Best Rate Guarantees of hotel loyalty programs can be great in theory, but they can also be a great source of frustration. I’ve seen many a story of people’s claims being denied, even when they believed they had a valid claim.
I tried making a Best Rate Guarantee claim with IHG a year or two ago which was my sole experience making one with any hotel chain. That claim was denied, so I’ve tended to ignore this opportunity when booking stays. My wife and I live in hotels and Airbnbs and move every 5-7 days, so in theory we have the potential for huge savings. I already spend far too much time researching accommodation options in each city though, so the prospect of doing even more research to find potentially valid Best Rate Guarantee claims isn’t high on my to-do list if they’re only going to get declined anyway.
While looking at hotels for our recent visit to Washington D.C., I happened to notice a Hyatt Place pricing out cheaper on Hotels.com than on Hyatt’s website. It was a fully-refundable rate, so I figured I’d test out Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee seeing as I could cancel even if they declined the claim. I booked two separate stays (well, four, but two of those were booked using points) and both claims were approved. Here’s how to make a Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee claim and more about the results of mine.
Just as a reminder, Hyatt changed its Best Rate Guarantee policy earlier this year. When making a claim, you have a choice as to your benefit – either 5,000 points or 20% off your room rate. The best choice will depend on what you’ll be paying for your room rate.
At the time of making my reservations, Hyatt was offering the fourth night free on paid stays at Hyatt Place and Hyatt House properties. That rate was also available on Hotels.com, so the prices were very similar.
For my first four night booking of November 14-18, Hyatt was charging a total of $257 before tax.
Hotels.com on the other hand was charging $255.75 before tax – $1.25 cheaper than booking directly with Hyatt.
One of the most important things to remember when making a Best Rate Guarantee claim with Hyatt (and any hotel chain) is that the room types have to match.
I’d also looked at a Hyatt House near Dulles airport as that was pricing out lower on Hotels.com than Hyatt’s website too. However, the room types for that property were slightly different, so it wouldn’t have been a like-for-like comparison. I don’t know if that property plays games with how they describe their rooms on Hotels.com or if the only rooms they offer on Hotels.com are different to those offered when booking directly, but every single room type listed on Hotels.com was different to those available when booking directly.
Anyway, back to the Hyatt Place I was booking. Here’s the description of the room on Hyatt.com (ignore the price in this screenshot as that was for the second stay I booked)…
…and here’s the description on Hotels.com.
As you can see, the descriptions appear to be the same. One of the most important features was that the square footage was the same, as I figured that could be a chief reason they might decline a claim.
Completing The Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee Form Online
After making the reservation on Hyatt’s website and taking screenshots of the price on Hotels.com, I completed their online claim form. The form was straightforward and simple to complete.
The final section of the form asks if you’d prefer 5,000 points or 20% off your stay.
Seeing as my stay was costing $257 before tax, taking 20% off the stay would’ve saved $51.40. As a result, I chose 5,000 points seeing as those are worth far more than $51.40.
The Result Of Claim 1
I submitted my claim at about 3:30am (I’m a night owl) and by 9:45am I’d received a reply from Hyatt confirming that my Best Rate Guarantee claim was successful and that I’d be awarded the 5,000 points after my stay.
Claim Number 2
The next three days at this hotel were more expensive, so I booked those using points because, being a category 1 property, it was only 5,000 points per night. The rate dropped for the following four nights and once again Hotels.com was marginally cheaper.
On Hyatt.com the four night stay cost $242 before tax…
…while it was $240.75 on Hotels.com – once again $1.25 less.
I submitted another claim online shortly after the first and that was processed just as quickly. As with my first claim, Hyatt approved my claim without any issues.
After receiving the confirmation emails from Hyatt that my claims had been successful, I also received revised booking emails showing the reduced pricing.
Receiving The Points
The emails from Hyatt confirming my successful claims advised that the points would be credited to my account within 7 days, but it didn’t take that long. Instead, they showed up in my account after only two days.
When checking in at the Hyatt Place, they merged all four of our reservations which is why the two sets of 5,000 points posted together. I’d been a little concerned that merging our reservations would result in only one set of points posting, meaning I’d have to follow up with Hyatt for the other 5,000 points, but that thankfully wasn’t necessary.
Making a couple of Best Rate Guarantee claims with Hyatt was easy, quick and, most importantly, successful. I’m sure there are occasions where claims are declined for a seemingly unwarranted reason, but my successful claims have encouraged me to keep an eye on Hyatt’s rates on Hotels.com and other sites so that I can hopefully make further successful BRG claims in the future.
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Just did this and the rate was $7 cheaper on another site. Hyatt denied the claim even with screen shots and waited three days to respond to me. Granted one was Christmas, but the price of course went up in three days, so that was pretty low. I sent an email back to them, so we’ll see what happens as another site is lower than them. In the past with hotels.com price match, it has taken multiple tries to get them to match but they usually do.
