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).