To be fair, the Intercontinental Hotel Group Best Rate Guarantee was almost certainly too generous. To encourage direct bookings IHG offered guests their first night free if a better rate could be found on another website. Even with all the fine print the company never restricted this to stays longer than one night. Ultimately that meant a free hotel stay for one night trips, assuming a lower rate could be found. Alas, not any more. The comp/benefit changed last night. The website now reads:
When you book directly with us, we promise you’ll always get the lowest price online. If you find a better price somewhere else, we’ll match it and give you five times the IHG® Reward Club Points, up to a 40,000-point maximum — so you can focus on your stay, not your wallet.
Every hotel reservation booked through an IHG web site is guaranteed to have the lowest room price (room rate) or total room cost (including all taxes and fees) publicly available on the internet or IHG will provide the first night’s room price free and match the lower average nightly room price found for that stay for the rest of the nights of that stay (subject to the Terms and Conditions of the Guarantee).
Don’t get me wrong…the old policy was ridiculously generous. It meant many free rooms for me over the years, including a 500 euro suite in the Intercontinental Istanbul and a great night on the beach in Cancun. As the rate match rules became more onerous (4p v 6p cancel time no longer qualifies, for example) I stopped trying so hard. But the opportunities still exist. They’re just not nearly as lucrative.
The new comp is 5x bonus points on a stay, so 50 points/dollar at most properties. That is capped at 40,000 points per stay ($800 in room rates). For a one or two-night stay – the prior sweet spot of the benefit – it is less likely that a consumer will hit the $800 target so the total comp points will be lower. With IHG points worth, on average, just over half a cent that makes the BRG significantly less valuable overall. Even for a $100 room and using the points on an IHG PointsBreak redemption the value proposition skews relatively badly, especially compared to the old program.
H/t to HS who noticed it on a booking made overnight
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