You travel right? Yeah, most of us do. And like most of us, you probably want to find a way to cut costs as much as you can. One place where it’s worth a look? Hotels and their “lowest rate guarantees."
How Lowest Rate Guarantees Work
See, a hotel would much rather you book directly through their website than a third party website like Expedia or Priceline. Why? Because if you book a room through somebody else’s site, the hotel has to shell out a cut to the website for doing work for them, and it adds up to a decent amount of money. Because of this, the hotel’s official website usually has the lowest rates. But sometimes, they don’t. And if you can track down a lower rate and alert the hotel about it, the hotel will often times award you the lower rate, and hook you up on top of that.
Let’s take a hypothetical vacation to Las Vegas. I pick Las Vegas because almost all of the major hotels let you cancel your reservations up to three days before arrival for a full refund, but always double check the fine print!
Say you wanted to stay at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. So, after a little research, you find that the Cosmopolitan is part of the Marriott system of hotels. Marriott has a best rate guarantee (they call “Look No Further”) that states if you find a lower rate on a third party website, they’ll honor the lower rate and kick 25% off the entire stay for you, as long as you book through them.
So, before booking at the Cosmopolitan, check around and see if you can find a lower nightly rate. If you can, book the Cosmopolitan via the Marriott website, submit the lower rate to Marriott’s “Look No Further” offer via their online claim form, and watch as your trip drops possibly hundreds of dollars.
Some Quick Things to Remember When Price Matching
A few things to remember:
- You don't need to book anything on the third party website showing a lower rate. You simply need to be able to prove it exists and is bookable (you may not be able to cancel without penalty on third party websites).
- The hotel will almost always use nightly rates, pre tax, not including any extra fees (like resort fees...those pesky resort fees).
- You must submit a lower rate claim within 24 hours of booking. Some places let you submit multiple claims as long as it’s within the 24 hour period.
- You must be booking the exact same room on the exact same dates, and it will usually need to be a basic booking, meaning if the third party website is offering free breakfast or some other perk, it may be grounds to deny your claim.
- Get creative with your rate searches! As long as you account for the exchange rates, you can find lower rates in British Pounds, Euros, Aussie Dollars, whatever (I’ve price matched to Indian websites before).
|Hotel Brand||"Lowest Rate Guarantee" Policy|
Honors the lower rate and kicks 10% off (pre tax).
Honors the lower rate and gives you $50 off.
Honors the lower rate and gives you a free night.
Honors the lower rate and kicks 25% off (pre-tax).
Honors the lower rate and gives you the first night free.
Sweet deals, huh?
So do a few minutes of research and find out if that hotel you are springing for guarantees they have the lowest rate. If they do, there’s a good chance you can spend more money on the things that matter on your vacation, rather than where you’re laying your head at night.