Hotel Best Rate Guarantees are mostly vaporware. Hotel chains want you to book directly through them because it costs them less to make a reservation themselves than it does to pay a commission to Expedia or other online travel sites (or travel agents). So they want you to believe you’ll get the best rate booking direct.
Best rate gurantees are largely a marketing claim rather than a promise, and they generally contain so much fine print and so many hoops as to be meaningless (on purpose).
One exception to that has been IHG Rewards Club which has had the most lucrative Best Rate Guarantee. They would actually give you the first night of your stay for free if you made a successful best rate guarantee claim. For one-night stays, that meant staying in hotels for free.
They changed their terms and conditions on Monday and now offer ‘up to 40,000 points’ based on the room rate you’re paying instead. They’ll match the price you find and give you 5 times the points per dollar earned. (HT: YHBU) Since I value IHG points at 6/10ths of a cent apiece that’s equivalent to a 24% rebate on spend.
And of course there are all the holes and traps, such as they won’t match any website that requires you to log in to see rates.
The British IHG site still shows the old terms for stays in the following countries Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. (HT: @fotograaf)