Starwood Best Rate Guarantee Terms & Conditions Changes September 9, 2015

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Starwood has very popular Best Rate Guarantee program that promises to match lower rate and give you an additional 20% off or 2,000 Starpoints.

Starwood Best Rate Guarantee Terms and Conditions Update September 9 2015

Starwood has now amended the Best Rate Guarantee Terms and conditions effective September 9, 2015, and there are quite a few important changes.

You can access the SPG Best Rate Guarantee program web page here.

Here are the changes:

1. Reservation Now Required

Previously, you could file a Best Rate Guarantee even if you hadn’t made a reservation to “test the waters” so to speak. You now must have a valid reservation first before you can file a claim.

A claim must be submitted within 24 hours after making a confirmed reservation through a Starwood Website, and at least 24 hours (48 hours for non-English Starwood Websites) before the standard check-in time at the applicable Starwood Hotel

2. Only One Claim Per Reservation

The terms now state that you can only file one claim per reservation. This is problematic when there are several providers that offer lower rates and when Starwood may take days to validate the claims. It has been reasonable to file one claim per competing provider to ensure that the claim is successful.

Only one claim may be submitted in connection with any confirmed reservation.  The name on the submitted claim form for such claim must match the name on the relevant confirmed reservation.

3. Value Added Items Now Included

You can now compare breakfast inclusive rate (even when not lowest) on Starwood’s website to a breakfast inclusive rate on third party site.

The estimated value of value-added amenities (e.g., free breakfast, tickets, gas coupons) offered as part of a Competing Rate will be excluded from the rate comparison (unless such amenities are also included in the applicable rate being offered on the Starwood Websites), and will not be provided by Starwood when honoring a lower rate (unless such amenities are also included in the applicable rate being offered on the Starwood Websites).

4. Third Party Sites That Don’t Offer Immediate Confirmation

SPG has now added wording that websites that require an hour or more may be excluded from the guarantee and has added Ctrip as an excluded site.

Rates offered on on-request websites and mobile applications that do not provide immediate hotel confirmations, including, without limitation, any such websites or mobile applications that require one hour or more to validate a reservation (e.g., Asiaweb and Ctrip); and

5. Lowest Rate That Starwood Can Confirm

There are often slight changes between the time you make the claim and someone looks at it. Now Starwood states that they will adjust the rate to the one they can find.

In the event that a Best Rate Guarantee claim is validated, Starwood will adjust the rate on the confirmed reservation to the lowest available rate that Starwood is able to verify, which rate may be different than the rate that was indicated on the applicable claim form.

6. Cancellation Fees

Now that you MUST make a reservation before filing a Best Rate Guarantee claim there can be fees involved in case it is now successful.

The guest who makes a confirmed reservation will be responsible for all costs, expenses and fees associated with such reservation (including, without limitation, any cancellation fees) regardless of whether a Best Rate Guarantee claim is denied.

7. Multiple Claims Within Same Week

I once had Starwood denying me points for the BRG after I had stayed claiming that I had done multiple successful guarantees for the stays on that specific week. This limitation has now been removed.

Multiple claims for multiple rooms at the same Starwood Hotel on the same night or on two or more nights in the same week may be treated as one claim for one stay, even if booked through one or more reservations.  (REMOVED)

8. You Can Now Claim Up To Three Rooms PER Reservation

I guess that you can make multiple reservations but you are now limited to max three guarantees per reservation.

any valid Best Rest Guarantee claim will only be available for up to three guest rooms per confirmed reservation

Conclusion

Overall, I would say that these changes are positive. Probably they received too many requests for BRG from people that didn’t have reservations and dealing with those over multiple emails took too much time.

