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(Almost) all hotels have some sort of guarantee that no matter where you go, the lowest prices for booking a hotel will be on the hotel’s own website. They call them different things, and there are different incentives depending on the chain, but with a few exceptions, most hotels have them.
Detailing each chain’s best rate guarantee (BRG) could probably be the subject of an entire post (or series of posts), but I wanted to share my recent experience with Best Western.
Best Western has one of the better BRGs out there. While some chains only match the price or take $25 or 25% off of your rate, at Best Western you get matched to the lower rate, and then you receive a $100 Best Western travel card (essentially a BW gift card).
So the one con is that you do have to pay for your room upfront, but in some ways that is a positive, because as far as the hotel is concerned, it’s a regular night and earns points / elite status / etc.
The BIG positive is that nearly all Best Western hotels sell for less than $100 a night! So on BRG #1 yes you have to pay for your hotel room, but then on BRG #2 you “pay” for your hotel room with the $100 Best Western Travel card that you got from the first BRG! (plus you should still have some money left on it)
Real life example
We are looking at going to Indianapolis later next month, so I started trying to look for hotels in the area. We have points with a few different chains, so I was open. I first used Award Mapper, and initially focused on the Hilton brands. But since the 50% off 2nd room via MiniBreaks deal died, Hilton no longer looked super attractive. For 2 rooms at 1 night, we were looking at 60,000 HHonors points. Another option would be a Homewood Suites, counting on (hoping for?) an upgrade to a 2BR suite, as we did in Columbus a few months ago.
Then I started looking at Best Western. We have about ~65K Best Western points from a recent credit card signup, and now seemed like a good time to try for it.
First step is usually Kayak to look for hotels. There are other useful sites for comparing hotel prices, but this is one to check out first. Plugged in my dates and
Here’s one option. Trying to find BRGs can be time-consuming, so mostly I scan through looking for hotels where the “main” price is different than most of the other prices ($75 as compared to $79 in this case)
Now in this case, Choice Hotels is definitely going to weasel out of this one, because the rooms are not exactly the same.
At Kayak, it shows up as
But on Econo Lodge it’s
You’ll notice the cheaper rate is for a type of room that just says “Standard”. Now, this is a total weasel job by Choice hotels (I mean this $75 room has to be SOME KIND of room, right? And Econo Lodge the cheapest room is $79), but as it says on Urban Dictionary
Do not fault the successful participant in a flawed system; try instead to discern and rebuke that aspect of its organization which allows or encourages the behavior that has provoked your displeasure.
Or, as Ice-T more eloquently put it, 😀
Don’t hate the playa; hate the game
So I know that this BRG will not be approved, so I kept looking. In the end, I found a rate at the Best Western Country Suites, which was showing up as $63 plus tax but on another site it was only $61
I reserved the room on BestWestern.com, then filled out the claim form, and waited. I believe they’re supposed to contact you within a day or two, but nobody contacted me, so I emailed them through the website and then received a response saying
“We have processed your Low Rate Guarantee Claim and the claim has been
denied for the following reason(s):
“Room type is not similar to what guest booked on bestwestern.com”
Very typical with these types of things, but clearly these people do not know WHO they are dealing with!! I replied back saying “I don’t understand what you mean about the room type being different – this is a Country Suites – there is only 1 type of room (suite) in the hotel?”
Which is true – the hotel as far as I understand only has 1 BR King Suites. Later in the day I actually got a call from Best Western saying that my claim had been approved, my rate had been lowered to the $61 amount, and that I would receive a $100 gift card within 2-3 weeks after my stay.
Since we’re a family of 8, one room, even a suite, is not going to cut it for us, so I went ahead and booked a 2nd room with points (12,000).
Limitations of the BRG
Now some of the limitations are that you’re only allowed 1 BRG every 30 days (I believe that’s from the BRG date, not from the stay date, but I’m not sure), and that limit is per household. A few years ago with a different chain, Carolyn and I used a BRG to get 2 free hotel rooms in Hershey, PA (bonus unexpected treat – Jonas Brothers concert that we could hear all…. night…. long ) :-).
I didn’t try it this time, but I know sometimes people will be uh… flexible on who i
s part of their households. That’s a little easier to do when it’s just a free night, but in this case they have to mail you the $100 gift card, so you want to make sure and sign up with an address that actually exists…
There’s really no downside to trying for a BRG – just MAKE SURE that you only book refundable rates. Worst case, if your BRG is denied, then you can just cancel your reservation.
Ever tried for a BRG? What was your result?