbitrary requirement in my opinion and can complicate the search a lot. IHG often uses local currency (with some exceptions). Comparison sites in KRW, CNY or XPF are not easy to come by. Most booking sites allow you to choose your currency but they often do not charge your credit card in that same currency. IHG only accepts a claim if the comparison site would charge your CC in that same currency.
– the comparison site and ihg.com must provide the same 'package'
This is similar to Starwood – if ihg.com packages any extra services into the rate, the comparison site must do as well. Many international Intercontinental hotels have a tendency to pack 'butler services' or '1,000' extra points into a rate – making it impossible to BRG.
– Your next night can't be at any IHG property less than 50 miles apart (and for any person living in the same household)
This prevents hotel hopping and continuous claims. Please note that even a revenue booking is not allowed! Failure to comply can lead to immediate account closure.
– Cancellation terms must match 100%
For most BRG programs there is only once distinction between advance purchase and flexible rates. However IHG sometimes denies BRG claims because the comparison site's cancellation deadlines ends one hour earlier! There is some room for decision making by the agents but it's gotten harder.
– rate must be $1 or 1% lower before and after tax
The average nightly room price and the average nightly total room cost must each be a minimum difference of 1% or $1 USD (or the equivalent in the hotel's currency) (whichever is higher).
5) Make your reservation at ihg.com
IHG requires you to have a completed reservation before filing a claim. I concentrate on 'Best Flexible Rates' only, as this gives me the option to cancel later.
You do have 24hrs to make your claim after making the reservation.
6) File your claim
IHG allows you to use a claim form only.
IHG's BRG has been very generous but these days are over. All my recent claims have been denied after about one week of 'processing time'. Getting a rate matched and a free night stay is now almost impossible in my experience (and so it for my FTers).