The Best Rate

Until a few months ago, I would always religiously use hotel websites to book my stays, occasionally stopping by Expedia for quick comparison shopping.  In September, my glance at Expedia turned up a better rate for the Sheraton Kauai Resort than the rate I had already booked, so I did a Best Rate Guarantee with Starwood.

I now religiously check Kayak first, then weigh my options.  For instance, I’m going to Washington D.C. this weekend and need a hotel room for Saturday night.  If I venture over to Hyatt’s website, they have decent rates for some properties in the city center.

The Grand Hyatt usually hovers at a higher rate and I’ve certainly paid more for the Hyatt Regency in the past.  Ordinarily, this would be a great time to go book, but a detour to Kayak is in order.  For those with a particular brand affinity, whether due to status or personal preference, it’s a convienent search.

“$86 difference across 13 sites” sounds appealing.  Hyatt has a fairly straightforward best rate guarantee:  Call with a competing rate and if they validate it, they’ll beat it by 20%.

Starwood offers a choice of 2k points (as I did at LAX) or a 10% discount off the better rate (as I did in Kauai).  While calling is inconvieient, it does provide more immediate feedback (and reduces the likelihood that rates shift before they examine the claim).

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