Today (April 15th, 2016): travel tip: how to stay for free at InterContinental hotels?
I previously published my tips for staying for free at luxury hotels. One of your best chances for scoring a free night at a luxury hotel is to make use of a Best Rate Guarantee at an InterContinental hotel, which I explain in depth today.
For those of you not familiar with the brand: the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) is the largest hotel company in the world by number of rooms, with around 600,000 rooms in over 100 countries. It operates a diverse portfolio of brands across multiple economic segments, including Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. InterContinental Hotels and Resorts is the flagship of IHG, and is designed to cater to international business and leisure travelers in the upper upscale segment of the hotel industry.
If you want to stay for free at an InterContinental hotel, you will need to find a lower rate on non-IHG website and submit an online claim, all within 24 hours of completing a reservation on the official InterContinental website. If your claim is approved, InterContinental will provide the first night’s room price free and match the lower average nightly room price found for that stay for the remainder of your stay (in case of a prepaid room, the difference in price will be refunded). So if you only stay one night, then that night will be for free. I have done it multiple times before, and this is how you can do it as well:
- Step 1: Make up your mind on what InterContinental hotel you want to stay at. There are around 150 hotels in major cities and leisure destinations in over 60 countries under this brand, so there’s a good chance that an InterContinental hotel is located along your upcoming travel itinerary. You can access a list with all InterContinental hotels on the official Intercontinental website. The overall quality of InterContinental properties ranges from poor (e.g. InterContinental Muscat) to excellent (e.g. InterContinental Bordeaux, San Francisco, and Bora Bora).
- Step 2: Try to find a lower rate than the one displayed on the official IHG website for your preferred travel dates (it helps if your travel dates are flexible). Finding a lower rate may seem a complicated process if you are not familiar with travel tricks, however this is not difficult at all as I have previously explained in this blogpost. All you need to do is verify the hotel rate on the aggregator websites Trivago and Hotelscombined, which check at once the price of a hotel room at hundreds of other sites (e.g. Booking.com, Onhotels.com, Otel.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Hotelopia.com, etc…) and then show you where you can book the cheapest rate. Try it out for yourself here (and find out how easy it is):
- Step 3: Once you found a lower rate on another website, you need to make a booking on the official InterContinental website. Make sure that you book a refundable rate (so that you can still cancel your reservation in case your claim is denied).
- Step 4: After you completed the booking, you need to submit an online Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) claim. This only takes one minute and must be done within 24 hours of making your booking.
- Step 5: Now all you can do now is wait for the response from InterContinental (which will follow by email within 24 hours after submitting your claim) and hope that your claim will be approved, resulting in a free hotel night. How cool is that!
There are some catches though, so be sure to take the following into consideration when trying to score a free night through the InterContinental BRG program:
- You can only submit a BRG claim after making a reservation. Always make sure that you book a refundable rate, so that you can cancel your reservation in case your BRG is not approved.
- Only the lowest type of rate is eligible for a BRG. In other words, if an InterContinental hotel offers a pre-paid, non-refundable rate, then this is the only type of rate at that hotel which is eligible for a BRG. So, in this case, you would need to book a non-refundable rate in order to be eligible to submit a BRG claim and if it’s not approved, then you will be stuck with a pre-paid rate (that is why I advise against submitting a BRG claim for a prepaid, non-refundable rate).
- The BRG is only available for the exact same room type and same view. For example, if you book a king bed with a sofa bed room type and with a view (e.g., ocean) on an IHG website, and are comparing it to a non-IHG website, you must find a price with the same king bed with sofa bed room type and with a the same view on the non-IHG website.
- All terms of the comparison room reservation, including, but not limited to pre-payment, deposit, cancellation policy, number of guests, or other requirements must be equal in all respects to the terms found on an IHG website for your claim to be valid. For example, when you book a room that may be cancelled without penalty on an IHG website, you may not compare it to a room with a pre-paid or non-refundable price on a non-IHG website.
Enjoy the weekend and stay tuned for Monday when I reveal a new top 10 travel list.