Why Hotel Best Rate Guarantees are broken – and how to still take advantage of BRGs for your travels

Posted on May 5, 2016 by in Best Rate Guarantee

Ritz Carlton Hong KOng

Best Rate Guarantees have been one of my favorite tools to reduce the cost of hotel stays in the past.

I have written guides on how to use the Best Rate Guarantees in the past:

Now many programs have kept changing the specific Terms and Conditions – in turn it has gotten harder to get approval.

Most major hotel chains (and major OTAs) also have introduced member rates – it’s not clear what’s the impact on Best Rate Guarantee claims since they are specifically dealing with rates available to the ‘general public’.

Starwood BRG now requires you to have an existing reservation – so filing for prepaid rates is rough since you are locked into a rate on spg.com that may or may not qualify for a Best Rate Guarantee approval. Just this week I found a rate for the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel & Towers in Mexico City (where I’m spending the upcoming weekend) that was 25% lower than on spg.com. But even after calling the BRG hotline (no immediate approvals, you can just ask questions) I gave up on this claim – it might or might have not happened – I’d rather too the lower rate for sure than the possible 2,000 points.

The Hyatt BRG also changed the policy and now requires a reservation made on hyatt.com in order to start the best rate guarantee validation process.

I do understand that the BRG research is considerable work (incl. the documentation required for the claim against the hotel itself) but with non-refundable, prepaid reservations this makes it rather useless for consumers as one has to assume all the risk of the non-approval.

A flexible rate comparison is not impacted by the changes made by Hyatt and Starwood and the results can still be rather consistent.

Marriott still shines with their Best Rate Guarantee – prepaid reservations can be cancelled within 24 hours (like an airline ticket) at no charge. The Best Rate Guarantee team almost always responds within 24 hours so you can actually take advantage of the guarantee. Marriott BRG Claims for Ritz Carlton properties (as for the pictured Ritz Carlton Hong Kong) are now included as well.

IHG BRG, Radisson (Club Carlson) BRG and Hilton BRG are not worth my time anymore – approvals occasionally happen but its easier to just bag the savings of a different booking site and not get the stay credit. IHG still gives us free nights for a successful BRG claim but in most cases it’s a lot of work to get an approval.

A few people have suggested that the Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee has a decent approval rate but it’s complicated and I haven’t had a case to try yet.

So – as with my recent Marriott stay at the JW Marriott Jakarta – I’m getting more and more excited about Marriott taking over Starwood – it certainly will help to give teh best best rate guarantee in the industry more exposure.