Here are the new Terms and conditions effective September 9, 2015:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Starwood”) will make available the best guest room rates for hotels, resorts, and other transient stay facilities owned, managed or franchised by Starwood and operated under the Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, W Hotel, Le Méridien, Four Points, The Luxury Collection, Aloft, Element, or Tribute Portfolio brands (each, a “Starwood Hotel”, and collectively, the “Starwood Hotels”) on the Starwood Websites (the “Best Rate Guarantee”). “Starwood Websites” are the websites owned or operated by or on behalf of Starwood and the Starwood Hotels, including Sheraton.com, Westin.com, StRegis.com, Whotels.com, LeMeridien.com, FourPoints.com, TheLuxuryCollection.com, Alofthotels.com, Elementhotels.com, TributePortfolio.com, SPG.com, and Starwoodhotels.com.

In the unlikely event that a lower rate at a Starwood Hotel is made available on a non-Starwood website or non-Starwood mobile application (the “Competing Rate”), upon its receipt of a claim that satisfies these Best Rate Guarantee terms and conditions (the “BRG Terms”), Starwood will honor that Competing Rate and provide the individual that submitted the valid claim one of the following rewards: (1) an additional 20% discount off the Competing Rate per room per night; or (2) 2,000 Starwood Preferred Guest® Starpoints® per room per stay.

