As a Platinum rewards member, who has been dealing a lot with getting significantly reduced 'Look No further' rates for all my bookings, I wanted to share with you my experience & overview on this issue:
Marriott's 'Look No Further(SM) Best Rate Guarantee' policy is one of the biggest advantages reward members can enjoy when booking a Marriott hotel and is offered for ALL reward members, regardless of their membership status.
Simply, what it says is that if you find a lower rate elsewhere for your booking than Marriott will match the lower rate you found and grant you an additional 25% reduction for that booking (by filling in & submitting a simple online claim form).
Obviously, this is a big candy given to us which we can take a good advantage of, thus saving ourselves a lot of money. In my past experience I had many cases where I was able to reduce my booked rates by more than 50%!
Yes, as I indicated above, it's their official POLICY - meaning you can enjoy it to the full if used wisely. So what is 'wisely'?
Using it wisely means that, first of all, you need to follow their rules: terms & conditions. I do recommend everyone who wants to submit a claim form to click this link and go through the rules (lots of claims are being denied only because people are not aware of those rules).
I won't mention all of the rules but I intend to briefly take you through the main T&C:
1. They limit the policy to be applied only to some of the Marriott brands (most of them but not all of them).
2. They require us to first book through an official Marriott reservation channel and only then submit a claim form.
3. They exclude special rate types (for instance: AAA, senior rate, Marriott members unique rates achieved by using a promotional code, package rates that include more components than just the room or just room+breakfast, etc').
4. They apply the policy only to rates which are available to the general public (excluding auction rates, secret rates, or any other discounted rates).
5. They limit the policy for any hotel booking outside the US & Canada: excluding pre-paid rates which includes a voucher for the hotel to be handed in upon check in.
6. The lower rate you found must still be available to be found when they process your claim (which can take up to 24 hours from the time of submitting the claim form).
THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT:
For finding lower rates I've always been using the internet (other websites) and only the internet. Although they allow the lower rate to be found through other methods (for example: travel agencies) I never saw any use of spending my time with bothering to do it. In my opinion the internet is the most reliable & quick option.
So now I'll provide you with my recommended solution to each of the above 'catch' sections:
1. There's nothing much we can do about this. If you like to have the option of reducing your rate than just make sure you book your stay in an included hotel brand.
2. An official Marriott channel may include, in most of the cases, the Marriott reservation call centre or the Marriott website (I personally have been using only the Marriott website as it's much simpler & quicker if you know your way around, and it always offers the same rates they offer you on the phone). So the key here, no matter which way you choose to book, is to book a free cancellation rate. If you book an 'Advanced Purchase' rate you need to consider the fact that you may cancel your booking only within 24 hours. This is a critical issue as sometimes, after a while (more than 24 hours), you need to cancel and rebook for submitting a new claim (claims need to be submitted within 24 hours after your booking). I will elaborate on this later on...
3. There's nothing much we can do about this. If you like to have the option of reducing your rate than just make sure you book your stay with a room only or B&B rate.
Despite the fact that lots of other rate types, including more amenities, may be offered to you for what you may think is an attractive rate, the 'Look No Further' rate will always be the most attractive one as it will always save you the most significant amount of money! So why book an unrequired rate (which is always higher because it always includes those extra amenities!!) just for including dinner and\or a bottle of champagne or even some extra reward points (etc')??? If you really want those you can pay for them separately. Anyhow, the reduced rate you'll get will most probably pay you back the extra charges you're interested in spending (and sometimes even more).
4. The significant discount you're given by the 'Look No Further' rate doesn't originate in the lower rate you find but in the 25% of the additional reduction (most of the lower rates found are not too far from the original rate booked). Therefore, when looking for a lower rate make sure it's legit, meaning it's a regular rate which is available for everyone to view (no promotional codes or any other special methods used for viewing it).
5. If you book your stay in the US or Canada than it's much easier finding a lower rate: Any website will do and the most convenient way will be to use comparison search engines like: skyscanner.com, kayak.com etc' (Those websites forward you directly to the website showing the lower rate).
However, when you book your stay anywhere else than it's harder and tricky. The only way of being able to submit a claim form for a booking outside the US & Canada is to find a lower rate on direct reservation website (which doesn't involve issuing a voucher). Most of these website types are known to most of us as: hotels.com, booking.com, priceline.com, orbitz.com, hotels4u.com and many more... but those websites often match the rates offered on Marriott.com and don't actually provide us with any advantage. As a European resident I struggled a lot with this catch, and with time I was able to establish a descent list of direct reservation websites which I could use for finding lower rates: lastminute.com, getaroom.com, happyrooms.com, hoteltravel.com, ratestogo.com, alpharooms.com, hotelsone.com, roomhopper.com, superbreak.com, discounthotels.com, ibooked.co.uk.
