Desperately seeking an IHG BRG.

I’m staring out the window right now, watching my 8-year-old son Bear on his pogo stick. His brow is furrowed in a look of deep concentration because he’s working on beating his record of 215 jumps. He’s been out there for almost an hour, determined to get to 216 before dinnertime.

I know exactly how he feels.

I’ve somehow become completely obsessed with finding a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) for an Intercontinental Hotel. I stayed up late last night, relentlessly clicking and searching for deals. The thing is, it can’t be just any old Intercontinental; it has to be located in Chicago or Tokyo, for the exact dates of my already-booked travel.

This is harder than I thought it would be.

I’ve booked plenty of BRGs in the past. (You can read these posts about my Marriott, Hyatt, and Club Carlson success stories.) However, I have yet to book the Holy Grail of BRGs –  a free night at the Intercontinental.

The terms of the offer state that if you find an IHG hotel for less on a different site, the first night of your stay is free (even if the stay is one night). This includes all IHG properties.

I don’t know how I became so obsessed with this, but I can’t stop searching! Last night I was thrilled to find a deeply discounted rate for my dates at the Strings Intercontinental in Toyko on Orbitz. Everything was perfectly aligned: the room descriptions were exactly the same on both sites, the cost of the Orbitz room was much less – both before and after taxes, both rooms were fully cancelable and refundable. I thought I had a winner for sure…until I realized that I had a currency issue.

The terms of the IHG Best Rate Guarantee state that the room price and the total room cost on the non-IHG website must be available, viewable, quoted, booked, and paid for in the currency of the hotel. Since Orbitz only charges in US dollars, and the IHG website insisted on charging me in Japanese yen, I knew my claim would not qualify for a BRG.

I decided to submit it anyway at around midnight last night, just to see what happened. Just now, I got an email back from IHG. With trembling fingers, I clicked to open it, scrolling down as fast as I could to get to the answer: would they approve it against the odds?

No.

In fact, in addition to the currency issue, they cited another incredibly nitpicky difference, claiming that the cancellation policy on Orbitz was “restrictive compared to the reservation made on the IHG website.” See what you think:

Orbitz

The reservation I made on Orbitz had free cancellation before 6:00 PM on 3/20/14.

If I canceled or changed my reservation after 6:00 PM on 3/20/14, the hotel would charge me $435.

IHG

The reservation I made with IHG had free cancellation before 6:00 PM on 3/21/2014.

If I canceled or changed my reservation after 6:00 PM on 3/21/14, the hotel would charge me $435.

Huh.

So it’s back to work. I’m determined to do this.

Bear just fell off his pogo stick. He’s getting up now and waving to me. I can tell that he’s having a blast doing what he loves.

So am I.

But I have to know: have you ever booked a Best Rate Guarantee at an Intercontinental? Where? How? On second thought, maybe don’t tell me…figuring it out is half the fun.

Comments

  1. Booked the IC NY Barclay (most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in!) on a one night BRG through Olotels.

    • Did you book the refundable or non refundable rate? Deciding if I want to gamble on the non-redundable because they are a solid $100 cheaper.

      • @Andrew How far out are you looking? I waited until 1.5 months before and the non-refundables were gone. Every time I’ve submitted a BRG when there wasn’t a non-refundable available, they’ve been approved. I’d just wait till then.

  2. I’ve had success with olotels in multiple currencies. But only against advance purchase rates. Also, beware, because olotels terms state that they charge in euros, so I don’t know why I was approved in Hong Kong, sydney, LA.

  3. In the last two weeks I found (and successfully BRG’d)

    Intercontinental Barclays in April ($500)!!

    And

    Intercontinental Times Square in June ($800)!!

    So proud of myself! I’ve never stayed at an Intercontinental either, so I am very much looking forward to it.

    I know a lot hotel sites don’t “book into the local currency” but one site that comes up and books in the local currency is venere.com

    Good luck to you

  4. Points Pixie says:

    Max J – Thanks for the tip! So many people claim that Olotels doesn’t work for IHG BRGs that I wasn’t really looking on that site.

    Andrew – Great question for Max J. I’d love to know the answer as well. Personally I booked the refundable rate.

    Alex – The mysteries of the BRG…

    Sean – Yay for you! Definitely exciting! I’ve poked around on Venere but will look again.

  5. Ever since the IHG BRG “deal” became so popular, IHG became so nitpicky that I decided it’s not even worth submitting a claim anymore. I’d rather just deal with SPG and Hyatt since both of them allow you to do the BRG claim via phone call w/o booking beforehand.

  6. Intercon Century City, CA last 4th of July. We booked a $700 a night suite. BRG did not notify hotel so we had to wait for a check which did come. Got more points and spend which worked out good. Hotel stunk though. I have a hard time getting BRGs with them over the currency issue. If you have some sites that work in different countries can you let me know? Especially Japan as we are going for the JapdanDo.

  7. I’m looking for a night in Tokyo too. I like booking.com because they sometimes has pay at hotel choice. That would be the same currency as ihg.

  8. I had a successful IHG BRG on New Years Ever for my parents at Hotel Indigo Brooklyn. They were super impressed that I was able to score them the hotel they were willing to spend $500+ on for free.

  9. Found one last week, booked it, but the rates apparently rose in between when I saw the prices and when IHG got to it. Oh well…

  10. Points Pixie says:

    Jimmy – I like being able to call in as well. I am not having ANY luck with email.

    Paul – If I find anything, I will share!

    Lu – Tokyo is just not working out for me 🙁

    Jess – Nice!

    Nick – Argh, frustrating!

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