IHG customer services - a contrarian view

Discussion in 'IHG Rewards Club' started by johnbrowell, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. johnbrowell

    johnbrowell Member

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    Hang on to your seat, as I'm about to report a positive experience with IHG customer services.:)

    I contacted them about missing points from a stay in Nottingham recently, organised and paid for by my employer. I enquired politely why I had not earned points for that stay, and they responded very quickly and reasonably to explain that I had forgotten the T&C section which says that to qualify for points the stay has to be booked in my name and paid for by me, rather than the company. But then they went on to grant me the base points, and the Spire 100% bonus, as a goodwill gesture, when they didn't really need to.:D

    Below is the specific term which caught me out, and is valid as my employer had booked more than 10 rooms.
    32. Points will not be issued if your room is paid for by a trade group, association, or company as part of a convention or group business meeting (10 rooms or more). If you stay at an IHG branded hotel under the terms of a contract or group commitment, you will not be eligible to receive Points unless you separately pay for your own room.

    To be fair, I knew I had been allocated a room as part of a block booking, so had contacted the hotel directly ahead of the stay to get them to add my IHG number against it, and it duly showed as an upcoming stay in my app, so I was expecting points. But I didn't know point 32 above.

    At checkout I was told the bill had been settled by the company, rather annoyingly as I was ready with my IHG Mastercard to get 4X points on the cost ! But I didn't know that would prevent me getting points.
     
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  2. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Haha, very nice - it's always good to see the other side of these things!

    I think the thing that annoys me most with IHG is that the agents have a tendency to push back and repeat themselves, even when what they are stating defies basic logic. It makes every interaction take about 6 times longer than it really needs to. If they don't understand what you are talking about, that's absolutely fine, no agent can know everything - just pass the customer onto a supervisor who might, or who can at least direct the call to the team who can.

    Trying to get my free night certificate sorted was a nightmare. Edited 'highlights':

    Every time I rang, the first 10 minutes was spent explaining (again) that despite what their system said, I had booked direct, not through a third party - and I have the IHG confirmation emails to prove it.

    Then the line would become, 'ah yes, you did book with IHG but it's not a qualifying rate'. I would then direct them to the terms and conditions on the IHG website stating explicitly that the rate in question is a qualifying rate, and to the information contained in the rate description of the confirmation emails etc stating the same. Usually, this would make no discernible impact - they would just keep repeating it isn't a qualifying rate - despite the clear evidence in front of their eyes. After a bit of time well spent where we both repeated ourselves for a bit, it would be passed onto a supervisor.

    The whole conversation then begins again...

    Then, sometimes you get a cut off. Other times, you're just put on hold so long (30+ mins) you have to end the call.

    Eventually, the matter is 'investigated'. The investigation concludes that you didn't book a qualifying rate, on the basis that the agent asked the hotel and the hotel said no. This is presented as absolute fact - despite the categorical evidence to the contrary already mentioned.

    Once that finally gets resolved, the stays are credited, but no certificate. Why? 'Because your stays were not during the eligible period'. Obviously, they were - so you send them the terms and conditions of their own promotion showing that they were. 'No sir, the promotion dates were in Spring 2018'. That's literally impossible - because the very hotels that the promotion was promoting weren't part of IHG at that time... Also, here are the actual terms and conditions (again). Standard bit of repetition for a while,etc, etc.

    In the end, someone actually competent takes one look and sorts it all out in minutes.

    I reckon 95% of people would have given up at some point - either because they believed the nonsense the agents came out with, or just because life is too short. Ordinarily, I would have done too - but I really wanted the certificate rather than pay £500+ for a hotel in Boston! :)
     
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  3. CraigS

    CraigS Member

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    This garbage just makes me appreciate my Hyatt Concierge even more and a useful reminder during my depressing autumn Hyatt Place Heathrow stays to finish off those required 60 nights....

    Something goes wrong, I send off a quick email and she sorts it! Everything from points missing to hotel over-charging to suite upgrades.

    I also find in general that the somewhat more competent agents end up assigned to Twitter and other social media. Haven't tried tweeting at IHG though, but Marriott works reasonably well.
     
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  4. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    That sounds wonderful... :)
     
  5. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Although, to be fair, 60 nights is a pretty serious commitment. I tend to just grab whatever status I can get from credit cards, matches, etc.
     
  6. CraigS

    CraigS Member

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    60 nights Hyatt + 50 nights Marriott! :eek: Which explains why I stay at Hilton, IHG and anywhere else the absolute minimum!

    I am homeless every summer, so picking up 100+ nights isn't outrageous. Doing that without spending a fortune on the other hand... ;)
     
  7. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Haha, exactly!

    Are you ever tempted to ditch the loyalty and just pick the best option for each particular destination (whether that's price, location, views, etc)?

    I enjoy Hilton Diamond for example, but I don't value lounge access (essentially the difference over Gold) highly enough to make me stay with them exclusively. If I really want lounge access on a specific stay, I can always pay for it.
     
  8. CraigS

    CraigS Member

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    Ha! Not likely! Seriously though, I have been thinking about performing a serious cost-benefit analysis on Hyatt. Even though it's clearly the most valuable points currency and best elite treatment and therefore the highest payback, I don't actually need suites and could maybe manage with the club lounge certificates instead.

    But otherwise I am already juggling the 4 major hotel chains. If a Hilton or IHG is clearly best for the occasion - usually a cheap and cheerful one-nighter - then I go for it. It's just so clear to me at this point, though, that a similarly priced Hilton is going to be far worse than the Hyatt / Marriott option, so as long as I'm doing 100+ nights a year that's where most of my nights are going...
     

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