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The Secrets Of Getting Free Nights With Hilton’s Best Rate Guarantee

2013-07-10_12-49-47If ever a one night stay is needed, I have a routine for checking for hotels. The first step is to check the Best Rate Guarantees and one of the hotel brands I check is Hilton. Although I don’t count on Hilton for every situation, in cities that tend to have lower rates for hotels, like the $50-$70 range, I check for Hilton Best Rate Guarantees in hopes of getting a free or close to free night. This post will go over the details of their BRG program and how to find better rates and hopefully get a free night and possibly even multiple free nights. It will also walk you step by step through booking this DoubleTree hotel for 10 Euros ($13).

Let’s start at the beginning. A best rate guarantee is simply when you find a lower rate on a competing website after booking on the hotel’s website after which point they match the price and give a reward. I personally will search for lower rates and then book on Hilton (or whatever hotel) and then submit a claim. If they email back saying I was unsuccessful I cancel. So it’s important to stress that I book and compare refundable rates.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 11.40.08 AM

Kayak showing $51 when Hilton shows $63

When you find a better rate with Hilton (and file a successful claim) you essentially get $50 off the lower rate per stay. Which, if you find a rate close to $50, it’s pretty much free if it’s a one night stay. Actually, the rules are that successful claims in North American get you a $50 Amex Gift Card and internationally you get $50 off the bill – which I certainly prefer for ease’s sake. But at least with the Gift Card you get to put the spend on your card. Here are the rules if you’d like to read yourself:

If we verify the availability and eligibility of the lower rate, we’ll match the lower rate PLUS one of the following:

    • For Hotels outside the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, we will adjust your bill by US $50 (or local currency equivalent).

    • For Hotels inside the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, we will give you a US $50 American Express Gift Cheque. The Gift Cheque will be sent to you the next business day after your stay, as reserved, is completed.

The rules are fairly generous compared to other programs. While IHG puts restrictions on how you can’t go to another place in the same city the next night, and how your spouse (or someone at the same address rather) can’t do the same, Hilton does not add the same restrictions. The only restriction is per stay, which is hotel specific… It’s also a different stay if you leave a gap in between stays or book consecutive nights from different accounts… if you catch my drift. Now don’t abuse this, but do use it.

Boring but essential Terms and Conditions stuff

The rest of the terms are normal. It says to match room types, match cancelation policies/advance purchase policies, that you can’t compare rates like corp rates, AAA, bidding sites, packages, etc… The claim must be submitted after 24 hours of booking. All normal.

Unlike IHG it does not say anything about being greater than 1% and $1. It just says that the BRG does not apply to “rate disparities due to fluctuations, rounding, or differences in the currency exchange rates.” It also does not mention anything about being in the native currency – which is stellar as Kayak will work for everything.

Also, Hilton (and Choice) are not as good at changing the rates as soon as a claim is submitted/approved, which is the main point of a BRG but it’s good news for us. While IHG is so good at this that they deny you for “invalid” claims and then have the other sites’ prices changed immediately, Hilton should but sometimes doesn’t. This is why I had a claim a week ago that is still ripe for the picking today. In fact, I’ll use it as the example for walking through finding a valid BRG.

Finding and Booking Hilton Best Rate Guarantees

1) Go to Kayak.com/hotels and put in your destination and dates

2) Search Hilton Brand Hotels

In the box on the left labeled “Hotel Name”, type in Hilton and select “All Hilton Brands”. (If it’s a big city I’ll sort by price).

Finding Hilton Best Rate Guarantees

3) Compare to Hilton.com

Unfortunately, Hilton’s site does not come up in Kayak’s comparison. This means that Kayak will not compare for you. But sometimes you can just tell if something is off. In the picture above I saw two sites at $64 (well, $63.50) and the rest were close to $100. After seeing enough of these I suspected that these rates were going to be lower than Hilton’s. So I checked Hilton.com and sure enough they were also pricing the same cancelable room at $109. This brought the price from $109, matched to $63.50 and deducted another $50; bringing the rate down to $13.5o.

