BEAV

Hotel "Best rate guarantee" programs

EXCLUSIVELY at BetterBidding:
5% OFF

PRICELINE EXPRESS COUPON


(click here) and use

promo code

: BB5JUL19

(3+ stars / 2+ nites... expires 7/31/2019)
in

Announcements

  • thereuare

    IT'S BACK... get notified when Rates Drop!!   03/19/2018

    Our newest development, RateDrop.com will monitor hotel prices for your specific dates and notify you if the Rate Drops!   Monitor hotel prices from both PRICELINE EXPRESS and HOTWIRE, as well as 'regular' retail hotel rates, based upon the specific criteria you choose.   While the benefits of tracking rates from Priceline and Hotwire are obvious, another use is to purchase a refundable hotel rate using RefundableRates.com and then also set an alert for that specific hotel u
Recommended Posts

I thought I'd pass on my experiences and opinions with 3 different hotel chains, all of which advertise a "best rate guarantee" program.

1. Hotwire. I'm currently "two for two" with regards to successfull claims against their "double the difference" program. Both claims were for the same hotel. Details can be found here.... Hotwire Double the Difference

2. Hilton. Their offer is to match the lower rate you find elsewhere, then send you a $50 American Express gift card upon check-out. In late January, I was looking to book the Embassy Suites South San Francisco (SFO airport area). Hilton.com quoted the following rates:

$125.10 Two Queen beds

$125.10 King bed

Expedia quoted the following:

$119 Two Queen beds - ballroom proximity

$129 King bed

I figured I had a successful claim with the room w/2 queen beds. I purchased the room from Hilton (internet rate--immediate purchase required) then filed the claim. They denied the claim saying the queen room I purchased was a different category than the "ballroom proximity" offered by Expedia. Okay...so they want to get picky! I responded back (via email) asking why the "ballroom" room didn't appear at Hilton.com, when it did on Expedia. I never did get a response. I didn't pursue any further as I suspected I'd never get anywhere. The ballroom rooms did appear on Hilton's website when I randomly checked for another date, eliminating my suspicion that Hilton gives Expedia that type of room to sell exclusively.

I've had other customer service "issues" with Hilton over the years, so it came as no surprise when they didn't respond to my question. Bottom line.....I don't trust Hilton and try to avoid them if at all possible with my Priceline & Hotwire business.

3. Kimpton Group Their best rate guarantee program isn't as lucrative as the others (no cash perks, etc) but they do match any lower rate you find, plus upgrade you upon check-in (subject to availability) and give you late check-out (2:00pm). I've been looking to book the Topaz in DC in April for 3 nights. Hotwire sells this property, however is not displaying for the dates I'm staying. Kimpton's website is selling rooms for $259 per night. I did a Yahoo search on the Topaz to see how many different companies book rooms there. I searched through many a website, all quoting the same price as Kimpson directly. Then I stumbled across RoomsForLess and was surprised to see they sell the Topaz for $130 per night, taxes included. On-line booking was not available, so I called their toll-free number. The agent asked for my dates and confirmed they had availability at the $130 rate. I thanked her and then called Kimpton to book directly. I told the Agent I wanted to make a reservation under their best price guarantee program. She booked me at regular rates, then transfered me to a separate department for handling. I gave the new Agent the website for RoomsForLess. She put me on hold, then returned to say that although the rate was valid, it was not available for my dates and I didn't have a claim. I told her I had received verbal confirmation of availability from RoomsForLess and suggested she call them. She agreed and said she would call me back "within 15-30 minutes." One hour later she called back and confirmed the rate of $130 to me for all 3 nights. I'm not sure what all went on during that hour, but I knew they didn't want to give me that rate! The late check-out was especially appealing (aside from the upgrade!) as we have a 9:00pm flight home.

After three experiences, it's obvious these hotel chains want to wiggle out of the guarantee whenever possible. I'm sure they expect when you do find lower rates, it's only a matter of $10-20 on Expedia or similar. Certainly not half the price I found at RoomsForLess. Make sure you print web pages offering lower rates, get names and phone numbers of who you speak with, etc. You'll need it for ammunition when you fight the big boys!

