One of the most valuable hotel tips I know about is the Best Rate Guarantee. Almost every hotel chain has a Best Rate Guarantee or BRG. What is even better is that some booking engines have a BRG too. In this post I will show you how to get a BRG from Expedia.com.
$50 Travel Coupon from Expedia
Expedia is one of the biggest and most popular booking engine out there. It is also a very generous booking site with its BRG. Unlike other sites or hotels that will just price match your booking, Expedia will actually refund you the difference and give you a $50 travel coupon! You are able to collect up to 3 coupons per month regardless of how many Expedia accounts you have. Each coupon is valid for one year from the month it was issued.
The first thing that comes to mind when you hear that you can get up to 3 $50 coupons is, “can I combine them?” Sadly the answer to that is no. The other thing about this coupon is that it is only good for future bookings, you can’t use it on the booking you made to get you the coupon.
So how do we get these $50 Travel Coupons?
Well first you have to sign up for an Expedia membership. It is free and easy to sign up. With this program you can also earn Expedia reward points that you can redeem for more hotel coupons or booking flights on Expedia. This is where the work starts, after you signed up for Expedia membership and entered in all you information, your searching begins.
Booking Search Engines
Before you book your hotel room, you search where you want to go and the dates. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using a search engine like Kayak.com, Hotelscombined.com, or Bookingbuddy.com. The reason to use these is because you can search multiple booking sites at once, including Expedia. The most known of these three is Kayak, so I’ll show you an example using Kayak’s search results.
As you can see with my screen shot, I did a search and found that Red Roof Inn in Downtown Chicago has a cheaper room on Kayak than on Expedia for 8/21/2013. Now that you located the hotel with the price difference you have to check if it meets Expedia’s criteria for BRG.
- Did you book within 24 hours?
- Are travel dates the same?
- Is the site where you found the lower price in English?
- Is the lower price in U.S. dollars?
- Is the hotel, room type and rate plan and cancellation policy the same?
- Does each part of your package match?
- Are the activity details the same?
The first part you don’t have to worry about because you will be booking it one after another so this is not an issue. After you have gone through bullet points 2 to 4, number 5 is where it is really important, so pay attention. This is very important because you never want to book something that you can not cancel. The reason you want to cancel is that you don’t want to have two reservations. Another very important reason is that if for some reason you made a mistake or it doesn’t work you can just cancel the bookings altogether.
Finding the Cancellation Policy
First you click on the Expedia box I highlighted earlier in the picture above. This will lead you to the hotel page. From there, match up the room type and check the cancellation policies. If they match up you are in business. The actual price from Kayak was for a different type of room, so I had to check for another site. The price for a two full beds non smoking room on Hotels.com came out to $150, while Expedia is listed at $150.49.
This is the another great thing about Expedia BRG, they do not specify what the price difference has to be. It could be 1 cent or $100, it doesn’t matter as long as you find the room cheaper elsewhere.
Use a Shopping Portal to Book
Now that you found the deal and everything looks okay, you can now book the room from Expedia and the competitor site, but before you do this go through a shopping portal like TopCashBack to get 2% cash back on your Expedia hotel booking. After you have done this, click on the Best Rate Guarantee button on Expedia’s website, scroll down and follow the directions. After filling out the BRG form you will be emailed within 48 hours to let you know if it was approved or not. After this is approved, you should see the $50 coupon in your coupons tab on the left menu bar in your account.
How to use our $50 Coupons
The best ways to use this $50 coupon is to find hotels that are less than $50, maybe Vegas *wink* *wink*. If you really want to game the system and maximize your earnings, you book the rooms and cancel them after you receive the $50 coupon. The great thing about this is that Expedia lets you keep the coupon even though you didn’t follow through with the booking. Do this three times a month to reach the limits and you will have earned $1,800 in coupons, like Mike Hrostoski. NBC News did an article about him earlier this year in march, which you can read here. If you do go this route, I would recommend not abusing this system because Expedia has the right to shut down your account if they feel you are abusing it. I suggest waiting a while before canceling your reservation with Expedia.
If you decide to maximize your coupons, an easy way to do this is to check out bestrateguarantee.blogspot.com, they have a list of hotels that qualify for Expedia’s Best Rate Guarantee and other programs. They do all the work for you, in return when booking, I recommend clicking through their affiliate links to help them earn something for their hard work. As with most affiliate links, it cost nothing to you and helps the bloggers to continue to bring you great deals and information.
Using more than One Coupon
Since you can only use one coupon per booking I would suggest making multiple bookings of one night. The worst case scenario is that you would have to check in and out every morning. I’m sure if at check in, you let the front desk know that you have multiple days booked, they will let you stay in the same room or combine your nights. This will save them time and will save the house cleaners time, which equates to the hotel saving money. Sure you might get a hotel that will not let you do this, but it’s a chance you have to take to save on multiple nights, maybe even a free vacation!
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