New IHG Best Rate Guarantee - Discussion & Feedback

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Recent discussion (After January 01, 2016) could be found in this thread.

Most important points to consider for a valid BRG:

1. The comparison website MUST bill in the same currency as the hotel .

2. The cancellation terms must be equal or better, than the terms by the hotels.

3. The Website needs to provide INSTANT confirmation.

4. The room names should match, but if you can demonstrate, that the room is comparable, it will also work with discrepancies in the name.

5. The price difference has to be more than either USD 1 or 1% (whichever is higher).
5.b In regards to hotels located in australia and New Zealand the price difference must be greater than 3% .

Hotels for which you will get reimbursed:
(Note: There have been significant problems with getting full reimbursements from IHG, especially for reimbursements in other currencies than USD)

IC Istanbul ( BRG claim from the 17.05.2013/ "Technical Difficulties")

IC Frankfurt ( BRG claim from the 20.08.2013/ "Technical Difficulties")

Link to the Terms and Conditions : https://www.ihg.com/hotels/us/en/cus...rms-conditions
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Old Sep 23, 11, 11:09 am
  #76  
 
Join Date: May 2011
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wow after reading this thread i just realised how many other people had similar experiences with me..

as a long time customer, i can guarantee you that ICH will not see a penny from me ever again!
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Old Sep 23, 11, 11:17 am
  #77  
 
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Originally Posted by frankxinyu View Post
from my experience today, i can tell you

This policy does NOT work! absolute bull$hit!

booked a room at Holiday-Inn Brisbane (AUS) for $230 on priorityclub.com.

then i went on to Qantas.com and found the exact same room available for $179..so i thought, okay time to give them a call.

after calling the number listed, was transfered to HK. The agent could barely speak any english, after 40 minutes on the phone showing her every step of booking the room on Qantas.com, she started throwing questions like how Qantas settles their booking etc.

I told her it is none of my concern, all i want is to book the room.

another 20 minutes on the phone with her, she told me 'sorry we can not match the price as Qantas.com is a different company to us (damn right it is) '

and she had the audacity to tell me if i like the price on qantas.com, why dont i cancel the booking and book through them?

I did cancel the booking and i booked sofitel instead.

ICH, you have lost my platinum PC business forever!
I think you need to calm down TBHO

I have (as others) got two free nights worth about 600 by following the T&c's

Why did you ring?

Just simply fill the form out, TAKE A SCREEN SHOT of the cheaper rate and wait for the reply.

I think in these early days a LOT of agents haven't a clue-so pointless ringing TBHO

Calm down and try it again
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Old Sep 23, 11, 11:32 am
  #78  
 
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Originally Posted by blindman View Post
I think you need to calm down TBHO

I have (as others) got two free nights worth about 600 by following the T&c's

Why did you ring?

Just simply fill the form out, TAKE A SCREEN SHOT of the cheaper rate and wait for the reply.

I think in these early days a LOT of agents haven't a clue-so pointless ringing TBHO

Calm down and try it again
i did fill in the form online too but i thought it would be quicker to call someone directly.

i do have a screen shot of the matching price, will see what reply i get.

very disappointing though on the phone with the agent.
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Old Sep 23, 11, 11:46 am
  #79  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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I'm still a bit confused.

If I book an Advanced Purchase non refundable rate, then find a cheaper refundable rate elsewhere, will the claim be honoured?

What if I book a rate without breakfast, but the cheaper rate includes breakfast?

Last edited by carrotjuice; Sep 23, 11 at 12:17 pm
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Old Sep 23, 11, 12:31 pm
  #80  
htb
 
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Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Am I right in thinking that if there is a room type cheaper than a suite then that must be booked?
No -- you book the cheapest rate available for the kind of room you have selected.

HTB.
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Old Sep 23, 11, 12:37 pm
  #81  
htb
 
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Originally Posted by frankxinyu View Post
and she had the audacity to tell me if i like the price on qantas.com, why dont i cancel the booking and book through them?
Sure it was HK? I have received exactly the same comment when I called for the BRG years back in Japan. Filling in the form never worked (after days, when the rate was long gone, I would get an answer that the site I quoted was Japanese -- but they can't read it) so I had no choice but to call in.

