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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Definitive Guide to 10 Best Rate Hotel Guarantees Series: Part 4 - Marriott

We try to get sales on hotels or airlines, since it saves us money.  And we've often gotten some great prices, if we've been able to plan in advance.  Other times, we've gotten some great last-minute prices by using a few tricks that I've posted about earlier. 

Hanging With the Locals in Shanghai
Sometimes we have to transit through a city or airport, and need just one night in a hotel.  When that happens I like to start by looking for Best Rate Guarantees, and if you locate one you can stay for free.  And there are some nice places we've stayed at, and others we have coming up.  You can also use them to lower the overall cost of a longer stay, of more than just 1 night.  

But how hard is it to find one?  What are the rules?  How can it be free? 

Most of the major hotel chains, and online travel agencies, have Best Rate Guarantees (BRG's).  Basically, they offer to match, beat, or even give you a free night if you happen to find a better rate with a competitor.  Now admittedly, looking for another competing price takes more time and effort.  However, the payback can be significant if you're prepared to do just a few minutes of work.

Other bloggers have posted some excellent write-ups on BRG's, some extremely thorough, but in this series we're going to explore some popular brands and their rules primarily for Australia, New Zealand, and Asia, since that is where most of us travel around here.  There are many hotels with BRG's, but so as not to dilute, we'll only focus here on 10 Best Rate Guarantees, those which are best for our region.

A few large chains with thousands of locations, actually offer the 1st night of stay for free, if you find a competing and eligible rate which is lower.  So if you are only staying 1 night, you get that night free.  They can give away free nights because they'd rather give you 1 free night, for helping them locate where they need to adjust their prices to compete.  Most consumers won't bother to claim for a free night, they'll just see the lowest rate and book whatever is cheapest. 

In this series I'm also introducing a new feature, that I hope will be helpful for you.  I'm including a short youtube video clip, where I quickly walk you through how to find, book, and submit a claim for a free or discounted BRG stay.  This will show you just how easy it is.

You can go straight to the Hyatt (from Post 3 in the series) how-to video now, if you're like me and don't want to read the instructions!  Or keep reading if you want written details.  

Best Rate Guarantee Series

Marriott Hotels have some nice properties.  The JW Marriott in Shanghai is amazing and can go for $300 a night!  It is a beautiful hotel.

They also include the Ritz-Carlton ultra-luxury hotels, one of the many brands that fall within the Marriott umbrella.  Ritz-Carlton hotels are found in many Asian countries, but not Australia.

JW Marriott Shanghai

Grand Staircase on the 38th Floor

How hard is it to find a discounted night with the Marriott Hotels chain?  

Marriott has over 3,800 properties, in 74 countries.  

In Australia most of the major cities have at least 1 Marriott. 


  1. Must book a reservation on Marriott website. (I book refundable so I can cancel if they deny my claim)
  2. Must have found a lower rate on a competitor website.
  3. Submit the claim within 24 hours of booking. 
  4. Amenities must generally match. (same room type, same description, or close)
  5. Submit your BRG via their online form.
  6. The Marriott rep will search the competitor site you've found, to verify your rate.  If they find you've found a cheaper rate elsewhere they will apply a 25% discount to your entire stay.  You should get a response the same day.

I prefer to use Kayak or HotelsCombined, each are similar with pros and cons, but work the same to search lots of sites for prices to compare and find a BRG.   

At the Kayak homepage, enter your info such as: how many persons, date, city, etc.  We will search for a hotel in Shanghai a few weeks from now.

The results in our dummy booking will give you hundreds of hotels in Shanghai to select from.  Scroll down and at the lower left you will see the 'Hotel Name' search box.  You can also select an entire hotel chain from this box, and in our search we enter 'Marriott' to get only those hotels which we know offer a free nights for 25% off.


The search will come back with only hotels from the Marriott chain.  

When clicking through to the actual websites prices dropped for both Marriott (USD $166) and Travelocity (USD $159).  

Search for a price discrepancy.  When you find one, you might have a winner!  In this case I found Travelocity to be lower in price than the Shanghai Marriott City Centre hotel.  Click on the link of the lower price competitor, and the Marriott hotel, to see if both pages load with valid prices.  Occasionally prices are out-of-date, but by clicking through you'll quickly know if there are any updates or errors. 


Take a good look at the prices.  Are they more then a $1?  1%?  Do the currencies match?  Are the amenities the same?  So quickly read through and ensure they look similar in description.  Check to see if the pictures on both sites are the same, thus the same room type.  This will be what the Marriott agent searches for when deciding to give you a free night.  Is the price refundable, in case your claim is rejected, and you need to cancel and find another free night elsewhere? 

If you are satisfied then make the reservation and immediately submit a claim for a BRG.  I do it so that the agent at Marriott who handles your claim can get onto it as soon as possible to give me an answer.  

If I'm rejected I cancel as soon as I find out.  Then I may try again right away or soon after.


In this post, by looking and finding a cheaper rate you would have saved $42 ($6 per night x 7 nights) + $133 (25% off of $159 = $19 X 7 nights), saving a grand total of $175!  


Take a few minutes next time you're traveling to save serious money on your trip, by learning how to use BRG's.  You'll definitely Travel Better..and Travel for Less!

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