Last month I wrote a guide to getting free one-night stays at IHG Rewards Club properrties. No points required.
IHG Rewards Club (the program for Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and related brands) will give you the first night of your stay for free if you make a successful best rate guarantee claim. If you make one-night stays, then you’re really looking at staying in hotels for free.
They’ve updated the Best Price Guarantee terms and conditions to require that you submit claims at least 24 hours prior to the hotel’s check-in time for your reservation.
Reporting to IHG of a Claim. You must contact us using the online claim form within twenty-four (24) hours after completing your valid room booking on any IHG website to make a claim under the Best Price Guarantee. In addition, the claim must be submitted at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the standard check-in time at the applicable IHG hotel. The average nightly lower room price and lower total room cost must be available for booking at the time of claim verification and both must be lower than those found on an IHG website, as determined by IHG customer service representatives, and in IHG’s sole discretion.
That means truly last minute bookings can’t be made with the best price guarantee. In practice they couldn’t anyway, since the best rate guarantee folks have been taking 2-3 days to process claims and even then sometimes back-and-forth is required before they honor a claim with a free night.
The change in terms reflects current practice, but it would be better to process claims expeditiously so that the ‘promise’ of getting the best rate on a hotel chain’s website is real.
In fact, of course, best rate guarantees are meant to convince you that the best rates are on a hotel’s website, so that you book their and reduce the chain’s distribution costs (e.g. commission they might pay out to Orbitz or Expedia). Marriott calls their program the “Look No Further” guarantee. Most of the programs have significant loopholes which limit chains from actually honoring their guarantees. IHG Rewards Club’s is probably the best — and remains the most valuable — even if you can’t use it to get a free night within 24 hours of check-in.
- You can join the 40,000+ people who see these deals and analysis every day — sign up to receive posts by email (just one e-mail per day) or subscribe to the RSS feed. It’s free. You can also follow me on Twitter for the latest deals. Don’t miss out!