  • For a claim to be eligible under the Best Rate Guarantee, it must be submitted through the claim submittal webform available here.
    • A claim must be submitted within 24 hours after making a confirmed reservation through a Starwood Website, and at least 24 hours (48 hours for non-English Starwood Websites) before the standard check-in time at the applicable Starwood Hotel.
    • A claim form may be rejected by Starwood if it is incomplete, is submitted in an unsupported language, or concerns a non-Starwood website or mobile application that is in an unsupported language.
    • Only one claim may be submitted in connection with any confirmed reservation.  The name on the submitted claim form for such claim must match the name on the relevant confirmed reservation.
  • For the Competing Rate to be valid, it must be a currently available lower published room rate available online or on a mobile application for the same Starwood Hotel, the same dates, the same number of guests, the same room type, with a similar view and room size, and include similar or additional value-added amenities (e.g., free breakfast).
    • For purposes of comparing the Competing Rate and the rate available on the Starwood Websites, only the Competing Rate and the rate available on the Starwood Websites that are each available at the time the applicable claim is processed will be considered by Starwood.  Starwood will compare the total room cost of a stay, and multiple claims for a stay consisting of two or more nights in the same week at the same Starwood Hotel or Starwood Hotels in the same geographic location (e.g. city) may be treated as one claim for one stay, even if booked through more than one reservation.
    • Starwood will convert any Competing Rate offered in a different currency than the rate made available through the Starwood Websites, and may deny claims where it determines that the difference between the rates is due to exchange rate fluctuations.
    • Booking fees, extra adult fees, fees for children, rollaway charges will be included in the rate comparison. Taxes, gratuities, or any mandatory charges that may apply at Starwood Hotels (e.g., resort charges) will be excluded from the rate comparison.
    • The estimated value of value-added amenities (e.g., free breakfast, tickets, gas coupons) offered as part of a Competing Rate will be excluded from the rate comparison (unless such amenities are also included in the applicable rate being offered on the Starwood Websites), and will not be provided by Starwood when honoring a lower rate (unless such amenities are also included in the applicable rate being offered on the Starwood Websites).
    • Starwood may deny claims where the difference between the Competing Rate and the rate on the Starwood Website is less than one percent; provided that Starwood will not use the fact that the difference between the Competing Rate and the rate on the Starwood Website is less than one percent to deny such claims if the cancellation policy for the Competing Rate is more favorable to the guest than the cancellation policy for the rate on the Starwood Website.
  • The Best Rate Guarantee does not apply to:
    • Unpublished or negotiated rates (e.g., corporate discount rates, group rates, meeting rates);
    • Rates requiring a paid membership in a club or other organization or a free membership in a club  or other organization if such membership is contingent upon the member’s type of employment;
    • Rates offered pursuant to direct mail or email solicitations, requiring a credit card in order to view the Competing Rate or the use of discount codes or coupons to book such Competing Rate, or otherwise not intended for the general public;
    • Package rates (e.g., rates that include a combination of a room and airfare, an overnight cruise, car rental);
    • Rates offered by, or on behalf of, unit owners or a home owners association for stays at Starwood Hotels owned or managed by Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., its subsidiaries and its affiliates;
    • Rates offered by opaque providers (e.g., Hotwire, Priceline) that do not provide the name or location of the hotel until after a reservation has been made;
    • Rates offered on on-request websites and mobile applications that do not provide immediate hotel confirmations, including, without limitation, any such websites or mobile applications that require one hour or more to validate a reservation (e.g., Asiaweb and Ctrip); and
    • Individual rate plans not offered to the general public.
  • The Best Rate Guarantee does not apply to existing reservations that are not booked through a Starwood Website, and Starwood is not responsible for any fees associated with cancelling a reservation made through a different channel (e.g., a call center, a non-Starwood booking channel).
  • In the event that a Best Rate Guarantee claim is validated, Starwood will adjust the rate on the confirmed reservation to the lowest available rate that Starwood is able to verify, which rate may be different than the rate that was indicated on the applicable claim form.
  • The guest who makes a confirmed reservation will be responsible for all costs, expenses and fees associated with such reservation (including, without limitation, any cancellation fees) regardless of whether a Best Rate Guarantee claim is denied.
  • Notwithstanding any other restrictions in these BRG Terms, if the applicable website or mobile application requires an individual to be a resident of a certain jurisdiction in order to book rates on such website or mobile application, the Best Rate Guarantee will apply to any Competing Rates found on such website or mobile application.  For the avoidance of doubt, if the website or mobile application on which a Competing Rate can be found does not require that an individual be a resident of a certain jurisdiction in order to book any rates on such website or mobile application, the Best Rate Guarantee will not apply to any Competing Rates found on such website or mobile application even if such Competing Rates requires that an individual be a resident of a certain jurisdiction in order to book such Competing Rates.
  • A valid Best Rate Guarantee claim may be invalidated if (1) the name on the submitted claim form does not match the guest’s name on the relevant reservation, or (2) any changes are made to the relevant reservation after such reservation is made.
  • The Best Rate Guarantee will be suspended during times where the Starwood Websites or certain rates are not available due to an outage, a technical issue or a circumstance beyond Starwood’s reasonable control.
  • Starpoints will only be available as a Best Rate Guarantee reward if the individual making the valid claim is an SPG Member and the relevant Starwood Hotel is an SPG Participating Hotel.  A Best Rate Guarantee Reward (either Starpoints or the additional 20% discount) for any valid Best Rest Guarantee claim will only be available for up to three guest rooms per confirmed reservation; provided that for any valid Best Rate Guarantee claim, Starwood will adjust the rate for all guest rooms on the relevant confirmed reservation to the lowest available rate that Starwood is able to verify (which rate may be different than the rate that was indicated on the applicable claim form).
  • Starwood may deny claims where the applicable Starwood Hotel will no longer be operating as a Starwood Hotel on the date of the stay.
  • Starwood has the sole right and discretion to determine the validity of any claim and will not review documentation provided by the individual submitting a claim as part of its validation process. Starwood reserves the right to deny a claim, if it cannot independently verify the availability of a Competing Rate at the time it processes the claim.
  • Starwood may at any time and without notice terminate or restrict a person’s ability to submit a claim under or otherwise benefit from the Best Rate Guarantee, if in its sole discretion Starwood determines that such person has: (1) acted in a manner inconsistent with applicable laws or ordinances; (2) acted in a fraudulent or abusive manner, (3) submitted multiple invalid Best Rate Guarantee claims; (4) failed to stay at Starwood Hotels after receiving approved Best Rate Guarantee Claims; or (5) breached any of these BRG Terms.
  • Any disputes arising out of or related to the Best Rate Guarantee or these BRG Terms shall be handled individually without any class action, and shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of New York.
  • Void where prohibited by law. Starwood reserves the right to amend, revise, supplement, suspend or discontinue the Best Rate Guarantee or these BRG Terms at anytime in its sole discretion and without prior notice.
  • Please see the Best Rate Guarantee Frequently Asked Questions  for more details.

