Best Rate Guarantees: Save Money or Earn Extra Points on Hotel Stays

Best rate guarantees are offered by the world’s large hotel groups to entice travellers to book directly with the hotel chain instead of via third-party sites.

By successfully taking advantage of a best rate guarantee or price-matching policy, you can easily unlock hundreds of dollars in savings on your hotel stays, all while receiving any benefits associated with your elite status.

In this article, we’ll explore how the major best rate guarantee programs work and how to use them to your advantage.

Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee

Marriott has a generous Best Rate Guarantee program. Not only will Marriott match any eligible rate found, you’ll additionally have a choice of a further 25% discount on your booking (20% discount for Design Hotels properties) or 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee applies to all Marriott branded hotels, with some exclusions. Some specific properties that don’t participate are:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Residences
  • The Ritz-Carlton Club
  • Marriott, Sheraton, and Westin Vacation Club properties
  • Marriott’s Grand Residence Club
  • All-inclusive properties
  • Homes & Villas by Marriott International
  • Elegant Hotels

In order to take advantage of Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee, you’ll need to follow three simple steps:

  1. Make a reservation with Marriott directly
  2. Find a lower rate elsewhere
  3. Submit a Best Rate Guarantee claim form

1. Make an eligible booking

Qualifying reservations must be booked through one of the following channels:

  • Online at Marriott.com
  • Through the Marriott Bonvoy app
  • Over the phone by calling Marriott
  • Directly with the hotel

You won’t be able to make a booking with any other third-party website and then submit a Best Rate Guarantee. Only bookings made through official Marriott channels are eligible.

2. Find a lower rate

Next, you’ll only need to find a lower rate elsewhere. Even though you aren’t required to actually book the lower rate, it may make sense to do so if it’s refundable, just in case your claim is denied.

(Note that Marriott will not reimburse you for any costs incurred due to cancellation of a reservation.)

Marriott may decline your claim if the lower rate you found does not meet specific criteria. The lower rate must be for:

  • The exact same hotel
  • The exact same room type
  • The exact same date(s)
  • A eligible rate found on a non-Marriott website or non-Marriott app

There are many ineligible rates to be aware of, including privately available rates.

The comparable rate has to be publicly available, meaning it can’t be a rate that is only accessible through negotiated corporate rates, paid memberships to other programs, senior or group rates, negotiated rates for extended stays, or government-subsidized rates.

Furthermore, rates that have different rules regarding cancellations or refund policies aren’t eligible for the Best Rate Guarantee. 

Rates for Marriott properties that have their own standalone websites, or their own mobile app, are also not eligible for the Best Rate Guarantee. An example of this might be rates found exclusively on the Design Hotels website or Design Hotels mobile app.

Rates found on the Design Hotels website or app aren’t eligible for the Best Rate Guarantee.

Basically, if the rate isn’t easily accessible to the public, or if it’s part of a package rate or an exclusive deal, it won’t be eligible for the Best Rate Guarantee. A full list of ineligible rates may be found on the Marriott Best Rate Guarantee page.

When comparing rates, Marriott will use the lowest available Marriott rate to compare against the lower rate found elsewhere. Marriott may also deny claims in which the lower found rate is less than $1 (USD) of the original Marriott rate.

Ultimately, Marriott has to be able to independently verify the rate you found. While screenshots can be used to assist the claim, they cannot be used for validating the lower rate if Marriott is unable to find it on their end.

3. Submit the claim

After making your booking with Marriott directly, you have 24 hours to find another rate and submit the claim form.

On the form, you’ll have to provide:

  • Your contact information
  • Your Marriott Bonvoy number if you opt for the 5,000 points instead of the 20 or 25% discount
  • Your Marriott reservation information, including the rate at which you booked
  • The comparison rate information, including the rate and exactly where you found it

In addition to submitting the claim form within 24 hours after making the original booking, the form must be submitted at least 24 hours prior to the standard check-in time of the Marriott hotel.

The name on the claim form must match the name on the confirmed Marriott reservation. You wouldn’t unable to fill out a claim for a friend or family member in order to receive the 5,000 Bonvoy points for your own account; they’d have to fill out the form themselves.

You can only submit one claim per reservation, regardless of how many nights you’re staying.

After you submit your claim form, you’ll have to wait until someone processes and verifies the claim. Marriott will review your claim and contact you within 24 hours of receiving your claim form with the decision.

Marriott Vacation Club properties aren’t eligible for the Best Rate Guarantee

Should you choose the 25% discount or 5,000 points?

Using our target valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.9 (CAD) cents per point (cpp), you should take the 5,000 points only if the 25% discount would mean a savings of less than $45 (CAD).

In other words, if the new lowered rate is greater than $180 total for all nights combined, you’d be better off choosing the 25% benefit. If it’s less than $180, you’d be better off choosing the 5,000 points.

