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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 28, 16, 10:58 am
  #91  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Amsterdam, Asia, UK
Programs: IHG RA (Spire), HH Diamond, MR Platinum, SQ Gold, KLM Gold, BAEC Gold
Posts: 5,044
If IHG changes interpretation of their existing text as outlined in above few posts today+yesterday then. end result is the only IHG site room you can book and try to match against an OTA will be

A)lowest category room type available
without any addons
B)mostly only on ADR as that will usually be available until very near day if stay
but in last 7-14 days not unusual to have some hotels only offering flex rates
C)whether ADR/Flex needs you sign on as a member for booking the slightly discounted @Rewards rate

As such the IHG advertised headline promise for BPG is at a minimum extremely misleading and in UK at least , IHG. would be banned from using slogan and possibly fined


Although a strong word, I would lean towards calling the advertising slogan to be "fraudulent" as booking any specific room that is available with advertised BPG price security is no longer possible
scubaccr is offline  
Old Jan 28, 16, 2:14 pm
  #92  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: YVR, ZRH
Programs: *G
Posts: 6,367
The fact that I HAVE to book a non-refundable rate if available to even submit a BRG is so irritating... I have a cheaper rate for a fantastic intercontinental I think I SHOULD win, but I just dont wanna risk being stuck with a 450USD room if it fails. I'll just keep checking and hope the prepaid rate on IHG disappears...
Smiley90 is offline  
Old Jan 28, 16, 2:24 pm
  #93  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Belgium
Programs: Gold Star Alliance,IHG Spire Ambassador, Starwood, Hilton Honor Diamond, Silver Accor, Diamond Hyatt
Posts: 68
I can tell you that I have the same issue.

They deny claim if you compare a best flexible rate with breakfast...
Also an advance rate with breakfast is denied.

Because you don't book the lowEST rate... which means without breakfast...

If I remember in the past months they were denying claim when I was comparing a best flexible rate with an other rate even there was no prepaid available on IHG.
It was like that for some weeks than it was working normal.

So maybe at this moment there are too much valid claims so they reduce it by applying the terms strictly.
Lotfi070 is offline  
Old Jan 28, 16, 2:44 pm
  #94  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 287
Originally Posted by redbirdsj View Post
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.
Following up on this post since I received further correspondence from a "Subject Matter Expert." The person did indeed confirm that the terms had to match exactly:

Firstly, I would like to thank you for allowing me additional time to review the details of your case. I do understand the points you have raised in your emails and it was certainly not the intention of our department to deny your claim. At the same time, please know that to the Guarantee requires that all the Terms and Conditions be adhered to. In comparing cancellation policies, the third-party website should have equal deadline conditions in order to qualify.
I tried to point out the mixed marketing message being sent here: we want you to book on our site, but if you find better terms elsewhere, we won't give our BRG. It was lost on them and this is the third level of escalation that's confirmed that this is their (apparently new) policy.
redbirdsj is offline  
Old Jan 28, 16, 2:58 pm
  #95  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 808
Originally Posted by redbirdsj View Post
Following up on this post since I received further correspondence from a "Subject Matter Expert." The person did indeed confirm that the terms had to match exactly:



I tried to point out the mixed marketing message being sent here: we want you to book on our site, but if you find better terms elsewhere, we won't give our BRG. It was lost on them and this is the third level of escalation that's confirmed that this is their (apparently new) policy.
Which hotel are you trying to BRG? What some don't realize here (or many don't) is that different hotels are now being held to different policies for BRG by the BRG team. An example are all intercontinental alliance hotels follow the rules exactly as written (which explains denials like yours), most likely due to pushback from them on the program. It seems they have more flexibility with fully controlled IHG hotels/brands.
FlyingHigh20 is offline  
Old Jan 28, 16, 3:38 pm
  #96  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 44
Originally Posted by scoobybpc View Post
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.
I hope IHG is reading this - your BRG program is at best false marketing, and at worst a mis-representation / fraud.

Of course IHG is free to define the scope of BRG, however there should be clear indication on the booking page which price is eligible for BRG, and which is not. It certainly felt like the only price to be considered for BRG is the absolute lowest price for a particular room, irrespective of cancellation / meal / package.