6. The 'Look No Further' team of Marriott is the one which process the claim forms we submit. They reside in one of Marriott's offices in the US (in Omaha, Nebraska if I recall correctly) and it can take them up to 24 hours to check & email us back with the decision regarding our claim (depend how busy they are). Since rates are very dynamic and tend to change with time, we have no control when they disappear or being raised in the websites we use for the comparison after we viewed them and submitted our claim. In that case we have nothing to do - if they're no longer available by the time the 'Look No Further' team processes our claim than it's just a bad luck... You may find a lower rate on another website and then just reply to the denial email you got with a reference to that website. If you can't find a lower rate elsewhere and you're still not happy with the booked rate than just cancel your booking.
A. Book as much as you can in advance. Lower compared rates are hard to find in the last minute or even a week or two before your check in time. A free cancelation rate will allow you to cancel free of charge anytime (in most cases up to a day before arrival).
B. Make sure you explore all your options before submitting a claim: if you found a lower rate on one website it still doesn't mean you can't find even a lower one on another website.
C. As indicated above, rates are dynamic and tend to change with time - not only for the worse, but also may decrease! If you booked in advance it's always wise to check the rates periodically as a lower one may be found and you could get even a bigger reduction. This is true for both the original booked rate (sometimes Marriott's rates decrease as well) and the lower rate found, and this is exactly why I mentioned more than once above that it's wise to book only free cancelation rates, since in such a cases you will need to cancel your booking with the old 'Look No Further' approved rate and make a new booking for which you'll submit a new claim form (for getting a lower 'Look No Further' rate. NOTE: since you can book as many times as you like, don't cancel your old booking until the new reduced rate has been approved! In the worse case you will keep your old reduced rate and just cancel the new booking for which the claim was denied). Of course, if you're booking shortly before the check in date and you're sure of your stay than it may be better to book an 'Advanced Purchase' rate in case a lower rate can't be found elsewhere.
D. Pay attention to the laws regarding taxes in the country you book your stay: In the US & Canada taxes are always added on top of the rate and claim forms are always referred to the rates exclusive of taxes (and any other fees). In the UK, for instance, taxes are always included in the rate and claim forms are always referred to the rates inclusive of taxes. I had a few cases when I submitted a claim for a hotel in the UK and the 'Look No Further' team denied it because that agent made a mistake by adding taxes on top! That was most embarrassing for them as I had to explain to her that the UK is not the US and that she can't just add the taxes on top of the rate again. Of course they had approved my claim afterwards...
So before submitting a claim make sure if taxes should be inclusive or exclusive in the compared rate and also in the website you use for your comparison so you know you make the right calculations and your claim is accurate and true.
E. Some of the people in the 'Look No Further' team are not experienced enough in validating websites used for rate comparisons and most of them may make mistakes. According to my experience they're making more than a few mistakes (genteelly described). It's very important that even if you got a denial response regarding your claim you'll still check and verify that their response is correct. I had many cases when after replying to their email claiming they did a mistake they actually confirmed I was right and approved the claim (for example: they claimed the rate was no longer available on the website I indicated but it was still available indeed, so I provided them with specific instructions of how to reach it).
Even when they do approve the claim you need to make sure their calculations of the reduced rate given to you are correct. You'll be surprised how many of these people don't know simple math thus not reducing the rate for you properly (I had many cases when I had to reply and provide them with the error they made).
F. If you have a dispute with the specific person from the 'Look No Further' team who handles your claim and you can't make him understand his mistake, you can always ask him\her to consult one of his\her colleagues or, in a worse case scenario, ask him\her to escalate your claim to his\her supervisor. This is acceptable and I've used this method a few times before.
G. For any special need you can also contact the 'Look No Further' team on the phone: 18007715665 (this is a US toll free number which can also be dialled free of charge from outside the US using Skype). However, most of your needs can be answered through the email correspondence of your claim.
Not every hotel chain offer its members a best price guarantee policy, but Marriott does! Not taking advantage of it will be a great miss and unfortunate as you will be paying much more than what you really could!!
The savings can be very significant and I can give you one example: Several years back I booked a stay in the 'Philadelphia Marriott Downtown' hotel for 3 nights. The lowest rate they could provide me with on their website was over $700 for those 3 nights. Using the 'Look No Further' policy I managed to get a $90 per night rate and when I checked in the front desk lady was so surprised and asked me: "Are you really on a $90 rate?? I've never seen that kind of a rate here". So I guess I broke a record in that hotel, and it's truly my pleasure. :-)
You're welcome to comment here and share your experience with getting reduced rates using the 'Look No Further' rate - what website did you use and for which hotel? How much did you manage to lower the original rate? or any issue you had with finding a lower rate or with struggling with The 'Look No Further' team which could teach us all how to be smarter next time :-)
I hope this info was helpful and that you'll make a good use of it for saving your money.
UPDATE: The terms & conditions have recently changed, and now LNF claims for bookings hotels outside the US & Canada no longer require to use a direct reservation website for comparisons!
