Many hotel programs offer a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) program, where the chain will beat any price listed by another online travel agent (subject to a laundry-list of terms and conditions). SPG has recently upped their BRG offer: you can select either a 20% discount on the matched rate, or 2,000 SPG points. Previously, the offer was a 10% discount on the matched rate. Moreover, unlike a number of other BRG programs, with SPG you don’t need to book before you submit a BRG claim. I recently did this, and will explain my experience and provide some tips for when you do it.
I have to be in downtown Toronto for an overnight in early February. Typically I would use a coupon and find the cheapest 3-star property. However, for this overnight, I wanted to be in a specific area of Toronto. The two hotels that fit the bill were the Westin Harbour Castle and the Radisson Hotel Admiral Toronto-Harbourfront. The Radisson was around $130 with a good promo code, and the Westin was $242. I wanted to stay at the Westin, so I did a couple searches on Trivago and Hotelscombined. Taxes in, I found a rate on Skoosh (which I have to say, fits right in there with one of the worst business names I’ve heard) for $155 for the Westin Traditional Room, fully refundable.
Without booking anything, my next step was to go to the SPG BRG Form. Within 24 hours, I received an email approving my claim:
I have reviewed your claim for The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, and I am happy to inform you that your claim is approved, pending further response.In order to finalize your claim at the Best Rate of 107.27 CAD per night, plus taxes and fees (134.09 CAD less 20%), please do the following within 24 hours:
It was a really simple process. Afterwards, I sent them an email with my Westin booking, and within 12 hours, my rate was changed to $107.27 + tax (~$121). All in all, I saved 50% by using the SPG BRG instead of booking directly with Westin, or $34 if I booked with Skoosh. Further, my stay will be eligible for SPG points and stay credit.
It’s interesting to note that the BRG department doesn’t particularly care about the cancellation policy on the competitor website. Therefore, even if you’re comparing a fully flexible rate on SPG with a non-refundable rate on the competitor website, they will match the competitor, and you will get to keep the fully flexible terms of your rate. It probably makes most sense to book your fully-flexible room first then submit a BRG request, as if you’re approved, your rate is lowered and there’s no more hassle, and if you’re denied, then there’s nothing lost and you can cancel.
The SPG BRG is particularly generous. I would suggest that if your possible savings are greater than $40, select the 20% discount over the 2,000 SPG points, because that’s about their value. It only takes a couple minutes of research to fulfill a BRG claim, and you can find signifiant savings.
More than 10 days now, and Holiday Inn web site shows lesser price than that I booked. Same room, same dates, same conditions. Difference is substantial and my booking is an Advance Purchase so cannot cancel and re-book.
Is there anything than I can do ?
I would recommend calling the property and asking them. They’re not bound to, but that’s not a request that’d be too difficult to honour to gain some good-will.
BRG info re SPG very interesting. I’ve successfully used the Marriott BRG a few times and will now investigate SPG options. I am, however, doubtful about your understanding that SPG will accept a comparison between their own flexible rate and a non-cancelable rate from another site. Makes no sense, as then you could just use the BRG by comparing the non-cancelable rate on their own website with their own flexible rate….right?
That’s my understanding and experience!