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Earlier this month, a significant number of IHG Rewards members had a message dropped into their accounts informing them that they could earn 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights they consume at IHG properties in 2021. Well, there’s a very good chance that if you saw that message in your account it was there in error and you weren’t really targeted for that promotion at all.
I make no apologies for not being a big fan of IHG Rewards. I’m more than happy to make the most of any good points sales that IHG offers, I enjoy redeeming points for nice stays, and I enjoy the free night certificate that my IHG Rewards credit card gives me, but as a loyalty/rewards program I find it to be thoroughly underwhelming.
The benefits that IHG Rewards offers are mostly laughingly poor and the way the program interacts with members rages from non-existent to shambolic so I wasn’t particularly surprised to see Loyalty Lobby reporting that the latest promotion we saw the program launch was a monumental screw-up.
Towards the end of last year, IHG Rewards started targeting some of its members for a promotion in which they were offered 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights they consume at IHG properties in 2021 with an added extra 20,000 bonus points thrown in when they stay 40 nights.
A couple of weeks ago, considerably more IHG Rewards members had the following message turn up in their online accounts:
I was one of those members, but when I access the messages in my account now, the promotion has disappeared:
I’m still being asked to make the terrible decision to upgrade my legacy IHG Reward card to the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card (review), but the option to earn 10,000 points every 10 nights is definitely no longer there.
John, over at Loyalty Lobby, saw the same thing in his account and contacted IHG to see what was going on. After a few bumbling and frankly nonsensical replies (from the Ambassador service no less), he extracted the following statement from IHG:
We are aware of an issue some IHG Rewards members may have encountered regarding our Milestone Bonus offer. A message was made available in error to select IHG Rewards members who are not eligible to receive this offer.
We apologize for this error and are working quickly to resolve the issue with any members who mistakenly received this communication.
In plain English that basically means “we sent a message to a lot of people telling them that they were targeted for a promotion that they weren’t really targeted for and we’ve now removed that message in the hope that they won’t notice”.
To be fair to IHG, they never actually emailed anyone to tell them that they were targeted for the bonus points promotion – the promotion simply appeared in member accounts – but IHG Rewards is so utterly useless at communicating with its members that there was no reason not to believe that the online accounts were correct and that IHG had simply failed to send out any promotional emails.
From a personal point of view, I really couldn’t care less about this as I have no intention of staying 10 or more nights with IHG this year (I’ll be surprised if I stay more than two nights at IHG properties in 2021), but this is yet another example of staggering incompetence on the part of IHG Rewards and it’s getting boring.
No loyalty program is perfect (we all make mistakes), but why is it that IHG Rewards always appears to be at the center of things whenever a promotion is messed up or whenever we hear reports of poor communication or reports of no communication whatsoever?
I’m sure there will be some loyalists along in a minute to tell me that I’m out of order for bashing their beloved IHG Rewards program, but the fact is that the program deserves all the bashing that it gets. If you’re going to run an unrewarding loyalty program whose benefits are meagre at best, the very least that you need to be is efficient, on the ball, and competent. Sadly those are three things that the people who run IHG Rewards are very definitely not.
If you saw a message in your IHG online account letting you know that you could earn 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights that you stay with IHG in 2021, you should probably check your account again as there’s a very good chance that the message is no longer there and that you were never really targerted for that promotion at all.
It would be nice to think that IHG may eventually do the right thing and, at the very least, send out another message to let people know about its mistake but sadly, based on past history, pigs are more likely to fly.