Starwood Best Rate Guarantee Improved

Filed Under: SPG

The major hotel chains obviously want you to make your reservations directly with them whenever possible, so that they don’t have to pay a commission to an online travel agency. That’s why they offer all kinds of incentives for booking directly with them, and in many cases won’t award points or elite benefits if booking through an online travel agency. This year Marriott and Starwood even added free wifi for all members, but only if you book directly with the hotel chain (Hyatt also added free wifi, except they did so with no strings attached).

One thing virtually all the major hotel chains offer is a best rate guarantee, whereby they guarantee that their best rates for their hotels are available directly through their website. If you find a better rate elsewhere, they give you some sort of compensation.

If there’s one area of this hobby that I wish I could get better at, it would be best rate guarantees. They’re a near full time hobby for some people, and you can save a lot of money by using them.

Anyway, up until this year, Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee offered 2,000 Starpoints or a 10% discount on the competing rate, if you found a cheaper rate elsewhere.

Starwood-BRG

However, it looks like they’ve stepped up their game, as Starwood has doubled the discount of the Best Rate Guarantee. If you find a better rate elsewhere, Starwood will honor the competing rate and provide a 20% discount off the competing rate. Via the BRG terms:

In the unlikely event that a lower rate at a Starwood Hotel is made available on a non-Starwood website or non-Starwood mobile application (the “Competing Rate”), upon its receipt of a claim that satisfies these Best Rate Guarantee terms and conditions (the “BRG Terms”), Starwood will honor that Competing Rate and provide the individual that submitted the valid claim one of the following rewards: (1) an additional 20% discount off the Competing Rate per room per night; or (2) 2,000 Starwood Preferred Guest® Starpoints® per room per stay.

Interestingly they kept the number of Starpoints offered for a successful BRG the same. I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each, so 2,000 Starpoints are worth ~$44 to me. With the new 20% discount, you’re better off going with the discount than the points if the rate is at least $220, in my opinion.

For what it’s worth, this was confirmed by Starwood Lurker on FlyerTalk to be a new policy as of January 5, 2015:

Effective today, January 5th, we have increased the BRG reward percentage to 20. This is another way we’re making Starwood channels the best place to book your stay for the most attractive rates and rewards like free wifi, which we announced last month. All claim processing will be business as usual in accordance with the new terms and conditions.

Hmmm, I really should learn more about the Starwood Best Rate Guarantee sooner rather than later, I guess….

Bottom line

Kudos to Starwood for this. Most hotels seem to be watering down their best rate guarantees, so it’s nice to see Starwood going in the opposite direction.

Have you ever used a best rate guarantee to save money on a hotel?

Comments

  1. There must be a way to make a business out of this. Find particular hotels with higher fares and get points then refund the nights.

  2. The increased benefit is good although I would prefer an improved BRG claim submission process. That said, SPGs BRG have always worked for me as opposed to Hyatt’s, which I have found to offer United Airlines caliber customer service.

  3. Starwoods BRG process is great, they really hold up to their T&Cs. People there are much nicer to deal with and they actually try to reconstruct your rate and will explain in detail why they think your rate isn’t eligible. 20% discount now is AMAZING, given that their BRG really holds up to its promise. No reason for me anymore to try (and fail) Hyatt’s BRG!

  4. @Dan – How long ago were your Hyatt requests? I find they have been very responsive the last few months, usually within 6 hours of completing the online form. I’m 3/3 over that period.

  5. Rats, I just got one in a few days ago under the old terms. Rate was $135, so I still would have taken the points …

  6. Abdel, you don’t get the 2k points until after your stay, and even then, it doesn’t post automatically every time. I’ve had to follow up with the brg team

  7. Hi Ben

    A few (well quite a few) years ago I booked a Days Inn on a service station. Then the price promise was the first night free if you found it cheaper. I found it for a few pounds cheaper so used the promise. I was only staying one night so got my stay free. I felt guilty a few days later when the hotel called me. The franchise owner listed is a complaint and charged them £15 for the complaint so they lost revenue and were fined. Sadly (or perhaps not) having checked now it is only 10% discount.

  8. I find that SPG tends to be fairly generous in their BRG policy. Maybe not as lenient as Marriott, but my claims get accepted over 90% of the time. I would generally take the 2,000 Starpoints over the 20% discount in most instances since getting 2,000 Starpoints would take $1000 in hotel spend without bonuses.

  9. I just filed a BRG yesterday, and even though the 20% discount on the rate was greater than my value of SPG points, I took the points. The reason? My employer pays for the hotel, no reason to give them a discount and forgo the miles.

  10. This is welcome news for many who hunt down for best rate guarantees as part of the booking process. Effectively giving 20% off the rates – good job Starwood!

    Even better for StayAngel members who now get an extra discount for doing nothing when StayAngel picks up the rate cheaper on another site and automatically submits the best rate guarantee to the hotel.

    Laziness just got more rewarding ;P

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