It became better, but there still were funny situations, like "the hotel informed us that the 'Deluxe Double Bed with 31 m2' you have found on the other site is a different type than the 'Deluxe Double Bed with 31 m2' you have booked", or "it was just a problem with our website that a lower rate was not available"...

Unfortunately my Japanese BRG site doesn't list any ICs in Tokyo any more... Maybe I was too slow?

Anyway, why don't you make another booking and wait for the result from a written claim?

HTB.
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Old Sep 23, 11, 1:20 pm
  #82  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Originally Posted by bsb21 View Post
Corp tells you, you carry it out. End of story.

The situation where the BRG agent confirmed a free night and then latter (after probably talking to the hotel) decided that the free night would not be offered, speaks very badly of IHG.

Sad
Many thanks to all for your thoughts on Le Grand oddness. I've been back in touch with the BRG agents... not foot-stamping, more pointing out loyal-Ambassador-many-years-lotsa-money and all that... and they do seem to be trying to negotiate with Le Grand to make things right.

They've agreed the rate was publicly available, and have been trying to get a manager at Le Grand on the phone (by Monday, now, apparently)... So their judgment on my claim has gone Approved > Denied > Approved-if-we-only-could.

But it seems that the BRG agents simply don't have the power to over-rule a hotel. If the first person they talk to at Le Grand doesn't want to honor the claim, they pretty much have to keep calling back and pleading with them until they do. (Sound like an FT approach, any? Call centre guys having to play call center roulette... I'm sure someone higher up in corporate could over-rule the hotel, but these guys can't.)

Seems like a very labor-intensive way to run the system, doesn't it? Every claim's going to need a negotiation, every hotel's going to have a different attitude. I tend to agree with those who say that the BRG agents should simply be able to adjust the reservation where appropriate. As for me, well, Park Hyatt will get a bit more money than I'd intended this autumn... but with IHG, I'm afraid, I've grown used to some stellar properties, with a most haphazard central system...
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Old Sep 23, 11, 3:54 pm
  #83  
 
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Originally Posted by limelight View Post
I've been back in touch with the BRG agents... not foot-stamping, more pointing out loyal-Ambassador-many-years-lotsa-money and all that... and they do seem to be trying to negotiate with Le Grand to make things right.

They've agreed the rate was publicly available, and have been trying to get a manager at Le Grand on the phone (by Monday, now, apparently)... So their judgment on my claim has gone Approved > Denied > Approved-if-we-only-could.

But it seems that the BRG agents simply don't have the power to over-rule a hotel. If the first person they talk to at Le Grand doesn't want to honor the claim, they pretty much have to keep calling back and pleading with them until they do.

Seems like a very labor-intensive way to run the system, doesn't it? Every claim's going to need a negotiation, every hotel's going to have a different attitude.
I cannot imagine that this is the proper process for adjusting the rate and don'tbelieve that you should be accepting it as such.
This new BRG policy is IHG driven not individual hotel driven.The whole purpose of it is to stop hotels offering rooms at lower rates than they offer them through IHG websites.
There must be something in the contracts between the hotels and IHG that stipulates this and there must be something that stipulates a penalty for not complying. There must also be a clause that stipulates how this penalty is set. IHG would not be widely publicizing the most powerful BRG in the business if it did not have the right to enforce it on the individual hotels.
So my take on this is that if the BRG desk accepts a claim then that is the end of the story between you and the BRG desk/IHG. Everything else is between IHG and the hotel and it is IHG's responsibility to ensure the hotels' compliance with its contractual obligations.
Any pleading of cases has to be from the hotel to IHG - if the hotel does not believe the BRG claim is valid then it needs to convince the BRG desk of this. If the BRG desk accepts the hotel's argument then the BRG desk has to decide how to proceed - whether to accept the cost hit to its own department or to tell the customer we the BRG desk made a mistake and your claim is not valid and will not be honored.
For the BRG desk to try to pass it off as the hotel refusing to honor the claim is a cop out on their part - either them not wanting to do their job properly or them not wanting to admit that they made a mistake and suffer the customer's dissatisfaction.
There are rights and obligations between the customer and the BRG desk as set out by the Ts&Cs of the BRG policy; there are rights and obligations between IHG and the hotel as set out in their management contract. Between the customer and the hotel there is absolutely no relationship when it comes to a BRG claim.
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Old Sep 23, 11, 5:13 pm
  #84  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: SEA
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What a joke this is! I've had two claims, both handled horribly. First claim came back:

