If 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.
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).
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.
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.