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Best Western has one of the better Best Rate Guarantees (BRG) of all the hotel chains out there. If you find a better rate than the one posted on their website, you get a $100 Best Western Travel card, which is basically a Best Western gift card. (Side note – according to Magic with Miles, there is a (possibly targeted) offer for free $25 or $100 travel cards).
Since many Best Westerns don’t cost $100, you can hopefully see how this might turn into a moneymaker after the first one. You pay say $75 for a night, get a $100 travel card, then pay $75 for another BRG (using your $100 travel card) and get another travel card, rinse, repeat.
The other bonus of the BRG being a travel card after-the-fact (as opposed to the room just being free) is that as far as the hotel is concerned, your stay is a PAID stay, so you earn points on the stay (and it counts towards status if you’re into that kind of thing)
My first try
Now, like all such programs (like our good friend the mail-in rebate), Best Western is pretty particular. EVERYTHING (room type, cancellation policy, etc) has to match in order for a BRG to apply. Travel is Free has a good rundown on the policies of the BRG.
Since once can assume that Best Western is not in the business of giving away hotel rooms, they are pretty picky as I mentioned. The FlyerTalk thread has tons of stories of agents denying claims, ranging from frustration about all the hoop-jumping to insistence that it’s all a scam and it’s impossible to get a claim approved.
But my first try a few months ago was successful – I was able to get a BRG on a Best Western for our Indianapolis trip earlier in the year. Since we’re a family of 8, one room doesn’t cut it and since there is a limit of one per household per 30 days, we used points for a 2nd room. (Potentially I could have tried to have my wife sign up for a BRG on a 2nd room but I didn’t bother with that and I’m not sure if it would have worked.) They tried to deny me (twice) but eventually I did receive my $100 Travel card (which has been sitting in my email ever since…
Using my $100 travel card
We have an upcoming trip to Las Vegas, and so I thought I’d see if I could find a BRG for one of the nights. I plugged my information in to Kayak, and… SUCCESS. With Best Western charging $99.99 / night for one of the rooms, I was able to find it on getaroom.com for much less
Easy peasy, right? I booked the room on BestWestern.com (you can’t pay for the room with the travel card when you book it online – you need to use a CC – I assume that you can change to pay for it with the travel card once you actually check in), and then filled out the claim form.
Dear Mr. Miller,
Thank you for contacting Best Western International.
We have processed your Low Rate Guarantee Claim and the claim has been denied for the following reason(s):
Hmm…. that one was actually my fault – I booked a different room type than the one that was available on getaroom.com.
But never fear – getaroom.com had the 2 queen beds rate lower as well! So I resubmitted.
Dear Dan, (PWAC – I see they are getting more comfortable with me this time as they went with the first name 😀 )
Thank you for your second request for a Low Rate Guarantee on your September 18 stay at the Best Western McCarran Inn in Las Vegas.
After investigating your claim for a $56.40 rate on getaroom.com, your claim has been denied for the following reasons: We do not see a rate for that amount. The lowest rate shown is $67.36 for a double run of the house rate. This does not describe a room type.
This time I responded directly to the email, attaching a 2nd screenshot with more information
Thank you for your most recent communication.
After reviewing the information you included in your e-mail, we advise you of the following: In order to be valid, a claim must meet all of the Terms and Conditions contained therein. Low Rate guarantee terms and conditions are shown on the website which states “discount and promotional rates are not eligible for the Low Rate Guarantee Program”. As you can see below, this getaroom.com rate does show that the rate in question is a promotion rate which makes it ineligible.
I’m not sure how much more I will fight this – I will probably just end up canceling my reservation on BestWestern.com (Pro tip: always do a refundable reservation, natch).
Anyone have any tips or tricks on how to best get a claim approved?