How to get a free night at luxury hotels
“I use Booking.com because they always have the best price.”
Best Price Guarantee or Best Rate Guarantee
Booking.com is well-known for its “Best Price Guarantee” but in reality, if you find a lower price on a competing website they just match it, no extras. And actually, they don’t always offer the “best price” – au contraire.
Remember that if you want to earn points and receive status benefits you need to book on the hotel’s website and not on sites such as Booking.com, Expedia.com, Ebookers, Priceline, … I book 90% of my stays on the hotel’s websites. Read more about why these hotel points are often easy to earn & how valuable they can be.
These websites offer a much better “Best Price Guarantee”:
- Marriott.com matches the lower rate and gives an additional 25% off
- Hyatt.com matches the lower rate and gives an additional 20% off
- Accorhotels.com matches the lower rate and gives an additional 10% off
- Starwoodhotels.com (spg.com) matches the lower rate and lets you choose between an additional 20% off OR 2.000 Starpoints (worth €40-€60)
(!) Furthermore InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with hotel brands such as Holiday Inn (Express), Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo and InterContinental doesn’t just offer to match the rate, they will even make the first night FREE.
IHG Best Price Guarantee
IHG’s Best Price Guarantee is so generous that they give you the first night free and match the lower price for the other nights. Here’s an example:
- Book on IHG.com 3 nights at €100 per night, total €300
- Find same room within 24h after booking on hotels.com for €80 per night, total €240
- Succesful Best Price Guarantee claim means: first night free and two other nights at €80 per night, total €160
But it gets even better…
If you make a reservation for one night and are able to claim a succesful Best Price Guarantee with IHG, you still get the first night free! Thus your entire stay is free!
So no matter if you claim a Best Price Guarantee for a one night stay at the Holiday Inn Valencia (+€40) or InterContinental Paris Le Grand (+€300), your first night will be complimentary (free)!
Not only does this work for “standard rooms” or “Deluxe rooms” but you can even file a claim for suites!
InterContinental Paris Le Grand – Duplex Suite? €1.000 per night! I paid = €0
InterContinental Düsseldorf Executive suite? €485 per night! I paid? €0
Where to search for hotels and which websites to use for Best Price Guarantee
To easily compare rates, I would recommend using meta-search engines such as Hotelscombined or Kayak which offer the results from multiple booking websites such as getaroom, priceline, Booking.com, Expedia, … which saves a lot of time not needing to search on every website individually.
Example booking – Best Price Guarantee
Venere.com offers the same “Executive City View room” as on the InterContinental (or IHG.com) website. Both rooms were non-refundable and include breakfast. The price difference is €22.
Terms & conditions
When comparing rates, the following terms apply for a valid best price guarantee claim:
- Same room & bed type (City view, river view, King Bed, Queen Bed,…)
- Same cancellation policy or better than the hotel
- Same extras (if the lower rate has breakfast included and your room doesn’t, making it more valuable for the customer, it is not considered the same)
- Must bill in the same currency as the hotel
- Price difference must be more than 1% or 1 USD
- Rate must be publicly available
- Claim must be filed within 24h of booking
Note that all websites may have specific terms & conditions for Best Price Guarantee claims, but most are very similar to the above.
How to claim a Best Price Guarantee?
- Book the room on the hotel website
- Check if a room meets the criteria for a Best Price Guarantee
- Fill in the form to process the claim
- Wait until you receive news from the claims department
- If approved : spend free night in hotel
Choice Hotels Best Price Guarantee
“Choice Hotels” also gives a free night if you find a lower rate, but they don’t have any luxury hotels. Nevertheless, if you intend on staying at any of their 6,300 hotels in over 35 countries, it is something worth checking out.
Not only can you use hotel loyalty points for free nights or to save money on hotel stays, but you can use the Best Price Guarantee to your advantage as well! The IHG’s Best Price Guarantee is the most generous, but saving an extra 10%-25% sure doesn’t hurt either!
If you have a refundable reservation and the rate changes overnight before the Best Price Guarantee team gets a chance to process your claim, the claim could be denied, but no harm is done or money is lost if you can still cancel the reservation.
Read the complete guide for cheap luxury travel for more tips & tricks!