The IHG Best Rate Guarantee (“BRG”) is one of the most generous programs in the industry. Subject to a number of terms, if you find the same room on another website for a rate that is at least 1% cheaper than the rate displayed on the IHG.com website, you will get the first night of your stay free, and the remaining nights of the reservation matched to the competitor rate. As you’re allowed to do this for single night stays, even on higher-end suites at the property, the IHG BRG is the single-best opportunity to experience luxury for truly free.
Today’s Sunday Reader Question is: how do you find IHG Best Rate Guarantees?
Remember how I said that an IHG BRG is “subject to a number of terms”? Well, there are a lot of them, and due to the generosity of the program, the enforcement of them is quite strict. Here are some, but not all, of the major terms to keep in mind when searching for an IHG BRG:
- The currency charged on the competitor’s website must be the same currency that the hotel charges (ex. If the hotel charges in Polish złoty, then the competitor’s website must also charge in Polish złoty).
- The rate has to be 1% cheaper, everything in (but not extra-person charges), and at least 1USD cheaper than the IHG website’s rate.
- Cancellation terms must be exactly the same or better on the competitor’s website. This is the big one. Although you can often find cheaper rates, IHG often enforces this term down to the minute. I have heard of denials for a difference of “cancel by midnight” and “cancel by 11:59PM.”
- The competitor’s website must book the hotel instantly. Some discount websites take 24-48 hours to book the hotel, so those wouldn’t count.
There are other important terms, and I recommend reading them thoroughly so you understand the game you’re playing.
First thing to do is find your hotel on the IHG.com website. For this example, we’ll use the Intercontinental Dublin for October 10. All rates are in play, because some websites might show you different rooms as being eligible for the BRG.
Second, go to a hotel consolidator site. These sites will show you a number of different rates from competitors. My personal favourite is hotelscombined.com. Make sure you’re displaying the hotel’s currency (in this case, the Euro). Now, look for any rates that are unusual. By unusual, I mean that are different from the rates showed by most other competitors (which tend to match the IHG rate). Here, we note that the rate of €228 on HotelsClick is unusual compared to the surrounding rates (by the way, GetaRoom always charges in USD, even though it can display other currencies – therefore, it’s only good for US properties):
Third, make sure terms of the rate match. A good candidate rate is the King Deluxe. On the IHG website, the King Deluxe is running for €256.50, and on HotelsClick, it’s running for €248.75. I know that HotelsClick can charge in Euros. Further, the room type “Deluxe Room – Non Refundable” is the same as the IHG rate. There’s no need to concern yourself with the cancellation policy.
Next, because we reached HotelsClick through a consolidation website, clear your cache and cookies and go directly to HotelsClick and search for the hotel through there. Sometimes consolidator websites show discounted rates that aren’t directly accessible from the website’s own search function, and that rate will not be replicated by the IHG BRG department. In this case, the rate is not available through the HotelsClick website when searched directly (did you think I was gonna give away a perfectly good BRG opportunity? :P).
You might be able to convince the BRG department to search for the rate through Hotelscombined, but usually they’ll come back and say they can’t find it, that it’s not valid because Hotelscombined is using a coupon, etc. Use at your own risk!
Now, if the rate did show up independently, it would then appear as though the rate was eligible for a BRG. You would then go to IHG.com and book the rate, then submit your request to the BRG department through the online form.
Lately, responses have been very quick from the BRG department (within 12 hours). I believe they are based out of Manila, and operate 24/7 (please correct me if I’m wrong).
There you have it kiddos! If the BRG is approved, the hotel will either lower the rate to 0.01, or you’ll pay for the rate in full, and be reimbursed via wire-transfer or cheque by the BRG department around 6 weeks after your stay. If you have to be reimbursed, you will get points for the stay. Don’t make any changes to your reservation, and make sure that your credit card will be approved if the hotel tries to charge it. Otherwise, your BRG will be forfeit.
I have successfully BRGed many properties, including a high-end room in Paris this upcoming New Year’s Eve – a $1000+ value! 😀