You might have noticed that sometimes you’re able to get a discount on hotel nights when booking directly with that specific chain instead of an online travel agency, such as Orbitz or Expedia. As you might expect, OTAs receive a little kickback by selling rooms, and it comes out of that specific hotel’s pocket.
Some hotels even offer best rate guarantees to entice customers to book directly with the hotel and match a price found on an OTA. InterContinental Hotels Group, for example, went as far as offering a free first night at its properties if a customer found a better price elsewhere. And yes, one-night stays qualify, which meant free room for a night. I wonder how many people were successful at booking free nights like this, but it seems that IHG has caught on to some travelers’ shenanigans and put the hammer down.
IHG Rewards Club program has changed its best price guarantee terms and removed the free night offer. The chain now offers 5X the points for the room rate (up to 40,000 points per stay) on a successful claim plus the price match. IHG points are worth about 0.5 cent apiece, so you can get up quite a bit of value by maxing out the offer.
For the claim to be successful, you must make a reservation with IHG first and then find a lower rate on an eligible website within 24 hours of making the original booking. If IHG rejects your claim, you will see no points. For example, package deals or group rates do not qualify. Things like room type, dates, number of people, etc., must match exactly, and the rate must be listed in the same currency as the rate you booked with IHG. Additionally, rates found on websites that require a login do not qualify for the best price guarantee. For more terms and conditions, check out this page.
Although this is a drastic change, I doubt this would affect that many travelers, except those who took advantage of the system.
Have you filed a best rate guarantee claim with IHG or another hotel chain before? Was it honored?