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Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) 2015 : *now 20% off*; Success, failure & discussion thread

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Old Dec 29, 15, 2:19 pm   -   Wikipost
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What is the Best Rate Guarantee (BRG ?)
If a lower rate at a Starwood Hotel is made available on a non-Starwood website or non-Starwood mobile application, upon its receipt of a claim that satisfies these Best Rate Guarantee terms and conditions, Starwood will honor that Competing Rate and provide the individual that submitted the valid claim one of the following rewards: (1) an additional 20% discount off the Competing Rate per room per night (up to a maximum of three rooms); or (2) 2,000 Starwood Preferred Guest® Starpoints® per room per stay (up to a maximum of three rooms).

BRG Wiki on Flyertalk

• You cannot BRG against a rate on a Starwood Website/App (hot escapes, promos, Gov. Rate etc.). It has to be a 3rd party website/App.
• Cancellation policy has no bearing on a BRG claim with one exception if the rate difference is within 1%.
"Starwood may deny claims where the difference between the Competing Rate and the rate on the Starwood Website is less than one percent; provided that Starwood will not use the fact that the difference between the Competing Rate and the rate on the Starwood Website is less than one percent to deny such claims if the cancellation policy for the Competing Rate is more favorable to the guest than the cancellation policy for the rate on the Starwood Website."
• A valid Starwood website reservation is required to submit a BRG (only exception is when there is no availability on the Starwood website)
• Only one claim may be submitted per reservation number (If your first claim is denied, you may submit a new claim for that reservation if you find another lower rate after you receive the denial email)
• Make sure to book a flexible rate on SPG.com. This will allow you to then cancel this booking if you find a lower Starwood rate later (like the hot escapes etc.) or if your travel plans change.
• You can BRG with a flexible rate against a prepaid rate. In other words, if expedia is offering a room for $100 prepaid, and spg.com shows a prepaid room for $150 or a flexible room for $200, you can book the FLEXIBLE spg.com rate and BRG it against the PREPAID $100 expedia rate. And you will receive the flexible cancel terms if the BRG is approved.
• If your comparable rate includes extras like breakfast or parking, make sure there is a room available on spg.com that includes the exact amenities. If there is the same room type with the same amenities on SPG.com, they will compare and if lower on third party, the claim may be approved for the room type and with the amenities. If there is the same room type available but no/different amenities offered, the claim may still be approved, but the rate will be room only.
• Room types must be the same for a BRG.
• If you have an approved and finalized claim and you find an even cheaper rate later, then you may submit a new BRG claim that is not connected to any existing reservation. If this BRG claim is approved, you will need to make a new flexible reservation on SPG.com. Once the process is completed, you will then email the BRG desk to cancel your first reservation, if it is within the cancellation deadline.
• If you find availability for the room type you want on a third party website/app but there is no availability for that room type or no availability for any room type on the Starwood Website, then this may be an approved claim if it meets all other terms and conditions. You will need to make sure that you specify the room type you actually want on the Starwood Website section and enter 0 in the rate and currency. This will ensure that the processing associates know that the room type you want is not available on the Starwood Website. You may also add additional comments near the end of the claim form indicating that there is no availability on the Starwood Website to help clarify.

Differing currencies
• "The Best Rate Guarantee department will approve a claim if there is a difference of 2.5% or greater where the currencies are different or a difference of 1% or greater if the currencies are the same."

Link to T&C
https://www.starwoodhotels.com/bestrate/terms.html

Practicalities During/After Stay
• Reconfirm your rate at check-in; normally the hotel will have the correct BRG rate in your reservation, but sometimes you will need to remind them.
• If you choose points, they will be credited after the stay; check in one week to see if they have posted. If not contact the BRG office to arrange to have them posted.

How to add a SNA to a BRG reservation
• Log into your SPG account
• Click on your stays to view our your current reservation
• Look for your BRG reservation and click on "send confirmation" link for the BRG reservation
• reload the page and you should be able to now select "apply SNA to this stay" link
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Old Sep 13, 15, 10:54 am
  #1246
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,698
Well, I'm guessing that the new T&Cs are measures to improve response time.