Thank you for contacting our office regarding our Best Price Guarantee in reference to rates at the Crowne Plaza ***. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you with this matter.

We have contacted the hotel and requested your 1-night booking to be complimentary. We appreciate your patience and will contact you via e-mail when this has been confirmed.
Then, the next day I get this:

Upon checking the information, the Crowne Plaza *** is not part of the new program for Best Price Guarantee. Since the third party site is still lower, the hotel honored/matched the lower rate that you found and deducted another 10% making it *** CNY plus taxes for your stay.

Sorry for the wrong information that I have sent you yesterday and we truly appreciate your kind consideration of the matter.
So, obviously the hotel has some say in rejecting the claims. I've asked them to point to the part of the terms and conditions justifying this and they said they'll get back to me. They have matched the lower rate, but they are not giving the free night.

Here's my other example:

Thank you for contacting our office regarding the Lowest Rate Guarantee in reference to rates at the InterContinental ***. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you with this matter.

We are currently requesting the hotel to adjust the nightly rate on your reservation. We appreciate your patience and will contact you via e-mail when this has been confirmed.

This is to follow-up regarding your claim yesterday. We apologize for the inconvenience we won't be able to extend the Guarantee in reference to lower rates at the InterContinental ***.

Upon our verification we were unable to find the lower rate of USD 283.48 listed for the Deluxe Room (breakfast included). The rate that is available www.***.com is USD 295.00 (tax exclusive) for the Deluxe Room (breakfast included). However this rate is the same rate as you booked on our website CNY 1880.00 for the 2 DOUBLE BEDS DELUXE ROOM with breakfast, this is the best available rate, for the same room type.
I sent them a screen shot with the lower rate, but have yet to hear back. .
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Old Sep 23, 11, 5:54 pm
  #85  
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They're backpedaling quickly. This guarantee will be dead in a matter of weeks. Who would have thought that people would actually use it?

I've had a number of bizarre email exchanges; these agents seem to be very poorly trained, misinterpret the terms, refer claims to the hotel, and seem to be lacking basic internet-use skills. No matter how valid a claim is, the most likely initial response is, "good for you, but we're not gonna approve that. Go away."

It's easy to find lower competing rates; with a bit of effort you can probably find one for any hotel. The problem is finding one that will satisfy the rules and then playing agent roulette to get someone who actually approves a claim.

A lot of people will be disappointed by this "guarantee," and it'll be a nightmare for IHG. There will be upset customers, credit card chargebacks of nonrefundable rates, BBB complaints, Attorney Generals investigating, accusations of deceptive advertising, etc etc. All because whoever came up with this at IHG didn't pause for 5 minutes and think, hey, why don't I go online and see if I can find cheaper rates for some of our hotels? And how much is this gonna cost us, and who will pay for it? It really boggles the mind!
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Old Sep 23, 11, 6:02 pm
  #86  
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BlueDog, where in the terms and conditions does it say that some hotels are not participating or have the right to opt out???

If so, is there a list, anyone???

Last edited by NJUPINTHEAIR; Sep 24, 11 at 7:50 am
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Old Sep 23, 11, 6:24 pm
  #87  
 
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Originally Posted by NJUPINTHEAIR View Post
BlueDog, where in the terms and conditions does it say that some hotels are not participating or have the right to opt our???

