All the secrets of the Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee Claim (BRG) for hotels

Posted on September 22, 2017 by in Best Rate Guarantee, Orbitz Coupons & Deals, Travel Agent Rate

The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) has been going through a number of changes for the last few years (triggered in part by the Expedia takeover). It is now the most accessible Best Rate Guarantee program for hotels ahead of Expedia which was my favorite before. Expedia has made it harder to get approved and now issues $50 hotel vouchers that can only be used at a minimum purchase of $100.

The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee – The Basics

Those are the Terms and Conditions of the program – I have the most important parts highlighted below.

Price Guarantee for Hotels. For standalone Hotels, we go even further! If you find a lower rate on Orbitz.com or on another U.S.-based website up to 11:59 pm Pacific time 2 days before your scheduled check-in date of your booking with Orbitz.com, we will credit or refund to you the difference in price. In addition, if you are a member of the Orbitz Rewards program we will give you $50 in Orbucks. This Price Guarantee for Hotels is subject to the terms and conditions listed below.”

Travel must be completed in accordance with the booked itinerary to be eligible to receive Orbucks, refund or credit.

Changed or cancelled bookings are not eligible to receive Orbucks. Orbucks will be added to your account within 3 to 4 weeks after your qualifying travel itinerary has been completed.

Must be “Apples to Apples” Comparison. The Price Guarantee is available only for exact itinerary matches. For example, the specific airline and cabin class (First, Business, Premium Economy or Coach/Economy), hotel (including room type), ship and cabin category, rental car company and vehicle class, applicable refund policy, and the exact same dates and times of travel or service as booked through Orbitz.com.

For any stand-alone product booking (for example, a hotel room or an airline ticket), the comparison must be to the same product purchased stand-alone through another website (i.e., not part of a hotel + air travel package).

The Price Guarantee is not available for bookings on websites where the carrier, property, rental car company, itinerary or similar booking details are unknown until after purchase. You must meet all requirements imposed on the lower price (if any), including, without limitation, residency, regional and age-related requirements.

Comparison Rates Must Be Available to the General Public Online. The Price Guarantee applies only to prices both advertised and available to the general public on an English-language website.

For example, this does not include rates offered on:

Membership program websites, corporate discounts or rates
Group, charter, rewards program, incentive, meeting, convention, consolidator or interline prices
Prices obtained via auction or similar process
Prices available only by using a coupon or other promotion not offered to the general public.

The be eligible a reservation must be at least $50 in value.

Orbitz requires a competing website with a lower price that prices in US dollars (that excludes a lot of sites) and that operates in the same way as Orbitz (and most Expedia websites). Some websites show prices in local currency but charge in another. This frequently changes depending on your location and where the total is based. Booking.com for instances may show you a hotel in Ethiopia that charges in USD but show prices in CAD if you are in Canada when making a search. It’s not easy.

Other websites always charge in USD i.e. Agoda.com.

The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee – Devil in the Details

Most of the Terms and Conditions are pretty straightforward and easy to understand.

If you hadn’t noticed most ‘Priceline empire’ websites price per room. There is no way to input the number of people. If you think of it that isn’t really a required search field as log as the maximum occupancy is spelled out (which they do) – you would be right.

However for Orbitz that means that any website like Priceline and Hotwire are not eligible from the get-go. I have had booking.com claims accepted but most of the time they are not.

It is possible that other Expedia websites (Travelocity, Hotels.com and Expedia.com) price lower than Orbitz.com but it’s very rare.

I like the Meta Hotel Search Engines like Trivago, Hotelscombined, Kayak and Hipmunk but have you noticed that they all search the same websites?

Most of them are either Expedia-owned or Priceline-owned – leaving little comparison websites for us

The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee – Good comparison websites

I had success with booking.com occasionally and more so with agoda.com lately. Vayama is another website that still has an independent hotel search engine. SkyAuction also has a hotel ‘Buy Now’ search engine (that incidentally has not changed in a long time).

Keep in mind that websites that require registration before you can see hotel prices are not eligible.

The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee – Compile your claim

You are required to make a booking at Orbitz first. I usually choose a refundable rate – just in case.

Then go here and fill out the form. You will be required to provide a screen shot and I always post the rate composition for the agent (i.e. how much is tax and hotel rate). This seems to be confusing indeed as some sites have taxes included, some do not – again depending on the country.

The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee – Wait 48 hours

The BRG team is the Philippines and works 9AM – 5 PM local time. I usually get replies around midnight Pacific Time. If you send off a claim early morning Philippines time you may get a reply in a few minutes. I rarely have to wait more than a day.

The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee – Get approved

The team is rather consistent – but sometimes sites are deemed eligible and the next claim is denied with the same hotel and competing website. However the replies are rather consistent now.

You can reply to the email and sometimes a little push-back has yielded me an approval – however I find that harder lately.

I always ask for a reason as to why it was denied (if it was) and never get more than a boiler plate message.

Some agenst suggested that I can file a claim up until 48 hours before arrival but that seemed to be at odds with whatever I read or filed after.

The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee – After your stay

30 days after your stay you will get a message like this and the $50 will be in yoru account already when you receive this message.

Orbucks works like cash and you can file a BRG even if you used Orbucks (in part) to pay for it. It is treated just as cash (not as a coupon or discount).

The Orbitz Best Rate Guarantee – Use Coupons

Yes you can use a coupon at Orbitz.com. Now this may reduce the price below a competing website. If it does, just delete it – Orbitz obviously does not require you to use one.

I had cases where the Orbitz rate was 3x the competing rate and you tie up a lot of money prepaid for at least 30 days for Orbitz so using a 15% coupon is a good idea.