How a low price guarantee can actually cost you more


When I book a hotel, I always try to use the hotel’s official website. Unlike those non-refundable reservations at places like, booking through the hotel site usually means you can change or cancel the reservation as needed. Plus, many hotels have a low price guarantee to match the travel sites on price. But there’s a catch: the price match might also mean you give up the flexibility that you were seeking from the official website in the first place.

Case in point: I found the same price offered on the Sheraton website and Expedia. But Sheraton had an incredibly restrictive change policy, while Expedia’s was quite reasonable. So I called Sheraton and asked them to match Expedia’s price for the same room. The rep explained to me that they only match the price, not things like the cancellation policy. So when it comes down to it, the price match is a scam. What good is a low price guarantee if you’re not getting the same product or service?

As customers, I guess we need to be more careful about accepting any sort of price match without reading the fine print. From the vendor side, I would argue that marketers need to disclose when their best value guarantee comes along with other terms that devalue the core product or increase the costs of returns or changes. In my case, I did end up having to change the reservation right after I booked it, so I’m glad I read the fine print and went with Expedia. Otherwise, I would have paid hundreds of dollars in change fees because of a best value guarantee that was anything but.

2 Responses to “How a low price guarantee can actually cost you more”

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your experience with Expedia. I haven’t used their service very often, but at least in my case, they did honor their change policy without any difficulty. I agree with the approach that you recommend on your site: always book travel direct with the provider when possible, rather than using third-party sites like Expedia. But as I mentioned in my post, be careful about whether the official site is trying to pull a fast one with things like a low-price guarantee or other fine print that actually makes the third-party site a safer and cheaper bet.

  2. EXPEDIA is a scam. I was a victim, they tried to scam me 1254.95 U$D. Click on my name to read my case and read hundreds more at: