For free hotel stays IHG’s Best Price Guarantee is among the most generous and lucrative best rate guarantees (BRG) out there. You can get one free night if you find the same room offered at a lower price than on IHG.com.
After spending much of the weekend scouring the web for best rate guarantee claims it reminded me that finding successful BRG claims can take time. The fact is that when you get the hang of finding them they can be extremely lucrative and that’s why I decided to cover the rules and tricks to finding successful BRG claims. Just over the last two days I have had 5 BRG claims approved at InterContinental hotels in Asia for my trip in June.
One of the best aspects of IHG’s Best Price Guarantee is that you can potentially get any room free---the rates just have to match up across the same room. This means you can get anything from a basic room to an InterContinental Club room with breakfast.
Finding IHG Hotels
If you are planning a trip to a certain part of the world you can look up what IHG hotels are available in or near the destinations you plan to visit. For this you can use this Google map or Award Mapper to narrow down what locations have IHG properties.
Link: Google map of IHG hotels
Link: Award Mapper
How it Works
The basis of IHG’s Best Price Guarantee is that if you find a lower rate on a discount hotel booking site for the same room offered on IHG.com you can submit a Best Price Guarantee to get a free night at that hotel. The trick is that everything has to be the same across the reservations. You also have to submit the BRG claim within 24 hours of making the reservation. All of these have to be the same across both rates:
- Room and bed type (and name)
- Cancellation policy
- Breakfast or no breakfast
- Number of guests
- etc, etc, etc
Sites to Use
There are several hotel booking aggregator sites that can be used to find IHG Best Price Guarantees. My favorite ones are the sites that let you search by hotel chain and often allow you to switch over to the country’s site to get matching currencies, however this won’t work in every case. The problem is that most of these larger site are targeted for western travelers, so country specific versions of the site are limited to these countries.
Sites I prefer:
For many of my recent claims in Asia I used GetARoom.com and once one worked I searched through it for other hotels on my trip. So far I have gotten free nights at four InterContinental hotels.
The Rules of IHG's BRG
Rate must be more than 1% or $1 less. You have to find a lower rate by $1 or 1%, both before and after taxes. Until recently I thought the lower rate was only compared after taxes, but I was just denied a claim because one of the before tax rates was not lower than the IHG rate. Some websites only display a total after taxes rate and I have been able to make successful claims using only the after tax rate comparison. But, if there are additional taxes (city, tourist, etc) not included in the rate, your claim can be denied.
One free night per stay. You can only get one free night per stay and cannot book back-to-back one night stays. The terms say that even a member of the same household (address) cannot get a free night at the same hotel or hotel within 50 miles within a 7 day period. From what I can tell, if the addresses vary on the reservations or Rewards Club account you are clear to book consecutive 1 night stays.
Cancellation policy. Everything has to match. This means if the rate is a flexible or refundable rate, the date by which you have to cancel for a full refund also has to be the same. IHG will find every little detail and loves to deny claims if the lower rate’s cancellation policy is a few days earlier.
Room Type & Name. Basically the room type and number of beds has to be the same, but this can have a little bit of flexibility. For instance, I’ve been able to get claims approved that have slight differences in the name if they are the only obvious matching options. You can get any room level, just as long as the rate and room options match across rate through IHG.com and another website.
Same currency. The currency that is charged to your credit card has to be the same. IHG is very strict about this. Even if the currency matches on the confirmation page, you have to be sure that the transaction goes through as so.
Breakfast. The rate has to have the same type of breakfast options. I just had a BRG claim denied because one rate included breakfast just in the Club and the other rate included breakfast in the Club or hotel restaurant.
You cannot change anything after the claim is approved. After a BRG claim is approved you cannot change any reservation details. Any changes made will forfeit the free night. Make sure you have all the information correct when you make the claim. However, you can make changes to your reservation before the claim has been processed.
One claim per household. The terms state that only one Best Price Guarantee claim per household can be made at the same hotel or another hotel within 50 miles within a 7 day period. From what I can tell, this comes down to the address entered in the reservation details or on the IHG Rewards Club account info.
How Long Does it Take for a Response?
Recently the turn around on IHG Best Price Guarantees have been getting better. When you submit a BRG online claim form it says that you will hear back within 24 hours, but the response time for my most recent batch has been around 2 to 12 hours.
Where Can You Go Wrong?
Basically IHG reps that process BRG claims look for any reason to deny a claim, after all that’s there job. They often find something that I didn't even catch, or a small detail that is different. That’s why you should always book refundable rates, and you can always submit another one if you find a different lower rate.
Tips to Get Free Nights
The best way to get free nights with IHG’s Best Price Guarantee is to browse different sites. IF you are traveling on a longer trip, find a site that works and use it. Once you find a pattern you can often use it for similar hotels, for instance I found that one site lists rooms in Asia under different room names, but one rate included taxes and the other did not. This was an easy way to get a lower rate.
Though it’s not always that easy and if you can't find anything that works, give it a rest and try again later. The fact is that prices change and the closer you get to your stay the more prices can fluctuate. It often pays off to check within the last week to see if any sites are running lower prices.
The bottom line is that there are many aspects to nailing IHG's Best Price Guarantees, but once you get the hang of them they can save you tons of money on hotel stays. With all the details I'm sure I left something out, so if you have any other tips or experience, share in the comments below!
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