When I was booking an InterContinental property earlier in the week, I noticed a huge banner advertising their new low price guarantee.
Apparently InterContinental Hotels Group is so convinced that the prices offered through their various online websites are the lowest that they are willing to give you the first night free and discount subsequent nights by 10%.
Over the years I have used Marriott’s Look No Further guarantee few times and it has worked out pretty well. Also Starwood is offering similar guarantee that I have used handful of times. I have no personal experience of the Hilton’s and Hyatt’s similar guarantees. Quite frankly the latter two have not been worth the effort.
So I was looking at the InterContinental Sao Paulo for one Sunday night. The IHG’s website was quoting a price of $530 exclusive of taxes when the competing sites price was less and included them all. The room types were exact match that is the requirement for the match, as was the payment.
As the inventory changes very fast on websites, I made the booking on one of the IHG’s sites, and picked up the phone.
The call was routed to India or Philippines where “Angela” helped me with this issue. She went through many times what I had booked and what the other website was offering. She got bit confused first when the competing site was showing the price both in USD and R$. Had to explain that the latter one was the price in Brazilian Reais. But after 20 minutes we got there. She told that the claim would be valid and that she would fill the adjustment request for the property. I had only booked it for a night so my stay would be totally free.
Couple of hours later received an email from Best Price Guarantee:
We understand you have many options when booking your reservations and for this reason InterContinental Hotels Group is happy you have chosen our web site to arrange for your accommodations.
You are scheduled to arrive at the SAO PAULO(InterContinental) on September xx, 2011 for 1 night. Per our Best Price Guarantee, your stay is complimentary. This is not subject to additional adjustments. Please refer to your original confirmation for the cancellation policy. Your confirmation number for this stay is 62xxxxxx.
We look forward to accommodating your upcoming reservation. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us via e-mail or at 800.447.2981.
When looking at my reservation on the website there are some notes:
CREDIT CARD2 DBL BEDS Best Price Guarantee Case no. 25xxxxxx Confirmed free night by Dexxxxxx Cxxxx September 21 2011/ 2056
Quite frankly The Terms and Conditions of this guarantee are rather restrictive. I would imagine that the best price claim is more often declined than approved.
- The price difference between IHG’s website and a competing website, when comparing the same currencies, must be at least $1 per night in order to qualify for the Guarantee. If the price difference involves comparing two different currencies, then the price difference must be at least $5 per night to qualify for the Guarantee.. IHG uses OANDA® currency converter when verifying currency differences.
- Booking must be made via the “Best Available Rate” search on any of the IHG web sites.
- Guest must book the lowest available price on the “Best Available Rate” search – for the same hotel, the same type of accommodations, the same number of guests, and the same dates – in order to qualify for the Guarantee.
- The type of room for which the application of the Guarantee is sought must be the same type of room as booked on the IHG web site.
- Example: A guest books a king bed with sofa bed room type on the IHG web site, but a lower price is listed for a king bed room type only on the IHG web site. If the third party web site lists a lower rate for a “Standard Room – One King or Two Double Beds” – the Guarantee does not apply.
- Guest must have a confirmed IHG reservation and an IHG reservation system confirmation number.
- The Guarantee does not apply to web sites or prices where the hotel brand and specific hotel are not known until the booking is made.
- For purposes of the Guarantee, a “package” is defined as being an offer that bundles travel with hotel such as: airfare + hotel stay, hotel stay + car rental, or similar packages. The Guarantee will not apply to the room component (if rate is published) of a package sold on another web site, and such price may not be compared to the lowest room only price on an IHG web site.
- The Guarantee applies to room rate and extra person fees only. Other fees or charges do not apply.
- However, for purposes of the Guarantee, room prices that include food and beverage items such as breakfast or dinner, room prices that include entertainment items such as tickets to a show or venue, and room prices that include free local calls will not be considered as packages. These inclusive rates may be compared to the lowest price for the same type of inclusive rate for the same type of accommodations sought in the Best Available Rate search on an IHG web site. The Guarantee will apply only if a lower price is found for the same type of inclusive rate.
- Example: If a guest books a rate including breakfast on the IHG web site and finds a lower price including breakfast for the same type of accommodations on a third party web site, the Guarantee applies.
- The Guarantee does not include prices that have been negotiated by the hotel with corporations, membership rates (e.g., AAA, Entertainment Card, Industry Rates), government rates, promotional rates or travel agency rates. Only immediately viewable and publicly available rates apply.
- The number of Priority Club® points to be awarded to Priority Club Rewards members will be based on the price actually paid by the guest at check-out, assuming the rate booked otherwise qualifies for points. No Priority Club points will be awarded for a free night.
- The Guarantee does not apply to Priority Club Award Nights booked through IHG web sites.
- The Guarantee does not apply to ANA hotels.
- For hotels in Greater China, bed type and smoking preference is not guaranteed and not applicable for comparison for the purposes of the Guarantee.
- Regardless of the number of lower prices found, only one free night will be awarded per stay. Each additional night rate during the stay will be lowered to match the price found per night regardless of the number of lower prices found.
- Limit one free night per name on reservation, per Stay and per hotel for any seven day period. A Stay is one night or consecutive nights at the same hotel location, regardless of frequency of check-in/check-out.
- For purposes of the Guarantee, “price” or “rate” does not include any taxes (unless otherwise noted), tariffs or fees imposed by any governmental authority (e.g., federal, state or local) on either IHG or the guest for the duration of the guest’s occupancy. Rates being compared to determine if the Guarantee applies must both either be with taxes included, or without taxes included.