Here’s How Hotel Best Rate Guarantees Work (Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, IHG & More)

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Hotel Best Rate Guarantees can be one of the most frustration-inducing features offered by hotel chains. They sound great on the surface – find a better price elsewhere and the hotel chain will match it – but you’ve likely heard horror stories about people being unable to get their claims approved.

That’s not to say that Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) features are a scam though. While there can be some strict rules you need to adhere to in order to make a successful claim, it is possible to go from Best Rate Guarantee stress to Best Rate Guarantee success.

Here’s a guide to Best Rate Guarantee features – how they work, why they’re offered, how to make a successful claim and more, as well as information about each hotel program’s guarantee policy.

Hotel Best Rate Guarantee

My Own Best Rate Guarantee Success Stories

My wife and I set off on a 50 state road trip on January 1, 2018 and are still going. We’ve spent that entire time living in hotels and Airbnbs, moving every week or so. As a result, I spend far too much time looking at our accommodation options, evaluating whether it’s better to pay a cash rate or book using points. When finding a good cash rate, I then spend a bit more time trying to see if I can find an even lower rate that’ll enable us to submit successful Best Rate Guarantee claims.

I was initially put off by the whole concept of BRGs. They seemed somewhat nebulous which wasn’t helped by IHG declining the first BRG claim I ever submitted for any hotel chain.

Since then though, I’ve had much more success, saving hundreds – or possibly thousands – of dollars courtesy of the promises hotel chains make that they’ll give you the lowest rate. We mainly stay with Hyatt, IHG, Marriott and Hilton and I’ve had at least two successful claims with each of them.

I’ve written about some of those success stories before, so you can find links to them below:

What Is A Best Rate Guarantee?

A Best Rate Guarantee is a hotel chain’s promise that you’ll get the lowest possible room rate by booking directly with them. They state that if you find a lower rate elsewhere they’ll match that price and, in some cases, offer either an additional discount or bonus points.

What’s Needed To Make A Successful BRG Claim?

Each hotel chain has their own set of specific requirements when it comes to claiming under their BRG. Here are the key features that tend to be consistent across chains though:

  • Your claim has to be submitted within 24 hours of making a reservation directly with the hotel chain and, in many cases, at least 48 hours before your stay.
  • The site you find the lower rate on has to be publicly available (e.g. membership sites that require logging in to view lower rates aren’t eligible)
  • Stay dates must match
  • Room type must match
  • Cancellation policy must match
  • Rate type must match (e.g. if you book a rate with breakfast included, the lower rate you find elsewhere also needs to have breakfast included)
  • Special rates (e.g. AAA, AARP, etc.) aren’t eligible

In my own experience, the trickiest of these requirements is matching up cancellation policies. I’ve found seemingly identical options before, only to discover that the hotel’s cancellation policy is 3 days before the stay while the Online Travel Agency (OTA) is offering a 4 day cancellation period or something along those lines.

Even if the OTA is offering a better cancellation policy (e.g. you can cancel the day before when booking with the OTA versus 3 days before when booking directly with hotel chain), that’s still grounds for a declined claim unfortunately.

View of the Pyramids of Giza from Marriott Mena House
View of the Pyramids of Giza from our balcony at Marriott Mena House

Why Do Hotels Offer A Best Rate Guarantee?

Something you might be wondering is why hotel chains would want to promise you a lower rate after you’ve already booked with them.

The primary answer likely relates to commission payments. When you book a hotel stay with an OTA, the hotel chain pays them a commission. That means you could be getting the lowest possible rate for your room, plus they have to fork out $xx in commissions. By getting you to book directly by promising to match your rate, they avoid having to pay commission elsewhere.

That’s likely not the only reason though. Another is laziness. When someone sees on a hotel website that they can get the lowest possible price, that makes it more likely that they’ll book with them, satisfied that they’re getting the best possible deal. Most people won’t put in the extra effort needed to a) find a matching lower rate and b) submit a claim to obtain it, so hotels get the halo benefits of the promise without needing to do anything about it in many cases. It’s much like retailer moneyback guarantees – they offer that safe in the knowledge that even if people have a product that doesn’t work or doesn’t match their expectations, many people won’t bother returning the item for a refund.

What Sites Are Useful For Finding Lower Hotel Rates For Best Rate Guarantee Claims?

There are many sites where you can compare hotel prices, but I tend to use the following:

  • Hotels.com
  • Booking.com
  • Trivago
  • Agoda

With regards to Trivago, I’ve submitted claims based on rates found on other sites that show up in Trivago’s search results, rather than submitting Trivago as the site itself where I found a lower rate.

