IHG Premium Mastercard Customer Service is a Joke…

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I like to keep things pretty positive here at InsideFlyer UK, but occasionally the odd rant does the soul good! Today my ire is focused on the unfortunately named ‘Customer Service’ department for the IHG Premium Mastercard issued by Creation.

My everyday spending has not been more rewarding. I have quite enjoyed writing this article though, so maybe that counts?

I had issues right from the start with this card, when it was confirmed in writing that the sign up bonus I was due was 40,000 IHG Rewards Club Points, only for it to be reconfirmed a couple of weeks later that by writing 40,000, what they actually meant was 20,000. Naturally, I was a fool to ever think otherwise.

There are a range of minor issues with the online account system Creation uses for this card- the ‘pay by’ date is almost always wrong (it usually shows last month’s date, which is just plain confusing), you need a Degree in statistical analysis to work out if you’re getting the correct number of Points (I’ve given up), etc.

Intercontinental Prague

The next proper fiasco though was when I had the audacity to try and order some groceries from Tesco Online. I admit that this was a pretty high-risk, dodgy looking transaction – all but guaranteed to trigger red alert on the fraud alarms 🙂 . The fact I had already used the card regularly for purchasing groceries, both online and in-store, as well as for a large range of other UK and foreign transactions, was entirely irrelevant.

It was explained (slowly – thankfully – because I’m not very bright) that a ~£60 purchase on a weekday evening from one of the biggest and most established retailers in the country, originating from my own IP address, is patently the definition of suspicious activity. This seemed like very good sense, so I apologised for causing such trouble for the good people at fraud prevention, and solemnly promised to avoid such risky purchases from that day forward.

Sadly, I failed to keep my word.

An injudicious rush when booking a flight with Norwegian led to me grabbing the IHG Premium Mastercard to pay (I do still want to hit the min spend on it to earn a free night certificate this year!)…

Intercontinental ‘The Willard’ in Washington DC is a nice place to use your annual certificate.

In hindsight, the results were predictable: card frozen and access to my online account locked, again. Obviously, someone who regularly makes a lot of flight and hotel bookings choosing to book another flight is unlikely. It’s pretty clear (now I look back) that the most plausible scenario was that I had been kidnapped and forced to book flights for myself against my will, so I really do understand the perspective of fraud prevention on this one.

Not to worry, I thought I’d give them a quick call after work to let them know I hadn’t been kidnapped (this time!) and to say thanks again for keeping such an intelligent eye on me.

It was 17:30 on a weekday by this point, so, quite rightly, there was nobody available to take my call. When I say “nobody available”, a more accurate way of putting it would be “nobody in the office at all”. I tried the fraud number and the general customer service number, with both eventually resulting in what sounded like a household answer-phone asking me to call back between 9:00-17:00 or to leave a message. I mean, why would anyone need to unblock their card or speak to customer service at any time other than 9am-5pm?

Bottom line

The IHG Premium Mastercard has an annual fee of £99 – is it really too much to ask that they either stop freezing my card for incredibly dull transactions, or at least have someone in the office until 18:00 on a weekday to fix it when they do.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a freeze placed on any of my cards from MBNA, Barclaycard, Amex, etc, and I’m pretty sure they all manage 24-hour customer support too, despite most of those cards being free. I really can’t understand why Creation thinks this is a reasonable way to conduct business.

On a serious point – when travelling, always make sure you have a couple of back up credit cards with you in case your preferred one gets blocked and it takes a while to sort out. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that the IHG Premium Mastercard should be one of those cards.

Anyone else had as much fun with the IHG Premium Mastercard?

Comments

  1. Rich Thompson says

    Nothing but plain sailing for me! I was proper impressed that my IHG platinum status was applied within the 45mins it took me from applying to walking to the IC Berlin in 2016 the day it launched!

    Never had any fraud issues either… Maybe they’ve decided my spending is just too unpredictable and anything gets through haha!