Revised: September 09, 2015

Here are the previous Terms and conditions effective April 21, 2015:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Starwood”) will make available the best guest room rates for hotels, resorts, and other transient stay facilities owned, managed or franchised by Starwood and operated under the Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, W Hotel, Le Méridien, Four Points, The Luxury Collection, Aloft, Element, or Tribute Portfolio brands (each, a “Starwood Hotel”, and collectively, the “Starwood Hotels”) on the Starwood Websites (the “Best Rate Guarantee”). “Starwood Websites” are the websites owned or operated by or on behalf of Starwood and the Starwood Hotels, including Sheraton.com, Westin.com, StRegis.com, Whotels.com, LeMeridien.com, FourPoints.com, TheLuxuryCollection.com, Alofthotels.com, Elementhotels.com, TributePortfolio.com, SPG.com, and Starwoodhotels.com.

In the unlikely event that a lower rate at a Starwood Hotel is made available on a non-Starwood website or non-Starwood mobile application (the “Competing Rate”), upon its receipt of a claim that satisfies these Best Rate Guarantee terms and conditions (the “BRG Terms”), Starwood will honor that Competing Rate and provide the individual that submitted the valid claim one of the following rewards: (1) an additional 20% discount off the Competing Rate per room per night; or (2) 2,000 Starwood Preferred Guest® Starpoints® per room per stay.