Are Best Rate Guarantee Claims Risky?

Depending on your situation, there can be some kind of risk involved with relying on a hotel chain’s BRG policy. One example is if the lower rate you find is a non-refundable rate. Booking a non-refundable rate directly with the hotel runs the risk of them declining your BRG claim, thereby locking you in to the higher non-refundable rate.

Another risk is that hotel pricing can be dynamic. You might see a lower rate elsewhere, but by the time the hotel chain processes your claim that rate might have increased. If you booked a refundable rate that doesn’t necessarily matter in that you can still cancel the stay, but it does mean you’ll have missed out on the lower rate that would’ve been available had you just booked via the OTA.

Are There Any Other Benefits Of Best Rate Guarantees?

Indirectly, yes. Booking directly with the hotel and having them match the lower rate means you’re eligible to earn points with their loyalty program, receive elite status benefits, earn elite night credits, etc. Booking stays via Online Travel Agencies means that – in the majority of cases – you have to forgo those benefits.

How Each Hotel Chain’s Best Rate Guarantee Policy Works

Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee Policy

Park Hyatt New York swimming pool
Park Hyatt New York swimming pool

In addition to matching the lower rate you find elsewhere, Hyatt offers you the choice of either an additional 20% off the lower rate or 5,000 bonus points.

The best of those two options will depend on how expensive your stay is. For a low-priced one or two night stay, selecting 5,000 bonus points might make more sense. For longer and/or more expensive stays though, saving 20% will likely be the better choice.

How To Make A Hyatt BRG Claim

You have to submit your claim within 24 hours of making your reservation with Hyatt. The easiest option is submitting an online claim here, but they also offer the option of submitting a claim over the phone – details can be found here too.

Key Things To Know

  • The rate you find on an OTA has to be at least $1 per night cheaper in order to be eligible.
  • You can submit BRG claims for up to 3 rooms at the same property per night which can be useful if you’re traveling with and/or booking on behalf of others.
  • Some Hyatt-affiliated brands aren’t eligible, such as SLH, UrCove, MGM Resorts and brands that are part of the AMR Collection such as Zoëtry, Dreams, Secrets and more. With regards to AMR Collection properties though, AMR has its own Best Rate Guarantee policy that you can claim under, although you’d need to book the stay directly with them initially rather than Hyatt.

Hilton Best Rate Guarantee Policy

Conrad Bora Bora beach

Hilton calls its BRG feature ‘Price Match Guarantee’. If you submit a successful claim, Hilton will match your rate and give you an additional 25% discount off the lower rate.

How To Make A Hilton BRG Claim

You can also submit a claim over the phone or via an online form. You can find the claim form and phone numbers here.

Key Thing To Know

  • Hilton’s Price Match Guarantee is unique in that they provide the opportunity to submit a claim by phone before making a reservation. That can be particularly helpful if the rate you need to book is a non-refundable rate as it means you can get the claim approved before locking yourself in. It also means you avoid the risk that the price on the OTA will increase before the claim has been processed.

Marriott Best Rate Guarantee Policy

St Regis Bora Bora
St Regis Bora Bora

Marriott’s BRG policy is somewhat similar to Hyatt’s policy in that they’ll not only match your rate, but they also give the choice of additional savings or bonus points. With Marriott, those two choices are an additional 25% discount off the lower rate or 5,000 bonus points. In nearly all cases the better option will be to take the 25% discount seeing as 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points aren’t as valuable as 5,000 World of Hyatt points, plus Marriott offers a higher discount – 25% – than Hyatt’s 20% offering.

How To Make A Marriott BRG Claim

You can submit a claim online here.

Key Things To Know

  • Although you can choose an additional 25% off with a successful BRG claim, for stays at their Design Hotels brand the discount is 20%.
  • There are some non-participating properties and brands, such as select Ritz-Carlton hotels, all-inclusive properties, timeshare properties and more. You can find the full list of excluded properties/brands here under the ‘Participating Brands’ section.
  • The rate you find on an OTA has to be at least $1 per night cheaper in order to be eligible.

IHG Best Rate Guarantee Policy

Kimpton Seafire Grand Cayman King Ocean View Balcony

IHG calls its BRG feature its Best Price Guarantee. When making a successful claim, they’ll match the lower rate and offer you 5x points with a 40,000 point maximum. While that’s potentially more generous points-wise than the options offered by Hyatt and Marriott, it’s disappointing that IHG doesn’t also provide the option to obtain an additional discount instead.

