Free Hotels Around the World – A Lesson in BRG

With the copious amount of online travel booking sites (Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline), competition to draw in customers is essential for a business to survive.  Many promotions are available to loyal customers, and vendors want consumers to believe they are getting the best rates when booking.  Many online travel booking sites have instituted “Best Rate Guarantees” or something worded along those lines that provide massive savings.  There are too many sites to choose from which has caused the need for travel site search aggregators (Trivago, Hipmunk, Kayak), which compare the hotel rates from multiple booking sites all at once.  This has made the search for acquiring the Best Rate Guarantees (BRG) incredibly easy.  For most of my vacation, I tried to maximize the value provided by these BRG’s as much as possible.  

For more information, please see Google.

Date City Hotel Name Booking Site Out of pocket BRG Award Net Spend Notes
3/9/2014 New York The Gem Hotel – Midtown West Choicehotels.com $3.50 First night free $3.50 Choicehotels.com BRG = free night
3/10/2014 N/A
3/11/2014 Seoul Noble Hotel Expedia.com $0 $50 BRG -/+ -$50 Used $50 voucher, aqcuired $50 voucher
3/12/2014 Shanghai Seagull on the Bund Orbitz.com $74 $74 Orbitz Bucks $0 $74 out of pocket turned into Orbucks
3/13/2014 Osaka Best Western Shinsaibashi BestWestern.com $70 $100 BW Cert $30 $100 Best Western certificate (not sure if stackable)
3/14/2014 Bangkok aloft Bangkok StarwoodHotels.com 3000 Starpoints N/A $0 Used points via Credit Card bonus points
3/15/2014 Koh Samui Replay Residence and Pool Villa Expedia.com $33.51 Used $50 BRG $33.51 Expedia Flash Sale, Used $50 BRG (originally $83.51)
3/16/2014 Koh Samui Replay Residence and Pool Villa Expedia.com $0 $0 $33.51 was cost for 3 nights
3/17/2014 Koh Samui Replay Residence and Pool Villa Expedia.com $0 $0 $33.51 was cost for 3 nights
3/17/2014 Koh Samui Al’s Resort Orbitz.com $17.17 Used $74 Orbucks $17.17 Had a hotel paid already, but wanted one by the beach
3/18/2014 Bangkok Admiral Premier Expedia.com $14 $50 BRG -/+ -$50 Used $50 BRG and gained $50 BRG
3/19/2014 Bangkok Admiral Premier Expedia.com $14 $50 BRG -/+ -$50 Used $50 BRG and gained $50 BRG
3/20/2014 N/A
3/21/2014 Rome Radisson Blu es. Hotel Rome ClubCarlson.com 44k CC points N/A $0 Used points via Credit Card bonus points
3/22/2014 Rome last night free $0 Last night free on a 2 night stay with hotel credit card
3/23/2014 Florence Plus Florence Hostel $4.94 $50 BRG -/+ -$50 Used $50 voucher, aqcuired $50 voucher
3/24/2014 Florence Plus Florence Hostel $67 $67 Changed vacation plans to stay another night
Totals 11 Hotel Paid Nights $298.12 -$48.82

After spending about $300 for 11 paid hotel nights, I’m left with 4 Expedia $50 BRG Vouchers and $100 in Best Western credit. This will definitely help me maximize my next trip.


For my March 2014 Around-the-World Adventure, I “capitalized” on the following BRG programs:


ChoiceHotels.com
Find a lower rate and your first night is free.  Booked just one night so my entire stay was free at the Gem Hotel Midtown West in New York.


Orbitz.com
Depending upon your Orbitz membership level, you can receive UP TO (depending on how much you spend) $100/150/200 back for a booking.  The crappy thing about this (that I found out the hard way) is that if you use any portion of your Orbucks in a reservation, you will not qualify to make a BRG claim.  I got burned on this by using Orbucks on a non-refundable reservation that would have qualified for an BRG claim.


Expedia.com
Find a lower rate and Expedia will match the rate and include a $50 Expedia voucher.  The great thing about this is that when Expedia looks at the lower rate, they look at the advertised rate WITHOUT taxes which can save you a significant amount of cash.  In addition to this, your BRG rate qualifies even if you use a BRG voucher to book the reservation.


BestWestern.com

Find a lower rate and receive a $100 Best Western gift card.  

There’s many more sites and promotions, these are just the ones I found that worked best for this trip.

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