  • For a claim to be eligible under the Best Rate Guarantee, it must be submitted through the claim submittal webform available here.
    • A claim must be submitted prior to, or within 24 hours after, making a reservation through a Starwood Website, and at least 24 hours (48 hours for non-English Starwood Websites) before the standard check-in time at the applicable Starwood Hotel.
    • A claim form may be rejected by Starwood if it is incomplete, is submitted in an unsupported language, or concerns a non-Starwood website or mobile application that is in an unsupported language.
  • For the Competing Rate to be valid, it must be a currently available lower published room rate available online or on a mobile application for the same Starwood Hotel, the same dates, the same number of guests, the same room type, with a similar view and room size, and include similar or additional value-added amenities (e.g., free breakfast).
    • For purposes of comparing the Competing Rate and the rate available on the Starwood Websites, only the Competing Rate and the rate available on the Starwood Websites that are each available at the time the applicable claim is processed will be considered by Starwood.  Starwood will compare the total room cost of a stay, and multiple claims for a stay consisting of two or more nights in the same week at the same Starwood Hotel or Starwood Hotels in the same geographic location (e.g. city) may be treated as one claim for one stay, even if booked through more than one reservation.
    • Starwood will convert any Competing Rate offered in a different currency than the rate made available through the Starwood Websites, and may deny claims where it determines that the difference between the rates is due to exchange rate fluctuations.
    • Booking fees, extra adult fees, fees for children, rollaway charges will be included in the rate comparison. Taxes, gratuities, or any mandatory charges that may apply at Starwood Hotels (e.g., resort charges) will be excluded from the rate comparison.
    • The estimated value of value-added amenities (e.g., free breakfast, tickets, gas coupons) offered as part of a Competing Rate will be excluded from the rate comparison, and will not be provided by Starwood when honoring a lower rate.
    • Starwood may deny claims where the difference between the Competing Rate and the rate on the Starwood Website is less than one percent; provided that Starwood will not use the fact that the difference between the Competing Rate and the rate on the Starwood Website is less than one percent to deny such claims if the cancellation policy for the Competing Rate is more favorable to the guest than the cancellation policy for the rate on the Starwood Website.
  • The Best Rate Guarantee does not apply to:
    • Unpublished or negotiated rates (e.g., corporate discount rates, group rates, meeting rates);
    • Rates requiring a paid membership in a club or other organization or a free membership in a club  or other organization if such membership is contingent upon the member’s type of employment;
    • Rates offered pursuant to direct mail or email solicitations, requiring a credit card in order to view the Competing Rate or the use of discount codes or coupons to book such Competing Rate, or otherwise not intended for the general public;
    • Package rates (e.g., rates that include a combination of a room and airfare, an overnight cruise, car rental);
    • Rates offered by, or on behalf of, unit owners or a home owners association for stays at Starwood Hotels owned or managed by Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., its subsidiaries and its affiliates;
    • Rates offered by opaque providers (e.g., Hotwire, Priceline) that do not provide the name or location of the hotel until after a reservation has been made;
    • Rates offered on on-request websites and mobile applications that do not provide immediate hotel confirmations (e.g., Asiaweb); and
    • Individual rate plans not offered to the general public.
  • The Best Rate Guarantee does not apply to existing reservations that are not booked through a Starwood Website, and Starwood is not responsible for any fees associated with cancelling a reservation made through a different channel (e.g., a call center, a non-Starwood booking channel).
  • Notwithstanding any other restrictions in these BRG Terms, if the applicable website or mobile application requires an individual to be a resident of a certain jurisdiction in order to book rates on such website or mobile application, the Best Rate Guarantee will apply to any Competing Rates found on such website or mobile application.  For the avoidance of doubt, if the website or mobile application on which a Competing Rate can be found does not require that an individual be a resident of a certain jurisdiction in order to book any rates on such website or mobile application, the Best Rate Guarantee will not apply to any Competing Rates found on such website or mobile application even if such Competing Rates requires that an individual be a resident of a certain jurisdiction in order to book such Competing Rates.
  • If a valid Best Rate Guarantee claim is submitted without an existing reservation, the individual making the valid claim will be contacted by Starwood and must make a reservation in the manner communicated by Starwood by the earlier of 24 hours from receipt of the communication or local check-in time at the relevant Starwood Hotel. A valid Best Rate Guarantee claim may be invalidated if (1) the individual making the claim fails to make a reservation in the required time period, (2) the name on the submitted claim form does not match the guest’s name on the relevant reservation, or (3) any changes are made to the relevant reservation after such reservation is made.
  • The Best Rate Guarantee will be suspended during times where the Starwood Websites or certain rates are not available due to an outage, a technical issue or a circumstance beyond Starwood’s reasonable control.
  • A Best Rate Guarantee reward will only be provided if the individual making the valid claim stays in, and pays for, the reserved guest room. Multiple claims for multiple rooms at the same Starwood Hotel on the same night or on two or more nights in the same week may be treated as one claim for one stay, even if booked through one or more reservations.  Starpoints will only be available as a Best Rate Guarantee reward if the individual making the valid claim is an SPG Member and the relevant Starwood Hotel is an SPG Participating Hotel.
  • Starwood may deny claims where the applicable Starwood Hotel will no longer be operating as a Starwood Hotel on the date of the stay.
  • Starwood has the sole right and discretion to determine the validity of any claim and will not review documentation provided by the individual submitting a claim as part of its validation process. Starwood reserves the right to deny a claim, if it cannot independently verify the availability of a Competing Rate at the time it processes the claim.
  • Starwood may at any time and without notice terminate or restrict a person’s ability to submit a claim under or otherwise benefit from the Best Rate Guarantee, if in its sole discretion Starwood determines that such person has: (1) acted in a manner inconsistent with applicable laws or ordinances; (2) acted in a fraudulent or abusive manner, (3) submitted multiple invalid Best Rate Guarantee claims; (4) failed to stay at Starwood Hotels after receiving approved Best Rate Guarantee Claims; or (5) breached any of these BRG Terms.
  • Any disputes arising out of or related to the Best Rate Guarantee or these BRG Terms shall be handled individually without any class action, and shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of New York.
  • Void where prohibited by law. Starwood reserves the right to amend, revise, supplement, suspend or discontinue the Best Rate Guarantee or these BRG Terms at anytime in its sole discretion and without prior notice.

Revised: April 21, 2015

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