A question I get asked a lot is, “what site or where should I look for and book my next hotel?” My answer to this is multi-pronged; Where you should search, and where you should book, may be two different places, or maybe not, ill explain.
The question of where you book your hotel stay really depends on many factors. This varies , person by person, depending on your loyalty and travel circumstances! For me, I almost always book directly on Marriott.com or the Marriott App, but there are certain exceptions. If there is a Marriott property anywhere near where Im going, I book with them direct, BUT before booking I always Search multiple sites, that way if I find it cheaper I can file a Best Rate Guarantee Claim. If there is not a Marriott Branded hotel where Im going I almost ALWAYS then book at Hotels.com because of their generous loyalty program. Remember, always book direct with hotel chain to get the most benefits, but if your particular circumstances leave you a without a choice, do the Hotels.com route because of the 10% back program!
All the major hotel chains have some form or another of the Best Rate Guarantee! I will list them and link to them below, but I will give you a basic rundown here! Hotels have Best Rate Guarantee’s , to try to get you to book direct , this way they don’t have to pay a commission to travel agents or travel sites. This also forces hotel owners / operators under their brand to monitor prices and make sure that booking direct is always the cheapest options, and if its not, you should file a claim! Its very easy, and I have used it many times, but make sure you read all the details before going through so you can do it right. I also wrote about it here!
I use this one quite a bit, because, as you know I am loyal to Marriott! The Marriot Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) is straight forward; you find the same type of room at the same property, on the same night (s), then file a claim. If Marriott can verify your claim, they will match the rate, and give you will either get 5000 Marriott points or, taker an additional 25% off the matched fare. This can add up fast especially on higher rates. (They have 24 hours to verify, and in my experience, if done on a weekend its fully 24 hours so the other rate / deal may be gone). I used this at the Sheraton Grand Rio for my birthday this year and saved a fortune!
Hilton Price Match Guarantee works about the same way as Marriott’s above, but they only offer you the matched rate plus an additional 25% off. You don’t have an option for points with Hilton.
IHG has a bit of a different approach. They will match the competing rate, and give you 5x the points on that rate to your IHG account. This is still an ok deal, but not as generous as others, for sure!
Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee will match the competing rate, and either give an additional 20% off or 5,000 Hyatt points. This is not as generous as the 25% for Hilton and Marriott, but better than IHG.
Here are a few comparison sites I use when trying to find a better price. They grab prices from many different venders, so its easier!
Like I mentioned before, there are times that you are going somewhere where the hotel, or loyalty doesn’t apply. For example, you want a cheap quick stay and all the hotels you would normally stay are too high. It could also be that you are going to some small village or town that doesn’t have these tops brands with loyalty programs. Under these circumstances I recommend Hotels.com. Hotels.com has a loyalty program sort of , as you get 10% back. Basically stay 10 nights get 1 free , based on the average price of those 10 rooms.
Things to remember, that if you do use Hotels.com to book a Marriott , or Hilton, etc, you will NOT get any normal benefits, afforded a member of their loyalty program, and like I explained before, there really isn’t a reason to not book direct IF YOU CAN!
As you can see , it truly pays to spend a little bit of extra time to search for a competing price and do the price match. On many occasions I have saved HUNDREDS of dollars, you can too!
If you have any equations, please let me know!
Have you ever used a Best Rate Guarantee?
Thanks for reading, and PLEASE, TRAVEL MORE!