Priority Club recently changed their Best Price Guarantee policy to make it extremely favorable if you were lucky (or diligent enough) to find a website offering a room rate that was lower than the rate found on the Priority Club website. If you find a lower price you get the first night free and the hotel will match the average nightly rate of the remaining nights of your stay. I think this is one of the most favorable Best Price Guarantee policies around.
How I made it work:
I recently took a weekend trip to Los Angeles and found a rate at the Crowne Plaza through Kayak.com that was much lower than the lowest non-refundable rate on priorityclub.com. I was a little skeptical about the policy, so I booked a refundable rate just in case they denied my claim. The rate I found on Kayak was $92 per night, and the lowest non-refundable rate was $129. I called the Best Price Support Desk at 1-800-447-2981 and notified them of the rate I found. The agent originally agreed that the room type matched, but I did not qualify for the rate because I had booked a refundable rate, and the policy requires that you book the absolute lowest rate, which was a non-refundable. This was a little risky since I would be on the hook to pay the higher rate if they denied my request, but the agent confirmed that if I changed my booking to the lower rate, my request would be honored. It took me less than a minute to change the rate and he approved my claim and said the hotel would contact me to confirm the following day.
A day later I hadn’t heard from the hotel, so I called again and the agent said they would follow up to confirm. Indeed a few hours later I got an email stating that my claim was approved and I would receive a refund for my first night (I was only staying for one night) after I checked in and paid for the room.
The hotel staff treated me incredibly well. As a Platinum member they offered me an upgraded room, access to the club lounge (featuring free beer, wine and appetizers from 5:30 – 7:30 pm) and a coupon for a free drink at the Starbucks cafe. I even received points for the stay!
Unfortunately, I didn’t automatically receive my refund like the agent said. I waited a week for the credit to appear, which never came, so I replied to the confirmation email to request that they research the issue. They responded a day later and I finally received the refund for my room.
Was it worth it?
I did have to put in quite a bit of work in finding the lower rate, calling customer service, and following up when things didn’t happen as stated. But getting a $100 hotel stay for free, plus getting all the elite amenities to boot was great.
Would I do it again?
If I had some free time and another trip coming up I would consider it, but you must wait 30 days to submit another Best Price Guarantee claim, and there is some risk that they could deny the claim requiring you to pay a higher rate than you otherwise would.