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Lately, I’ve been giving IHG and IHG Rewards a deserved hard time by pointing out how they have been doing less than their competitors in a number of areas relating to customer care and by pointing out that they only have themselves to blame if customers are less than happy with them overall…but I’ve finally had some positive news drop into my inbox.
One of my key gripes about IHG’s recent behavior has been the hotelier’s apparent inability to communicate with customers on a timely basis. Hilton, Hyatt, Radisson, and even Marriott (to a lesser degree) have all (mostly) kept customers abreast of what policies they’re introducing to make bookings less risky, to make cancellations a lot simpler, and to help stop elite benefits from expiring, and when these chains have made announcements they have been careful to email customers with the details quickly and efficiently.
Before today I hadn’t received a single email from IHG, IHG Rewards or the InterContinental Ambassador program to let me know what their updated policies look like (in the light of the current crisis) or what steps they’re taking to help customers out and, had I not contacted IHG Rewards, this would probably still be the case.
With a free night certificate expiring this month, I contacted IHG Rewards at the end of March to ask what (if anything) they were planning to do about certificates that couldn’t be used. Today, a little over two weeks after I asked that question, I received an email reply:
Hello Mr. XXXXX,
How are you doing? I hope all is well amidst the pandemic. I am reaching out to you about your concern with your Chase Free Night. IHG understands that travel plans are all put on hold. In line with this, we are extending the expiration date of anniversary night certificates that are set to expire in 2020. Certificates expiring from March 1, 2020, can now be used through December 31, 2020. Certificates issued in 2020 will have an 18-month redemption period.
Our team is starting to work on the accounts of all our members. You will see the new expiration in the coming weeks. Please bear with us as we are also working with limited staff and an influx of cancellations, as well as member requests.
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
This is good news – I now have until the end of the year to use my free night certificate – but this still doesn’t address my primary annoyance with IHG:
Why haven’t certificate holders been emailed with this update?
What is it about IHG that makes it so reluctant to communicate with its customers?
Every single person that has attempted to defend IHG each time I’ve used this blog to beat it over the head has used examples of what IHG has done for them when they called in or contacted the hotelier in some other way.
If you don’t proactively contact IHG or if you don’t check the Covid-19 update page daily you don’t find anything out.
Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, and Radisson all manage to update their homepages and email customers with the latest news any time they make any changes so why can’t IHG do this?
Is this really too much to ask?
I am genuinely grateful that IHG has decided to extend the expiration date of my free night certificate but I still have a host of questions that have been left unanswered:
- Will the free night certificate still work at all IHG properties worldwide (this was the final year of that particular benefit)?
- Will IC Ambassador status be extended? (it is, after all, a status we pay for)
- Will IC Ambassador weekend free night certificates be extended?
I know better than to expect IHG to voluntarily give up all this information so I have emailed in to see if I can get some answers – I’ll post an update if and when I get a response.