My allegiance certainly goes to Hotwire, as their program is by far the most lucrative. In addition, you don't get locked into the "queen" vs "queen/ballroom" controversy with Hotwire! Just find ANY room type priced lower than your Hotwire purchase and you're probably home free.

Share this post


Link to post

Great topic for discussion!

My thoughts...

Unfortunately with all of these programs you are at the mercy of the chains. :)

It's also unfortunate that the hotels are beginning to offer as many rates at the airlines! Ballroom proximity (a new one for me) class 'X', city view, partial view, wall view, etc, etc that it makes comparing apples-to-apples much more difficult and give the hotels more opportunity to wiggle out of things!

I have no problem with the hotels not honoring their guarantees with Priceline/Hotwire bookings, but they should honor AAA rates, senior discounts, and other discounts that a large part of the population qualify for. Of course the claimant should need to qualify for the discount in order to make the claim (faxing in a copy of your membership card or proof of age would be easy enough).

Hotwire is indeed the most lucrative, and surprisingly, seems to be the most honest and easiest to deal with. There is one example though were there was a 'room type' discrepancy on a claim although Hotwire didn't appeal to be 'weaseling out of their commitment' as the hotel in question is widely known to have two distinct rooms with different price points. I found the thread i'm refering to: Las Vegas Hotwire Double the Difference Guarantee. What i also commend Hotwire on in this instance is not automatically booking their customers into the lowest class room.

EXCLUSIVELY at BetterBidding:
5% OFF PRICELINE EXPRESS COUPON
(click here) and use promo code: BB5JUL19
(3+ stars / 2+ nites... expires 7/31/2019)

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

Want to know if Rates Drop?? Get alerts at RateDrop.com

Share this post


Link to post

I would give the benefit of the doubt to Kimpton, as I've had very good experiences with their guarantee. You will always find a popup on their website (whenever you have finished making a reservation inquiry) that they will match any price, but that it does have to be available on-line at the time you call. I had them price-match an Expedia rate (the agent looked up the same dates and property) without incident. And it was a $99 rate -- extraordinarily cheap for the Monaco Seattle. I imagine the problem occurs when they can't get the rate while you're talking to them. They may not be empowered to do anything... and have to defer the problem to their manager.

The great thing about booking the same rate through Kimpton, is that your deposit is refundable with 24 hours(?) notice of cancellation. The other on-line site they match, probably has a no-refund policy. This is terrific when you need a 'backup plan' while searching for better Hotwire rates.

Has anyone specifically booked a property that seemed outrageously priced on Hotwire to take advantage of Double-your-difference with any success? I was looking for a Seattle property and a rate of $404 for a 4.5* hotel came up -- I'm certain I could have found a lower rate on that property (which usually goes for $108 on Hotwire), but was scared to book incase they didn't honour it (on some technicality -- like the room type as mentioned above).

Any words of wisdom?

Share this post


Link to post
Has anyone specifically booked a property that seemed outrageously priced on Hotwire to take advantage of Double-your-difference

I've mostly seen it done in Las Vegas (although there are cases of it in other areas as well). Read thru some of the topic titles in HOTWIRE LAS VEGAS HOTELS to find examples (most say "2x Difference" or "DD" in the title/sub-title).

Here is one that hit the 'max' refund on a stay: Las Vegas Venetian Hotel

Involves some risk since you're at the mercy of Hotwire honoring the rate, but they seem to be very good about it and if you're willing to take that risk it can be quite profitable.

EXCLUSIVELY at BetterBidding:
5% OFF PRICELINE EXPRESS COUPON
(click here) and use promo code: BB5JUL19
(3+ stars / 2+ nites... expires 7/31/2019)

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

Want to know if Rates Drop?? Get alerts at RateDrop.com

Share this post


Link to post

A lot of times I see a very high rate on hotwire and go to the hotels website and its sold out.Just something to think about before you take that chance.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't know the exact dates any more, but I had a "situation" involving Starwood (Sheraton, Westin, W, etc.) that took some work...