Currently if you go by the no-reservation route, it takes a minimum of 4 steps -
1. submit BRG
2. have it processed and receive tentative approval by email
3. make reservation and reply to email agreeing to BRG terms
4. have it processed and receive confirmation

Maybe there are a significant number of submissions which end at #2 ie the guest never replies to the email for whatever reason.

If you go by the reservation-first route:
1. Make reservation and submit BRG
2. Have it processed and receive confirmation

So it immediately eliminates 1 processing step for the BRG team, and also hopefully cuts down on non-responders.
travelswithmyself is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 3:42 am
  #1247
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Programs: Marriott & SPG Plat, HH Diamond, Accor Plat, ex-Fairmont Plat, ex-Swissotel Eleva
Posts: 705
I think the BRG form should retain its old form for 1 possible exception:
When spg.com is sold out completely sold out (not just a particular room category), but a 3rd party website is still selling rooms for the hotel.

If we are required to have a confirmed reservation in order to file such a BRG, then this BRG cannot be filed at all (under the new rules) as there is no way to have any reservation on spg.com since it is completely sold out, and we cannot file BRG based on availability for 3rd party websites (and none for spg.com).
ZenWorld is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 5:09 am
  #1248
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Germany
Programs: SPG Plat., HHonors Diamond, Hyatt Diamond, IHG Plat., Accor Plat., IC Amb, Hertz #1 club, Sixt plat.
Posts: 355
Originally Posted by ZenWorld View Post
I think the BRG form should retain its old form for 1 possible exception:
When spg.com is sold out completely sold out (not just a particular room category), but a 3rd party website is still selling rooms for the hotel.

If we are required to have a confirmed reservation in order to file such a BRG, then this BRG cannot be filed at all (under the new rules) as there is no way to have any reservation on spg.com since it is completely sold out, and we cannot file BRG based on availability for 3rd party websites (and none for spg.com).
you can, please see post #1235
krausolany is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 5:10 am
  #1249
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Programs: SPG Plat, PCR Spire Amb, Hyatt Diamond, HH Diamond, MR Diamond, AA PLAT
Posts: 2,322
I for one will be using the BRG less than before, which will result, I suspect in fewer nights from me. Given the variability of the interpretation of the terms by the agents and the fact that rates from the competing provider may be pulled at any time, I will not be able to risk that the claim is denied when another chain has a similarly attractive offer. All my claims have been without an existing reservation. If I have to make a non-refundable reservation and then hope and prey for the competing rate to be matched, I am much more likely to book in a competing chain at a price I know will be honoured.

Maybe that's the whole point of the change though.
wobbly wings is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 6:44 am
  #1250
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,698
Originally Posted by wobbly wings View Post
If I have to make a non-refundable reservation and then hope and prey for the competing rate to be matched, I am much more likely to book in a competing chain at a price I know will be honoured.

Why would you have to make a non-refundable reservation?
travelswithmyself is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 7:35 am
  #1251
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Programs: SPG Plat, PCR Spire Amb, Hyatt Diamond, HH Diamond, MR Diamond, AA PLAT
Posts: 2,322
Originally Posted by travelswithmyself View Post
Why would you have to make a non-refundable reservation?
I assumed that being able to beat fully flexible rates on the same terms was going to be much harder. It'd be great if that were not the case. Sorry if that's been discussed earlier.

Last edited by wobbly wings; Sep 14, 15 at 7:54 am
wobbly wings is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 9:05 am
  #1252
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,698
Originally Posted by wobbly wings View Post
I assumed that being able to beat fully flexible rates on the same terms was going to be much harder. It'd be great if that were not the case. Sorry if that's been discussed earlier.

It's in the wiki at the top:

"Cancellation policy has no bearing on a BRG claim with one exception if the rate difference is within 1%. "

In other words, always book a flexible rate when submitting a BRG. It is not taken into account.

Unless it just so happens that you found a flexible rate that is just slightly cheaper than a prepaid rate. Only in this special case will the BRG team take into account the flexible vs prepaid - normally if the competing rate is less than 1% cheaper, it will be denied. But if it happens to have flexible terms and the SPG rate is prepaid or has cancellation penalties, then they will allow the claim to be processed even if the difference is less than 1%.

