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Hotel chains REALLY want you to book direct. Award nights, elite status benefits, bonus point promotions, cashback… these are all strategies to get you to book direct instead of via an Online Travel Agency, which will charge the hotel a juicy 10-20% commission. Another strategy is for hotel chains to offer something called a Best Rate Guarantee. Sometimes this so-called guarantee amounts to nothing more than marketing. Other times this is a genuine attempt to match lower rates found elsewhere, with a little bit extra added to incentivise the guest. But with hotel chains merging and disappearing, the general direction of travel is to make Best Rate Guarantees harder to successfully claim.
Hyatt’s version of the Best Rate Guarantee falls somewhere in the middle of “ease of use” – certainly behind Marriott, but easier than IHG or Hilton. But Hyatt has recently made a genuine improvement to its Best Rate Guarantee policy.
Previously Hyatt offered to match the rate found elsewhere, and add a US$50 (£38.50) credit to be used towards a future stay within one year. Not only was this credit a bit difficult to use, but a $50 credit for a future stay isn’t much of an incentive if you are booking a long, expensive hotel stay.
This has now changed. Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee now gives you a choice of two rewards if you find a better rate elsewhere. You can either choose:
- 20% off the matched room rate
- 5,000 World of Hyatt bonus points
Hyatt has also loosened the conditions for competing OTAs. You can now use OTAs that automatically sign you up to a “free membership” as part of the booking process – previously these weren’t allowed. (yes… I know that there are many absurd BRG policies out there!)
What About that 150% Rebate You Mentioned?
Well… I recently needed a one-night stay near London’s Heathrow airport and decided to give Hyatt’s new Best Rate Guarantee policy a try at the Hyatt Place on Bath Road. After a couple of rejections, my claim was finally approved for £58. When the stay posted to my account I earned:
- The 5,000 point Best Rate Guarantee bonus
- 1,500 bonus points from the current chain-wide promotion, that I wrote about here
- 400 points from the standard 5 points per dollar (plus my 30% Globalist bonus)
I value 6,900 Hyatt points at roughly £90. So my £58 got me a one-night stay plus £90-worth of points.
How Can I Find My Own Best Rate Guarantees to Claim?
There is little doubt that claiming Best Rate Guarantees is one of the toughest “travel hacking” strategies to master. It takes a lot of trial and error to know which types of claims will work and which are destined for rejection. But I can give you two suggestions to start:
- Only book flexible rates and compare against flexible rates
- Use aggregators such as Kayak, Trivago, Hotelscombined, Google Hotels, etc. to help you search for those elusive lower rates
I don’t know how long this incentive policy will last – 5,000 points can get you a free night at any award Category 1 hotel – but for as long as it lasts it makes Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee policy very attractive…
What do you think of this change or my amazing one-night stay? Let us know in the comments section…