Hyatt Devalues Their Best Rate Guarantee

The major hotel chains put a lot of effort into getting you to book directly with them rather than through online travel agencies like Orbitz, Expedia, etc. That’s because hotels have to pay a commission of 10%+ when you book through an online travel agency, which they don’t have to pay when you book directly with them.

This is one of the main reasons that a couple of years back  that hotel chains began offering “members only” rates for those who book directly with them. These rates offer up to 10% off the best available rate, and are intended to get you to book with the hotel directly rather than through an OTA. These rates are offered by HiltonMarriottStarwood, etc.

One of the other ways that the major hotel chains try to get you to book direct is by offering best rate guarantees. The intent is that they’ll match the rate and offer you some sort of a discount if you find a cheaper rate for a hotel than you find directly on the hotel’s website. This is a smart marketing technique, as it’s intended to reinforce the idea that you’ll always find the best rate directly on the hotel’s site.

With the increased emphasis on booking direct, logically you’d think that the major hotel chains would be improving their best rate guarantees over time, but instead we’ve seen the opposite effect, as the major hotel chains have significantly devalued their best rate guarantees over the past several years.

Hyatt has just announced the latest devaluation to their best rate guarantee, which kicks in as of July 31, 2017. Up until now, Hyatt’s best rate guarantee has offered to match the rate you find somewhere else, plus give you a 20% discount off that rate.

That’s changing, though. Going forward, Hyatt’s best rate guarantee will match the lower rate found elsewhere, plus offer a $50 credit to the guest that’s valid towards a future Hyatt stay booked on hyatt.com. The credit will be provided as a single use code within four days of checkout of the initial stay and must be used within a year of when it was issued.


Hyatt Regency Sydney

Hyatt tells me the following:

This benefit will replace the current Best Rate Guarantee, which offers a 20% discount on valid lower rates found and is intended to underscore the value of booking directly with Hyatt for the best experience.

Unfortunately the effect here is the opposite. This does less to underscore the value of booking directly with Hyatt.

This represents a devaluation for most who have used the best rate guarantee. The breakeven stay cost here is $250 (not per night, but per stay), but that doesn’t account for the fact that cash in your pocket is worth more than a discount on a future stay.

While I don’t think I’ve ever used Hyatt’s best rate guarantee, this is nonetheless a disappointing change, and does the opposite of underscoring how Hyatt always has the best rates available directly on their website.

Comments

  1. I noticed that one of the terms and conditions pages had changed last night as I fought for one of my (denied) BRG claims. Thank god for Globalist status to get the non-refundable rate refunded. Their claims process is terrible compared to a few years ago…

  2. Not to mention that they find myriad ways to weasel out of the supposed “guarantee”. Such as that the room category you booked thru the hotel website is coded differently than the one on the OTA. Or they take their time “checking” on the rate you found, and by then that rate doesn’t show up anymore.

  3. I just submitted a BRG for Sheraton in Jinan. Took the lower rate plus 20% off. The $50 voucher can be good if I’m doing a bunch of one night stays.

  4. mark, can you elaborate on Globalist refunds for non-refundable rates? Is this a published / unpublished benefit? Never heard of this. Thanks.

  5. At least Hilton once gave us a real $50 (prepaid gift card or check). This is not even a cash alternative. Worst change.

  6. I actually just used Hyatt’s BRG- found the Hyatt Place LAX/El Segundo for $115 a night on hotels.com, got it on Hyatt at $95. Even with the $15/night parking fee, decent deal for that stay.

    Since I have zero desire for status with Hyatt (footprint’s too small compared to Hilton or IHG) and I generally don’t do a lot of expensive multi-day stays the change is mostly a wash or maybe a mild net gain, since Hyatt goes into the “well, I’ll consider them at the right price” bucket. I’m a lot more likely to end up at a Hyatt Place than a Grand or Park Hyatt, though. (The times where I’ve ended up in higher end properties have been by Pricelining/Hotwiring).

  7. Lucky, you fell for Hyatt’s attempt to confuse and deceive. Because you can’t use it on your current stay, the breakeven is really $250 for TWO stays, not just your current stay.

  8. It makes you wonder how much money they “lost” in keeping up with the pittance of BRG’s they actually approved.

    Much like how much the chain “lost” when they did away with the welcome amenity.

  9. Hyatt’s BRG was a scam anyway. Along with IHG, Hilton, Accor etc

    Only Starwood and Marriott have been good about it (With Marriott being the better one) and actually honor it most of the times provided the lower rate sits within their T&C.

  10. I used Hyatt’s BRG for my friend’s wedding at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun and was able to save a total of $320 for our 4-night stay as our rate was lowered from ~$400 (matched) to $320. It took me 3 tries including a phone discussion on the third try before they finally honored the BRG. It’s really sad that they’re changing this policy and I hope the other hotel chains don’t follow!

  11. Hyatt’s BRG is the worst of all chains. They innovate in denying major OTA’s price if they find “sale” next to the OTA’s price. They also deny any OTA charging one’s card immediately (even if it’s refundable) to compare with their refundable rate.

  12. I have never, ever stayed with Hyatt in my life (I’ve stuck to other chains) and let me tell you, every post you make on here about the “enhancements” Hyatt is making to their program makes me want to get even further away.

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