Reader Question: Booked Advance Saver Rate At InterContinental Geneva Higher Than The Current One?

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A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question by email about an advance saver rate for a stay at the InterContinental Geneva that turned out to be higher than the current one.

Reader Question Booked Advance Saver Rate At InterContinental Geneva Higher Than The Current One

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You can access InterContinental Geneva’s website here.

READ MORE: IHG Rewards Club Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

Here’s the email from the reader:

I booked junior suite in IC Geneva for 1 night (Geneva motorshow 🙂 in late Feb using the advanced saver rate, and it was this time 414 CHF. Today I find out occasionally that same room for same date and rate is “bookable” through IHG website for 391 CHF. Well – challenge accepted – it is not about 23 bucks difference, but about principle: I contacted (pretty useless) customer service, got response from the first line support that they can “do nothing but connect with Ambassador support”, then the most weirid discussion occurred: “we cannot change the rate as money has been already transferred, if I change the booking or cancel it to make a new one, it will be another transaction” – “well, in case first one will be refunded, it is fine” – “no, ” with quite a few rounds of repetition. At one of consecutive rounds I got another proposal – “but I can connect you with the hotel guest relations”, which I have had to decline 5 (five) times – as was a bit tired from the senseless discussions.

Next I file the claim for IHG Price guarantee, as booking.com rate was same as current IHG one and lower then in my booking – well, it was far more then 24 hours in between, so it was not falling to the program conditions, but I thought to give it a try – I got quite quick but very standard response though… with the time of booking referee as XX:YY Zulu time – have to google it, as not fluent with the US slang and thought only about Zulus in Africa 🙂

What would you recommend/expect from the hotel chain in such a case? P.S. Irrelevant here, but I am Spire Ambassador (almost looking for Marriott status recognition programmes 🙂

Any comments appreciated – and thank you for the great blog.

Hotel rates today are much more fluid than before. Technology has allowed hotels to better manage their room inventory and try to get the best price every night while filling up the hotel and maximizing the revenue/profit.

This means that advance saver rates that all chains and hotels offer are not necessarily the best all the time. If the advance bookings are soft, the room rate will likely go bit lower to stimulate more demand.

Hotels tend to be quite flexible (especially with elite members) if contacted when the rate drops. The hotel may offer you a higher category room or additional benefits such as breakfast/lunch/dinner or on property credit for the rate difference. Obviously they are not required to offer any of these but usually contacting the manager at the hotel can provide an acceptable solution for both parties.

The key here is that the central reservation of the chain are not able to overrule the terms under which the original reservation was made. They could have sent a message to the hotel and request a refund, however.

Conclusion

My advice would be to pick up the phone and call the hotel directly to discuss this with one of the manager’s there. IHG will be of no help.

I agree with the reader that it is not about the small difference in the price, but rather than “advance saver rate” should be just that.

Remember that all the IHG email addresses are in the form of firstname.lastname@ihg.com. You can easily Google the name of a management team member and drop him/her an email about the issue on hand.

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  • dchl

    Always got an on property credit in such cases after contacting the hotel in question directly…

  • Filip

    That is why I don’t book advance saver rates if they are not very significantly lower than standard rates. Usually it pays off, rate drops and I can change reservation.

  • mishutkas

    Had exactly same issue with Accor and Hilton.
    End result:
    1. Accor – tried to call em, ended up with some indian customer support giving 0 help.
    Filled price match, got answer from price match like 3 weeks after my stay in hotel and refusing it, for some idiotic reason (as all price match in accors).
    Wrote angry email. No answer for 2 months by now.

    2. Hilton – online diamond support was useless, explaining exactly same crap that its already booked, we cannot return money, bla bla bla bla our policy, bla bla bla bla, policy, bla.
    Called hotel itself, and oh miracle! Was not expecting it at all, but they immediately changed my reservation to cheaper price and wished me welcomes to stay with them.