By putting a BRG banner on every booking page IHG is giving false impression to general consumers that ALL PRICES are guranteed to be the lowest.
If this is not false marketing I don't know what is.

If IHG thinks this is a good way to conduct their business I genuinely hope someone will challenge them at FTC or the court of law. Seriously.
lhwjud is offline  
Old Jan 28, 16, 3:41 pm
  #97  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Belgium
Programs: Gold Star Alliance,IHG Spire Ambassador, Starwood, Hilton Honor Diamond, Silver Accor, Diamond Hyatt
Posts: 68
I've tried Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental and all denied for same reason.

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.

I booked cheapest room and rate and always same sentence... I don't understand.

Let's wait some weeks...
Lotfi070 is offline  
Old Jan 28, 16, 3:46 pm
  #98  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 287
Originally Posted by FlyingHigh20 View Post
Which hotel are you trying to BRG? What some don't realize here (or many don't) is that different hotels are now being held to different policies for BRG by the BRG team. An example are all intercontinental alliance hotels follow the rules exactly as written (which explains denials like yours), most likely due to pushback from them on the program. It seems they have more flexibility with fully controlled IHG hotels/brands.
Yes, it is an Intercontinental Alliance hotel (the Venentian). That explains it, though the correspondence with BRG never mentioned the different treatment.
redbirdsj is offline  
Old Jan 28, 16, 4:19 pm
  #99  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 808
Originally Posted by redbirdsj View Post
Yes, it is an Intercontinental Alliance hotel (the Venentian). That explains it, though the correspondence with BRG never mentioned the different treatment.
Bingo. That's it. Those two hotels (Palazzo/Venetian), I believe, probably complained the most loudly about the program. The BRG team doesn't know how to explain why they're applying a different set of rules to those hotels, but the reality is the direction they've been given is that per the rules of their branding agreement, they can only give away free rooms based on the exact terms as agreed upon when their contract between Sands and IHG was signed, even though it goes against the spirit of the program. This has essentially killed the BRG opportunities for these two properties.

Ironically, the Sands group has their own BRG program for the Venetian/Palazzo, but it is far less generous than IHG's.
FlyingHigh20 is offline  
Old Jan 28, 16, 5:47 pm
  #100  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 467
Yes, since Aug '15 IC LAS hotels cancellation policies have to match 100% even when adv. saver fare is gone and bestflex is the only left one available.
So you either
a) book and claim an adv.saver fare
b) book best flex and find an OTA that hast 100% same cancellation policy which is VERY rare


As of their BPG t&cs:
Almost any European state has their own consumer protection agency, you can report to them about false advertising from the IHG website.
In the U.S. you can report them to the: bbb.org but they don't have nearly as much power as cons. protec.agencies in Western Europe.


All in all I'm more than happy that I claimed all my bookings for the Q1+Q2 already incl. breakfast
Its f* up that even as RA Spire you don't even get a free breakfast or lounge access guarenteed (Hilton/Hyatt)
fuyao is offline  
Old Jan 29, 16, 1:42 am
  #101  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Amsterdam, Asia, UK
Programs: IHG RA (Spire), HH Diamond, MR Platinum, SQ Gold, KLM Gold, BAEC Gold
Posts: 5,044
One issue here is historically until circa 12months ago there was no tickbox on ihg.com room selection to add breakfast to individual chosen flex or bar rooms. The website redesign , I think Dec2014 introduced these tick boxes for b/f

Previously the b/f rate was a full extra room type for b/f, just like we still have separate lines for twin/double/std(well alloc on arrival) blocks for each room type.

As such hotels that dumped/sold non-returnable blocks of discounted rooms to OTAs offering b/f simply had to not offer a b/f bookable line on IHG.COM to avoid BPG claims.

This arrangement went out the window with website changes in Nov/Dec2014 and no doubt many hotels started getting numerous BPGs by BPGers ticking the b/f box to then compare like b/f rate with OTA and win a free night

To be honest I am really surprised it has taken IHG this long to react and stop this newer practise of ticking ihg.com b/f tickboxes to win a free BPG night/stay

However blocking claims for non-entry level rooms, eg Exec/Club/Suite is disingenious to say the least and unwarranted.