Very nice guide. I've gotten the LNF rate for about 90% of my stays. I've noticed inconsistencies in rates for premium rooms such as high floor,city view, or larger rooms in which marriott prices them higher than a standard non view room but other websites are either the same as the standard rooms or a few dollars below what marriott has. I don't think I have found a standard room lower than marriott, so look for other room types as well. In the claims form where i put the webite name but on comments I put down the room type and paste the direct link to the rate if it fits.
If I cannot find a lower rate I still book a cancelable room that I need to be sure it will not go up. I still periodically recheck rates and try to find rates lower so if I do I can make another reservation and submit a claim form.
Im not sure if we are allowed to share publicly the websites but you are welcome to ask in pm just to be safe
I'm aware of the confusion around room types, in particular regarding premium rooms. I can tell you a little secret: the 'Look No Further' team gets confused as well and this works as our advantage. Let me explain this by my own example:
I've booked the Marriott hotel in Waikiki beach (Hawaii) which offers several types of a premium room, each type priced differently and offers a different view. However, in the website I used for comparison had a section of premium rooms which doesn't elaborate too much about the differences between them as the Marriott website. So what I did is booked the best one, the most expensive one, and submitted a claim form indicating a room which may look similar but probably isn't. They didn't bother to investigate and as long the basic parameters matched they considered it as the right room and my claim was approved. Now instead of paying $384/night I'm paying only $159! You just need to try... What can you loose? ;-)
Regarding if we can share publicly the websites we use - I just did that in my guide, and anyhow I don't see why we shouldn't... No rules broken.
I think you meant priceline.com rather than price.com. It doesn't seem you can book an hotel through price.com...
Anyway, as I mentioned in my guide, priceline.com & hotwire.com offer you another option of booking which is called 'Secret Rates'. This option gives you a reduced rate for hotels according to the parameters you search by, but doesn't actually reveal the name of the selected hotel for you until after you paid.
That still doesn't mean you can't book with those websites - they do provide you with the regular\ordinary method of booking as all other websites do.
However, these kind of secret rates are excluded from using in the 'Look No Further' claim.
Great write up and welcome to Insiders! Google also has a useful website for helping find lower rates at properties. http://www.google.com/hotels
When using the google link it will refer you to other websites in which you can find the rate listed. I used this the last time I was able to book a LNF Rate.
Generally yes, but if the rate on the Marriott website hasn't changed you will be able to submit a claim form even after 24 hours, as it won't make any sense to cancel the booking and then rebook the same one.
In the worst case scenario you'll just need to cancel and rebook in order to be able to submit a claim form.
Just saw this and thanks for the helpful hints. Thankfully I never reached the point where I had to escalate to another coworker or supervisor, but it's good to know.
i also was questioned twice when checking in about the great rate I had. And I think I broke the record at the Cosmopolitan.
I generally do not get the LNF rate, simply because I qualify for several "special" rates, including Government, AAA, and Senior. When I do have to settle for the LNF rate, it is usually the best available. It's nice to know, however, that Marriott makes this rate available to its members.
Thanks for the information!
I also filed a claim but got rejected because the hotel has a special rate that need advanced payment.
But I don't want to pay in advance so I choose the regular free cancellation rate to compare with 3rd party website.
So I wonder if it really works because most hotels have advanced purchased rate
And last time I booked a non-refundable rate and claimed the LNF, Marriott also rejected it but when I canceled the reservation within 24hrs, the hotel still mentioned they charged the payment...
fistuk, I've tried this for all of my bookings in the next few months and I have yet to find a lower rate on Trivago, Kayak, Priceline, Hotwire, etc. What am I doing wrong?
For many years I was a fan of the LNF but Marriott began tightening its attitude and the last LNF I managed before this article was in Nov 2014, ironically at the Philly Marriott too, total cost for a 4-night stay reduced from $1,200 to $500! Unlike you I didn't get the FD exclamation, but the amateur I am, I did only manage to reduce the rate to $105/nt!
But your article reinvigorated my searches and I've saved $100 at Montreal Marriott, $50 at Gettysburg CY, $150 at Richmond Marriott, $170 at EWR Marriott, $80 at Houston ICON, and $150 at the MCO Marriott. And yes, for all those reading this, it does take a long time, and many searches. For this group I found my cheaper rates at Alpharooms, ibooked, roomhopper and booking.com. I'm still finding LNF impossible on EU and UK rates, though! Even so, $700 saved is pretty dang good!
I definitely owe you a pint or two, fistuk hopefully in Houston, but if not, I do have a couple of jobs coming up in London during November and December...
Put in an LNF claim yesterday thanks to this post and talking with fistuk in Houston. Rate went from 142 a night to 72.31 q night... Woot!
Be careful fistuk, Marriott is gonna try to take you out pretty soon. You're costing them too much money.