How to use Marriott Best Rate Guarantee to Save on Luxury Hotels
One of the many, many benefits we enjoy from the Marriott program, besides upgrades, free breakfast, free wifi, and suite nights, has definitely got to be their Best Rate Guarantee. It enables us to stay at properties where the rate may be out of reach or the points redemption is too high.
What it is
Think of it as some weird sort of price matching program. Sorta like when you find a cheaper price on a TV you want to buy on Best Buy but instead it’s on Amazon. You just have to show the reputable website where you found it for cheaper and they will match the price.
In Marriott’s case, their Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) gets even better, because they will not just match the lower price, but they will also discount it by 25% as a way of rewarding you for booking with them.
How it Works
Marriott’s website lays it out , almost a bit too simplistically.
There are few guarantees in life. But our Look No Further® Best Rate Guarantee is one of the best. It assures that you’ll always get the best rate available when you book directly with Marriott®. Here’s how it works:
- Make a reservation using any official Marriott reservation channel (Marriott.com, SPG.com, Marriott App, SPG App, Customer Engagement Centers, or directly with a hotel).
- If you find a lower rate for the same hotel, same room type, and same reservation dates on a non-Marriott website or non-Marriott mobile app (“Comparison Rate”) you may submit a Best Rate Guarantee claim.
- If we approve your claim, we’ll match the Comparison rate AND give you your choice of either an extra 25% discount on the room OR give you 5,000 Marriott Loyalty Program Points.
Notice the last caveat… “if we approve…” that’s the fine print you’ve got to watch out for. There are a few ways to make sure that you get the best rate, because not just any rate triggers the guarantee.
You’ve got to make sure that the claim is submitted within 24 hours of your booking, you’ve also got to make sure that you’re not within 24 hours of arrival, and you can only do it for a maximum of three rooms.
Their verification process is also laid out very clearly, but there are some parts that bear a closer look (bolding is my own).
Marriott will contact you within 24 hours of receiving your claim. Rate comparisons will be made net of any taxes, gratuities, or any other fees associated with the room rate, and the Comparison Rate must still be available and accessible by the Look No Further agent processing the claim at the time Marriott validates the claim. A claim may be invalidated with any changes made to the reservation after the Marriott approval, including name changes. This may result in a change in rate or cancellation of the reservation.
Claims made against only a portion of your entire scheduled stay will not be honored. Multiple claims for a stay consisting of two or more nights in the same week at the same Marriott hotel or Marriott hotels in the same geographic location (e.g. city) may be treated as one claim for one stay, even if booked through more than one reservation.
Marriott may deny claims where the difference between the Comparison Rate and the Marriott rate is less than $1. Rate disparities primarily attributable to fluctuations and/or differences in currency exchange rates are excluded from the guarantee.
Marriott is not responsible for any fees or other costs incurred due to cancellation of a reservation.
Marriott reserves the right to deny a claim, if it cannot independently verify the availability of a Comparison Rate at the time it processes the claim. Screen images of comparison offers will be used to assist with claim review procedures but will not be accepted as validation of a comparison offer.
So… the rate has to be there when THEY look to verify it, you can’t change anything, including names after approval, it’s got to be at least $1 in difference, and you might get denied if you’re rate hopping all around a city within a given week period.
You can send screen shots, but they won’t be used as a final verification. They’ve still got to be able to find the claim when they look for it. To me, this is the biggest sticking point. You might find a rate but if they can’t find it when they look for it, you’re S.O.L.
Is it Worth it?
Heck yeah. If someone told you you could get a discount simply by doing some degree of research and then it’s yours… why would you not take advantage of it?
To put it in more relatable terms, here’s a fresh example. For our Christmas trip to Argentina in December, we wanted to explore some more ex-SPG properties we haven’t stayed at before. We’d heard of a pretty recent inclusion into Marriott/Starwood family in Bariloche, Patagonia called Arelauquen Lodge, a member of the Tribute Portfolio. It looks stunning, but it comes at a $450/night premium. We had already decided we wanted to stay there no matter what, but we decided to embark on the adventure of finding a Best Rate Guarantee.
In came a whole bunch of OTAs to save the day. After a few minutes of research, we managed to find a room for the exact same conditions but for significantly less. We then proceeded to capture all of the necessary data and file the BRG within that 24 hour time frame.
Two days later, the good news arrived via email letting us know our BRG had been approved and we’d be staying at this beautiful property for $165 per night. SCORE!
At the same time, we decided to go all out and file BRGs for two other properties. The Palacio Duhau, which we’d never stayed at, and the Sheraton Libertador, where we’ve stayed multiple times in their Presidential Suite.
Three days later once again, two emails with great news about out reduced-price stays.
Best Rate Guarantees are a great way to stay at amazing properties without paying full price. While it might take a while to research and find a matching reservation through a third party, the savings might be worth spending that time.
While in recent years Marriott/Starwood have tightened the T&Cs in order for the Best Rate Guarantee to be approved, and it has certainly made it harder to make it happen, but definitely not impossible. At the end of the day, you gotta work for that discount.
For us, filing a Best Rate Guarantee is also another way to get us out of our usual places without breaking the bank. We get to try a different hotel at a slightly reduced price and see if it strikes our fancy. If it doesn’t, well… at least we didn’t pay full price, right?