I’m currently planning a month long trip to Canada during May – June 2016 and have been scouring the Internet for best deals on hotel rooms in various places within Canada. I am generally not really loyal to any of the hotel chains, in fact on my last trip to Europe, I preferred staying at smallish boutique hotels. However I recently enrolled in Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program and IHG Rewards Club and to finally have some points within these accounts, I was thinking of booking a couple of stays within these hotel chains. So I have been looking at their properties in the cities which I am planning to visit during this trip. I shortlisted one of Starwood’s properties in Vancouver i.e. The Westin Grand, Vancouver due to its excellent locations and generally favourable reviews/ratings, however the general rates on the hotel’s website were really high and with a stay of 4 nights in a Superior Suite, the estimated total amount including taxes was CAD 1,569.80 with an average room rate per night of CAD 392.45.
This rate was way higher than what I wanted to spend on a hotel room and I had started looking for cheaper hotels but that’s when I remembered that SPG also provides a ‘Best Rate Guarantee’. I googled to find the detailed terms and conditions and thus begun my quest to find a lower rate at the same property. I guess it was my lucky day as just on my second attempt I found a lower rate on Amoma.com and also on HotelsClick.com using the aggregator site Trivago. Next step was to actually book the room using www.spg.com as SPG’s best rate guarantee requires you to have a reservation before you can attempt to file a claim. Once the room was booked, I immediately filed a Best Rate Guarantee claim using the online form. I had to wait a few hours before I received a reply from them but to my surprise the claim had been approved! The total amount due now was including taxes was only CAD 850! This is almost half of what I was going to pay earlier!
IHG’s Best Rate Guarantee is even better in terms that they give out first night free! Too bad there were no IHG properties that I liked, but there are still quite a few hotels that I need to book and hopefully I will have similar success. Although I believe the success rate would be incredibly low otherwise hotels providing this guarantees would go bankrupt.
So here’s what I would always do to book hotels room at a cheaper rate directly with the hotel:
- Find a hotel that you like and which offers Best Price Guarantee.
- Obtain an approximate quote for your dates and duration of stay from the hotel’s website.
- Read through the terms and conditions in detail (very important!).
- Using aggregator sites such as Trivago and Kayak, try to find a lower rate.
- Once a lower rate is found, copy the URL as well as take a screenshot (just to be safe, most of the claim forms do not allow you to upload a screenshot or any other file).
- Fill in the claim form and submit
- Cross your fingers and wait for approval!