Hotel loyalty programs often tout guaranteed room availability of 48 to 72 hours before scheduled arrival time as a status related benefit for their most loyal guests. This “guarantee” may come as at unusually high price as LoyaltyLobby reader found out:
The main problems with this “guaranteed” availability are:
1. Rack rate
Hotel will likely charge a rack rate for the stay that is booked using the guarantee. This is usually the rate that is shown in back of the door at the US hotels. It usually has nothing to do with the normal rates at the hotel. You cannot use corporate rates, when utilizing “guaranteed” availability.
2. Blackout dates
If there is truly an event that fulfills the city such as the Olympics or Formula 1, the likelihood that you can utilize this guarantee is close to zero.
Programs usually allow hotels to have black out dates, when the guarantee doesn’t apply and you can only find these by calling the program
When does it work?
You can likely utilize it, when the hotel is just sold out, but when there is no citywide event in place. The hotel just oversells its inventory at the rack rate and then walks non elite guests to other hotels.
Case: Guaranteed Room Availability DoubleTree Suites Times Square on New Years Eve
The Hilton property that is on the Time Square had Diamond guarantee availability for the December 31, but the price was not displayed on the search.
Once you clicked to to find out the price, it is rather high of $5K for the night.
The terms and conditions show the cancellation penalty that is rather strict of 90 days before the check ind date.
But you could always get it for 95K points for the night.
Of all my travels that I have done, I have never exercised this benefit on any of the hotel loyalty programs.