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New IHG Best Rate Guarantee - Discussion & Feedback from January 2016

New IHG Best Rate Guarantee - Discussion & Feedback from January 2016

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Old Apr 17, 17, 12:50 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: FLYGVA
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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


Older Thread (Prior to December 31, 2016) could be found here. The Wiki was taken from this thread.
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Old Jan 23, 16, 10:18 am
  #76  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
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I got the same message as yerffej201 just now.
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Old Jan 23, 16, 6:41 pm
  #77  
 
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Originally Posted by JDavis625 View Post
And this was since they began reinterpreting the terms and conditions recently?
yeah 2 3 days ago
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Old Jan 23, 16, 7:20 pm
  #78  
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Originally Posted by yerffej201 View Post
Perhaps still YMMV depending on the agent you get, but I'm getting the you must have booked the lowest rate too:



Unfortunate.
same here.
Looking in London, it's easy to find sites that include breakfast with lower rates. Tried to claim that and was denied as best flex w/o breakfast is cheaper, even though the rates with breakfast are cheaper than any ihg rates...
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Old Jan 24, 16, 12:56 pm
  #79  
 
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Originally Posted by yerffej201 View Post
Perhaps still YMMV depending on the agent you get, but I'm getting the you must have booked the lowest rate too:
I got this and also a few other ridiculous excuses today. Some are just made up by their desk. I hope it is only a snap-shot

We have attempted to access the rates on XXX and were able to locate the lower rate being claimed. However, we also found out that the prices shown in XXX apply for Portuguese nationality of customers or legal residence in Portugal. This was indicated on the website’s Terms and Conditions.
We have verified the website XXX and were able to locate the corresponding rates for your stay. However, we found out that the website cannot guarantee the reservations as it was stated on their terms and condition that all hotel prices are subject to availability and offers may be withdrawn or amended at any time without prior notification.
The site you found, XXX, is invalid since it does not give automatic confirmation of the reservation. This information was verified by the said website.
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Old Jan 24, 16, 1:35 pm
  #80  
 
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It seems in recent weeks the interpretation changed. Or maybe there is a totally new BPG terms & conditions coming soon and they are already working at the helpdesk with these?
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Old Jan 25, 16, 10:54 pm
  #81  
 
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Got a response in 7 hours, denied. I took the cheapest room type, 12 bucks cheaper on hotels.com....cancellable rate VS cancellable rate, and they denied, saying they had a lower rate with the prepaid rate (actually it wasn't, still 6 bucks more than flexible rate on hotels.com)
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Old Jan 26, 16, 2:12 am
  #82  
 
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Originally Posted by hook13 View Post
Got a response in 7 hours, denied. I took the cheapest room type, 12 bucks cheaper on hotels.com....cancellable rate VS cancellable rate, and they denied, saying they had a lower rate with the prepaid rate (actually it wasn't, still 6 bucks more than flexible rate on hotels.com)
You'll have to book the non-refundable rate and then probably BRG team will use another bogus reason to deny your claim.
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Old Jan 26, 16, 9:10 am
  #83  
 
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Originally Posted by JDavis625 View Post
I'm not trying to give IHG any ideas, but I'm surprised they haven't limited BRG claims to the cheapest room type yet. But yeah, not allowing breakfast rates is ridiculous when they're offered on the competing sites.
IHG can't and won't introduce such a room type limitation to entry level rooms in each hotel, as whole point of guarantee is to encourage booking of rooms on IHG earning avenues and to have guests not book via an OTA which means no commission on room rate to IHG corporate

If or As soon as, such a limitation is introduced all non basic rooms will be better booked by guests on OTA's resulting in a massive revenue loss to IHG corporation from resulting lost commission
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Old Jan 27, 16, 2:54 pm
  #84  
 
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Originally Posted by scubaccr View Post
IHG can't and won't introduce such a room type limitation to entry level rooms in each hotel, as whole point of guarantee is to encourage booking of rooms on IHG earning avenues and to have guests not book via an OTA which means no commission on room rate to IHG corporate

If or As soon as, such a limitation is introduced all non basic rooms will be better booked by guests on OTA's resulting in a massive revenue loss to IHG corporation from resulting lost commission
Why do you think IHG don't earn on OTA bookings? They primarily operate a franchise model, and franchise fees are usually revenue based, not channel-dependent.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 2:58 pm
  #85  
 
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Originally Posted by scubaccr View Post
If or As soon as, such a limitation is introduced all non basic rooms will be better booked by guests on OTA's
It's all happening.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 3:04 pm
  #86  
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Originally Posted by Oaxaca View Post
Why do you think IHG don't earn on OTA bookings? They primarily operate a franchise model, and franchise fees are usually revenue based, not channel-dependent.
The money that goes to the OTA website in commissions doesn't go to the IHG website in commissions. And since each company has to GROW and GROW and GROW, they decided they HAVE to HAVE that MONEY as well

HTB.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 5:23 pm
  #87  
 
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Originally Posted by htb View Post
The money that goes to the OTA website in commissions doesn't go to the IHG website in commissions. And since each company has to GROW and GROW and GROW, they decided they HAVE to HAVE that MONEY as well

HTB.
Most of that unpaid commission on direct bookings goes to the hotel, not the chain (who get their franchise fee anyway). Not that I am underestimating the greed of the chain, they love any model where the customer pays the property directly (whether direct or via third party distribution), as it increases franchise fees.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 10:24 pm
  #88  
 
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Haven't read the whole thread but based on the wiki and prior experience this seems like a new interpretation to me.

