April 14, 2016

Successful SPG Hotel Best Price Guarantee

While planning a vacation to Lombok island that can be reached from Bali, Indonesia, I found out that there's an SPG property on that island that is a category 2 hotel - Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort. I did not have enough Starpoints for award night stay at the time, so the only way to stay at this resort is to pay for the room rate out of my pocket.

This is my first time trying out the SPG Best Rate Guarantee Program. I was frustrated with SPG at first that I made a reservation for a flexible rate for $111/night, and Priceline had the same flexible rate for $98/night, same room type. I submitted the claim and got denied because they compared my flexible rate to a non-flexible rate, claiming that their program terms focus on the lowest rate found on the internet for the same type of room. It does not matter what type of rate I book on the reservation. It confused the heck out of me and I complained to them that their program does not make any sense. So there were several back and forth emails and finally they gave me 500 starpoints for the inconvenience and confusions that this experience had caused. I ended up cancelling my reservation but definitely learned my lesson.

A few days later, I started looking again. This time I only focused on the non-flexible rate. The rate I saw on SPG website is $79.92 and Priceline shows $79.75. Still, I didn't want to book the non-refundable rate on SPG because I wasn't sure what would happen between now and then. That's just me that I don't typically book a non-refundable rate for hotels. I learned my lesson last time that SPG does not compare what type of rate on my reservation, but rather they compare the "lowest" rate between their website and competitor's website. So I went ahead and booked a refundable rate for $111/night and then submitted my claim asking for 20% off the lowest rate. Hooray, my claim got approved and the rate that I actually will be paying is 20% off the SPG's non-refundable rate $79.75. So the rate becomes $63.80 USD per night.

During the claim, I could have chosen 2000 starpoints instead of 20% off, but I did not want to because I booked a refundable rate of $111/night. It's a little bit too expensive for me for 4 nights there and if the best rate guarantee does not fall through, I could decide whether to keep the reservation or not.

I'm so pleased that this worked out the way I wanted. I got to stay at that property for the first time, got a flexible rate for $63.80/night, and I got to collect starpoints after the stay as an SPG Gold member. If I were to book with Priceline, I would not be able to collect starpoints at all.

I'll definitely have a fantastic stay at Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort!

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