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.
  • In the past it wasn’t possible to submit BRG claims for many of Hyatt’s all-inclusive brands, but now that can be done by contacting an agent for Hyatt Inclusive Collection here.

Hilton Best Rate Guarantee Policy

a sailboat on a beach
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.
  • The difference between the Hilton price and the lower price found elsewhere needs to be at least 1%.
  • Hampton by Hilton and Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) in the People’s Republic of China are excluded from the Price Match Guarantee.

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, MGM Collection, 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

a balcony with a couch and a table
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 calendar month with Wyndham.
  • The rate you find on an OTA has to be at least $1 per night cheaper in order to be eligible.
  • Guarantee applies only to reservations made on Wyndham website or their central reservation number for Wyndham hotels in the United States, Canada, and EMEA. (Thanks to Ron in the comments for the heads up about this location restriction.)

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, all-inclusive Ascend Hotel Collection properties and Vacation Rentals by Choice.
  • 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.

Best Western Best Rate Guarantee Policy

Best Western’s BRG policy is known as ‘Low Rate Guaranteed.’ If you find a lower rate elsewhere than is available at BestWestern.com, they’ll match the lower rate and give you a $100 Best Western gift card.

How To Make A Best Western BRG Claim

You can find a Best Western Low Rate Guaranteed claim form here. After completing that, it should be emailed to custserv@cs.bestwestern.com

Key Things To Know

  • You can only receive one $100 Best Western gift card per 30 days, but you can submit further claims to have the lower rate honored.
  • The difference in rates needs to be at least $1.

Accor Best Rate Guarantee Policy

a resort with a pool and a beach
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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Silvia

I was able to get Capital One to do a price match. Why use CO? I have the Venture X card and get $300 for travel per year.

[…] parameters of the system and are willing to read the fine print, you can often unlock some savings. Frequent Miler has a comprehensive guide to BRGs with a wide variety of hotel brands where you can learn more about all the […]

Jesse K

The BRG by Wyndham is a JOKE! I have submitted multiple claims to them where I have found lower rates on Hotels.com and have been denied EVERY time. They offer no explanation nor any type of contact phone number to clarify why the claim was denied or to provide help for the next time. Having extremely strict criteria to get a claim approved is not a BRG, it’s a gimmick.

Ron

Hi Stephen, I think you might wanna update your Wyndham BRG essentials with this very important tidbit : the BRG for Wydham ONLY applies to property in the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. No luck if you book a Wyndham hotel in Asia, Australia/Oceania, South America, Caribbean or Central America.
I just got denied matching a rate for a Ramada in Hong Kong because they buried this peculiar geographic restriction way down in the bottom of the T&C

JMW

Do I need to book the lowest price rate available (ie:Hyatt member rate $350 versus standard rate $400 on Hyatt website). Obviously would like to originally book the standard rate, so I have more opportunity to find a lower price on 3rd party site.

Andrew

Hi Stephen,

Saw that you posted about getting a match on Hyatt points stay, how did that work? I read the article and am a little confused. The BRG works for award stays too even though there’s no price attached to an award stay?

Thanks in advance!

Andrew

Thanks so much for quick reply! I really appreciate you and what you do with this blog!

I saw it under here (https://frequentmiler.com/2-claims-using-hyatts-best-rate-guarantee-2-successes/) under Claim Number 2. I was a little confused when I read that and then saw the screenshots 🙂

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.