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A good measure of the quality of an airline or hotel chain ISN’T when everything goes right – although that certainly helps – it is how that company responds when things go wrong. For example, my problem with many low-cost carriers isn’t with the service and product when operations are running smoothly; it’s that the situation turns into the Hunger Games or the Lord of the Flies when weather or air traffic control issues cause delays throughout the network. (of course BA isn’t immune to this either, but their meltdowns often seem to be total, rather than the consequence of a French strike – and they do tend to deliver after the fact with bonus Avios, status extensions, etc.)
With individual hotels and hotel chains the situation is similar. My favourites tend to:
- Resolve any issue as quickly as possible
- Provide a token (points, free night, whatever) as compensation for the inconvenience.
But, in my experience, IHG Rewards Club has the worst customer service. By far! There are few things I wouldn’t rather do than call IHG Rewards Club to chase up missing points. So, when I was doing some housekeeping on my IHG Rewards Club account, I noticed that I was missing a few hundred “Welcome Amenity” points. I also noticed that a reward night wasn’t included in my counter for 2017 nights. So I decided to use the online “missing points” form to chase it up.
To my surprise, I received the following e-mail:
Hi Mr. Sowerby,
Thanks for emailing us; I hope all is well. My name is X [redacted] and I’m happy to help you with your IHG® Rewards Platinum account today.
I’m sorry for any confusion. Please note that all Rewards Night stays are non-qualifying stays [emphasis mine] therefore, it is not counted towards any IHG Elite Levels.
Thanks for being a valued Platinum Elite member! Please let us know if you have any questions.
We’re always here to help,
+44 870 607 2582
Naturally, the lazy responder won’t have known he was communicating with somebody who knows a fair bit more about loyalty programmes than your average member. (plus a blogger with more than a handful of readers!) Twenty seconds of searching on the IHG website (in case something had changed) and I came up with the correct answer, which is that of course reward nights count for status purposes.
I know that not every customer service agent is perfectly trained. I know that mistakes can be made. But why do lazy agents just invent lies to avoid doing their jobs? And why do so many of them seem to work for IHG Rewards Club?
I certainly won’t be calling that premium number in the UK to sort out this minor issue. Yet Agent X has provided me with yet another reason to stay with other hotel chains…
What about you? Do you have any stories about customer service at IHG Rewards Club?