Marriott Improves 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 few years back many hotel brands introduced “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.

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 better rate that you find elsewhere and offer you some sort of a discount. This is a smart marketing technique, as it’s intended to reinforce the idea that you’ll always find the best rate when booking directly on the hotel’s site.

Now, it’s clear that hotels use this more as a marketing technique than actually intending people to consistently take advantage of it. The idea is that if someone booking a hotel sees that they offer a best rate guarantee, they just assume they’ll get the best deal when booking direct.

However, in reality this has been an opportunity many people have taken advantage of to consistently score deals on hotel stays, since often slightly better rates are available elsewhere. As a result, we’ve seen a trend where many hotel groups have devalued their best rate guarantee.

Well, there’s some good news for Marriott Rewards members, as Marriott has just improved their best rate guarantee. Specifically, up until now Marriott offered 25% off the matching rate if you found a better rate elsewhere. But now Marriott has added a second option members can take advantage of. Rather than getting 25% off the matching rate, you can instead receive 5,000 Marriott Rewards points. This actually isn’t listed on the best rate guarantee page, but when you go to the claim form you’ll see the option.

Personally I value Marriott Rewards points at ~0.8 cents each, so to me that means that 5,000 points are worth ~$40. That would make the breakeven point between 25% off and 5,000 points a ~$160 rate. So this is definitely a nice option to have, especially if you’re doing a best rate guarantee on a short, cheap stay.

Kudos to Marriott for making this improvement to their best rate guarantee, as they’re certainly bucking the trend here, as other hotel programs devalue their guarantee.

(Tip of the hat to LoyaltyLobby)

Comments

  1. I suppose they are aligning policies with SPG—they give you the option of 2000 Starpoints on a BRG.

  2. I submitted a best rate guarantee with Hyatt a couple years back only to be met with excuses why they can’t honor my lower rate. Haven’t stayed at a Hyatt since.

    However, a couple weeks ago I booked a room at Le Therese in Paris with AmexTravel because of their 5X points benefit and they matched a lower rate on Expedia within an hour. Awesome.

  3. SPG also recently told me too bad when I contacted them about a bookings.com rate being better than the best SPG rate.

  4. @Ejb

    It’s 5000 points only. On a 1 night stay at a Courtyard in BFE, Nebraska—the points are a better deal. On a 7 night stay in Maui, the 25% discount would be far more valuable.

  5. Of course they’re going to include a points options. Their major rewards members spend more money at their hotels than the average consumer and they’re point junkies. So by offering points Marriott can save money on their end because the points probably only cost the hotel $5-10.

    The majority of their customers will take the points over the 25% off and the hotel loses a lot less money this way. With that being said, they’re working hard to make sure their brands stay within party with the online travel agency websites so you don’t find a better rate anywhere else.

  6. Meh, I would much rather see them drop the 48-72hr cancellation policy! I’ve purposefully not booked properties I wanted because of this.

    Also, hope you are feeling better Lucky!!

  7. I’ll believe it when we get reports of points actually posting in accounts instead of “your request has been denied.”

  8. I have made 50+ successful BRG applications(5 free stays in Times Square!) and now help run a hotel OTA that uses machine learning to offers massive discounts on hotels.

    Here’s what I have understood from being on both sides of the table:

    Best Rate Guarantees are actually a by-product of the archaic rate parity contracts that state that the hotels cannot display a public rate (i.e. not logged in rate) cheaper than Expedia/Priceline for the same room.

    In the hotel-tech was state of the art, there would never be a discrepancy.
    Whenever you see a different rate, it is typically due to one of the two reasons:
    a. Some site is displaying a cached rate that hasn’t updated. Hotels/OTAs get around it by making the BRG process long enough(24 hour+) that the caching issues disappear

    b. Some site is displaying a CUG(Closed user group i.e. member-only rate) without login restrictions. This is typically against the contract, but a lot of sites do it anyway. Hotels/OTAs then find creative ways of denying your claim. Typically, it is because of some difference in verbiage.

  9. Thanks for the tip Lucky! just used it on my upcoming trip to Boston. Room rate went from $210 a night to $125 a night. Saved over $200 after taxes. Took a few tries but finally got it approved. They matched Amoma.

  10. However, they make you jump through hoops if you do find the rate cheaper elsewhere. If you’re not going to make it easy, it’s not worth the effort.

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