How to Get Free and Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee

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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!

How To Get Free And Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee
You Could Get a Free Night With Choice Hotels’ Best Internet Rate Guarantee

But there are some important rules you should know!

How Does It Work?

Link:   Choice Hotels

Link:   Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee

Choice Hotels include Ascend CollectionCambria SuitesClarion, Comfort InnComfort SuitesEconoLodgeMainStay SuitesQuality InnRodeway InnSleep Inn, and Suburban brand hotels.  Most (but not all) of their hotels are geared toward more budget-conscious travelers.

How To Get Free And Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee
Choice Hotels Guarantees You Won’t Find a Lower Published Price for Their Rooms. If You Do, They’ll Give You a Night for Free.

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?

Link:   Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee Claim Form

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.

How To Get Free And Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee
Be Sure to Look for the Best Available (Cancellable) Rate, NOT the Advance Purchase Rate

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!

How To Get Free And Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee
Kayak Lists Rates From Many Competing Websites (Note That Rates Include Taxes)

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.

How To Get Free And Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee
Confirm That the Room Type and Cancellation Policy Are Identical to the Room on the Choice Hotels Website
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.

How To Get Free And Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee
Confirm Everything Matches Up, Then Book a Refundable Room on the Choice Hotels Website

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.

How To Get Free And Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee
Fill Out the Form With Booking Details and Any Additional 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!

How To Get Free And Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee
Choice Approved My Claim and Changed the Rate to a Free Night

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.

How To Get Free And Discounted Nights With Choice Hotels Best Internet Rate Guarantee
The Rate on My Reservation Was Already 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.

Bottom Line

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!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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