As you know, most of my hotel stays are from Starwood hotels since I am trying to hit lifetime platinum and it’s my main loyalty hotel chain. I book Starwood hotels with a combination of straight up cash, AAA rates, corporate SET rates, cash & points, and by invoking Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee (BRG).
Basically, if you can find a Starwood hotel on sale for a lower price than the main SPG.com site, then you are able to invoke Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee. As a BRG reward, you can choose 10% off the lowest rate (that you’ve found on the 3rd party website) or 2,000 Starpoints (I value them at $60 at 3 cents per point).
So how do you find lower rates and get that 2,000 Starpoint bonus? I use a website called hotelscombined.com which is an aggregate site for third party hotels. Hotelscombined scours the entire web on multiple websites for the lowest prices available.
I will give you a step by step picture tutorial on how to find these lower rates and get 2,000 Starpoints in your pocket with every booking.
Step 1. Have in mind a Starwood property location with your targeted dates. In my example, I am looking for a hotel in Bogota for August.
Step 2. I am looking at the Aloft Bogota in Colombia. Keep a note of the lowest rate available on spg.com with taxes. Always choose a standard room. In my case it is $137+ tax = $169.88
Step 3. Fire up Hotelscombined and plug in the same dates. Click Search.
Step 4. Take a look at the left navigation bar to filter out your hotel from the search results. In my case, I typed in Aloft and clicked Filter.
Step 5. I see that Hotelscombined produced a few results for a standard room in the Aloft Bogota which is $149 (taxes included). It is lower than what I found on spg.com so that works. If you get a higher or the same rate as on spg.com, then you will not be able to invoke Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee. If you found a lower rate, continue to Step 6.
Step 6. Invoke Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee by using this Claim form link.
Step 7. Fill out the appropriate information. Note that you do NOT need to have a reservation from Starwood, so leave the Confirmation # blank since it is NOT required for a BRG.
Step 8. Make sure you fill in the comments what rate and room type you found on spg.com and the third party website.
Step 9. Click on “Claim” and you should receive an e-mail confirmation from Starwood saying that they received your claim.
Step 10. Within 24 hours, you will receive an e-mail from Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee team notifying you of a BRG approval or denial.
Step 11. Book your hotel at SPG.com using the same dates as in Step 1. This time instead of looking for the lowest price rate, look for a rate called “Flexible Rate”. Ignore the rate even if it’s higher because the SPG BRG team will be modifying your rate accordingly. The only reason to book a “Flexible Rate” is to ensure that you can cancel your reservation just in case something comes up. You do not want to be stuck on a pre-paid reservation.
Step 12. Reply to the e-mail from Step 10 and include your new SPG.com hotel confirmation number from Step 11.
Step 13. You should receive an e-mail reply within 24 hours from the Starwood BRG saying that everything is all set.
You’re eligible to request Suite Night Awards and you will receive full Platinum benefits on a SPG Best Rate Guarantee reservation. After your completed stay, you will receive 2,000 Starpoints! If you haven’t, be sure to notify the SPG BRG team.