Using International Hotel Booking Site Sales for Successful Best Rate Guarantee Claims

My friend S. passes along that on January 27, Travelocity will be running a “UK 24 hour sale” claiming 50% off.

Why do we care? Most of these sales are overhyped and this is the Travelocity U.K. site after all.

Quite simply, it’s a great opportunity for successful best rate guarantee claims. Hotels will likely be offering inventory there on that site that they aren’t offering through their home booking channel.

Chain hotels don’t generally participate in these sort of sales on US sites because they’ll be out of parity with their chain’s booking sites. But few best rate guarantee claims do it against international booking pages. So hotel revenue managers tend to offer their better rates on these international sites frequently.

This works especially well with big city international markets such as New York, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Orlando — cities likely to be heavily marketed to an international audience. These sales wind up happening somewhat regularly on Expedia and Travelocity, and you can also best rate guarantee against for independent hotel properties that don’t offer their own best rate guarantees.

S. suggested I hold off blogging this until January 27 when the pending sale gave me several examples, and that might have been the better decision. But that’s just a 24 hour sale so it wouldn’t give folks a lot of time to play with it, and I’m mostly interested in this from an intellectual exercise, I find it really interesting that despite Best Rate Guarantees you’ll often find revenue managers purposely undercutting their chain’s booking sites. Best rate guarantees don’t actually mean that you’ll find the best rates at or for instance.

These policies just mean that if you can prove lower rates elsewhere you’ll get some sort of adjustment. They’re supposed to imply you’ll get the best rates on their sites, and of course there are costs incurred in the small percentage of times that rates are lower elsewhere, a consumer notices it, and goes through the hoops of the claim process. Hotels are still trying to maximize total revenue, considering the risk of these claims and the likelihood that they can sell incremental rooms at a lower price through alternate booking channels — like putting their rates in front of an international audience for a short period of time. But if you’re aware of this technique, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of as a traveler.

What does this technique get you? Each chain is different, but with a successful Best Rate Guarantee claim:

Wyndham, Kimpton, Choice, Radisson, and others have Best Rate Guarantee policies as well.

Of course some chains are more helpful than others in the Best Rate Guarantee process, the subject of a different post will be those chains that seem to deny legitimate claims as often as not. But at a firs pass it’s important to be booking the exact same room type, frequently chains will deny claims when a room you find at a lower price includes more extra free benefits — somehow the fact that the lower price includes breakfast or airport transfers means that it doesn’t count versus the more expensive room at the chain site. But again, that’s a story for a different day. Just make sure you follow the rules of the chain’s best rate guarantee process, and then using sites like during special sales can be one place to find rates that are lower (even slightly lower) than on a chain’s own website.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I ran into an issue with IHG where they denied a claim I made for a property in Taiwan which I found for less on Orbitz. IHG denied my claim on the basis that, the rate on their site (New Taiwan$) and the 3rd party site (USD) had to be in the same currency. I presume the prices on Travelcity UK will be in GBP – so based on what I was told, this will not work for IHG properties outside the UK?

  2. I was reading the terms and conditions for the IHG BRG, and this part is a bit troubling:

    “The room price on the non-IHG website must be available in the currency of the hotel…. The room price must be quoted, booked, and paid for in the currency of the hotel.”

    This would appear to disqualify any IHG hotels outside of the UK, but booked on the Travelocity UK site. I haven’t checked the terms and conditions of the other hotel chains yet… I wonder if they all have this stipulation.

  3. Note: When you choose 2000 Starpoints you still get the rate that you found on the other site, if the difference is small or your only staying a night its quite profitable.

  4. Marriott is happy to take any country for a comparison.
    Ebookers is currently running a 48-hour sale:

  5. Also beware that all aspects have the booking between the 3rd partysite and the IHG site must be IDENTICAL. Cancellation conditions, room type, ammenities, etc.

    Recently I booked a standard room on the IHG site, and thereafter saw after a cheaper rate for the same room type on a 3rd party site. I submitted a claim and was denied; the cheaper 3rd party site included breakfast as well while the IHG one I had booked did not. What a slap in the face; we make you pay more and give you less!

  6. My biggest issue with Hyatt’s policy is that if the competing rate includes taxes, the competing rate is disqualified from Hyatt’s BRG policy because Hyatt considers that a “package rate.” I think that is ridiculous, since Hyatt also lists the final cost with packages after you make a reservation on

  7. @Tcho, not necessarily, I have done it before. Sometimes you just need to call back to talk to different agent

  8. I just found a Marriott in Cabo with a $95 AAA rate, and a special on Expedia for $69. I hope they honor my claim, because that will be a great deal!

  9. Not sure this is legit… It should be the 27th in the UK so the sale should be going on but I don’t see anything on the website. Pretty standard prices.

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