Save money on your next trip by utilizing Best Rate Guarantees. Did you know most hotel and third-party booking websites currently offer a low price guarantee? You just have to know what they are and how to master the process! We’ve managed to use them to our advantage and save a considerable sum of money on our travel costs. This is something that any traveler can easily take advantage of so let’s get started!
Book Your Hotel and Find the Lowest Price
Strategies for booking hotels range from using third-party sites for the cheapest rates or booking directly with the hotel for loyalty points. We do both depending on the situation.
Booking with Third Party Sites
Kayak is a travel search engine that compares multiple hotel booking sites at once so we usually begin there. In a separate window, we compare Priceline’s Express Deals with the best price we find on Kayak (since Kayak does not access Express Deals). The benefit of Kayak is being able to choose your exact hotel, whereas Priceline’s Express Deals will give you any hotel in a specified area with a specified minimum star rating.
Since we are budget travelers, we book the Priceline deal if it is cheaper and if the location is convenient for us. Once we’ve booked it and find out which hotel it is, we check to see if we can find that same hotel at a cheaper rate. If so, Priceline will refund 200% of the difference on their Express Deals as you can see below.
If Kayak is cheaper, we’ll book through whatever website Kayak says is the cheapest for the hotel we want. Many times the lowest price is matched by multiple providers, so we’ll pick the one that has the best perks or the best rate guarantee like Hotels.com.
They give a free night for every qualifying 10 nights booked through their site. Their best price guarantee gives you up until 24 hours prior to arrival to find a cheaper price. So if you book something months in advance, then find that same room for a cheaper price later, you can still get them to match the lower price.
Best Rate Guarantees Table
|Booking Website||Best Rate Guarantees||Claim Period|
|Booking.com||Price match guarantee||At the time of booking|
|Expedia||Price match guarantee +$50 Travel Coupon||Flights, Vacation Packages, Rental Cars, or Cruise: Within 24 hours of booking
Hotels: 48 hours prior to arrival
|Hotels.com||Price match guarantee||Within 24 hours prior to arrival|
|Hotwire||Price match guarantee||Within 24 hours of booking|
|Orbitz||Orbucks equal to 100% of price difference + New & Silver member: +$50 Orbucks or Gold & Platinum member: +$100 Orbucks||Hotels: within 48 hours of arrival
Flights: within 24 hours of booking
Car Rentals: until your scheduled pick-up time
|Priceline||Price match guarantee||Within 24 hours of booking|
|Priceline Express Deals and Name Your Own Price||200% of the difference||With 24 hours prior to arrival|
|Travelocity||Price match guarantee +$50 off next trip||Flights, Cars, or Cruise: Within 24 hours of booking
Hotels: 24 hours prior to arrival
Booking Directly with Hotel
Many hotel chains such as IHG will not only match a lower price, but further reduce it. IHG and Choice Hotels will actually give you the first night of your hotel stay for free if you can find a lower price, even if it’s just a one night stay. We are currently Platinum members of IHG’s reward program so we’ve been booking directly on their website lately to earn loyalty points.
Since the majority of the hotels only offer best rate guarantees if you find a lower rate within 24 hours, we suggest looking for that rate before you book the hotel. For example, you find a Holiday Inn Express for $100 on the IHG website. You then search and find the same hotel on the same dates for $95 on a website like Booking.com. Take a screenshot of the lower rate on Booking.com while you have it up. Then you book the refundable rate through IHG and submit your Best Rate Guarantee form. If the rate is honored, you just got a free hotel!
This same process can be applied to many other hotels including Hyatt, Hilton, or Best Western although they all have various Best Rate Guarantees. Most require you to make your Best Rate Guarantee claim within 24-72 hours of your reservation and will match the lower rate plus further discount the stay by 10-50%. See below.
The key to best rate guarantees is that you need to be sure that the lower price you find is in the same currency, at the same hotel, in the same room type and on the same dates as your original reservation. If these are different than the room you originally booked, they will not give you the lower rate. Be sure to get to the final pricing page which includes taxes and fees.
|Best Rate Guarantees||Claim Period|
|ACCOR – Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Mercure, Novotel,
Mama Shelter, Adagio, Ibis, Hotel f1, Thalassa
|Additional 10% reduction on lowest rate||Within 24 hours of booking|
|BEST WESTERN||Match competing rate + $100 Best Western travel card||Within 24 hours of booking|
|CHOICE – Ascend (excluding Vegas location), Cambria, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Quality, Clarion, MainStay, Suburban, EconoLodge, Rodeway Inn||1st night free and match competing rate||Within 24 hours of booking and at least 72 hours prior to arrival|
|CLUB CARLSON – Radisson Blu, Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza||Additional 25% reduction on lowest rate||Within 24 hours of booking and at least 48 hours prior to arrival|
|HILTON – Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Home2||Match competing rate + $50 credit||Within 24 hours of booking and at least 24 hours prior to arrival|
|HYATT – Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Zilara||Additional 20% reduction on lowest rate||Within 24 hours of arrival|
|INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL GROUP (IHG) – Intercontinental, Hualuxe, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resort, Staybridge, Candlewood||1st night free and match competing rate||Within 24 hours of booking|
|KIMPTON – 61 boutique hotels||Match competing rate + $25 food-and-beverage credit||Unspecified|
|MARRIOTT – The Ritz-Carlton, BVLGARI, EDITION, JW Marriott, Autograph Collections, Renaissance, Delta, Gaylord Hotels, AC Hotels, Courtyard, Residence In, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn, TownePlace, Protea, Moxy||Additional 25% reduction on lowest rate||Within 24 hours of booking|
|STARWOOD – Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, Luxury, W Hotels, Le Meridien, Design, Tribute, Element, Loft, Four Points||Additional 20% reduction on lowest rate or 2,000 Starwood Points||Within 24 hours of booking and at least 24 hours prior to arrival|
|WYNDHAM – Wyndham Grand, Wyndham, Wyndham Gardens, Tryp, Wingate, Hawthorn, Microtel, Ramada, Baymont, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Knights Inn||Match competing rate + 3,000 Wyndham Rewards Points||Within 24 hours of booking|
Submit Best Rate Guarantee Claim
We’ve made our claims over the phone and via email in the past. It’s easy either way. If you call, they look up the site you tell them you’ve found the lower price on and they confirm it right on the spot. If you use e-mail, they allow you to upload a screenshot of the lower rate, but it can take 24 hours for them to get back to you. So far, every website we’ve filed a claim with has honored their guarantee.
Just yesterday we found a lower rate by randomly doing a Kayak search of the hotels we had already booked for later in the year, and found a cheaper rate on EasyClickTravel so we submitted a claim with Hotels.com and were reimbursed $28.36. We don’t always find a cheaper rate, but when we do we feel like we are cheating the system!
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