If you’re using the Best Rate Guarantee benefit for a Design Hotel brand, then you’ll only be eligible for a further 20% discount after the rate is matched. In this case, the 5,000 Bonvoy points would only be the better choice if the matched rate is less than $225 total for the entire stay.

Consider the amount of money you’d save when choosing between the 25% and 5,000 points for the Best Rate Guarantee.

Note that once you make your choice, you won’t be able to go back and change it after your claim has been submitted.

If you’ve chosen the points, they’ll be awarded within 710 business days after you check-out from the approved reservation.

Hilton’s Price Match Guarantee

Hilton’s Price Match Guarantee is very similar to Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee. Hilton will match the lower price found, and in addition, you’ll get 25% off the cost of your stay.

Hilton’s Price Match Guarantee applies to all Hilton-branded hotels, with the exception of all Hampton by Hilton hotels in the People’s Republic of China.

The three steps for claiming Hilton’s Price Match guarantee are almost identical to Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee:

  1. Make a reservation directly with Hilton
  2. Find a lower qualified price elsewhere
  3. Submit a Price Match Guarantee claim form

1. Make an eligible booking

The Hilton reservation must be found or booked through one of five channels:

  • Any official Hilton website
  • Any official Hilton call centre
  • The Hilton Honors app
  • Directly at a Hilton hotel
  • Directly through an accredited travel agent

Additionally, the original rate booked must be the lowest rate in order to be eligible for the Price Match Guarantee.

Book through official Hilton channels or a travel agent to be eligible for the Price Match Guarantee

Hilton’s Price Match Guarantee differs from Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee in that you don’t actually have to make the original booking, you simply need to find a rate as part of your submission. Furthermore, bookings found or made through an accredited travel agent are valid.

2. Find a lower price

The lower rate must be found through a third-party platform, and not through an official Hilton channel. The lower rate must be identified either before you book or within 24 hours after you make your reservation.

Again, the third-party rate must have the same terms, including room type, breakfast offering, dates, number of guests, refundability, etc., as the original Hilton rate.

The booking must be viewable and bookable by anyone without any additional booking limitations or restrictions.

3. Submit your claim

You can submit a Hilton Price Match Guarantee claim online. Alternatively, you can submit a claim over the phone by calling the Hilton contact centre.

Similar to Marriott, you must submit a claim no more than 24 hours after booking. However, unlike Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee, Hilton’s Price Match Guarantee can be submitted even if you are within 24 hours of your stay.

Claims submitted online will be validated within 48 hours, while claims made over the phone will be validated immediately.

If you submit a claim for a rate you haven’t booked yet and your claim is approved, you will receive an email with instructions. Afterwards, you will have 24 hours to make a booking with the adjusted rate.

Hilton may deny claims if the qualifying lower rate is 1% or less than the original price found or booked.

The Price Match Guarantee won’t be valid if the difference is 1% or less.

Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee

Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee program is similar to Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee in that successful applicants are offered a choice of benefits.

Hyatt members who are able to find a lower rate elsewhere will have their booking rate matched to the lower rate. Guests are then given a choice of either 5,000 World of Hyatt points or a further 20% discount on their booking.

Similar to other hotel chains, Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee rate is eligible for earning Hyatt base points and Elite Qualifying Nights. World of Hyatt elite members, including Globalists, will also receive all applicable benefits.

Receive elite benefits even when you are approved for a Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee

Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee applies to all Hyatt brands except for the following:

  • Hyatt Residence Club
  • Hyatt Vacation Club
  • Destination Residences
  • Any residential or extended-stay apartments
  • M Life reward destinations
  • Small Luxury Hotels of the World
  • UrCove by Hyatt

Following the same format as Marriott and Hilton, here’s how you make a claim for Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee:

  1. Make a reservation with Hyatt
  2. Find a lower price
  3. Submit your claim

1. Make an eligible booking

Similar to Marriott, the reservation must be made first before you are able to submit a claim.

The only eligible bookings are those made at Hyatt.com. All other bookings won’t be eligible for a Best Rate Guarantee claim.

2. Find a lower price

Within 24 hours of making your reservation on Hyatt.com, you must find a lower rate elsewhere on the internet that is at least $1 (USD) less than the lowest rate available through Hyatt.com. The lower rate must be:

  • At the same hotel for the same room type
  • For the same number of guests
  • For the same dates and length of stay
  • Under the same guarantee and cancellation policy
  • Booked under the same conditions

There are a number of ineligible rates that don’t qualify for Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee. These include:

  • Rates through auction sites such as Priceline or Hotwire
  • Package rates
  • Rates booked on websites that require a paid membership
  • Discounted, unpublished, privately available, or negotiated corporate rates
  • Rates booked through travel agencies
  • Rates booked on third-party websites that do not provide an immediate email confirmation after the booking is complete.
  • Rates that are government funded in whole or in part

If the hotel’s rate is in a different currency than the rate booked through Hyatt.com, Hyatt will convert both rates to a common currency of their choosing. If, after conversion, the lower rate is within 3% of the original rate, then the lower rate will not qualify for the Best Rate Guarantee.