Found a substantially cheaper (over $100) rate on Priceline than on IHG. Booked the IHG rate and was initially denied because Priceline allowed me until midnight 2 days prior to check-in to cancel while IHG required 6 PM three days prior and thus the cancellation terms didn't "match." I pointed out that the OTA's terms were actually more customer-friendly by 6 hours and asked for reconsideration. After a full week, a "Senior Case Manager" wrote back and said since the cancellation terms did not match exactly, the claim is denied.

This is obviously against the spirit of the program, but based on the other interpretations it seems the focus of the BRG desk has shifted to denying claims rather than increasing IHG channel bookings.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 4:34 am
  #89  
 
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I've submitted two claims for an Executive Room with Breakfast at the Intercontinental London Park Lane. They have both been rejected, despite quite a bit of back and forth by email, and even after my request for the claim to be reviewed by a supervisor.

I had a claim approved in December for a Best Available Rate with Breakfast.

So it seems that no more rates with breakfast are going to be allowed. :-(

Here some extracts from their replies:

A lower room rate was found offered on the IHG website for the same room type booked based on the details found for the reservation on your claim. The Terms and Conditions require that the claim be for “a valid room booking with the lowest available price (room rate)” on the IHG website. The lower room rate was found for the same reservation details including, but not limited to: room type, check-in date, number of guests, number of nights.

Lower Rate Details: Best Flexible Rate
Room Type: Executive Room
Room Rate: 420.00 GBP
Please allow me to explain the result provided to you by the previous agent who have corresponded with you. When verifying claims for the program, agents would look for a lower rate which matches the reservation which you submitted to us. A lower room rate was found offered on the IHG website for the same room type booked based on the details found for the reservation on your claim. The Terms and Conditions require that the claim be for “a valid room booking with the lowest available price (room rate)” on the IHG website. The lower room rate was found for the same reservation details including, but not limited to: room type, check-in date, number of guests, number of nights.

Please be advised that the program requires a reservation to be booked under the lowest best available rate on IHG website in order to proceed with the verification. Upon checking, a Best Flexible Rate was available for the selected room type thus, the reservation was not booked under lowest best available rate. This resulted in the agent relaying that the claim did not qualify for the Guarantee.
Per the program Terms and Conditions, to be eligible for a Valid Claim a guest must: “Complete a valid room booking with the lowest available price (room rate) on any IHG website for any IHG branded hotel using the ‘Best Available Rate Search.’”

It has come to our attention that some previous claims were deemed “valid” contrary to the intent of this statement. All previously awarded claims will remain “valid” and will be honored in full by IHG and our hotels. However, we will continue to uphold this portion of the Terms and Conditions moving forward.
We understand that you booked the lowest rate with breakfast for the selected room type on IHG website and viewed a lower rate on the third-party site which prompted you to file for the Best Price Guarantee and we know how frustrating the result of the verification was. However, we hope you understand that all Terms and Conditions of the program must be met before we extend the Guarantee to your reservation.

Please allow us to explain that reservations booked under the lowest best available rate for the selected room type regardless of the package inclusion and cancellation policy is a requirement of the Terms and Conditions in order to proceed with the verification process. In your case, the lowest best available rate for the selected room type is under Best Flexible Rate (Room Only). This resulted in the agent relaying that the claim did not qualify for the Guarantee.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 7:27 am
  #90  
 
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Originally Posted by JDavis625 View Post
For what it's worth, I submitted a claim today for an IC property which was denied because I booked with breakfast (even though the competing website offered the same room with breakfast cheaper) instead of the lowest, base rate (without breakfast).

So maybe they're eliminating breakfast packages from qualifying under their new BPG 2.0 interpretation of the rules?
It seems to be even worse than that. I've tried to submit a valid claim 3 times now, each time I booked with the best flexible rate. And each time they said:

"A lower room rate was found offered on the IHG website for the same room type booked based on the details found for the reservation on your claim. The Terms and Conditions require that the claim be for “a valid room booking with the lowest available price (room rate)” on the IHG website. The lower room rate was found for the same reservation details including, but not limited to: room type, check-in date, number of guests, number of nights.

Lower Rate Details: Book Early & Save - Advance Purchase"

Keep in mind, i did not book any special packages or even include breakfast, this is simply the best flexible rate, the lowest rate available with free cancellation.
I rarely ever reply to the BPG email's because I find arguing with them useless, but after my 3rd attempt and getting the same comment regarding booking the lowest rate, i decided to reply.
I stated that although the advance rate is lower, it is non-refundable and therefore does not match the terms of the price im claiming on the competing site. and to please revisit my claim and note that I booked the best flexible rate with free cancellation.

My reply from BPG:

"Thank you for contacting IHG’s Best Price Guarantee Helpdesk with regard to your claim decision.

Per the program Terms and Conditions, to be eligible for a Valid Claim a guest must: “Complete a valid room booking with the lowest available price (room rate) on any IHG website for any IHG branded hotel using the ‘Best Available Rate Search.’” It has come to our attention that some previous claims were deemed “valid” contrary to the intent of this statement. All previously awarded claims will remain “valid” and will be honored in full by IHG and our hotels. However, we will continue to uphold this portion of the Terms and Conditions moving forward. "

So what's going on here? Have they changed their policy? According to their website terms it still looks like you have to match the refundable or non-refundable rate. Although their first statement says:

"Book. Complete a valid room booking with the lowest available price (room rate) on any IHG website for any IHG branded hotel using the “Best Available Rate Search.” A “valid room booking” means a complete booking with a valid form of payment."

Is this a new term?

BPG may be dead if this is the new rule, since you'll never be able to book a room with free cancellation.
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