The Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), which includes brands like ‘Intercontinental Hotels’ and ‘Holiday Inn’, offers a Best Price Guarantee (BPG) program whereby if you book a hotel room on the ihg.com website, and within 24 hours you find a competitor website that sells the exact same room cheaper, restrictions and all, then they will comp the first night of your reservation (even if it’s a single night reservation), and then reduce the following nights of your reservation to the competitor rate. This is an extremely generous offer, and I have successfully engaged this BPG program a number of times for thousands of dollars of free hotel nights.
There are a number of Terms and Conditions with this program, but I will highlight the key ones.
Not so long ago, one could submit a BPG claim over the telephone, where your claim would be adjudicated on the spot. Nowadays, you go through the online claim form. There is no way to telephone the BRG team. This can lead to problems as claims can take more than 72 hours at times, and often the competitor’s website will no longer have the better rate at the time when the BRG folks check it. If this happens, there’s nothing you can do.
You have to have booked the hotel room on the IHG website before making a BPG claim. Your reservation must be active at the time the claim is adjudicated.
The competitor website must reflect the exact same room type, cancellation policy (usually to the minute), and the better rate must take into consideration the whole price, tax included. For some hotels, they charge a per-person charge. This is not covered in the BPG program.
The competitor website must be charging you the same currency that the hotel charges you. Some websites, like www.getaroom.com, will show a converted currency, but charges your credit card in USD no matter what reflected currency you chose. Here, if the hotel charges in any currency other than USD, you cannot use GetaRoom.
The competitor website must be publicly available. This essentially bars any website, like www.travelpony.com, that requires you to login to get access to rates (N.B. generally, the same base rates that are on TravelPony are also reflected on the Emirates hotel booking option, which can be great for BRGs).
If you’re making a BPG claim for a Best-Flexible Rate booking, then the competitor website must have the same “charging terms” as the IHG website. For example, say I book an Best-Flexible Rate on the IHG website where they don’t charge my credit card until check-in. The competitor website may have the same cancellation terms, but charges your credit card the moment you book. In this case, a BPG claim would not be successful.
There are more terms, but these are the key ones that I have encountered when attempting BPG claims.
If you get a successful BPG claim, your first night will be comped. Some hotels will simply reduce your room rate to $0 (sometimes $0.01), while a few require full payment, and IHG will either wire you the money or send you a cheque.
Some people think this program is a scam. I disagree. Yes, there are lots of Terms and Conditions, and they’re pretty nit-picky when evaluating BPG claims, but I have made several successful claims. I have heard of others getting free penthouse suites at Intercontinental hotels, worth thousands of dollars a night. Read the rules, play by them, and with some hard work, you’ll get a free night.