Did you know you can get free or discounted hotel stays by submitting best rate guarantee claims with some of the major hotel chains?
Choice Hotels is 1 of 2 hotel chains (the other being IHG) that offer a free night as part of their Best Internet Rate Guarantee. After you’ve booked your room on choicehotels.com, if you find the same hotel and the same type of room for the same dates at a lower price online, Choice Hotels will give you the 1st night free and match the lower rate for the rest of your stay.
This means that for a 1-night booking, the whole stay is free!
But there are some important rules you should know!
How Does It Work?
Link: Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels include Ascend Collection, Cambria Suites, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, EconoLodge, MainStay Suites, Quality Inn, Rodeway Inn, Sleep Inn, and Suburban brand hotels. Most (but not all) of their hotels are geared toward more budget-conscious travelers.
To get free or discounted nights through the Choice Best Internet Rate Guarantee program, you’ll need to find an online rate that‘s cheaper than the rate on the Choice Hotels website. But there are some conditions. Here are the ones most likely to apply to you:
- You must have a confirmed booking through the Choice Hotels website
- The competing (lower) rate must be at least 1% or $1 lower than the Choice Hotels rate
- The competing rate must be found on a 3rd-party website and must be available to the public (no sites that require you to log-in, like TravelPony)
- The competing rate must be transparent (no sites like Hotwire where you only find out the name of the hotel after paying)
- The hotel, dates, room type, currency, number of guests, and length of stay must be identical – this includes cancellation policy
- You must submit a claim within 24 hours of making the booking (and not later than 72 hours prior to the start of the stay)
- The competing rate can’t be a negotiated rate or any other rate not available to the public, like group rates, package rates, coupons, motor club, membership rates (including AARP) and government rates
- Bookings can’t include more than 9 rooms
You can view the full list of conditions.
How Do You Submit a Claim?
Step 1 – Identify the Hotel You Want
Go to the Choice Hotels website and search for a hotel and dates you want. Be sure to search for fully refundable rooms. I needed a room near Baltimore and chose the Comfort Inn Near Ft. Meade. The best available, cancellable rate is ~$90 per night plus taxes.
Step 2 – Find Possible Lower Rates on 3rd Party Sites
I used Kayak and Hipmunk to search for hotels in the same city on the date I wanted. You can narrow down the search to display Choice Hotels only. I like both of these websites because when you search for hotels, they list the prices from many competing websites (including from Choice Hotels) right on the search page. That’s 1-stop shopping!
You’re looking for rates at least $1 lower than the published rate on the Choice Hotels website. Most of the time, the lowest rate will be a Choice Hotels brand site. But sometimes you’ll find a lower rate on another site!
Step 3 – Click Through to the Lower Rate on the 3rd Party Site
You need to check that the rate indeed exists and can be booked, so click all the way through to the booking page (the page that displays the final rate including taxes). Sometimes 3rd party sites will show a lower rate, but when you click through to the booking site the rate ends up higher.
Also, confirm that the room type, cancellation policy, and currency are the same. This is very important because Choice will not honor a Best Internet Rate Guarantee unless everything matches up.
Note: Kayak itself is not considered a valid 3rd party site according to the terms and conditions of the program.
If the rate is lower (it must be at least $1 or 1% lower, and in certain countries the rates must be compared with tax included) copy the complete website address and go to the next step.
Do NOT book a room on the 3rd party site! Just copy the website address.
Step 4 – Reserve a Refundable Room on the Choice Hotels Website
Be absolutely sure that you are booking a fully refundable room, otherwise you may end up stuck with a rate you don’t want. Generally, the Best Available Rate advertised by Choice is a refundable room – but double check! I also confirmed again that the room types are the same.
Then, take note of your confirmation number.
Step 5 – Submit a Best Internet Rate Guarantee Claim
Complete the Best Internet Rate Guarantee claim form on the Choice website. You’ll need to include your name, address, phone number, Choice Privileges number (if applicable), confirmation number, and the web address of the site where you found the lower competing rate. There’s also a field to input any comments.
Click “Submit Form,” sit back, and wait!
Step 6 – Wait for a Response From Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels promises an answer within 48 hours. They got back to me within 45 minutes! And my Best Internet Rate Guarantee claim was approved!
The email states that you need to print out a copy of the confirmation letter and bring it with you to the hotel. But when I signed-in to my Choice account and looked at my reservations, the room rate had already been changed to free.
If your claim is unsuccessful, you can either keep the Choice booking you made, or cancel it (you did check it was a refundable booking, right?) and book elsewhere.
You can get free or discounted hotel rooms by submitting a Best Internet Rate Guarantee Claim with Choice Hotels. But only if you can find
that same type of room in the same hotel on a 3rd party website.
The cheaper room must meet certain conditions but generally must be at least 1% or $1 cheaper, and have the same cancellation policy, room type, and number of guests.
If your Best Rate Guarantee Claim is approved, you’ll get the 1st night of your stay free, and they’ll match the lower rate for subsequent nights.
Have you had a successful Best Internet Rate Guarantee claim with Choice Hotels? Please share your experience in the comments!