On Wednesday I posted about the changes Hyatt made to the terms & conditions of their Best Rate Guarantee (BRG). The major hotel chains always want you to book directly with them so that they don’t have to pay online travel agencies commissions. The BRGs are intended to give you peace of mind in doing so, as they offer a further discount if you find a lower rate elsewhere.
Last week Hyatt updated the terms of their BRG to add the following:
When multiple publicly available and immediately bookable room-only rates for the same hotel, same type of room, same number of guests, same dates of stay and same length of stay are available through a Hyatt website you must reserve the lowest rate to be eligible for Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee.
The way I interpreted that was that if multiple rates for a room were available, only the lowest would qualify towards the BRG. Put another way, if there were an advance purchase rate and a flexible rate, only the cheaper advance purchase rate would qualify. And that would be tricky, since you have to make your booking before claiming your BRG, so you’d have to book a non-refundable stay, only to possibly later be denied the request.
Hyatt spokesperson Stephanie Sheppard reached out to indicate that the intentions of the changes weren’t as they came across. The intention was apparently that they were matching “like” or “comparable” rates, which include terms such as the guarantee and cancellation policy.
Hyatt has now updated the relevant terms of the BRG to the following:
When multiple publicly available and immediately bookable room-only rates for the same hotel, same type of room, same number of guests, same dates of stay, same length of stay are available through a Hyatt website you must reserve the lowest comparable rate to the Competing Rate found on the internet (including guarantee and cancel policy) to be eligible for Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee.
It’s good news that the referenced Hyatt change wasn’t quite as bad as we assumed it would be. We’ve seen negative changes to the best rate guarantees at most hotel chains the past few years, so the “guarantee” isn’t what it used to be.
In the case of Hyatt, they now only let you request BRGs online, and you have to book before requesting one. In the past you could just pick up the phone and they had a special line for this stuff, which was much more practical. Now if you want a BRG on a non-refundable rate you have to gamble and book it, and if it gets denied, you’re stuck with the higher rate.
But at least this latest change wasn’t as bad as we had assumed.