Although I understand what group rate means, I am not sure I understand Merriam Webster's definition which says:

a uniform rate charged to or from any one of a group or block of points within a given territory — called also blanket rate, block rate

My understanding of the phrase is simply a discounted rate for a group of people compared to an individual rate. So why does Merriam Webster say "or from any one of a group"? How can it be money charged from a member of a group?

Also what does a block of points within a given territory mean in this context? How is that relevant to the phrase?

2 Answers 2


Compare it with this definition from Oxford Living Dictionaries and what it says was the original meaning:

group rate (noun)

A payment or charge applicable to a group of people or things; (originally) specifically a uniform rail fare (especially for freight) applicable from any place within a certain area; (now chiefly) a reduced payment for a service, amenity, etc., made available to a group of people applying together.


Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Leeds Mercury.

The Leeds Mercury was a newspaper published in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.

It seems that the Merriam Webster's definition is a confusing mixture of the historical and current meanings.


Bence's answer is not incorrect, but there is a common usage (in the United States, at least) for events like weddings which expect out-of-town guests. Group rate would not be my preferred phrase for this meaning, but some do use it this way.

The people planning the event may secure a block rate (the most common term I am familiar with in this case, but the others would probably be understood as well) on rooms, but guests would still need to book and pay for their rooms individually. When making the reservation you would inform the hotel staff that you are attending the event and they would then allow you to book the room (or rooms) at the block rate, provided that there are rooms available. In such a case, the rooms in the hotel would be the "points".

There is an episode of the U.S. version of The Office in which Michael Scott is attending a wedding in Niagra falls, and a misunderstanding and explanation of this exact situation takes place. I'll add a link later, if I can.

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