Many hotel chains have some sort of best rate guarantee (BRG) program. Basically they will match a lower rate from another website on the identical room. I am going to go over how to submit a BRG with Starwood and recap a real life situation I just booked for myself.
If you find a room on SPG.com for $100 and you see the same room on Hotels.com for example, you can submit the lower rate to Starwood and they will review it and many times match it! Not only that they will give you either 2,000 Starwood points or an extra 10% discount on the lower rate you found!!
We are planning a trip to Thailand later this year and was looking at a few options. When browsing through properties I noticed The Naka Island (a Luxury Collection resort and spa) on SPG.com for $300 per night.
The Tropical pool villa with breakfast included was running $355.56 a night including taxes! When messing around on tripadvisor.com I saw a competing rate for the same dates on hotels.com that was much lower! It was showing a rate of $252 on hotels.com also including breakfast!
The Naka Island resort is an ALL VILLA property meaning every room is a villa and comes with its own private pool. I often see this property for upwards of $400+ per night depending on the time of year. It is very hard to redeem points here because of its all villa status and points redemptions run over 40-50K per night (crazy)!!!!
I immediately went to the SPG BRG form and filled out the details.
Page 1 of SPG BRG claim form
I did not have a reservation at the time so I clicked on the 2nd option and hit continue. If you already made a reservation and noticed afterwards that the price is lower at a competing website then you would hit the 1st option.
Page 2 of SPG BRG claim form
I then filled in all the details for the information on the 2nd page. This is all very simple information. Copy and past the URL showing the Starwood rate in the last field. Then hit continue for the next step!
Page 3 of the SPG BRG form
Again this is very simple, you can just copy and past the URL for the competing website showing the rate of the identical room you want to book. When it asks if you want 10% discount or 2,000 points you will need to decide what is worth more for that particular booking. I value 2,000 SPG points at about $40 so if your 10% discount is greater than $40 take the discount! Fill out all the fields and hit submit! After that you will get an email in the following moments confirming they received your request and the email will also assign you a case number in the subject line.
Typically you will get a response from the Starwood BRG team within 12 hours but recently they have been slower so in my case it took about 28 hours before I had my response.
BRG approval email from specialist
Once I got my approval I had 24 hours to actually make the booking as the email explains! I went back to SPG.com and made the reservation. The nice thing about this is that you can book a REFUNDABLE room on the SPG website! So not only are you getting the lower rate you are getting a refundable room whereas on Hotels.com they required full payment at booking. I now have many months to cancel the reservation if need be! Another nice reason to go this route is that I get stay/night credit with SPG and I can earn points on this stay whereas booking with an OTA (online travel agent) you typically aren’t eligible to earn points on those bookings.
Lastly you will get one last email from the BRG specialist confirming they have your reservation and have adjusted it to the appropriate rate you received in the confirmation email.
So while I am not redeeming points for this redemption I am indeed saving a good chunk of cash on this booking!
Lets recap the savings by using a BRG claim.
- Starwood’s original rate for the hotel was $300 nightly
- Hotels.com rate for the hotel was $252 nightly
My confirmed rate using the BRG is 7381.31THB (Thai Baht-Thailands currency). That amount converts to $226.39.
The new room rate using a currency converter
Since I elected to take the 10% discount (due to finding a lower rate elsewhere) my rate essentially negates the taxes so my rate will be right around the $225 per night! So I am saving about $75 per night by using the BRG claim instead of just booking normally online through SPG.com.
It pays to actually try to do this on all your hotel stays when paying cash instead of points for a room!! Let me know if you have any questions on this process as I would be happy to help!