Update for anyone coming back to this later:
I provided several screen shots and even another website with screen shots of a lower price. Claim denied and Hyatt claimed that they had a screen shot of the price from days before with a higher price. So, I am even more entrenched in my opinion that it is worthless.
Do you actually make duplicate bookings, then cancel after best rate approval?
No, I just made one reservation on the Hyatt website. You could in theory book a second reservation on Hotels.com (or wherever) as backup if it’s a refundable rate, then cancel that once it’s been approved.
Our rate was non-refundable though, so that wasn’t an option for me.
So you canceled the cash bookings after getting the points?
No, you don’t receive the points until you complete your stay.
That’s awesome! Hyatt seems to be more accepting than the other hotel brands.
Not a big fan of taking advantage of a best rate guarantee over mere pennies in difference, this seems like exploiting the rule versus what it is actually intended for, but hey, Hyatt honored it by the letter of the law. Thanks for sharing your experience and showing us how to turn in a claim.
I mean…many chains deny for completely ridiculous reasons, total loopholes that totally negate any real value of BRG for the purpose of building trust in the hotel website to give you the best rate. Like, the cancellation policy differs by a few hours…even if the comparison rate has a better policy! Admittedly Hyatt is better than some others, but I think of the whole BRG system as a game. There are much better rules that could be set up if the intention truly was to guarantee the customer was going to get the best rate by booking through the hotel website. If there’s a claim that fits the rules, take it. Most chains have a $1 difference minimum, they could make it $10 if they wanted.
if you have a stay for multiple consecutive nights, could you submit claims for each of the days individually if you have booked each night individually?
The terms of Hyatt’s BRG policy state the following:
Any reservations made with consecutive night stays at the same location shall be considered one stay/reservation for purposes of the Best Rate Guarantee and therefore, shall only receive one (1) Reward if verified and eligible.
Whether that’s enforced in real life though is another matter. I’d be careful about doing this though in case they decide you’re gaming the policy and take some kind of action against your account.
Good for you. I forgot about that option. I would love to hear more about the life in hotels/airbnb’s, moving every week. How you make your decisions, pearls to find low prices and good value.
I spend far too much time researching accommodation options! I search all main hotel chain websites, along with Hotels.com & Airbnb. We usually stay somewhere 5 or 6 nights, but I’ll often search for 7 nights too in case the hotel or Airbnb offers a significant weekly discount for paid stays.
Marriott, Hilton & Hyatt make searching a little easier as you can simply type in a state and it’ll search all properties within that state. We travel with our dog, so filtering for pet-friendly properties reduces our options. That can be annoying as it rules out some cheaper options, but it also means we don’t have hundreds of options to choose from, making it easier to actually choose somewhere.
When it comes to booking award stays, we try to stay in category 1 & category 2 properties with the different chains. We tend to rack up 75+ nights a year at Hyatt Places seeing as there are so many category 1 properties around the country and most of them are pet-friendly.
When booking Hilton award stays, we tend to stay in 5 night increments to maximize their 5th night free benefit. When booking paid stays, I’ve found some Hampton Inns give good weekly discounts that only show up when actually clicking through to the property – for some reason the discount doesn’t show up on the main search screen.
Marriott is similar in that we usually book in 5 night increments for their 5th night free benefit.
IHG – we’ll sometimes book in 4 night increments to take advantage of the 4th night free benefit with my IHG Premier card. Having said that, 4 nights doesn’t always give us much time to explore an area, so we’ll sometimes extend that.
As for the general experience, moving every week means we get to see a lot more of the country than we would if we stayed in one location for weeks at a time. It’s also the worst part of the trip though as it means packing and repacking every week. We travel with pretty much everything we own, so loading and unloading 1.5 luggage carts worth of stuff isn’t much fun!
With Airbnb, I try to stock up on gift cards at a large discount (e.g. when Amazon offers a 20-25% discount when using 1 Membership Rewards point or 1 Ultimate Rewards point). Although some people have had bad experiences with Airbnb, we’ve always had good stays. We try to book properties all to ourselves for the most part, although we’ve stayed with owners before when it’s been too cheap to turn down (e.g. a 5 star rated stay in Myrtle Beach for $29 a night). Booking through Airbnb has also helped us be able to stay in some cities for cheaper than hotels (e.g. Savannah, GA), plus it means we usually have a full kitchen.
Speaking of a kitchen, I have a portable kitchen which travels around in a large scrapbooking suitcase as that was the only case that can fit everything in it. It has 4 place settings-worth of plates, dishes, silverware, etc., an Instant Pot, cooking utensils, etc. The Instant Pot means we can make meals even when we don’t have a kitchen as it has all kinds of functions – saute, slow cooker, pressure cooker, etc.