While I prefer to use points for my hotel stays so I can stay for free, sometimes it makes more sense to pay cash. For example, I won’t use my points when I find a great rate on a hotel room, or when there is a lucrative hotel promo going on.
And then there are times when I can’t use the points that I have in the city that I’m in, or the times that I really want to stay at a certain hotel. In other words, sometimes I just need to slap down the plastic for a room. This is when I’m grateful for the “Best Rate Guarantee.” It’s a great resource to have in your Points and Miles toolkit.
What Is A Best Rate Guarantee?
With the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee, if you find a lower, published rate on another site, they will match it, then discount it by 20% for your entire stay.
All of the major hotel chains have a version of the Best Rate Guarantee.
- Marriott and Club Carlson offer 25% off the best rate that you can find
- Hilton will match the rate you found plus give you a $50 Amex gift card
- IHG will provide the first night’s room price free and match the lower price found for the remaining nights of your stay
- SPG will give you a 10% discount on top of the better rate, or 2,000 Starpoints.
One thing I like about the Hyatt Best Rate policy is you don’t need to actually book the room before you contact them about a potential Best Rate claim. This is a good thing because it provides a lot more flexibility – you can continue to shop around until you find a great rate, then you can call them to confirm it, and immediately lock it in. (The number to call for a Best Rate claim is 1-888-964-9288).
How Do You Find An Eligible Rate?
Since I’ve been on a Hyatt bender lately, I was interested to see if I could find a lower price at a Hyatt for an upcoming stay in Miami. There were two hotels I was considering, the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables and the Hyatt Regency Miami.
I started my search at HotelsCombined.com.
Strike One: Room Type Listed Was Not Specific
A quick scan of the listed prices showed that ReserveTravel.com was offering rooms for a significantly lower price. This looked promising, so I clicked through for details.
This is what I found:
Notice that the room description is for “Best Available Room – 1 or 2 Double Beds based on availability at check in.” This was not a good sign, because in order for Hyatt to honor the rate, the room description must match exactly. However, it was worth a phone call.
Sure enough, a phone call confirmed that this was not an eligible rate. The reason was that the room assigned at check-in could have been either a King or Two Double Beds. Although the prices of the two rooms were exactly the same, Hyatt was able to deny my Best Rate request because the ReserveTravel description was not specific.
This is what the Hyatt site showed:
Strike Two: Hotel Was Sold Out When Booking Through Hyatt
Next, I checked prices on HotelsCombined.com for the Hyatt Regency Miami.
Again, I found a rate that looked promising: $170/night on Booking.com.
When I checked prices on the Hyatt site, I was able to determine that the rooms types being offered were the same on both sites. However, when I called to confirm, my claim was denied because the hotel was actually sold out for my dates – although Booking.com had access to rooms that Hyatt no longer had.
Indeed, here is what I saw when I plugged in my dates on the Hyatt site:
Back to the drawing board.
Striking Gold: Upgrading to a Better Room
While I didn’t want to spend more than I had to, I decided to look for better rooms at the same hotels. This time I went through Hotels.com to see if I had better luck.
Sure enough, I was able to find a Regency Club room for $199 on Hotels.com. The price on the Hyatt website was $216.10, so I quickly called Hyatt to file my claim. The initial moments of my call were uneventful. The super polite rep asked me three basic questions: what was my name, on what site had I found the better rate, and what were my dates. Then he put me on hold.
After about 15 minutes, I began to wonder if one of Hyatt’s technequies was to leave people languishing on the phone, listening to canned music until they gave up!
Finally after 17 minutes (yes, I was watching the clock) the rep returned to let me know that he was able to verify the rate. Success!
The rep asked for my Hyatt Gold Passport number and credit card info. I was about to read it off to him when I realized something VERY IMPORTANT.
“Is this a refundable room?” I asked.
“Nope,” he said.
I sighed and thanked him for his time. Then I hung up. Since I wasn’t 100% sure about my dates, I couldn’t afford to lock down the great deal I had just scored! How’s that for ironic?
Sometimes (okay, most of the time), I gotta laugh at myself.
Moral(s) of The Story
- If at first you don’t succeed: try and try again. When I didn’t find a BRG-worthy room on HotelsCombined, I ultimately had success with Hotels.com
- Great inspiration is born from desperation. Okay, I wasn’t really desperate, but it’s a good saying. The point is that sometimes looking for better rooms is helpful in the BRG process.
- All that glitters is not gold/Look before you leap. Check the cancellation policy before you book.
Who else has had a successful BRG? What sites did you use to find it?