In part one of this guide, I explained the terms and conditions of the IHG Best Price Guarantee. As you can see from that post, there are quite a few hoops to jump through, but if you’re claim is successful then you will have a free first night and perhaps a lower nightly rate for the rest of your stay.
This second part discusses how to find lower rates and describes one of my recent IHG Best Price Guarantee claims.
Finding A Lower Rate In The United States
Remember one of the many rules of the IHG Best Price Guarantee is that the competing site has to quote in the same currency as the IHG website. Before searching competing sites, you should always look at IHG.com to see what currency they are quoting in. There is no hard rule for whether or not they use the local currency, so you have to look.
In the United States this isn’t as much of a problem since you will always be looking at U.S. Dollars. There are countless hotel sites that you can search that will quote in USD. I generally use the Kayak search engine to compare price across many sites at once.
The main reason I use Kayak is its ability to sort the results by brand. Lets take a look at how this works.
1. Go to www.kayak.com
2. Enter in your location and dates then click “Find Hotels”.
3. On the left side, find the “Hotel Name” search area. Start typing in “Intercontinental” then click “All InterContinental Brands”. (If you are only looking for a specific IHG brand like Holiday Inn, then you can type it in this box instead.)
4. You will now see the rates of all IHG hotels in the area. Note that you often have to click through to the different hotel booking sites to get accurate rates. I have found that they are not always up to date.
5. Compare the rates on Kayak and the various sites with what is listed on IHG.com
Note: You can also use other hotel search engines like Hipmunk or go to travel sites like Orbitz or Expedia directly. The choice is yours. I find that starting with Kayak saves a lot of time.
Finding A Lower Rate In Other Countries
While finding sites that quote in the local currency in North America & Europe is usually easy, when you are booking a hotel in a smaller country it can be downright hard. Remember that going to a site like Expedia.com which quotes you in USD will not work for a hotel in Singapore where IHG quotes in Singaporean dollars for example.
Tips for finding foreign hotel booking sites
- Some sites like Expedia have local versions. For example expedia.com.sg is their Singapore site. It quotes in SGD which matches IHG.com therefore it is a valid competing site.
- Use the local version of Google to search for hotel booking sites. For example in Singapore you could search for hotel sites on google.com.sg
- Flyertalk has a great thread all about the IHG Best Price Guarantee. People often post there with what sites they have had success with in different areas. It is also a great resource to get any questions you have answered.
My Recent Booking & Successful IHG Best Price Guarantee Claim
I have an upcoming stay in Singapore for one night. I will be arriving around 10pm and flying out at 8pm the next night. One of the first things I do when booking stays is search the various hotel brands site’s to see what properties they have in each city. Immediately I saw that the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is located inside the terminal. With my late arrival this hotel was ideal.
At this point I searched around for a few sites that quote in Singaporean Dollars. For the record, I always check for the possibility of a Best Price Guarantee claim when I am looking at IHG hotels. Most of the time the prices are the same across all websites, but once in awhile they are not. After consulting the Flyertalk thread, I found several booking sites including hotels.zuji.com.sg All of the other sites had the same price as IHG.com, except for Zuji which was quite a bit lower!
The only issue I found was that the cancellation date on Zuji was different than the IHG website. When booking a refundable rate on IHG.com I had until the check-in date to cancel the reservation. Zuji was making me cancel two days before check-in to get a full refund. Since I am weary to book a nonrefundable rate on the hopes of getting a claim accepted, I decided to take a different strategy.
I booked a fully refundable rate and submitted the claim. Since Zuji’s rate was lower than even IHG’s nonrefundable rate, I hoped that they would accept my IHG Best Price Guarantee claim. After filling out the form with all of the relevant information, I waited about 8 hours and received a response. They denied my claim because of the discrepancy in cancellation dates.
I quickly emailed IHG back and pleaded that Zuji’s rate was still lower than the nonrefundable rate and thus the Best Price Guarantee should be honored. They responded that yes it was lower, but since I didn’t book that rate, they couldn’t accept my claim. Essentially they all but told me that if I had booked the nonrefundable rate that my claim would be accepted.
At this point I simply canceled the first reservation and booked a new one with a nonrefundable rate. It was a bit of a leap of faith considering the $250 USD price tag, but I felt comfortable enough with what they said in their responses to me. This time it only took about four hours for them to write back that my IHG Best Price Guarantee claim was accepted.
By submitting the claim the way I did, I was ultimately able to get more information which lead to my claim being accepted. Once I knew the exact issues they had with my claim, I fixed them. After getting burned on a claim last year, I was scared to book the nonrefundable rate, but it worked out in the end.
By taking some time to read the terms and conditions and finding the correct competing sites to search, you can save a lot of money by utilizing the IHG Best Price Guarantee. While I wouldn’t spend hours on every hotel booking looking for lower rates, it doesn’t hurt to spend a few minutes. Once you get a system in place for doing the search, it is a lot easier than it seems.
Also, remember to be cautious when booking nonrefundable rates. There may be something that you overlooked that will cause your claim to be denied. Only book the hotel on a nonrefundable rate if you are willing to pay for it if they deny your claim. I have learned from experience that it is nearly impossible to get them to change their mind if they deny you.
No matter how much you travel or where you like to stay, the IHG Best Price Guarantee is a great policy to know and understand. It certainly provides you the savvy points and miles traveler with another tool in your arsenal to travel longer for less!