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I’m a big fan of taking advantage of “Best Price Guarantee” policies when booking hotel rooms both because it saves me money and helps me maximize rewards. I wanted to give a quick overview of why I think it makes sense in most cases and how to do it.
What is price matching?
Price matching (often called Best Price Guarantee or BPG for short) is a policy that stipulates a company will match a lower price offered by a different company for the same product. There are often exclusions and bonuses offered as part of the policy, but the general policy is offered because a company, say, Marriott, would rather you give your money directly to them than spend money with a competitor, even if it means giving you a discount.
Why is price matching so great?
I recently planned a four-day, three-night trip to Munich and found a great deal on a room at the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost on Priceline, with a total price for three nights costing $618.94. Booked directly through Accor’s site, the member’s rate for an identical stay was $733.80. Because of Accor’s policy of matching the lower price I found and taking off an additional 25%, I ended up paying $464.20 for my three-night stay–saving over $250 versus the price on Accor’s website.
There are three reasons why price matching is great:
- Most obviously, it saves you money. This is because, generally, hotels don’t only match the lower price, they also give you a discount (and in some cases, points) on top of matching the lower rate
- Booking through the official hotel website instead of through a third party means your stay grants you award points and is counted towards elite status
- Booking directly through the official hotel website means that if something goes wrong with the reservation you won’t have to deal with some third-party site’s customer service, and can get any issues sorted out at the front desk
Price matching policies by hotel group
Different hotel groups offer different flavors of BPG policy. Here is a summary of how the major hotel groups handle theirs:
- Accor: Matches third-party prices and offers an extra 25% discount on top
- Hyatt: Lets customers choose between a 20% discount on the competing rate or 5,000 World of Hyatt points
- Hilton: Matches third-party prices and offers an extra 25% discount on top
- IHG: Matches third-party prices and offers an extra 5,000 points per night, up to 40,000 points
- Marriott: Matches third-party prices and offers an extra 25% discount on top
- Radisson: Matches third-party prices and offers an extra 25% discount on top
- Wyndham: Matches third-party prices and offers an extra 3000 points on top
Keep in mind that there are exceptions and details to be aware of with many of these policies. Accor, for example, excludes Mantra, Peppers, Art Series, and Breakfree properties from BPG eligibility and only gives a 10% discount instead of the normal 25% discount for Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel properties. In general, the following must be true of the third-party rate that you want price matched:
- Lower than the official website price
- Not on the hotel’s official website channel
- Same accommodations and terms (i.e. non-refundable deluxe room with ocean view)
- Available with no booking limitations or restrictions. This excludes bidding sites like Priceline where you can only see the hotel once you place a bid or sites requiring memberships to see room rates
There are of course more detailed restrictions on a hotel-by-hotel basis, but these are the basic rules that apply to every BPG policy for the hotel groups mentioned above.
How to get a price match
Though this might differ by hotel, getting a price match is usually extremely easy and the process generally works as follows:
- Book a room on the hotel’s website at the higher price, taking note of prices elsewhere first
- Submit the BRG form on the hotel’s website within 24 hours of booking, with details of the lower rate and screenshots of the price and terms and conditions
- Wait to be contacted by the hotel’s BRG team to be informed of the success of your claim
If your claim is accepted, money will typically be refunded to the card with which you made your reservation.
Relative to the amount of work required, taking advantage of a hotel’s Best Price Guarantee can be extremely lucrative, saving you money and helping you reach elite status. Any time you find a rate that is lower than the best price offered on a hotel’s website, I’d highly recommend submitting a BPG claim.