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Booking travel can often be a stressful process — and this is especially true if you’re looking to get a good deal. Between different hotel chains, online travel agencies, sales and credit card portals, how are you supposed to know where to go?
One of the places you may end up on your search is Booking.com. An online travel agency, or OTA, Booking.com offers something unique: a price match guarantee. The Booking.com price match may be able to help you save money on your vacation, even at the last minute. Here's a look.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
What’s a price match guarantee?
There are plenty of ways that companies try to gain your patronage. They may offer special perks to those who book on their website, or a loyalty program designed to reward you for repeat business.
Others offer a price match guarantee, which operates as it sounds — the company guarantees that you’ll find the lowest publicly available prices on their website. If this turns out to be false, they’ll offer to match the price you found elsewhere.
So, does Booking.com have a price match guarantee? It does, but it differentiates what it offers with extra lenient rules.
How the Booking.com price match works
Price matches usually work like this: First, you’ll book a hotel room on your preferred website. After searching other sites and their offerings, you may see that the hotel room is cheaper elsewhere. If so, then, you’ll submit a claim for the price difference for your original booking.
The claim will be reviewed, and if specific criteria are met, you’ll receive a price adjustment to meet the competitor’s pricing. Some sites may even give you an additional discount or bonus points to sweeten the deal.
Hilton and Marriott will not only match the price you’ve found with a competitor, they’ll also give you an additional 25% discount on your booking.
Generally, however, you’ll only have the opportunity to price match within the first 24 hours after booking. Beyond that, the claim is no longer valid. This may be an issue if you’re booking well in advance as hotel prices can fluctuate dramatically.
Booking.com’s best price guarantee extends the amount of time during which you can make a claim. No matter how far in advance you book your accommodation, you’ll be able to submit a price match form — all the way until 24 hours before arrival.
This gives you a lot of leeway when it comes to making a reservation, as well as peace of mind. Be aware that Booking.com’s best price guarantee applies to accommodation bookings only.
Other bookings, such as flights and rental cars, don't receive this benefit.
How to submit a claim for a price match
There are a number of criteria that need to be met for your Booking.com hotel reservation to be eligible for a price match:
The other offer has to be for the same property and accommodation type.
The other offer must have the same cancellation policy and conditions.
The other offer needs to have the same check-in and checkout dates.
Now, you may be wondering: “Does Booking.com price match itself?” The answer to that question is yes. Booking.com has no specific language on its price match page barring customers from price matching its own deals.
There are, however, situations in which a price match request isn't valid:
If the lower price you’ve found is from a website that doesn’t reveal the property or accommodation type you’ll be reserving until after you’ve booked it. A good example of this is Priceline’s Pricebreakers system.
If you only receive the offer as a result of being in a loyalty or rewards program, the rate isn't eligible. Think of the member prices you’ll see when booking hotels on Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott — you receive a discount as a member and that would make your price match claim invalid.
If your booking or the offer you're comparing is labeled as a "Partner offer." That is, the offer is presented by a Booking.com partner company.
Submitting a price match claim is simple. If you have a Booking.com account, you’ll log in. From there, you’ll navigate to your reservation confirmation where you’ll be able to submit a claim.
If you don’t have an account, you can use your booking number and PIN in order to retrieve your reservation. Otherwise, you can call the customer care team to have them submit the claim for you.
If you’re looking to book with Booking.com
Companies want your business, and they’ll do plenty of things to earn it. Along with loyalty programs and coupon codes, some travel providers will offer a best price guarantee as a way to win you over.
Booking.com is one of these companies, but it separates itself from the rest by offering a more flexible best price guarantee. Unlike others, you can submit a claim for a price match on booking.com beyond 24 hours after booking. Instead, if your reservation is eligible, you can ask to have the price matched at any time — up until 24 hours before arrival.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card