Ok, Now IHG Rewards Is Just Being Annoying

a walkway leading to a body of water with huts and mountains in the background with Bora Bora in the background

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I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of IHG Rewards so I don’t have particularly high expectations of the program.

I don’t like the way the program offers poor elite benefits, I don’t like how certain elite benefits aren’t available on award bookings, and I don’t like the way the program continually devalues its currency…but, having said all that, I’ve known about these shortcomings for a while so I know how to live with them.

a group of people sitting in a large room
InterContinental Sydney

A far more recent annoyance is the way IHG runs its quarterly promotions and how utterly useless its IT is.

IHG’s quarterly Accelerate promotions started off being pretty good and, although the hotelier’s algorithm soon worked out that I was more than capable of exploiting the deals I was offered without spending much money, I didn’t mind that my later Accelerate offers were pretty poor.

I really didn’t mind that the Accelerate offers I was being targeted for were abysmal – I didn’t like it but I also understood that this was the game we play.

You win some and you lose some and that’s ok with me.

Now things appear to have changed as not only is IHG targeting individual members for different Accelerate promotions, but it’s also creating different promotion periods for different members.

At the end of April when IHG revealed a new Accelerate promotion I thought there was something wrong with its IT systems when I couldn’t register and participate. It turned out that IHG had excluded me (and a lot of others) from participating…but I was then invited to take part in a separate promotion which launched a month later.

That first IHG Accelerate promotion is now over and a new one is in play (check to see if you’ve been targeted via this link) and once again I don’t appear to be eligible.

All I see when I attempt to register is this:

a screenshot of a card

Presumably I’m not eligible as the other promotion (the one I was targeted for in July) is still in progress, but this still raises two questions:

1 – Why doesn’t IHG offer up a proper error message explaining that I’m not eligible for the promotion I’m trying to register for? Why do I have to infer that I’m not eligible from the “we appreciate your loyalty…” nonsense that appears on the screen?

2 – Why, when I log in to the IHG Rewards app, do I see this?

a screenshot of a cellphone

When I try to register for the “145,800 bonus points” nothing happens in the app so, presumably, I can’t actually earn that bonus after all.

Leaving aside the fact that IHG’s IT team can’t even code an app in such a way that all the text of a message can be seen on the screen, why am I being sent messages inviting me to participate in a promotion I’m clearly not targeted for?

I’m going to assume that at some point I (and everyone else excluded from the latest Accelerate promotion) will be emailed an invitation to another promotion when IHG gets around to it, but I don’t understand what the hotelier thinks it’s doing – it’s just aggravating.

Bottom Line

In an age where information travels around the globe in milliseconds, it seems foolish to open up a big promotion to one set of your loyalty program members while excluding another set as those who have been excluded will quickly find out and wonder why.

It’s even more foolish to dangle a carrot in front of members of your loyalty program (in this case, a lot of bonus points) only to then have them find out that the bonus points aren’t on offer after all.

If you’re trying to annoy members of your loyalty program this is a great way to go about it but, as I have to assume that this isn’t IHG’s aim, I’m left wondering what exactly its aim is?


    • No, almost certainly not just you. Expect an email mid October for a promo starting early November (that’s my best guess)

  1. The fact that they still use 4 digits password is mind blowing. Just Google it and you can see people get their IHG accounts/points hacked all the time.

  2. IHG has sent me the same offer to buy new points with 100% bonus, with increased buy limit, 3 times in the current promo. Each time I get the Sorry, you have reached your annual limit, (100K). Even the increased annual limit they refer to is not available! WTF IHG~ if it’s not available to me don’t keep sending me the offer!!!

  3. Going off on a tangent, the Holiday Inn Express I frequently stay at has started pricing the cash+point rate as more expensive than cash only rate. £59 plus 5000 points or £56 with NO points! How does that encourage me to want to earn more points?

  4. Last few times we stayed at IHG the service was poor at best. I have points that need used but have been reluctant to stay at an IHG Hotel

  5. You article is spot on. I recently stayed at the Crowne Plaza Heathrow T4 and was upgraded to a Club Level room. Very nice hotel and nice room I thought until I was told upgraded rooms do not get access to the Club Lounge. Like you said, annoying! I do have a question though. Part of my current Accelerate promotion is Discover Our Brands, Stay at 2 brands and get 8,400 bonus points. Do you know if a Chase Anniversary Free Night counts towards this?

    • I don’t believe it does. I have minimal internet access right now so I’ll check when I’m back in the 21st century but I seem to remember free nights (of any kind) not counting towards Accelerate targets.

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