If an exclusive rate is lower than a room rate for which you already secured and you are thinking of using it towards attempting to score a best rate guarantee, think again. “We don’t compete against ourselves, so using this rate to compare against another rate on our web sites isn’t going to be successful”, posted FlyerTalk member and official company representative Starwood Lurker — also known as William Sanders, who is the Social Media Specialist of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide — in this discussion.
This promotion seems to be similar to that of Hilton Worldwide, whose mystery rates were introduced last month in a pilot program for members of the Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program. Moreover, I have been recently informed that Hilton Worldwide has expanded the number of locations in the pilot program to include the metropolitan areas of Chicago and Orlando in addition to the metropolitan areas of New York, Miami, Houston and San Diego.
Still — similarly to what I mentioned in this article earlier this year based on my own personal experience — do not automatically assume that the “exclusive rate” you find will be the lowest room rate. “I had been holding a fully refundable reservation at a AAA or similar rate that was considerably cheaper than the regular BAR on offer and similar to what the hotel had previously offered as their best ‘regular’ nonrefundable rate”, warned FlyerTalk member MSPeconomist. “Let’s call it $250 per night (plus tax). I noticed that the new rates were slightly better over the weekend, say $240 per night. After debating with myself regarding whether I wanted to switch to a nonrefundable rate to save a small amount of money, on Monday I switched to the SPG Member Exclusive Rate of $240 per night (plus tax, of course). Today, I was looking to see what upgrades looked available and noticed that the SPG Member Exclusive Rate for the two-night weekend stay had dropped to $225 per night. However, I also noticed that Friday was available for $210 while Saturday (as a one night stay) was $225.
“So I could have saved more money (or not) by waiting to switch to the nonrefundable rate. These rates seem to fluctuate a lot, based on my single data point. They also can vary by the night, even if they’re available for all nights, and one should not assume that the rate offered for a multiple night stay will be the average of the individual nights.”
Terms and Conditions
Advance reservations are required and should be booked using Rate Plan SPGD1-10; and advance purchase is required. Your credit card will be charged at time of booking. Cancellations are not refundable; and if cancellation of a reservation takes place, you will forfeit the total room charge plus tax.
Rates are per room, per night, based on single or double occupancy and availability at the time of the reservation and do not include additional per room, per night charges that may be imposed or state or local taxes. A limited number of rooms may be available at these rates; and blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.
An eligible stay is defined as one or more consecutive nights paying a qualifying rate in the same hotel or resort property — regardless of the number of times you check in or check out. The stay period is specified on the offer for each participating hotel or resort property; and is subject to availability at the time of the reservation. The arrival day and length of stay restrictions may vary by property.
This offer not applicable to groups; may not be combined with other special offers or promotions.
Remember that you must pay for these lower exclusive room rates in advance with no refunds permitted even if you cancel your reservation; and you cannot claim a best rate guarantee against exclusive room rates to get a lower room rate.
Although the exclusive rate may indeed be a good deal much of the time, do your research for the best available rate which is right for you for the specific dates at the hotel or resort property at which you plan on staying; and ensure that you are comfortable with abiding by the terms and conditions of the rate which you intend to book for your room.