If so, is there a list, anyone???
That's why I e-mailed back for a clarification. No response yet. There is this clause about hotels in China:

For hotels in Greater China, bed type and smoking preference is not guaranteed and not applicable for comparison for the purposes of the Guarantee.
BTW, what does this mean exactly? If all bed types on ihg.com are the same price, and all bed types on the third party site are the same price, but lower than ihg.com, then the claim should be valid. That's how I interpret it.
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Old Sep 23, 11, 6:42 pm
  #88  
 
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Hotel companies want all bookings to go through them to maximise their revenue and minimise commission being syphoned off by third parties. That I am sure is why many stopped giving loyalty points and elite benefits to guests who didn't book through the company channels.
They almost certainly have conditions in their contracts with their hotels that the hotel will make the lowest public rate available for booking via the company website and there would be a penalty if the hotel does not do this.
The whole point of BRGs is not about rewarding customers its about punishing non-complying hotels. The only logic behind IHG making their BRG more beneficial to us is that its industry standard BRG of a discount of 10% off any better rate we find was not achieving its goal -ie wiping out instances of hotels providing lower rates to 3rd party sites. So it gives us a bigger carrot to notify it of hotels that are non-compliant with their management contract, so IHG can whack them over the head with this bigger stick.
IHG must have been seeing that there was no increase in the % of bookings coming through its portals despite the 10% discount BRG and surmised that the lower rate was not sufficient deterrent to the hotels to provide lower rates elsewhere.
Of course for this new deterrent to work IHG have to have a management contract that does allow them to penalise the hotels in this way and have to be prepared to put up with some short-term flack from the hotels. But they will only get this flack if the penalty is hurting the hotels and if it hurts the hotels and IHG sticks with it then the hotels will fall into line. Otherwise they will keep losing revenue. When the penalty of giving away all these free nights outweighs the benefit the hotels feel they get from offering lower rates on 3rd party websites they will stop doing it and IHG will have achieved its aim (and we the consumers in the long term will be worse off, with less choice and less competition regretting that we were the instruments that IHG used to destroy this competition for the paltry recompense of a few free nights )

All the problems that people are reporting are problems of implementation of the policy. IHG won't achieve its aim by allowing hotels free choice as to whether they will participate or not although some individual hotel contracts might allow individual hotels to not participate. The BRG desk may even actively look for reasons to deny the claim but behind the scenes I'm sure each claim we make (accepted or rejected) results in a compliance team contacting the hotel and asking why they are selling rooms on cheaphotels.com for less than the rate on priorityclub.com. As I said before this is not motivated by wanting to reward us but by wanting to increase hotel group revenue - if they can do that with us acting as police but only paying one in 5 of us, they would much prefer to do it that way.

The only way that this is not going to work or be withdrawn is if the feedback they are getting from the hotels makes them seriously believe that they are going to drive a significant number of hotels to consider branding with another hotel group.

Its up to us to hold them to the Ts&Cs that they publish.

All of the above of course is solely opinion with no inside knowledge of what is going on
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Old Sep 23, 11, 9:44 pm
  #89  
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This is a marketing promotion that has massive email campaign to every PC member who has allowed email communication.

So far from what is reported, in all reality this is a DECEPTIVE ADVERTISEMENT.

If I have invested some time to look for the BRG and being denied by some ridiculous reasons, in particularly, the hotel does not participate, the hotel refuse to honor it. ... No where in the T&Cs have mentioned about a list of non-participating properties, 2) hotel has discretion to accept or reject the BRG request. This is like Bait and Switch. I would contact the Consumer's Affair dept of my State's AG office if such happens to me.
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Old Sep 24, 11, 12:22 am
  #90  
 
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All in all my current experience with this guarantee that I consider the execution of it a cumbersome process. So far I have a total of ten claims since September 20th, when I became aware of the new guarantee, and I have excactly three cases where the process has been completed. All other claims currently hang in a limbo in various states, including one claim for a stay for this sunday where the hotel has modified the reservation to 15% off in response of an accepted claim and where two eMails to IHG after discovering that have so far been unanswered...

Greetings - Dirk
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