The rate shown on Hilton.com

The rate shown on Hilton.com

Perhaps you could walk through the same process with this exact example, assuming the rate is still there by the time you’re reading this.

4) Book on Hilton

If you find a lower rate with the same policies (and preferably cancelable), then go ahead and submit and book on Hilton.

5) Submit a BRG claim

Click here, click “Submit a Claim” and then fill it out. I know this has been said a few times but I always book cancelable rates. Sometimes the company is interpreting the rules a bit more strictly than I would and sometimes I slip up and don’t realize the taxes aren’t added or what not. Either way, it seems I only get approved for 50% of the claims for one reason or another but I’ve got the process down.

Compare, book, submit, and once I get the email back giving the good news or bad news, I either put it in my calendar or cancel. Also, know that if I don’t see a lower rate I usually just move on. It’s either there or it’s not.

Thanks for reading. If you found this helpful let me know and I’ll try to share a few more tricks like this and go over it with other brands.

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9 Comments

  1. I have had some difficulty with Hilton’s BRG, so if I find a cancellable rate on another site. I book the room with that site as well. If Hilton has any problems finding the rate because it increased or is no longer available, I send them a copy of my reservation. It has worked for me perfectly this way. It is two extra emails and an extra reservation to make and cancel, but it gets the job done when Hilton originally denies my claim.

    Reply
    • That’s a great tip.
      Personally I haven’t had trouble with fluctuating rates, but if I start to notice that I’ll give it a try. Or perhaps if I’m really counting on it, certainly worth it!

      Reply
  2. this is a great tip for low end low cost hotels, but doesn’t match the free nights you can get at high end hotels like CPs and ICs with IHG’s BRG. Find a BRG at a conrad and you’d still have to pay $$$s… :/

    Reply
  3. @ Sam – Why do you prefer Trivago over Kayak?

    @ Alex – Agreed. I first look for IHG and I don’t even both with Hilton BRGs in Hong Kong or something. However, I prefer free over Conrads and won’t pay too much for a Hilton since the deval. I think 10 Euros is my limit. :-p

    Reply
  4. Have you noticed a difference or higher success rate when looking for lowest priced cancelable rates vs, advance purchase non-cancelable ones? I ask because Hilton advertises the will have the lowest rates and they are genially the no cancel/refund varieties. If I know that I will and want to stay with a particular Hilton property, will do the advance purchase. I haven’t yet done/researched a BRG…would def. do it. Just wasn’t sure if you are finding these offers/better rates more often with the generic lowest rate vs. restricted ones. Or are you figuring that the $50 reward for a successful BRG on a standard rate will be more/greater savings than booking a non-cancelable one? Thanks for clarify.

    Reply
    • Too be honest, I very rarely do the advanced purchase rates. However, that being said, usually the thing that gets me denied is a slight difference in the cancelation policy. So, simply for the fact that there is less to be different, I’d say yes. (As some sites cancel 24 hours before or 3 days or whatever).

      Reply
  5. Hey Drew, thanks for writing this. We’re going to Romania in July and I’ve used the technique to BRG some Hiltons.
    One thing that’s got me stumped is the Rental/Hire Car situation in Romania. How did u go with that ?

    Reply
  6. Well – the Hilton Best Price match scam is still going strong – they wait until the Priceline price is no longer available (or do they have some pull there?) – then deny my claim, showing a screen capture of the “new” price showing on Priceline…. well, I just so happened to make a screen capture of my own showing the lower price and sent it back to them… WHILE this MAY work, (it remains to be seen) – seems that they should tell you to take a screen capture and submit it at the time you file the claim – thus reducing the number of emails and time… of course, like the rebate scams, it’s all about making so difficult that people just give up and pay the higher price…

    Reply

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We have spent the majority of our marriage traveling full time, living out of hotels.   All the while, we list our expenses publicly, budgeting $25,000 a year for our nomadic life while still staying in mostly 4 or 5 star hotels across ~20 countries a year.
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