I’ve written previously about BRGs and how you can use them (in theory) to get a hotel chain to match the rate of a competing OTA, plus give you an additional discount or hotel points. These are great when they work, but some hotel chains (ahem IHG ahem) go to insane lengths to try to deny legitimate claims, so it’s a classic example of YMMV.
One of the better chains for properly honoring and properly processing BRGs is Starwood, and until some time ago you didn’t even need to have a confirmed booking with the chain to lodge a BRG claim, making it completely zero risk to you.
Starwood has updated its BRG claim policy effective 4 January, and the good news is it’s a positive change. Starwood’s award for finding a better competing rate was originally 2,000 Starpoints OR matching the competing rate plus giving 20% off. The 20% has now become 25%
Other key changes include:
- The minimum price difference needed now to file a BRG is US$1 instead of 1% before
- The BRG does not apply to rates booked on or compared to the following SPG in-language booking sites: Arabic, Indonesian, Thai and Turkish
The last point is interesting- could it be the case that the Starwood sites in Arabic, Indonesian, Thai and Turkish give rates that are significantly different from the English ones? Worth an investigation, methinks.
If you value a Starpoint at 2 US cents each, then 2,000 points is about US$40, implying that you’d opt for this if your total rate were US$160 or above. Obviously, if you’re traveling on company business you’d be more inclined to take the matched rate and keep the points for yourself.