It was always just a question of time until repeat BPGers booking only single night stays killed this "Golden Goose" due to booking BPGs multiple times per year and also booking either or both
a)only bpg claiming single night stays.
b)only bpg nights and never paid nights
c)booking bpg at far more costly nightly room rates than they book if paying themselves
d)booking same hotel under bpg multiple times

Maybe IHG should follow other chains now with rate matching an $50 off for a fairer system, that hotels will more likely accept lost revenues on. Such system also stops claims by those BPGers who book 500 rooms for BPG claims when only making paid stays at say upto 100 night.
For those booking suites as a matter of course on many stays BPGs such a BPG system would still be worthwhile.

Last edited by scubaccr; Jan 29, 16 at 1:53 am
scubaccr is offline  
Old Jan 29, 16, 7:20 am
  #102  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 115
Thumbs down

Originally Posted by scubaccr View Post

However blocking claims for non-entry level rooms, eg Exec/Club/Suite is disingenious to say the least and unwarranted.
Its not a matter of them blocking claims for higher rooms, its that they're blocking claims that are anything other than the lowest possible price for that room (it can still be a non-base room though). Unfortunately the non-refundable rate is almost always there, and some hotels even run "special" non-refundable rates right up to the day before.

As someone else here mentioned, they need to make this a lot more clear if this is how theyre going to start interpreting their terms. For example when I book any room, rate, etc, on the confirmation page and email it clearly says in a big logo "Best Price Guarantee..."

First off, if the rate I booked is not eligible, then they shouldnt be linking me or advertising on my confirmation that if I find a better rate, theyve got a guarantee. Second of all, they should be clearly calling out in the rates which ones are eligible for BRG BEFORE I book. Right now when I goto the booking page on any rate it advertises I'm getting the best rate, guaranteed.

I think IHG has been really generous with this program, and if they're changing it then so be it - but they have to make that clear! Because right now its very deceiving
scoobybpc is offline  
Old Jan 29, 16, 12:37 pm
  #103  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 84
New situation to me, has anyone had previous experience with this?:

I had a BRG stay last Sunday which was not adjusted prior to my arrival. As per my past experiences and all accounts that I've read, this should result in a check automatically being mailed within 3-4 weeks after the stay.

Just a few minutes ago, however, I received an email from the BPG department saying that since they were unable to adjust my stay (five days ago) that they would reimburse me through a bank transfer. The email goes on to ask for the "guest information" (my name and mailing address), my bank's information and address, and then my bank account and routing numbers.

Has anyone had this experience in the past?

Update: Right before posting this I messaged back that I wasn't comfortable sending my banking information through unsecured email and asked to be reimbursed via check. Within minutes they responded back that they would be mailing a check to my address on file.
JDavis625 is offline  
Old Jan 29, 16, 3:50 pm
  #104  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: N/A
Programs: 100m swimming certificate level 5
Posts: 1,448
Originally Posted by JDavis625 View Post
New situation to me, has anyone had previous experience with this?:

I had a BRG stay last Sunday which was not adjusted prior to my arrival. As per my past experiences and all accounts that I've read, this should result in a check automatically being mailed within 3-4 weeks after the stay.

Just a few minutes ago, however, I received an email from the BPG department saying that since they were unable to adjust my stay (five days ago) that they would reimburse me through a bank transfer. The email goes on to ask for the "guest information" (my name and mailing address), my bank's information and address, and then my bank account and routing numbers.

Has anyone had this experience in the past?

Update: Right before posting this I messaged back that I wasn't comfortable sending my banking information through unsecured email and asked to be reimbursed via check. Within minutes they responded back that they would be mailing a check to my address on file.
its normal.
mitpat474 is offline  
Old Jan 30, 16, 1:47 pm
  #105  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 808
Originally Posted by mitpat474 View Post
its normal.
Normal for Non-US residents. Anybody living in the US should only be offered checks; rather odd that it happened in that instance but it sounds like it was quickly fixed.
FlyingHigh20 is offline  

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