    Honestly, supports and price match in my case are dead end. And I was shocked myself when calling a hotel actually resulted in solving issue, as I was expecting it to be “we are part of the chain, prices are set in USA, sorry call global support”

    • Jay

      You’re in the wrong in this case. You booked a non-refundable rate. That means non-refundable, not ‘refundable if price changes’, not ‘changeable if price drops’. Getting your price changed is a complete privilege, not an entitlement. You’re one of the reasons customer service staff have such a hard time.

      • mishutkas

        Dont you think it is unfair to me, as 3 years platinum customer with accor, that I book stay on Monday for 100 eur and on tuesday they launch promotion, and same room becomes 50 eur?

        • Ben

          It’s as unfair to you as it is to the hotel when you book a room for 50EUR and the next day it goes to 100EUR. The hotel isn’t going to you hat in hand asking you to pay extra because they had more demand than they thought they would.

          If you don’t like the locking in that the advance purchase rate provides, usually at only 5-10% less than the BAR, spend the little extra for the changeable rate.

        • Jay

          No, you are being unfair. Being platinum has NOTHING to do with anything. The benefits of platinum are very clearly laid out, none of them include price protection.

          Prices fluctuate. Booking non refundable negates the fluctuation both up and down. Do you go book a non refundable flight then when it reduces on a promotion cry about how unfair the airline is? Then why would you do the same for hotels? It’s the same thing. And don’t say because hotels are cheaper because some hotels cost more than some flights.

          No business is REQUIRED to offer price protection. It is very, very clearly stated that these hotel chains DO NOT offer that service.

          Your argument is very silly and you’re trying to get a benefit that is outside of the contract. Reminds me of the xtranormal Diamond member check in zebra video.

  • Richard

    Opportunity to negotiate complementary club or breakfast directly with the hotel. Neither the chain nor the hotel are interested in refunding money but complementary club or breakfast can be written off via customer service.

  • karl

    It works both ways. I booked a Best Flex Rate at IC Estoril, about 6 months before an 8 night stay there. Just prior to the stay, the rate had doubled compared to what I ended up paying. It’s a gamble, but often it works out very well.

  • Barbarella

    But the advanced purchase rate never guarantees it will be the lowest rate ever for the particular booking date. Room prices fluctuate and the reader seems to be a seasoned traveller (humble Spire etc…). Apparently nowadays principles are measured and priced at $23…

    Also, I don’t find that Africa comment even funny. Rather offensive if not simply sad.

  • Jay

    A BRG is a claim against a third party website, not its own website. Furthermore, if we’re talking about principle of a rate being called what it is (which it was, at the time), how about the principle of going through with what you 100% agreed to at the time? No one held a gun to your head to pay that price or agree to the contract that the booking was non refundable or changeable.

    It’s like buying discounted futures then getting angry when the price drops and demanding a refund (and keeping quiet if it increases). You took the risk, you should pay. That’s good principle. What you’re doing is trying to wiggle out of a contract that was clearly laid out and getting unjustly frustrated at customer service staff that have no obligation to help you.

    Next we are going to book ‘Best Available Rate’ 12months in advance and then complain its not actually the ‘Best Available Rate’ 3 months later as a cheaper rate was available as last minute booking and they could have offered that rate for you. Price protection isn’t a consumer right or guarantee, its an optional value plus proposition that a business can offer. In this case they clearly don’t.

    Hotels are rightly able to charge and modify different amounts at different times based on current availability and time until stay. You may follow this up with how to get a refund of price difference, however talking about principle is hypocritical.

  • I never book prepaid stays because in my experience rates change all the time. For example, I had a Hilton stay in Chicago this past weekend. About a month before the stay the room rates are $139, then a week or so later it went to $119, the week of, it went down to $99 and the day before the rate went to $85, so I kept cancelling and re-booking under the lower priced rate. It takes some work but it can save you money. If you lock in your rate early, you may miss out. In addition, I search other hotels near where I am planning on staying as their prices will likely change also and you could get a nicer hotel for the same or lower cost.