I needed a room at the Westin Bellevue in Dresden, Germany a few months ago. I had shopped around and found a rate of 130 Euros on Expedia. The lowest rate on Westin.com was about 139. Not a big difference... But, me being the smart one, I booked the rate on Westin.com and immediately filed a claim against their Best Rate Guarantee... (They will get you the lower rate, AND refund you 10% of the lower rate). Well, I too was fed the "the room you booked on westin.com is not exactly the same as the one on Expedia"-line. They were right... And they admitted that the Expedia room was actually BETTER than the one I had gotten directly thru westin. To make a long story short, I didn't take no for an answer... Wrote back. Received another refusal. Wrote again. Another refusal. Wrote again (this time with some threats... Like I'm ever going to' hurt someone!), and this time it worked... Got the lower rate and the $13.

Moral of the story is... Keep at it!

Share this post


Link to post

i actually got the room i had booked... the better one. even though i doubt there are any bad rooms in this place... gorgeous!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post

FWIW, I'll mention that I've stayed at Klimpton group porperties on two occasions - once at the Triton on San Francisco and once at the Vintage Park in Seattle. In both cases they were wonderful properties and I received excellent and friendly customer service. Thanks for the tip on RoomsForLess - I'll check them out when planning some fuiture travel.

Share this post


Link to post

Beav: Regarding your Hilton best price guarantee . . . I can tell you where you went wrong with that one. It had nothing to do with the Ballroom aspect, it's the fact you booked an internet rate on Hilton. You have to book their standard (cancellable) rate--normally a higher rate. It does not make sense, but I spent hours with them trying to get the guarantee myself for 2 stays. I finally figured out the game they play which, by the way, doesn't adhere to the rules they list. Even if the rate from the competitor is a prepay rate, you have to book the Hilton standard rate. Totally illogical. Took way more of my time than I should have spent to finally get my 2 guarantees, but it came down to being the principal of the matter. As you mentioned, pathetic customer service. That was the first and last time I dealt with the Hilton best price guarantee.

Share this post


Link to post

I have had pretty good experiences with Hyatt. Their policy is to match a competing rate and discount that rate 20%. The great thing about Hyatt is you can call them, tell them whcih web page where you found the lower rate than Hyatt.com and whicle you wait on the phone (approx 10 min.) they will tell you if the rate qualifies andgive the the discounted rate on the phone. I recently booked the Park Hyatt Philadelphia; Hyatt.com rate was $208, Expedia was 179, and after the phone call, I was given the rate of $143.20.

Share this post


Link to post

Steph58,

Thanks for the feedback on Hilton. It's absurd they exclude their prepaid rates from the guarantee program. The terms & conditions certainly don't mention it. I just try to avoid Hiltons altogether, if at all possible.

Share this post


Link to post

Had problems getting Best Rate Guarantee claim paid by Hotels.com. Booked 1 room for Ballys in Atlantic City on a Weds for a stay on Sat. 15 minutes after booking with Hotels.com, I found a $10 cheaper rate on a website. Took a screenshot for proof and filled out electronic form. Submitted form but the website doesn't really give a confirmation that form has been sent and received. Did not hear anything for 16 hours and emailed them on Thursday. Automatic reply came back and said they are busy but will usually respond in 24 hours. Didn't hear anything and sent another email on Friday. They finally replied on Saturday saying they never received original request. I sent them email trail but they said that I had to file a claim within 24 hours (which I did). Customer support was not helpful and did not even care to see my screenshot proof. Finally spoke to a manager the following Monday after my stay and explained the situation. They finally credited me the $10 but not the extra hotel tax. I think the credit was just a courtesy since it was only 10 bucks. Not worth the hassle and aggravation.

Share this post


Link to post

Re: Hotwire's Double the Difference.

I recently took advantage of this because I was alerted by a good friend (who knew I needed cash!) about a crazy thing in New Orleans during November. Hotwire was offering 2.5* in the French Quarter for something ridiculous, like $492. It was the Bourbon Orleans, which offered an $86 rate on their website. The upshot of it all was that with the D-T-D refund I'd make a $242 profit AND get a free hotel room.

