February 1, 2017

My 3 Takeaways From Recent Best Price Guarantee With Hotels.com

This is the second time that I did Best Price Guarantee (BPG) with Hotels.com - first one being long time ago that I matched their price with another hotel booking website via the phone and got approved right on the spot. The simple reason that I have not matched the price with past hotels that I booked through Hotels.com is because their Best Price Guarantee program does not give any other incentives other than just the credit back on the difference in price. Compared to BPG program with Orbitz, they not only credit members back the price difference, but also give members additional $50 Orbucks to use for future travel. Doing BPG requires some research time and therefore I don't file claim if the incentive is minimal to make my time on the Internet worthwhile.

My last booking with Hotels.com was a month ago that I planned on going to the Winter Carnival in McCall, Idaho for the first time and I was afraid there may no rooms available. I booked the hotel with cancellation/refundable rate. I had to cancel 2 days before my check in date in order to get a full refund if I changed my mind. I did not change my mind and 1 day prior to my check in date, I was curious to see if the rooms were sold out or not at that hotel's property during the carnival on Hotels.com. To my surprise, the rooms were not only sold out, but the rate was also $10 cheaper than what I booked. As a result, I filed the claim with Hotels.com.

According to Hotels.com's BPG program "All requests must be made by 23:59 the day before your stay, at the latest." - So I met the qualification to file the BPG claim. One thing I wasn't sure is that the rate that I booked was refundable but because this hotel has 2 days cancellation policy and I searched this hotel 1 day before my desired stay's date, so all the room rates that they have were non-refundable. Typically with BPG, everything from room type, bed type to cancellation policy, etc. has to match up in order to get a successful price match, otherwise, they will deny the claim. I went ahead and submitted the claim with a screenshot of the 'new' booking's total cost anyway as my thinking was that, although the rate that I booked was refundable but because it had passed the cancellation policy, it became non-refundable. So technically, I was matching a non-refundable rate with another non-refundable rate found on Hotels.com. So I gave it a try.

The verdict is, my claim got APPROVED! This is what their email said:

"We've validated the lower price found and will match it. As you've arranged to pay the hotel directly, please note that you will pay the original booking amount at the hotel.  Once your stay is completed, we will contact the hotel to verification, and issue a refund to your credit card within 72 hours of checking out. Once we have issued the refund, you can expect to receive it in 3 to 7 days depending on your financial institution.

Enjoy your trip knowing you've now got the lowest price for your room.  Thanks for booking with us!"

3 Takeaways From Hotels.com's BPG Program:
  1. You can request BPG with Hotels.com 1 day before your stay's date. Orbitz requires 2 days before scheduled check-in date. 
  2. If a booking was a refundable rate and it has passed the hotel's cancellation policy, you can file the BPG claim comparing that now non-refundable rate with the current non-refundable rate for the same hotel, same room type, etc. 
  3. If your booking requires that you pay directly at the hotel, you'll have to pay the original price and complete the stay first then Hotels.com will start the process to refund the price difference. I'll report back once I get my credit back. 
UPDATE: After my stay, couple days later I received this email:
"We're writing to let you know that we've processed your refund.
Refund amount: USD 14.95
How you'll get your refund:
We'll apply your refund to 
MasterCard ending in xxxx"

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