"Starwood may deny claims where the difference between the Competing Rate and the rate on the Starwood Website is less than one percent; provided that Starwood will not use the fact that the difference between the Competing Rate and the rate on the Starwood Website is less than one percent to deny such claims if the cancellation policy for the Competing Rate is more favorable to the guest than the cancellation policy for the rate on the Starwood Website."
travelswithmyself is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 9:38 am
  #1253
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Programs: SPG Plat, PCR Spire Amb, Hyatt Diamond, HH Diamond, MR Diamond, AA PLAT
Posts: 2,322
So we'll book a flexible rate on spg.com and any validation will be between the alternative provider and the lowest non-changeable rate available on spg.com at the time? Clearly they won't be comparing the flexible rate on the reservation to the non-flexible rate submitted...
wobbly wings is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 10:11 am
  #1254
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: BEG
Programs: LH FTL, EY Silver, SPG Gold
Posts: 2,098
Exactly.
gojko88 is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 10:16 am
  #1255
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,698
Originally Posted by wobbly wings View Post
So we'll book a flexible rate on spg.com and any validation will be between the alternative provider and the lowest non-changeable rate available on spg.com at the time? Clearly they won't be comparing the flexible rate on the reservation to the non-flexible rate submitted...
As someone else said... exactly.

Unless the difference is less than 1%, they just compare your rate and the absolute lowest rate on spg.com, promotions etc included. It doesn't have to be a non-flexible rate on spg.com. Just the very lowest. Though of course you hardly ever find a flexible rate lower than a prepaid rate. But it does happen.

Then they amend the actual rate when they approve it.

Only the rate is amended; the reservation retains it's flexibility or cancellation penalties, as the case may be. That does not change.
travelswithmyself is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 10:35 am
  #1256
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Programs: SPG Plat, PCR Spire Amb, Hyatt Diamond, HH Diamond, MR Diamond, AA PLAT
Posts: 2,322
If that's really how it will end up being, I have no issues at all with that!

Last edited by wobbly wings; Sep 14, 15 at 11:01 am
wobbly wings is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 12:03 pm
  #1257
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: LAX
Programs: UA 1K MM, AS MVPG, SPG PLAT 100
Posts: 1,284
Is anyone having difficulty with the claim form right now? I am unable to select a currency (and therefore, finalize the form) on either a Mac using Safari or a PC using IE.
KosherKimchee is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 12:09 pm
  #1258
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Programs: SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, UA, AA, DL, BA, CX
Posts: 435
I wasn't aware of the new requirement of needing a confirmed reservation. Sent in 3 claims this past weekend, 2 got denied due to this new rule, 1 was nice enough to allow me to book afterward like before. The good news is, the processing time were all within 12 hr. I resubmitted one this morning at around 10 and got approved in 3 hr. That's the fastest I've seen.

One problem though, I checked my reservation, hit "send confirmation" and refresh, but it still didn't allow me to view my full reservation. I guess I will have to phone in to apply Suite Night coupons.

Oh, I also found that I could not select the correct currency on the claim form when using google chrome, but was ok with IE. I tired them both on my laptop and office computer.

Last edited by ycc777; Sep 14, 15 at 12:14 pm
ycc777 is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 1:10 pm
  #1259
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: LHR
Programs: Accor PLT,Thai Silver, HH Dia, SPG PLT, TK Gold, M&M S, BA Silver, Hyatt Dia
Posts: 3,757
I have tried to BRG a rate found only when clicking through from Trivago but have had no luck. Do you enter the URL of the hotel site you find and explain in the notes to go via the search engine or what?
ExpatSomchai is offline  
Old Sep 14, 15, 1:28 pm
  #1260
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Programs: SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, UA, AA, DL, BA, CX
Posts: 435
Originally Posted by ExpatSomchai View Post
I have tried to BRG a rate found only when clicking through from Trivago but have had no luck. Do you enter the URL of the hotel site you find and explain in the notes to go via the search engine or what?
For me, after price comparison, I would open a new page going directly to the target booking site, putting the dates in, and making sure I get the same price. This eliminates the referral link from the price comparison website. That's the url I use for the claim form and has been successful.
ycc777 is offline  


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