I submitted the D-T-D guarantee properly, and it was eventually confirmed (but not within the 3 days promised). They also promise to make the credit card refund in 10 business days. Well, 15 business days later, no refund. I emailed; they claimed they'd done it long ago. I emailed back; no response. I called and a very nice guy talked to me for quite a while. He said their records showed the refund, so they'd look up the transaction number for Amex and call me in a few days. I got a message from a woman who said they'd fax me the transaction record. I called Amex and got a number so that she could fax it straight to them, and left her a message. The next day I got a very short email from Hotwire saying there was an error and that the credit would be processed. It was done by the next day. I emailed back asking for an explanation, and basically got the same email back again.

So, I had to WORK for that $242. I suspect they get tired of people taking advantage of them this way, but there's clearly something wrong with their system when they offer outrageous rates like that. In fact, the guy I talked to told me something to the effect that they have to delete some crazy rates like that every day.

Share this post


Link to post

Hotturnip,

I cashed in this same deal. Same purchase price, same amount of "net" profit. My transaction was smooth, however. Made the purchase on a Wednesday, received confirmation from Hotwire on Thursday my claim was approved, and refund posted to my credit card on Friday. Start-to-finish in 3 days.

I had submitted a previous claim in November and thought I had to wait a year until I could file another. Before I made the purchase, I emailed Hotwire for clarification of the $1000 per year "cap". Turns out the maximum pay out is per calender year. With that info I went ahead and submitted claim #2. The only unfortuntate thing now is that January 2005 is a long ways off before I can "roll the dice" again!

I've been fortunate to have great success w/Hotwire's D-the-D.

At the other end of the spectrum, I'm currently dealing w/Hilton on my 2nd claim with them. This one was too good to pass up. The Santa Clara Hilton goes for $99 at Hilton.com for April 30. Expedia sells it for $89. After Hilton matches the $89 rate and sends the $50 American Express gift cheque, it brings the price down to $39. For $39 you get the room, HiltonHonors points and airline miles. Best thing is Hilton's price is fully cancellable if cancelled 24 hours prior. I reserved the room at Hilton's website on Apr 27 for Apr 30, then immediately filed the claim. Today (Apr 28) I received an email denying the claim saying I reserved the room on Apr 28. Their terms & conditions exclude rooms booked within 72 hours of arrival. I replied saying I had booked on Apr 27, and even have the email confirmation from Hilton proving it. No response. After a few hours I called Hilton and got them to confirm I had in fact booked on Apr 27. Then I was transfered to voice mail of the representative who had denied the claim. I expect to hear back from her tomorrow. If I dont, the res gets cancelled. Hilton's customer service is pathetic!

Share this post


Link to post

I test the Hilton guarantee quite a bit since the program began. They Fedex a $50 gift check for every valid claim. They probably do not like me. :) But at least this guarantee has kept me away from Priceline a bunch of times since Hilton has always honored the deal when I catch them.

This is a good deal when the non-Hilton site's rack rate is below $100. You can get Hilton Honors points and perks on a stay with PL rates after accounting for the gift check. Above $100 or so, I pretty much pass on the deal even if I see a valid claim.

Except at the beginning, the amount of work is similar to researching bids and free rebid zones and actual bidding on PL. It is worth the work just like bidding with PL.

Share this post


Link to post

Beav,

You are cutting the deadline too close. Those terms and conditions are built in so Hilton can find a thousand ways to weasel out. The 72 hour deadline is ambiguous if you booked 4/27 for 4/30 check in. I would reserve some other date and put in a second claim or you might totally lose out on this.

Share this post


Link to post

I failed to mention before I booked w/Hilton on 4/27 I called and asked if a booking made on 4/27 for a stay on 4/30 qualified for their best price guarantee and was told "yes". Not that you can take that to the bank...but I did call to verify before I proceeded any further.

