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Hilton Honors has updated its Best Rate Guarantee policy (BRG for short). It is now to be called Price Match Guarantee.
The headline of the BRG policy remains the same. If you find a lower qualified price on another website, Hilton will match it and add an additional discount of 25%. What changes is the process for making a BRG claim, as well as some of the nuances.
Previously, you needed to find a lower rate elsewhere and make a reservation through an official Hilton Honors booking channel. With reservation number in hand, you would fill in an online form. Within 24 hours, a Hilton agent would reply via email occasionally approving, but usually denying, your BRG claim.
In my experience, Hilton is very strict when it comes to “lower qualified price”. If hotels.com offers a flexible cancellation policy of 15:00, whilst Hilton offers 23:59, your BRG claim will be denied. If amoma.com offers a “Double room” and Hilton offers a “Queen room”, your BRG claim will be denied. Even if everything appears to match, you might find that the OTA “doesn’t provide immediate confirmation” or “requires (refundable) prepayment”. As a result, I’ve had to be truly lucky to have any BRG claims approved by Hilton in recent memory.
What Has Changed?
As I mentioned, BRG claims previously required completion of an online form and the inclusion of an existing Hilton reservation number in order to be eligible for processing. Hilton are now encouraging guests who have yet to book their stay to contact Hilton Reservations & Customer Care directly – your best bet is to Skype 1-800-445-8667 in the US – and to submit their claim over the phone, before making a direct reservation.
Hilton are now also accepting same-day claims. I’m not sure how many people have last minute hotel stay requirements, but also have the spare time to look for a BRG to claim. But nonetheless you can call Hilton and process a same day claim over the phone.
In addition, Hilton has added this clause to their BRG policy.
When multiple prices for the same accommodations are available through the official Hilton booking channel, you must have booked the lowest rate to be eligible for the Price Match Guarantee.
What Are the Implications?
I suspect that Hilton will continue to be particularly nit-picky with determining whether the lower price actually qualifies. But previously, if you booked on a non-refundable basis and your claim was denied, you were obviously stuck with a non-refundable hotel reservation. Now… you can call Hilton and have your BRG claim reviewed at no risk. Many will perceive this change to be positive.
On the downside, you will no longer be able to make “flexible versus flexible” claims if Hilton is offering a lower non-refundable rate. This change is unquestionably negative.
You can find all of the details and forms supporting the Price Match Guarantee by clicking here.
BRG claims are some of the most lucrative, yet most frustrating, ways of saving money when travelling. Sometimes I just wish that hotel chains would skip the points, discount, etc. and simply use common sense to match the competing rate. (allowing us to earn points, status credit, etc. without overpaying) That isn’t the direction that Hilton is heading. Hopefully the ability to make claims over the phone improves matters, but I remain skeptical…
What do you think? Have you ever made a successful BRG claim with Hilton?