I’ve gone off and disappeared again, as the day job moves furiously to close the 4th quarter.  I should be able to get back to this regularly soon, especially now that the holidays are upon us.  For us, the holidays mean the opposite of relaxation – it’s a hectic shuffle to visit family in Philly and on the West Coast.  The upside is that we have some practical travel to write about. Let’s start with the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee.

We plan to spend a week visiting my wife’s side of the family out in the Phoenix area this year, and while I don’t yet have the flights booked – the subject of my next post when I book them this Sunday – I do have our hotel.  I think I scored some serious value with the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee.  To summarize what the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee is, Hyatt will with some conditions, match the best rate you find from a 3rd party travel website and then discount it further by 20%.

Lately, we’ve been loyal to Hyatt.  I’m a Hyatt Diamond by way of the now defunct Diamond Challenge and I work pretty hard to maintain this status.  We’ll have it for another year, so we’ll see how next year looks – it’s usually a matter of doing it on stays, since both my personal and work trips tend to be very short.  That aside, I wanted to try and stay at a Hyatt property over Christmas this year because we’ve been treated so well this year during our stays.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

Scottsdale is an ideal location for us since we have family north near New River, south near Tempe, and folks in Scottsdale itself.  The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort was our choice, so I set out to look for rates.

Right off the bat, Hyatt was selling a Resort King room for $239 – either at the Elite Rate (available to Platinum and Diamond elites using special offer code ELITRT) or the prepaid rate.  The advantage to the Elite Rate is that it is flexible and can be cancelled up to 72 hours out.  I have gotten into the habit of checking 3rd party sites for better rates, so I fired up Kayak and searched the same hotel for the same dates.  Booking.com showed $171 per night for the same room, on the same dates, as a prepaid rate, so we had a match!

Hyatt recently introduced a new process for Best Rate Guarantee claims, which some have seen as positive, some negative.  The one sentence history is that you used to be able to find the rate as I did above, then call in and immediately have an agent verify and apply it to your reservation.  The new process involves submitting a web form and waiting up to 24 hours.  I personally like the new process because I can attach a screenshot and not risk an agent being unable to find what I saw, or really not trying very hard.  In any case, my next step involved heading to the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee form and submitting a claim.  I attached a screenshot from Booking.com showing the hotel name, room type and the pre-tax subtotal – you will want to do that to make it easy on the agent verifying the claim.

Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee Claim Form

Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee Claim Form

About the best resource I can recommend for practical experience with the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee is the master thread over on FlyerTalk.  You’ll find a wiki with sites that Hyatt will and will not match to, as well as recent BRG experiences.  Just remember to give back and post your success or failure stories in the thread so that others can benefit from your data.

I submitted my claim around noon and by the next morning I had an email response waiting for me informing me of the approved Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee claim.  At that time, I didn’t yet have a Hyatt reservation, so the email instructed me to book my room and then call the phone number in the email and reference the case number to the agent.  As I previously mentioned, both the prepaid and elite rate were equal and the lowest on the Hyatt website.  The Booking.com rate I matched to was a prepaid rate, but I went ahead and booked under the elite rate and called in.  The agent immediately recognized my Diamond status and had no issue locating my reservation or my case number and was able to apply it, for a discounted rate of $121 per night!

The final wrinkle was that the agent wanted me to prepay since we matched to a prepaid rate – I simply asked if I could keep the 72 hour cancellation instead, since Hyatt’s lowest rate was flexible and that was the one I had booked.  While the logic of that doesn’t entirely align, and itself is probably not the policy, the agent simply said “OK” and let me keep it.  Therefore, it’s worth asking to see if they will let you keep the elite rate flexibility, but certainly should not be an expectation.  Like anything else, it’s all in how you ask and react, and I try my best to never be anything but polite to phone agents – it’s a tough job and they deal with a lot of jerks, so being nice (which is something I think we should all do without the expectation of a favor) can get you on the right side of their discretionary powers.

There you have it.  An advertised $239 rate discounted to $121 per night with the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee!  Do you have any similar experiences?  Please share in the comments.

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