Reader Question: Has Marriott Made SPG Best Rate Guarantee Useless?

6 Comments

A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a Twitter message about the change in SPG’s Best Rate Guarantee policy and how it is practically impossible to do successful claims anymore.

SPG Best Rate Guarantee

Remember that you can always email us, send a message via Facebook or use Twitter and include photos too. We’ll try to cover Reader Questions & Comments here several times a week.

You can access SPG Best Rate Guarantee here.

READ MORE: SPG Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

Here’s the email from the reader:

Are there “unpublished” changes in SPG’s BRG program? I found a really low rate at the W San Francisco at $190 a night and was confirmed by the brg associate that it matches all booking conditions. However, he said he couldn’t accept my brg claim because pre-payment is required.

This is the full email from the spg brg team:

“Our terms and conditions have recently updated and we have changed the way we process claims.

We will now compare the room type, amenities, deposit and cancellation policies on the competing website which match those you booked on your reservation. I have reviewed the rates for a Wonderful room with 2 guests and a flexible cancellation policy at the W San Francisco for the dates of your claim on our website and found a rate of $293.02 USD per night plus taxes and fee and a rate of $190.98 USD per night plus taxes and fee on http://getaroom.com ; however, since the competing rate requires prepayment, I am unable to approve your claim.”

I pushed back, saying:

“Hi James, As per the terms and conditions,  “Pre-paid, advance purchase, or non-refundable rates on Ctrip/Trip.com or Fliggy are not eligible.” It is stated that only prepaid rates on these 3 sites are not available. If otherwise, kindly point it out to me.  Best regards, Darien”

And they replied again:

“Due to our terms changing recently, we now must process for information that matches your booking (cancelation policy being flexible or non-flexible, deposit, and any additional amenities). Due to your reservation not charging a deposit and the competing site charging a deposit for the reservation, the competing site has no options available that match your booking. We hope this clears up any confusion you might have experienced.”

Honestly this is ridiculous and it’s almost impossible to do brg with spg now.

Marriott and SPG aligned their respective Best Rate Guarantee programs effective May 25, 2018 (read more here) and both are now called Look No Further.

Previously, SPG’s Best Rate Guarantee was very customer centric. SPG would only compare the price of the accommodation between the sites and not take into account cancellation or prepayment conditions at all. You could even file a guarantee if there was no availability on SPG’s site at all (sometime hotels offload inventory to third parties).

When the program policies were combined on May 25, 2018, Marriott basically chose the worst aspects of both guarantees and decided to call this guarantee “one of the best “ (their words – not mine).

As the reader’s example above illustrates, the 3rd party rate is more than $100 cheaper but won’t be matched because it is prepaid/charges a deposit and SPG won’t.

Basically most if not all 3rd party rates are prepaid and thus making Best Rate Guarantee useless for any other rates than Prepaid/Advance Purchase ones on SPG’s website.

Conclusion

The problem with the Advance Purchase/Prepaid Rates and SPG BRGs is that you never know how long it takes for the team to process the claim. You may end up with very expensive Advance Purchase/Pepaid SPG reservation when third party rate is hundreds cheaper per night.

Right now the backlog is more than 24 hours during weekdays and likely longer during the weekends when the staffing is lighter at the office that processes these.

I did manage to make a one successful claim under the new rules for a Design Hotel (read more here).

I believe that it is very unfortunate that Marriott decided to go with these anti-customer friendly BRG rules. Just proves that they have no control over the rates that their hotels load to third party channels and they simply don’t want to honor them (cannot see any other reason for the change).

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