Introduction to Hotel Best Rate Guarantee (BRG)

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 1.23.06 PMBest Rate Guarantee, just as its name implies, is to guarantee the best rate. Currently, hotel groups more want customers to go directly to their official website (including the official mobile phone App) to book accommodation.In order to attract more customers, in addition to the general provision that only official website reservation can get eligible stay/nights, they also tend to provide the optimal rate guarantee: after the booking, if you find a lower public rate on the other third party websites,the hotel will match the lower rate for you, and provide some extra benefits. Therefore, instead of leaving directly after the booking, you should remain wary when booking hotel, whether on the third party websites or on the official website.

First, let me give you some sugar-coated bullets. BRG, if successful, the hotel will match you with the corresponding competitive price, and then offer no small extra benefits to you:

  • Marriott: additional 75 discount after the match
  • Hyatt: additional 8 discount after matching the competitive price
  • SPG: additional 8 discount or 2000 SPG points, optional.
  • IHG: The first night is free. Competitive price is adopted for the following nights. If you stay only one night, then you enjoy your one-night stay without paying.
  • Hilton: hotels in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico will give a $50 extra Amex Gift Card. Hotels outside the above areas will directly give you a $50 prices drop or equivalent local currency.
The welfare of BRG seems very good. Of course, there must be a variety of restrictions if you think about it for a little while. Overall, hotel groups have the following common requirements/ restrictions for the BRG Claim:
  1. BRG must be the comparison between the official website rate and the public rate on the third party website(except for Marriott and Hyatt).
  2. Before the BRG, you are required to make a reservation on the website because BRG needs reservation information (except for Hyatt).
  3. Generally, the comparison is naked rate excluding taxes and fees, etc. If the currencies are different, the hotel will convert them to the same currency for comparison (Usually it is US dollar).
  4. The public rates on the third party sites generally have the following key points:
    • If the public rate is queryable, the non-public rate such as priceline bid is not ok.
    • If the hotel can be booked immediately, many times, rates on Ctrip are no tok. Because it needs 1 hour to confirm an order, so it cannot be regarded as can be booked immediately.
    • Staff rates provided by those who have cooperation with websites are not ok.Member rate of paid website is not ok. AAA/AARP/ Senior rates are not ok.
    • It cannot be a travel package rate such as airline ticket + hotel or hotel + taxi.
  5. Generally, Best Rate Guarantee is asked to put forward within 24 hours after booking, and also 24 hours before the standard check-in time.
  6. The compared room types, dates, the number of guests, days, whether include breakfast/parking, cancellation policy, etc must show no difference.
  7. The hotel will hold the lower third party rate they can search as standard, but not the lower rate you find. That is to say, if the lower rate on the third party disappears during the time interval when you wait for the review of your submitted application, the hotel will not admit your BRG request.
  8. Some specific subordinate hotels don’t accept BRG request. You’d better ensure whether the hotel you want to live is on the list when you put forward BRG.

I want to say a few more words about Point 6. Generally speaking, hotel BRG has strict requirements for things like room type. For example, you has booked a King Bed, and then you find a lower Two Double Beds, your BRG request is likely to be rejected because it must be the same King Bed. Overall, when the hotel’s welfare on details is better, and the third party rate without these detail welfare is lower, the hotel will not admit BRG, or at least the two sides’ welfare is exactly the same. As for the hotel’s worse welfare at a higher rate, each hotel’s BRG doesn’t mention how to deal with it. What they often said is only one word: the Same Accommodation. Personally, I think it the third party welfare is better, we can try to raise a BRG claim and clearly point out what is better.

In addition to those common requirements, different hotel groups may have some subtle differences. We tried to make the following summary for you:
  • Marriot: When ask for BRG, you must have already booked the lowest rate offered on Marriot official website. But you can also ask for BRG on check-in day. BRG request with less than $1 rate difference is likely to be turned down. Marriott can BRG its own price reduce, but you need to book the price-reduced room on official website before BRG.
  • Hyatt: You can directly raise a BRG Claim without advance booking. BRG request with less than $1 rate difference will be turned down.
  • SPG: BRG must be booked in advance, but you are not necessarily to book the lowest rate. Non-English SPG website BRG booking must be submitted 24 hours after booking and 48 hours before arrival. Therefore, we suggest that you submit BRG request on the English official website. If you put forward BRG requests for several accommodations in the same hotel or nearby hotels within one week,all these requests will be considered as one BRG request at a time. BRG request with less than $1 rate difference will be turned down unless the cancellation policy of competitive price is more favorable.
  • IHG: When ask for BRG, you must have already booked the room type you want at the lowest rate on the official website. The rates provided by the official website and the third party must be based on the hotel local currency. Within 14 days, if you put forward BRG requests to one specific hotel or nearby hotels within 50 miles, all these requests will be considered as one BRG request for one accommodation. That is to say, even your request is approved, only the first day of the 14 days is free of charge.
  • Hilton: When ask for BRG, you must have already reserved the room type you want at the lowest available rate(even it is non-refundable). Hilton doesn’t make it clear how much rate difference can be considered as the boundary for BRG recognition. It only says difference caused by currency fluctuation may lead to a result that BRG is not accepted.

What shall we do if the hotel/third party website lower its rate within 24 hours after reservation? Marriott sayson its official website that customers can BRG their own website rate. Hyatt only says that it is ok as long as the rate can be verified and booked immediatelyon the Internet. The remaining three hotels clearly demonstrate that they only compare the official rate with the non-official rate. Among them, Starwood also specify that customer service staff only compare the lowest official rate at the moment they do verification with the lowest third party verifiable rate. So if the price decreases after reservation, you can directly submit BRG application to Marriott and Hyatt. For Starwood, it depends on whether the available official rate (not necessarily your reserved price) at that moment is higher than the third party verifiable rate. For IHG and Hilton, I guess it depends on the comparison between the reserved price and the third party price.

The key of BRG certainly lies in finding a lower third party price. So we also recommend some commonly used price-comparison sites:
  • Kayak, Priceline, Booking, Hotels. Naturally, there is no need to describe them in detail. Please remember what we said before, only immediate reservation of the public rate is ok.
  • www.goseek.com. Pay attention to click off the AAA rate on the left side of the page.
  • www.biyi.cn, a Chinese price-comparison site.
Some personal viewpoints:
  1. BRG is manually operated by customer service staff, so there do exist error probability. If you think customer service staff carry out the terms wrongly and didn’t acknowledge your BRG request, you should give a quick reply but gently point out where you think they are wrong. At the same time, you should keep e-mails and other evidence. If you think the customer service staff are too rigid, you can try to complain to the superiors.
  2. The term is fixed, but the customer service staff who perform the terms are flexible. Different customer service staff may hold slightly different execution standards.You are welcome to share the Data Point if you have some BRG experience that has discrepancies with the Term (whether be admitted or rejected).
  3. Again, Always be polite. Complain is not quarrel.
  4. If there is only 1 or 2 rooms left at the third party rate, what shall we do? Book it quickly if it is much lower than the official rate. If it is not that lower than the official rate, you should weigh the invisible price brought by the eligible stay/nights/points from the official website, and then decide whether to ask for BRG or not. Certainly, easier said than done. Everyone will hesitate if he/she encounters such a situation. How about tossing a coin?

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