Best Rate Guarantees allow you to match any website against the rate you booked at the hotel chain website. The chains like it because it allows them to enforce the 'Best Rate Guarantee' they have in their franchise agreements and consumers are made effective crowd-sourcing instruments. Hotels like it because it allows them to receive more bookings through their direct (website) booking channel.
However, what nobody really likes to do is to give out free or cheap stays.
So what happens? The chain website provides the Terms and Conditions and the team that handles BRG claims finds a loophole to deny all claims.
We saw it happen with Hilton's BRG and Club Carlson/ Radisson's BRG.
IHG's new policy
IHG used to be very generous with its IHG BRG policy (one night free) and really approved many requests. Last year the chain switched to a claim form instead of phone verification.
However, what has happened by now is that the BRG team handles requests VERY slowly. In my recent claims I got a response after 7 days! Now during those days it is more than likely that a rate changes or (and I'm not sure if this is deliberate) the BRG team sends a message to the hotel to change the rates on a comparison site.
Whatever happened, all my comparison rates disappeared mysteriously within one week.
Judging by recent reports of other Flyertalkers it's almost impossible to get a claim approved especially for flexible rate comparisons.
Hyatt switches to web form
Hyatt recently changed its stance on comparison sites for its BRG. It now accepts almost any site (as suggested by its own terms and conditions).
The Hyatt BRG had a 'phone verification only' setup. Now this has been changed to a web form as well. There is nothing wrong with a web form instead of spending time on hold but I'm hoping this is not an indicator that Hyatt becomes more like IHG!