How to file a Hilton Best Rate Guarantee claim (or why it’s a waste of time)

This is the sixth post in our series about understanding BRGs. So far we have reviewed IHG's, Marriott's, Starwood, Club Carlson's and Hyatt's version of a BRG.

Hilton's BRG program is the most difficult to get approval for. It used to be the 'joke' of all BRGs and approval rates was under 1%. Lately there have been more successful reports though.

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An approved BRG gives you:

For hotels in the U.S.A., Puerto Rico, Canada or Mexico, we'll give you a $50 American Express® Gift Cheque.

For hotels outside the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada or Mexico, we'll take US $50 off of your bill.

You can look up the Terms & Conditions for US stays and non-US stays.

Here's how to file a Hilton BRG claim properly:

1) Identify the Hilton hotels in the location you'd like to stay

Hilton has brands like women buy shoes. There seems no limit to it.

It's a good idea to limit yourself to Hilton, Conrad and DoubleTree hotels.

2) Compare prices between hotel booking sites and hilton.com

I usually start out with kayak.com, wego.com and trivago.com and hotelscombined.com. These sites are all meta-search sites where you can browse multiple sites at once. I use up to 50 other sites if I can't find anything there.

3) Find matching room types and cancellation policies

Once you have identified potential 'targets' narrow it down and make sure it's really the same room description.

4) No, we are not in the business to approve BRG claims

– Hilton does not accept flexible rate comparisons

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This is the same issue we encountered with Club Carlson. Hilton does not accept claims where the cancellation policy is even by a notch different. The flexible rates at hilton.com give you a same day cancellation (until 6 PM) – most comparison sites allow cancellation up to 1 day before. If you book 6 months in advance it's treated the same by many programs but not Hilton and Club Carlson.

This essentially renders a BRG on flexible cancellations impossible. There are rumors that others like Hyatt also plan to move the BRG to prepaid only but it hasn't happened yet.

I'd accept the prepaid-only policy if rates could be canceled for 24hrs and if I'd be able to get a response in 24 hrs. But Hilton does not provide such features (like Marriott).

currency fluctuations

Hilton requires you to provide a comparison site that has a substantially lower price when in another currency. There is nothing in the T&C's but I was denied for filing claims with 'essentially the same price'.

be prepared to fight for your $50 gift card for a long time

To add insult to injury – even if you get approved – it can take months to get your $50 gift card. It can be a year-long fight.

5) Make your reservation at hilton.com

hilton.com is not the easiest website to use but making a reservation is easy enough once you navigated to your hotel.

6) File your claim

The claim form is simple enough. But really don't keep your hopes up. Except a rejection and manage expectations correctly.

My take:

Hilton's BRG is a marketing claim that is not backed up by reality. While on paper Hilton stays within the Terms & Conditions, it is a farce.

If at all it only applies to advanced purchase rates and even there approval rates remain absurdly low.

Essentially it makes no sense to count on a BRG – it is better just to use the comparison sites for your booking give up on points/ stay credit. Status at Hilton is very easy to attain without staying anyways.