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To encourage direct bookings, many hotel companies guarantee that you will find the lowest rates on their individual websites. When travelers book hotel stays via a third party — such as Expedia — hotel companies often have to pay a commission. To cut back on paying these fees and pad their profits, hotels are incentivized to encourage hotel guests to book rates on their own websites.
Marriott is no different, and the Marriott Best Rate Guarantee assures you that you’re paying the cheapest rate. If not, the hotel company will provide compensation.
Knowing about this program can be quite valuable, as other third-party booking sites may occasionally offer an eligible lower rate. This means you can complete a Best Rate Guarantee request and be rewarded. But you’ll want to be familiar with the ins and outs of the program to be positioned for success. We took a look and broke down everything you’ll need to know to use the Best Rate Guarantee to your advantage.
What is the Marriott Best Rate Guarantee?
The Best Rate Guarantee is a promise from Marriott that you will find the lowest rates through its own channels. These include marriott.com, its phone reservation line, the Marriott app or the hotel. Essentially, when you book directly, rather than through third-party websites, you are guaranteed to find the lowest eligible rate.
If you find a lower rate elsewhere that qualifies for the guarantee, you can submit a claim form outlining the details of where you found it. If approved, you receive a 25% discount on the room rate you are trying to book or 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. If staying with a Design Hotels property, the discount is only 20%, however.
Since we value Marriott points at about 0.8 cent each, the points compensation package can net you $35 in value.
Run the numbers before you opt for points or the 20-25% discount. If the cash back exceeds $35 in value, that discount will be a better deal than the 5,000 points.
Is it too good to be true? While it sounds simple enough, there are plenty of caveats that could stand in your way to filing a successful Best Rate Guarantee claim. After all, there are many circumstances when the rate quoted on another site is not equivalent to what Marriott is selling.
The type of booking and where it's found
The lower rate could be part of a travel package, for example, or part of a negotiated discount with another company or government tourism board — rendering it ineligible.
To be eligible, the rates have to be a publicly available rate. You cannot use a discount code (from a company, association or AAA, for example) to unlock a lower rate. It must be the exact same room type at the same hotel on the same dates and with similar cancellation policies. For instance, some prepaid rates are nonrefundable and can be lower priced, but will have differing cancellation policies and be ineligible.
In addition to the exclusion of package rates, auction sites — where the full price is not shown during booking — are also not eligible.
How and when you make your claim
Claims must include the rate reserved, the new price found elsewhere, the room type and dates of travel, and can only be made with the form on Marriott's website, not over the phone.
The claim must be made within 24 hours of making the reservation. This means if you find something cheaper a week later, it won’t qualify.
Your claim must also be made at least 24 hours before check-in time at the hotel.
If a Marriott representative can find it, too
Marriott says it will respond within 24 hours of receiving the claim, and the lower rate you found must still be available to the agent processing the claim at the time they do their own search. Otherwise, you won’t be eligible for the price match compensation.
The fine print
As if that were not enough fine print already, as with most things, the devil is in the details. While the Best Rate Guarantee applies to all of Marriott Bonvoy’s brands, there are some specific properties that are excluded.
The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal.
The Ritz London.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences.
The Ritz-Carlton Club.
Sheraton Vacation Club.
Westin Vacation Club.
Marriott’s Grand Residence Club.
Any Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation property.
Final thoughts on Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee
While there are certainly opportunities to benefit from Marriott’s lowest rate guarantee, there are lots of requirements to meet to be eligible. It’s almost like finding a needle in a haystack. If you get lucky and find an outlier, act quickly because you have only 24 hours from the time you make your reservation to file a claim.
How to maximize your rewards
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