You must book through Hyatt’s website to be eligible for a Best Rate Guarantee

3. Submit a Best Rate Guarantee claim

Claims must be submitted within 24 hours of the original booking and can be submitted either online or by calling Hyatt. 

Claims cannot be submitted within 24 hours of the first available check-in time for the original reservation. Furthermore, only the guest whose name is on the reservation can make a claim.

You’ll need to provide the specific URL where the lower rate can be found. In addition, you can also include a screenshot of the lower rate if you are submitting a claim online.

Hyatt will respond to your Best Rate Guarantee claim within 24 hours.

Note that, in rare situations, Hyatt may apply the Best Rate Guarantee if a third-party rate is actually higher than the original rate booked through Hyatt.com.

This is only done if the third-party rate includes an on-property benefit with monetary value that is not included in the equivalent original room rate booked through Hyatt.com.

Should you take the 20% discount or 5,000 points?

With World of Hyatt points being worth more than Marriott points, and the 20% option less than Marriott’s 25%, there are more situations in which choosing the points could make the most sense.

Using our target valuation of 1.9 cents (CAD) per World of Hyatt point, taking the 5,000 points is the better choice if the 20% discount is less than $95 (CAD).

Park Hyatt New York – Elevators
Choose between a 20% discount and 5,000 World of Hyatt points for the Best Rate Guarantee.

In other words, if the matched rate is less than $475 for all nights combined, you’d be better off choosing the 5,000 points. If the matched rate is more than $475, you are better off choosing the 20% benefit.

Similar to Marriott, once selected, the reward choice may not be changed after it’s finalized. If you choose the points, they’ll be awarded one week after checking out.

Other Hotel Chains’ Best Rate Guarantees

Almost every major hotel chain has some form of price-matching or best rate guarantee program. While they’re all worth looking into if you have a cash booking, some aren’t quite as lucrative as the ones we have already covered.

IHG Best Price Guarantee

IHG’s Best Rate Guarantee is different from the three previously mentioned.

Instead of offering a discount on top of the matched rate, IHG will match the rate and then award the successful applicant with 5x the IHG One Rewards points on the room rate, up to a maximum of 40,000 points.

Best Western Low Rate Guarantee

Best Western’s Low Rate Guarantee doesn’t offer any points or discounts on the lower rate; however, they will still match the rate and give the successful applicant a $100 (USD) Best Western gift card.

Accor Best Price Guarantee

Accor will match any equivalent third-party rate that you find within 24 hours of making a booking.

If your claim is successful, you’ll get a 10% discount on the lower rate at Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel properties, or a 25% discount on the lower rate at all other Accor-branded properties.

Strategies for Maximizing Hotel Best Rate Guarantees

If you’re booking a hotel stay with cash at a hotel that participates in a price-matching program, it can be worthwhile to take a moment to quickly check if there’s a lower rate available elsewhere.

You won’t always find a successful best rate guarantee opportunity, but on the occasions that a third-party site is indeed listing equivalent rooms for lower rates, then spending a few minutes could save you hundreds of dollars.

The easiest way to check for a lower rate is to simply search for your hotel on Google, which will list a series of publicly available prices across multiple websites. 

If it’s been more than 24 hours since your original booking made directly with a hotel chain that requires you to submit a claim within 24 hours, you could still look for lower rates.

If you find an eligible lower rate, I see no reason why you couldn’t simply cancel the original booking (assuming it’s refundable), make a new booking, and then submit a claim form within 24 hours of the new booking.

Keep in mind that some hotel chains may deny claims if they believe you are intentionally abusing or manipulating the price-match program, so your mileage may vary here.

In addition to potentially saving money, best rate guarantees or price-matching programs are a great way of ensuring you get your full hotel elite benefits even when booking third-party rates.

Normally, you aren’t eligible for any elite benefits, like free breakfast, room upgrades, or late checkout, on third-party bookings.

But if you find a cheaper third-party rate and submit a successful best rate guarantee claim, you’ll continue to receive benefits and earn points and elite qualifying nights with your preferred hotel loyalty program.

Enjoy elite status benefits if you take advantage of a best rate guarantee.

Conclusion

Whenever you’re booking a paid hotel stay, it’s always worth taking a quick look for a lower rate on third-party sites in case you find an opportunity to claim a best rate guarantee.

By finding a lower rate and submitting a claim, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars for relatively little work. Furthermore, you’ll still get all of the benefits you otherwise wouldn’t have if you booked with a third-party site.

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