Hilton dramatically improves its Best Rate Guarantee policy

Hilton no longer requires an existing reservation in order to file a BRG claim.

Hotels want you to book directly with them, because OTAs can take up to 20% of the stay’s value as commission. In order to encourage direct bookings, they offer Best Rate Guarantees (BRGs), a promise to match competing rates on OTAs plus offer you a little something extra for the trouble.

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Here’s how some of the major chains handle BRG claims:

How BRGs work is simple: you book a stay with the hotel on its official page. If within 24 hours you find a cheaper rate on a 3rd party site, you file a BRG claim with the hotel. The hotel investigates and if approved, matches the competing rate and gives you a further reward.

This is great in theory, but in reality it’s a kind of Russian Roulette. You want to book the cheapest available rate, which tends to be non-refundable. However, just because the cheaper rate was there when you searched the competing OTA doesn’t mean it’ll be there by the time the hotel looks at your claim (typically within 12-24 hours, although a lot can happen in that time).

Moreover, some hotel chains have been known to reject BRG claims for all manner of reasons- the cancellation policy was ever so slightly different (eg 1 pm vs 2pm the day before), or the room type wasn’t an exact match (eg one room had a coffee maker, the other didn’t). Cynics have called BRGs a scam, in the sense that hotels use them as a marketing tool but don’t actually approve many claims.

One solution? Book a refundable rate with the hotel, and cancel it if the hotel doesn’t approve your BRG claim. But refundable rates are more expensive, so this isn’t an ideal solution too if lowest price is your concern.

Hilton BRG claims no longer require an existing reservation number

Here’s the good news. As per Hilton’s Flyertalk rep, Hilton will be changing its BRG policy as follows:

Some of you may have seen/heard that we recently made changes to our Best Rate Guarantee program. While we will continue with the current program, if you find a lower qualified price on another site, we will be happy to match it and give you 25% off each night of your stay – we will also be offering a few new updates to make the process easy and seamless for our guests. In addition, we have updated the name of the program to Hilton’s Price Match Guarantee.

  • If you find a lower qualified price for the same accommodation and terms at any point before your reservation is made, or up to 24 hours after making your reservation through one of the official Hilton booking channels, you can submit your claim by filling out the online form or calling our Hilton Reservations & Customer Care center directly. If we can verify your claim, we’ll honor the lower price AND take an additional 25% off the room rate for each night of your stay.
  • Claims previously required completion of an online form and the inclusion of an existing Hilton reservation number to process. We’re now encouraging guests who have yet to book their stay to contact Hilton Reservations & Customer Care directly and submit their claim over the phone.
  • We are also now accepting same-day claims. Until recently, we would only match a lower rate for day-of arrival. Now, in addition to matching the rate, we will also apply the 25% discount. For same-day reservations, guests must contact Hilton Reservations & Customer Care directly and submit their claim over the phone.

I’ve highlighted the exciting part in red: it’s no longer necessary to have an existing reservation with Hilton in order to file a BRG claim. This makes filing a BRG claim with Hilton a no-risk move- just call up Hilton reservations and get your claim approved on the spot.

Here’s more details on Hilton’s new BRG policy (which they call Price Match Guarantee). They’ve highlighted some important points to note:

All in all, this is a really positive move by Hilton, and I hope to see other chains follow suit (Starwood used to not require a confirmed reservation to file a claim).

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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TheBlend

What complicate things is that OTAs oftentimes describe the same room type differently from the official hotel booking channels. Still possible to make an educated guess, but it nonetheless adds an additional element of risk to a BRG attempt.

Simian

If no reservation is required to file the claim and it is done via the phone (instant gratification). Then there really is no risk involved.

Simply hunt for a better rate, call the Hilton BRG number and get the price matched plus 25% discount.

Sounds to me like we finally can have our cake AND eat it lol..

Other Phill

I had Hilton reject a BRG before because it was an Expedia members rate (one of those rates that just needs you to login for free). Luckily it was a refundable rate, so I cancelled it – but after sending an annoyed email to them, they agreed to BRG it (which meant I needed to make another booking, get rejected again and then send another grumpy email). I wanted to BRG against another Expedia members rate but it would’ve been a non refundable rate – I didn’t bother. I’m not sure if they are fixing this, but if this was… Read more »

Nicki Minaj

I believe Marriott is matched rate + 5k points, not 6k.

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