Posted by Ric Garrido

Last August Expedia and Travelocity announced a cooperative merger. Yet, they do not call it a merger. Expedia and Travelocity operate independent websites.

Expedia to provide key services for rival Travelocity

Travelocity and Expedia, two of the biggest online travel sites, will begin working together next year, with Expedia providing content, technology and customer service for its one-time rival.

Expedia will become the technological force behind Travelocity’s websites currently operating in the U.S. and Canada, allow Travelocity to tap into its listings for hotels and flights, and handle its customer service.

Some industry watchers said that the arrangement amounted to an unofficial merger. But Travelocity, which will remain a separate entity owned by Sabre, insists that it will still go head to head with Expedia, despite their shared resources.

USA Today August 26, 2013

I noticed the same graphics were popping up when I filed Best Rate Guarantee claims with Marriott and IHG the past few days whether Expedia or Travelocity.

Grabbing screen shots for this article I quickly found a potential Best Rate Guarantee claim for Holiday Inn Golden Gateway San Francisco between Travelocity and Expedia.

Expedia HI SF

Expedia rate = $179 for Friday, December 27.

Travelocity has a lower rate at $144.

Travelocity HI SF

These trip summary graphics caught my attention since they are nearly identical for Expedia and Travelocity rate quotes.

The sticky point for Best Rate Guarantee claims is the cancellation policies are slightly different between the rates on Travelocity and Expedia. Cancellation policy differences are what I commonly see when comparing rates fro Best Rate Guarantee claims.

I almost never book hotel rooms through an Online Travel Agency like Expedia or Travelocity. I am hoping to crowd source some detailed knowledge here. So please comment if you have experience with Expedia or Travelocity Price Guarantee claims. Tell me if you think these BRG claims will work as outlined below.

Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, San Francisco

Friday, December 27, 2013

The rate on IHG site is $144 for a prepaid, nonrefundable booking. The same rate is shown for the online travel agency sites when checking Kayak.com.

Kayak HI SF

Normally I would not even look further at these rates since there are no discrepancies. My original purpose was to find the two similar graphics for Expedia and Travelocity shown above.

Dealing with Different Cancellation Policies in Best Rate Guarantee claims

Here are the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway room rates for Friday, Dec 27 and the cancellation policies seen on four different websites.

  • Holiday Inn  website = $144 nonrefundable.
  • Holiday Inn website  = $159 with no penalty cancellation up to 6pm Dec 26.
  • Expedia website = $144 nonrefundable.
  • Expedia website = $179 with no penalty cancellation up to 6pm Dec 26.
  • Travelocity website = $144 with no penalty cancellation up to 6pm Dec 25.
  • Priceline website = $179 with no penalty cancellation up to 12pm Dec 25.

Basically these hotel rates for the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway are open for several BRG claims. And these can be safely booked and canceled using the flexible cancellation rates while the Best Price Guarantee claim is processed. If the Best Price Guarantee claim is denied, then cancel the rate before the deadline.

First BRG Option – Book Holiday Inn through IHG at $159 rate. File an IHG Best Price Guarantee claim. This rate can be cancelled if the Best Price Guarantee is denied for the lower rate on Travelocity. The difference in cancellation policies with IHG site allowing day before arrival cancellation with no penalty vs. Travelocity 2-day before arrival may result in a denied claim. Best Price Guarantee claim. If claim is approved, the Friday night December 27, 2013 hotel stay is free for Holiday Inn Golden Gateway.

Second BRG Option – Book the $179 Priceline rate and file a Priceline Best Price Guarantee claim over the phone citing the Travelocity $144 lower rate with a more lenient cancellation without penalty terms at 6pm rather than 12pm.

If Priceline approves the claim you get reimbursed the $35 difference + tax and receive a $50 Travel Package coupon. This one looks like a sure bet to me.

Third BRG Option – Book the Expedia $179 rate and file an Expedia Best Price Guarantee. This claim may not be approved since the Expedia rate has a more lenient cancellation policy for 6pm December 26 compared to Travelocity $144 rate for December 25 cancellation with no penalty. But if Best Rate claim is denied, simply cancel the Expedia booked room. If Best Rate claim is approved Expedia refunds the rate difference and awards you a $50 coupon for an Expedia Special Rate hotel. Expedia Best Price Guarantee terms.

Looks like I need to look further into these online travel agency Best Price Guarantee claims. Between the hotel brand Best Rate Guarantee policies and the Online Travel Agency Best Price Guarantees, there sure are plenty of hotel discount rates to be found.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Ric,

    I am not sure about other BRG claims, but for Expedia, the cancellation terms have to be identical, so any variance in those terms would invalidate your claim. They denied one of my claims citing the above.

    Ben.

  2. Expedia gives an easy refund plus $50 coupon if the difference is under $50. If its over its literally impossible to get because they come up with all kind of bogus claims.

  3. Expedia claim would not work in my experience due to difference in cancellation conditions.

    Have never done a priceline claim but I do not see much value in it. Is it correct that to use
    The coupon I would have to book a two night hotel and something else such as a flight?

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