After an inquiry Hyatt Hotels has confirmed to us that effective July 31st 2017 there will be a further change (blow) to their Best Rate Guarantee, eliminating the longstanding 20% Discount Reward for approved claims.
Over the years Hyatt has continued to modify certain parts of the BRG program, mostly in the fine print and the way the claims are processed which lead to a wave of denied claims under strange reasons.
While the original 20% discount hasn’t been removed since the inception of the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee, the terms under which they accept claims for a price match.
In 2014 we wrote about Hyatt eliminating more competing sites (see here) often under the excuse they were ‘membership sites’ even though that isn’t even remotely true in most cases while other simply prompt you to create a customer profile.
Then in April of 2016 (see here) Hyatt began to require that you book the lowest rate (usually non-refundable and prepaid on Hyatt.com) when comparing to third party rates that may be cancelable.
In the meanwhile they started accepting claims through their web form only while in the past you were able to call in and one of their agents would verify with you in real time and make the reservation. This new method takes forever and in most cases the competing rate isn’t available anymore to be verified, leading to a straight denial of the customers BRG claim.
In combination with all the other limitation this pretty much gutted the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee.
Now there was a discussion on Flyertalk (see here) about a further devaluation of this progam, namely that the 20% discount will be eliminated and replaced by a one off US$50.00 discount on a future stay.
I contacted Hyatt and received a confirmation about this impending change.
The entire reply was as follows:
Thank you for reaching out to confirm this information. Hyatt will be changing its Best Rate Guarantee next week Monday, July 31.
As you know, Hyatt has offered a Best Rate Guarantee since 2003 to guarantee that Hyatt provides the lowest online, publicly available and immediately bookable rates for room reservations at Hyatt hotels worldwide.
If a guest finds a lower qualifying rate elsewhere, Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee will now match the comparable lower rate and also offer a $50 credit to the guest, valid for use on a future Hyatt stay booked on Hyatt.com.
The $50 credit will be provided as a single use offer code within four days of checkout of the initial stay and must be used within one year of being issued. This benefit will replace the current Best Rate Guarantee, which offers a 20% discount on valid lower rates found, and is intended to underscore the value of booking directly with Hyatt for the best experience.
The $50 future credit is eligible for redemption on the following three rates: Standard Rate, Advance Purchase Rate or Member Rate room. These are also the most common rates which are compared for BRG purposes.
The updated Best Rate Guarantee T’s & C’s will not be live on the site until the morning of July 31. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
This US$50.00 discount is a rather small token and I’m not really sure if it’s worth given how hard it is to get a Hyatt BRG approved these days, especially with their frivolous denials. I would be totally ok with this new measure if Hyatt would start to operate their Best Rate Guarantee in good faith again (Hilton pretty much has the same rule but is processing the claims much better and also accepts screen shots if they can’t work the claims in time – and the Hilton discount applies right away).
In any way this is obviously not a good change for the customer. Previously you were able to receive a price match and an immediate 20% off which especially for more expensive and multi day stays was really worthwhile to invest some time in. The price was adjusted right away and the case was pretty much done. Now it’s a maximum of US$50 for the entire stay which is pretty much nothing.
The discount code can only be used for the Standard Rate, Advance Purchase Rate and Member Rate on the (horrible and unreliable) Hyatt website. Even though I think the Member Rates and certain Advance Purchase Rates are competitive you should always check your companies corporate rate if you have access to one. Even if you can’t use the discount it might still be more preferable to use the corporate rate.
Hyatt BRG over the years has developed into a phony operation just like IHG where even watertight claims are being denied for the strangest reasons. I have used the Hyatt BRG a few times over the years, mostly during 7+ days stays at resorts or sometimes at the Grand Hyatt Berlin which is notorious for always offering lower rates on Expedia.
This is an adjusted claim for the Grand Hyatt Berlin where I stayed last Summer:
Another thing I’m not so sure about is how they will adjust the $50 discount for hotels outside the U.S. and if the proper exchange rates are being used.
As far as Best Rate Guarantees are concerned I have lost confidence in most of them, even though I think that at the moment Hilton and Starwood SPG offer the best and most fair BRG programs.
I prefer to have a discount applied to a claimed reservation right away instead of having to deal with coupon codes in the future.
It’s very obvious why Hyatt goes this avenue as with any type of voucher the largest part of them are never going to be redeemed anyway. People simply forget about them, have trouble using it or think it’s not worth it if they find a better rate elsewhere such as through an OTA like Orbitz or Expedia where you can always find decent discount codes (usually around 15%) online and collect their own loyalty currency as well.