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All of the big hotel chains offer some sort of “best price guarantee” but, as the hotel chains have started to use any excuse to weasel out of their own guarantee, they have become more of a marketing gimmick than an actual benefit to customers. Hilton is the latest of the big-chain hotels to change its best price guarantee and, as long as you can get the chain to honor it, the change could be a positive one for a lot of travelers.
Hilton Best Price Guarantee
As things stand Hilton’s best price guarantee says the following:
Our Best Price Guarantee assures you receive the best price when you book directly with us. If you find a lower publicly available price anywhere else, we will match that price plus give you an additional US$50 back, subject to Terms and Conditions.
I was a beneficiary of this policy when booking the Hilton at LAX but I was also the beneficiary of a second policy which says that if Hilton doesn’t respond to a claim within 24 hours the claim is accepted as valid regardless of anything else.
This means that I’m not in the best position to say how good Hilton are at honoring their best price guarantee when they actually review the claim in detail.
Still, regardless of how good or bad Hilton is at honoring its best price guarantee it would appear that the chain is changing its policy some time this week.
The Points Guy has reported that Hilton will no longer offer a $50 Amex gift card and, instead, will offer a 25% discount on the lower price.
How you feel about this change will depend on how much you normally spend on your Hilton stays. Low spenders will be worse off while higher spenders will do better.
Under the old rule you were guaranteed a minimum of a $50 rebate regardless of how cheap your room was so, if you happened to find a room where the cheapest rate was $100, you would only end up paying a net of $50 for your night ($100 room rate which Hilton matched less the $50 gift card).
Under the new rules the same scenario would see the customer paying a net $75 for the night ($25 more) as they would get the $100 rate matched and further 25% discount.
It’s only where the lowest rate that Hilton is matching is over $200 that customers will benefit from the new rule.
At $200 the old rule would see the customer paying a net $150 ($200 less $50 Amex gift card) and under the new rule the customer would also pay $150 ($200 less 25% discount).
I suspect Hilton has been finding that it’s matching a lot more prices at the lower end of the spectrum than at the higher end and so expects this rule change to be a net positive for its bottom line.
Still, while the change has almost certainly been brought in to benefit Hilton and not its customers, there will still be guests who are better off under the new rule…as long as you can get Hilton to price match in the fist place.