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After another frustrating weekend where I spent far too much time on the phone speaking to unfortunate half-trained agents working for IHG Rewards Club, a question occurred to me: Which hotel loyalty programme actually has the worst customer service?
I’m sure that InsideFlyer readers will make compelling arguments for all of the main programmes (with the possible exception of Hyatt) – please share your thoughts / war stories in the comments!
My own view
I’ve no idea what Accor customer service is like these days – I find the website so annoying to use that I don’t really stay with the chain anymore. My experience with Hyatt and Radisson Rewards is also too limited to make a meaningful judgement.
As regards Hilton Honors, it might just be luck (or a benefit of Diamond status), but I normally find the agents ‘ok’ – not great, but fine. Which leaves us with Marriott and IHG…
Marriott Bonvoy is bound to be a popular choice for worst customer service, but I think IHG Rewards Club edges it.
Bonvoy’s problems are well-documented, and I’ve certainly done more than my fair share of HUACA-ing when trying to get issues resolved. The thing is though, if you do call back a few times, finding a competent agent doesn’t usually take too long
With IHG, you often begin to wonder whether competent agents even exist.
My most recent experience was genuinely ludicrous. It involved no fewer than 8 different agents (including supervisors) misunderstanding something extremely basic and repeatedly giving incorrect advice, despite the relevant terms and conditions being crystal clear. Eventually, the case was passed on to somebody who knew what they were doing – they understood the issue straight away and resolved things in minutes. If that had happened on the 1st or 2nd call, that would have been fine.
Craig has previously made a similar argument about the joys of IHG Rewards Club, so at least I know I’m in good company!
I want to finish by making it clear that I don’t ever blame individual agents for getting things wrong – it’s fundamentally the responsibility of management to invest properly in the training that employees need.
Which hotel programme do you think has the worst customer service?