IHG has a best rate guarantee for giving you a complimentary first night, if you can find a lower price after making a reservation on a third party website. If your stay is only for one night, your entire stay would be then free. You can read more about the terms and conditions of this guarantee on IHG’s website here.
IHG has changed the terms and conditions of this program quite a few times since its inception. Here are the major problems:
1. Currencies must be same i.e. you have a price in Euros on Expedia for 50 euros and the currency on IHG’s website if $80. This would not be a valid claim, although the thirs party price is a lot lower, because the currencies are different.
2. Cancellations terms bust be identical or IHG’s terms must be more restrictive. You cannot compare prepaid rate on a third party site to a flexible rate on the IHG’s website even when the flexible rate is the only one available via IHG.
3. The all inclusive price difference must be at least $1 or 1%.
4. You cannot compare a package on a third party site i.e. rate that includes a breakfast or free internet to a rate (even if higher) on IHG’s website that doesn’t include this.
5. You haveto be sure about the charged currency on 3rd party website. Some websites may display prices in local currencies such as THB or SGN, but the actual charge is put through in USD or EUR. These are bot valid for comparison and IHG supposedly has a list of charging currencies of various websites.
The reason for this reminder is that a LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email about the breakfast issue:
Thank you for contacting us. Please note that as per the terms and condition of the program you we are not able to compare rates that do not have the same inclusions. This would mean that the guarantee cannot be extended to this reservation.
Packages Comparison. “Room prices that include food or beverage items such as breakfast or dinner, entertainment items such as tickets to a show, and/or free local calls, parking or other bundled items will be considered as packages. These package or inclusive prices must be compared to prices with the same type of inclusive items.”
Let’s be frank. All these best rate guarantees are mainly a marketing ploy trying to get people to believe that the best rates are on their own websites and not on the third party ones. IHG declined the claim when the lower price on the third party website included a breakfast and the higher price on the IHG’s website did not. I know. This doesn’t make any sense.
I have done less than 10 free night claims with IHG’s BRG and you have to be really careful with the terms and conditions. I like the fact that you can call them anytime and get someone to approve/disapprove the claim.
The other month, I was trying to do a claim with SPG. There is no way to contact SPG’s BRG team over the phone. You have to file a form on the website an djust hope that the rate on the third party site is still available, when they check your claim. Of course, the rates had changed on the third party site, when they were checking them more than two days later.