Friday, May 16, 2008

How to file a Best Rate Guarantee Claim - The Newbies Guide

Many of you have asked me to do a lesson on the most basic of basics, the bare essentials, the starting point for a lifetime of free hotel rooms: How to file a Best Rate Guarantee Claim.

Finding a BRG Opportunity

Step 1: Start your search for a price inequality between WR and a competitor.
We provide links to the best tools for doing this on our front page.
Primarily search Kayak, in conjunction with a HotelsCombined search.


Click here for my last post on how to properly search Kayak/HotelsCombined for BRGs



Step 2: Search Kayak, and find a BRG

After searching Kayak, you seem to have found a BRG in Nashville, TN

Kayak shows a price difference, shown here:


$89 versus $100 is promising - let's check it out.

Step 3: Verify that the rate exists on the competitor site

Remember to click the specific hotel room type you want, all the way to the booking page.
This confirms that the rate exists and is bookable:

It shows up as "Standard Room" for $89.00.
This can be a problem for you if there is no mention of the room type you will recieve.
But, this one says "One King or Two Doubles".
Therefore, either of those room types will work based on the smoking preference
you specify (if you were to book on Hotels.com, that is).


Step 4: Compare competitor info to the Wyndham brand rates

Kayak will open the specific hotel and dates automatically for you, saving you time.

First, we need to find out which room types match up. This is the most important step.

This hotel has many room types, specifically:

5 x 1 King options (NS/S Standard, NS Handicapped, NS/S Executive)
3 x 2 Double Beds options (NS/S Standard, S Executive)
1 x 1 Double Bed option (NS Executive)

Hotels.com shows "Standard Room" - any executive/handicapped rooms are out.

Now, we have the following choices left:


2 x 1 King options (NS/S Standard)
2x 2 Double Beds options (NS/S Standard)

Both of these look like they'll work for a BRG claim (and I can verify that they do).

All of these rates go for higher rates than Hotels.com: $99.95/night.

We have a valid BRG. Now, what to do next?

Filing a Best Rate Guarantee Claim

Step 1: Book the room on the hotel brand website (eg. DaysInn.com)

Within Kayak, click the rate quote that Wyndham provided.
This will bring you to the booking page. Next, book the property as per normal on this page.

Make sure you book a Best Available Rate that (preferably) is REFUNDABLE.
If you do non-refundable, they cannot be refunded for any reason if the claim is denied.

Note the cancellation policy on the booking page:



Step 2: Go to the brand's claim form (check here for a list) and fill it out completely.
After filling out the form, click submit. You will see the following:



The Waiting Game

After filling out the claim form, you will have to wait.
Here are the approximate wait times.

On average, you will wait between 8 and 24 hours for a response.

This is in the form of
"If you file on this day.....Expect your claim to be answered by this day"

Saturday.........Monday AM
Sunday.....Monday PM
Monday AM.... Tuesday AM
Monday PM......Tuesday AM
Tuesday AM.....Wednesday AM
Tuesday PM...Wednesday AM
Wednesday AM......Wednesday PM
Wednesday PM.....Thursday AM
Thursday AM......Thursday PM
Thursday PM......Friday AM
Friday AM.....Friday PM
Friday PM......Monday AM


If they're late, don't worry - just do the following:

Late 24 hours from above times: Do nothing, give this extra day
Late 2 days from above times: Resubmit your claim, wash, rinse, repeat
Late 3 days from above times: Call and inquire
Late more than 7 days: Call and ask for a Supervisor.

Now, meet the claims staff. Get to know these names, they're only a few of them.
I won't post their full names here out of privacy/respect, but only their initials.
I'll order these in terms of honesty/tenure:

Very honest/reliable claim agents:

K.M.
D.W.
C.O.
B.T. (recently upgraded to the honest list!)

Agents with a notoriety of dishonesty:

A.S.
J.S.


I strongly suggest contacting a supervisor if you ever face problems with one of the latter. Sometimes things ARE YOUR FAULT, though, so don't always blame them.

If you are filing a valid claim, then you can raise some heck.
But, if there are problems with your claim, and you don't understand the rules, you won't win.

Your best bet: Know the rules, and know your rights.

If you found this lesson to be helpful, or need further clarification,
please feel free to email us!

26 comments:

Optix said...

The approximate wait times are missing....

Optix said...

Got shot down from BT....

Resubmitted, so we'll see.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

Thanks for pointing this out - something went wrong with the posting.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

I've changed the text sizes around so that everything shows up - sorry for confusing everyone

prabha said...

I filed a BRG claim Thursday. No responde till now (Friday AM). The rate is now gone. However I have screenshots. Is there a BRG phone number to call in?

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

That's way too long to not hear from them. I typically hear from them within 16 hours.

If you want to call, find the customer service number for the chain in question (eg. DaysInn). Make sure its customer service and not the reservations line. Then, ask for the "Best Rates" department and ask to speak with a supervisor.

Hope this helps!

photonfilm said...

I called and spoke with a rep. He said that there is no BRG claim against the confirmation number i gave him. I know for sure I submitted a claim. The rate is now gone. What can I do ?