  2. KevinZ says

    You’re not alone. For frequent or big spenders, this card is such a pain. The decline rate is just unbelievable. I once had to go through a secondary fraud team (oh, yes, one is simply not enough) in order to get a transaction pass.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Haha – I love the idea of a ‘secondary fraud team’ there – there’s clearly only about 2-3 people in the whole office!

  3. Craig Sowerby says

    LOL. It could be worse. At least once a year Nationwide decides that my card has been compromised, so they immediately shut it down with no attempt to communicate with me – instead they send me a new card with a new number. Never mind that I monitor my account regularly and have never seen a fraudulent transaction, nor do my pleas of “I’m traveling, you’re leaving me stranded” make the slightest bit of difference. And naturally it’s a shock to them that a no FX fee credit card might be used mostly outside of the UK.

    So, indeed, make sure to carry 2-3 different credit cards from different banks as well as some cash as backup…

  4. Tony says

    I’ve generally had a good experience and use my IHG all the time with heavy spending.
    The customer service is 9-5 which is annoying but only ever called once.
    Also when the balance is paid in full it takes about 5 days for it to reflect and your limit to free up, they must be using ancient systems.
    I just use it accordingly, not had any decline issues.

    I have received my free night, and spire elite status just from spend which is great.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Aye – it is a good card if it works properly, so despite my travails I’ll almost definitely keep it next year.

  5. Peter says

    I had a reason to complain to them last year – got an apology and a promise of a goodwill gesture of £10 – never happened. Creation is Paribas Bank’s brand by the way.

  6. Pangolin says

    I had issues with the decline rate also but since linking it to my Curve card and using only the Curve there haven’t been any problems.

    After that I simply stopped using the IHG card itself until the recent Accelerate challenge gave one of the tasks as ‘Pay with IHG card’. So I dug it out of my wallet to pay at a HIX and…. card declined!

    • Joe Deeney says

      HAHA! – that’s definitely the best one so far. I thought Tesco was good, but being declined at an IHG hotel is spectacular.

  7. Andrew M says

    Has anyone managed to get the full 40,000 sign up bonus? I’ve got a complaint ongoing with them for the missing points but they don’t seem in a hurry to resolve it.

  8. Alvin says

    Do you guys know if it is possible to apply for the card, get the bonus and night certificate and then cancel it?

    After a couple of months, reapply and get the bonus?

    • Scott says

      I was told you have to wait 6 months between card to get the bonus again , but i wouldn’t beleive anything they say , they are a badly run company and no one knows anything , they just guess .
      If you hit the spend of £10k and get the free night stay , you can cancel the card (wait for the voucher to be credited to your IHG account) , you wont get a refund pro rata like you do with Amex

  9. Ian Perry says

    Never had any problems with mine, but didn’t use it a whole lot after the initial bonus, and the odd accelerate target. Too many other targets to hit to focus on the £10k for free night so cancelled it just before the anniversary. That was super efficient, as they made zero effort to retain my custom and the call was done in about 3 minutes. Two weeks later I received a letter offering me a balance transfer offer ???!!

  10. Scott says

    I also have have had a nightmare with Creation over the IHG premier card , that is still not finished

    I had the card and hit the £10,000 spend so i phoned up to find out about cancelling the card , as i didn’t feel that it was worth taking it for the second year if i wasn’t going to get the 20,000 sign up bonus . I was told on the phone that unless i paid the second £99 for the second year that i would not get the free night stay that i had earned . I asked to speak a ‘manager’ , i think spoke to what seemed like a young guy who said that i was trying to ‘find a loophole that didn’t exist’ . He again told me that if i didn’t renew and pay the second £99 then i would have to surrender the free night (that i had earned) .

    Long story short , after a few phone calls and emails and getting advice from other places , i got the free night credited and canceled the card . I raised a complaint with the complaints team at Creation in August and we are now in January and they have still not got back to me about it . I phone up ever now and again for an update (i don’t want to let it lie as it annoyed me so much at the time) , i keep getting told that the complaints department is backed up (not surprised) and that they have not got round to my complaint and that they would ‘send me something out in the post by the end of next week’ , which never happens

    Terrible , Terrible , terrible

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