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I didn’t have too much luck with hotel best rate guarantees in 2017 as I never seemed to be able to find a room rate lower than the one I was booking through the chain I was staying with….but I have definitely made the most of them in the past.
Most of my historic successes with best rate guarantees have come courtesy of Hilton and Marriott so I don’t think I ever managed to exploit the generous terms that IHG has historically offered:
[I]f you find a room price (room rate) and total room cost (including all taxes and fees) publicly available on the internet on a non-IHG Website (as defined below) within 24 hours of booking, that is either the same as or lower than “Your Rate” for a Matching Room on Matching Terms (as defined below) on an IHG Website, IHG will provide your first night’s room price free and, if the rate found is lower, match the lower average nightly room price found for that stay for the remaining nights of that stay
This was a fantastic deal for one night trips (if you could get the claim past IHG) as it meant that you would be getting a free hotel stay…and who doesn’t like that?
IHG Changes Its Best Rate Guarantee
Sadly all good things come to an end and it looks like I may not get the chance to snag a free night from IHG [HT: View From The Wing]
The main IHG websites now carry the following wording for the Best Rate Guarantee:
If we can verify your claim, we will adjust the rate on the reservation you booked through an IHG direct channel to the lower average nightly rate found on the non-IHG website at the time of verification, and award 5X (5 times) the IHG Rewards Club points for your room rate (the “5X Points Award”), up to a 40,000-point maximum.
The 5X Points Award will be calculated on the room rate only, and will not include any other charges billed to your hotel room portfolio. To receive the 5X Points Award, your IHG Rewards Club number must be added to your reservation before check-out at the hotel. IHG Rewards Club Members with a miles earning preference will earn Points.
Clearly this is a lot less generous than a free night (especially as IHG has just increased the cost of its more aspirational properties to 70,000 points per night) as points don’t really cost IHG all that much but a BRG claim at a $400/night InterContinental certainly would.
Earlier I was careful to say that I may not get the chance to snag a free night thanks to this change and there’s a good reason I expressed some doubt.
IHG’s US website currently shows the new BRG terms and conditions as does this UK IHG website but, as VFTW points out, this UK website says that the “Low Price Promise” (IHG’s name for the best rate guarantee) in the following countries still offers the first night free:
Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom
I’m inclined to believe that this is just a website that IHG has overlooked or not yet got around to modifying (why would one UK page show the new policy and another the old policy if the old policy was still in effect) but this could also be a ray of light for those who would prefer a free night rather than IHG rewards points.
In all honesty it’s actually surprising that the generous terms that were in place before lasted this long as most hotel chains diluted their best rate guarantees (or made them unworkable) quite some time ago.
IHG points are valued at the mercy of IHG so I would always prefer to have a free night (and keep cash in my pocket) than IHG rewards points and that effectively makes this another devaluation in IHG’s offering.
Featured image courtesy of IHG