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

I wish there was something I could tell you to do that would fix this for you. But there isn't, really. It's his word against yours, and I'd suggest taking it as a learning lesson - if they don't respond within 6 hours or so, resubmit. Just in case it didn't go through the first time.

Mr,.X said...

My first claim was denied by B.T. claiming that he could not find the hotel on the competing website even though here was only one Wydham Property in this city and is not hard to miss. Re-submitted after I did not get a reply from him.

Got a reply from another agent saying that the rate change. I contacted the agent via phone. She said that if i sent her the SC that they will look over it. Sen hem and within 30 minutes got my free room.

They don' want to give awy the rooms for free. If you are prepare and your claim is legit you will get your room.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

Welcome to the BRG world, Mr. X

What you've experienced is pretty much the standard, not the exception. One guy says he can't find it, then you point them to it, and then they approve it. There is always usually a bit of arm twisting needed in order to get these rooms for free, but in the end it's worth it. Enjoy the BRG hunt!

Anonymous said...

How do you appeal something that you have been turned down. I have a screenshot saved from the competitor's website. I received an e-mail and they could not find the rate on the other site.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

The answers to your questions can be found on my post "How to make a proper screenshot".

Basically, you need to reply to the rejection email you recieved along with an attached screenshot (properly formatted) and state why you should be reconsidered.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

The answers to your questions can be found on my post "How to make a proper screenshot".

Basically, you need to reply to the rejection email you recieved along with an attached screenshot (properly formatted) and state why you should be reconsidered.

Anonymous said...

I did reply back with the screenshot and stated, "Here is a screenshot I made of the booking page on XXXX.com regarding the room." Is that enough?

Anonymous said...

I got shot down because the room I booked on expedia said smoking, and the one on wr was non-smoking. I didn't think there was a price difference between the two. Oh well. Live and learn. Room reservation canceled.

Just Me said...

Both BT and AS denied my claim even though the lower price is STILL THERE on Orbitz...

Will resubmit (again)!!! I have a screenshot and a PDF (with date/time) and am making another one.

Miguel said...

Hey BRG Blog,

I noticed that you were advocating use of venere.com to do a BRG. There are a couple of problems with that.

Let's say I'm reserving the Ramada in NYC for nov.16 and venere says 289 and wyndham says 299. The problem is that Venere is totally vague and offers no explanation to the room characteristics. For example it will say:
1) 1 Renovated Standard Room
2) 1 Suite (Free wireless internet, breakfast included)
3)1 Suite (Free wireless internet, breakfast included)

But the Wyndam site gives the bed size, number of beds, tv size, smoking or non-smoking etc...

In this case they would refuse the BRG and will claim that they cannot verify whether or not it is the same room. We have all read on your blog of people being refused bc of only a difference between a smoking/non-smoking room.

Venere has great prices, but we need you to explain to us whether it is possible to use them and HOW.

Looking forward to your response!

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

Sure, its by no means perfect, but I find your take on Venere.com to be more the exception than the rule. I've had dozens of successful claims through them (even in the past month. For those, it may have said something like " 2 queen beds standard" and the Wyndham listing would be the same, despite added info like the television size, HBO, free breakfast, "comfortable", etc. Wyndham may be more precise, but they're both 2 queen rooms, and thus they are approved without problems.

Only a couple of times have I had trouble matching rooms on Venere. Maybe you've just had a run of bad luck...

Chris Pink said...

Dave,
I have been looking for some BRGs in the Miami area, and have found a lot of possibilities. However, the websites I have had luck with (skoosh, agoda,gtahotels), don't seem to ever line up with their descriptions. Have you had any luck before with these sites?

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

No, none of the sites you mentioned will work. They, and Airfare.com, are pretty well the only sites online that still use the archaic "voucher" system (basically a promissery note).

LoveFreeRooms said...

Got a free room today in Baltimore, MD thanks to your guide.

A rep named J.H. approved my request!

Submitted another one tonight...we'll see if it's approved by tomorrow.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

C.O. Approved our free night in baltimore as well! Thanks for the tips! It was my first claim and I was nervous we'd get stuck with the bill! ha.

LoveFreeRooms said...

Got that free room for Glendale, AZ. :)

Submitted the request on Thursday PM...no reply until today (Wednesday) AM so I re-submitted a request.

Got a reply from J.H. saying that it was more than 24 hours since I made the reservation. I emailed her back saying that I made a request right after I made the reservation and that this was the second request.

Got a reply back within 10 minutes and it was approved. :)

Anonymous said...

Are BRG approvals running slow? I submitted a claim Monday a.m. and still haven't heard back (Wednesday p.m.). I resubmitted the claim this morning, still nothing back. Their web site says 4 hours turnaround, and my first BRG took maybe 7 hours max.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

Yes, we've noticed waits of up to 72 hours lately, with no real reasons why.

Anonymous said...

Booked a room at the Baymont Inn in Connecticut. 115.00 at baymont site, $92 at the hotels.com site. Bryon just denied the claim saying the hotel wasn't on the site. Just went back again and checked went all the way without adding my credit card info and sure enough the 2 double bed standard room is there. Maybe they are just denying claims because the end is near? I just sent him a reply and asked him to check again.