If they still deny the claim tomorrow, I'll just cancel before 6:00pm. Nothing lost. It's a 100% discretionary stay anyway.....just a short weekend getaway for a cheap price. I've already got the same thing booked for a few weeks from now and that claim has been already been confirmed by Hilton. Thanks for your concern, though!

Share this post


Link to post

Just a follow-up here regarding my claim w/Hilton. To no surprise, I didn't hear back from Hilton on Apr 29 after leaving email & voice mail on Apr 28. So I picked up the phone and called. My first question was asking the Rep if she could determine from the booking history when I had made the reservation. She answered Apr 28. I then explained that I had booked on Apr 27 and had email confirmation from Hilton verifying this. I asked if by chance the times in Hilton's computers were Grenwich (sp?) Mean Time? My booking was made at 6:00pm Pacific Time Apr 27, which is obviously already Apr 28 Grenwich Mean Time. A question like this totally threw her off the deep end!! So I asked for a supervisor, waited about 20 minutes, explained the entire situation over again and finally got them to approve my claim. At some point you have to ask yourself is it worth all of this. But I was determined to hold my ground not only on principle, but because I'm sure they want to make it as hard for you as possible in an effort to discourage.

Although Hotwire's D-the-D is the most lucrative, I think Hyatt has the best program since the transaction is made by phone with a human. No getting locked into time zone arguments, differing room types, etc, etc, etc.

Share this post


Link to post

Beav,glad to see that you did not give up like hilton wanted you to do.Sorry to say after the things you and many others have said about hiltons program, that I will never chance it and just stay somewhere else that stands behind their program and not taking every chance they get to rip the customer off,knowing most will just give up!Thanks for sharing this with us,Hilton you lose!

Share this post


Link to post

Thought I'd report one more successful Hotwire Double-the-Difference claim, and yet another loss with Hilton!

Hotwire:

I needed two rooms in San Francisco. Two of the four Priceline hotels in the USE zone were sold out (Marriott & Grand Hyatt). Hotwire was showing the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero for $104. Since Marriott & Grand Hyatt were sold out, I was confident I would get the same hotel w/Priceline. So I bought the room from Hotwire for $104, then another from Priceline for $68. Applied for Hotwire's D-the-D on the higher priced room. Claim was processed w/Hotwire within 24 hours of submission. Hotwire rocks!

Hilton:

Walnut Creek, CA Embassy Suites. Hotel website displayed "king basic non smoking suite" for $139. AmericaHotelDeals.com quoted $129 for "king standard suite". Reserved the room at Embassy Suite website, then applied for their claim on the quote from 3rd party website. To no surprise, they rejected the claim saying the room being sold at AmericaHotelDeals.com was basically a "run of house" at check-in. Rooms at EmbassySuites.com are specific whereas at many 3rd party sites they are merely "blocks" of rooms and very non-specific as to room type. Because of the non specific room type at the 3rd party site, they deny the claim. But the bottom line to me (and the average consumer) is that a 3rd party site would sell me a king suite room for $129, whereas I would pay $139 at EmbassySuites.com. Cancelled the reservation w/Embassy Suites and booked a conventional weekend web rate across the street at the Renaissance Club Sport! So much for Hilton's low price guarantee! Hilton sucks!

Share this post


Link to post

Nice job playing the two services against each other!

If you haven't done so already, when you have a chance could you please post these California wins to their perspective boards.

Thanks!

EXCLUSIVELY at BetterBidding:
5% OFF PRICELINE EXPRESS COUPON
(click here) and use promo code: BB5JUL19
(3+ stars / 2+ nites... expires 7/31/2019)

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

Want to know if Rates Drop?? Get alerts at RateDrop.com

Share this post


Link to post

Since my last posting in this topic on May 6th I have had two stays accepted for Hiltons guarantee.I book a refundable rate at Hilton then use Hotels.com to beat the rate,both times for Hampton Inn.If the Hotels.com rate is for two people I book a king room.Once I started booking best available rate at hilton and using Hotels.com I have not had a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Need help with your own trip?

Register now, we have a huge community of travel enthusiasts to answer any questions you might have.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account
Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now