What’s also disappointing about IHG is that they seem to have an undisclosed requirement when making a Best Rate Guarantee claim. I’ve made a couple of claims in the past that they declined. Everything was the same – the room type, travel dates, etc. With regards to the cancellation policies, they were refundable and the cancellation policy on IHG’s website exactly matched the one on the OTAs.

The reason they gave for declining the claims is that there was a cheaper rate available. In both instances, the lower rates were non-refundable which is why I hadn’t booked them – I didn’t want to risk IHG declining those claims and being forced to pay that rate versus booking the cheaper rates elsewhere. The requirement that you book the lowest possible rate available on IHG’s website therefore makes their BRG policy much less useful if you want flexibility. It also runs contrary to the specification on their website as there’s no mention there of having to book the very lowest available price.

How To Make An IHG BRG Claim

You can submit a claim online here.

Key Things To Know

  • Properties in mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan aren’t eligible.
  • The rate you find on an OTA has to be at least 1% per night cheaper in order to be eligible.

Wyndham Best Rate Guarantee Policy

Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort
Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort

When submitting a successful BRG claim, Wyndham will match the lower price you found and award you an additional 3,000 bonus points.

How To Make A Wyndham BRG Claim

You can submit a claim online here.

Key Things To Know

  • You can only submit one BRG claim per month with Wyndham.
  • The rate you find on an OTA has to be at least $1 per night cheaper in order to be eligible.

Choice Best Rate Guarantee Policy

The Port Inn and Cottages, Ascend Hotel Collection Port Saint Joe, FL Choice Privileges Hotels
The Port Inn and Cottages, Ascend Hotel Collection Port Saint Joe, FL – image courtesy of Choice Hotels

Choice calls its BRG feature their Lowest Price Guarantee. As with all the other hotel programs listed above, Choice will match the rate you find elsewhere. They also offer something else, with that benefit depending on where you live.

For residents of the US or Canada, Choice awards a $50 Visa (US) or Mastercard (Canada) gift card, denominated in USD or CAD depending on your country. For residents of other countries, you’ll get the first night of your stay free. Note that this is based on your country of residence rather than where you’ll be staying. A US resident booking a stay in Europe will get a $50 Visa gift card rather than their first night free.

How To Make A Choice BRG Claim

You can submit a claim online here.

Key Things To Know

  • Their WoodSprings Suites brand is excluded, as are Ascend Hotel Collection properties in Las Vegas that include a casino.
  • The rate you find on an OTA has to be at least $1 or 1% per night cheaper (whichever is greater) in order to be eligible.

Radisson Best Rate Guarantee Policy

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago

Radisson has gone Star Trek on us as they’ve called their BRG feature a Best Online Rate Guarantee which they shorten to BORG. If you submit a successful BORG claim with Radisson, they’ll match the lower rate and give you an additional 25% discount off the lower rate.

How To Make A Radisson BRG Claim

As with other hotel chains, you can submit BRG claims online with Radisson. Seeing as they split their loyalty program in 2021, where you submit your claim will depend on if you’re booking your stay in the Americas or the rest of the world.

For Radisson Rewards Americas, submit your claim via this contact page, selecting ‘Online’ as the Contact Method and BORG as the subsequent topic. It’s a similar process for stays in the rest of the world, but the form can be found on this contact page.

Key Thing To Know

  • The rate you find on an OTA has to be at least $1 or (or local currency equivalent) in order to be eligible.

Accor Best Rate Guarantee Policy

Fairmont Maui

Accor’s BRG feature is called their Best Price Guarantee. If you find a lower rate elsewhere, they’ll match that rate and give you an additional 10% off the lower rate for stays at Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel properties and 25% off the lower rate at their other brands.

How To Make An Accor BRG Claim

You can submit a claim online here.

Key Things To Know

  • The rate you find on an OTA has to be at least €5 or 5% per night cheaper (whichever is greater) in order to be eligible.
  • You have to provide at least one screenshot of the lower rate found elsewhere.
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Jan W

Always wondered about this–thanks for the detailed overview!

Ron

Marriott denied my BRG claim if you submitted your claim based on rates found several consumer/public booking sites that their internal security team deemed “risky” (yet not risky enough to get them to publish the name of the sites to alert Bonvoy members beforehand). One of the supposedly “banned” site is Traveluro.com #bonvoyed

Gabe

Thanks for the post, Stephen! Just so I understand correctly, the additional 20% off would be 20% of whatever the additional discount is at the OTA, correct? So if, for example, an OTA has a night that is $50 less than the hotel directly, you’ll get the price matched plus an additional $10 discount, correct?

Gabriel

Perfect, thanks! That actually makes it more worth it for the multi-night stays at nicer properties, just as you said.