IHG Rewards Club “Surprise And Delight” Gold & Platinum Elite Recognition Program

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Two weeks ago, I wrote (you can read the piece here) about an after stay survey that was probing what Platinum elite amenity I had chosen at check-in. The problem was that I was not offered anything. Many LoyaltyLobby readers commented about their own experiences that good number of properties had been offering either points or food and beverage amenity.

ihg-rewards-club-surprise-and-delight-jpg

I posed this question to my contact at the IHG corporate and can now confirm the following:

IHG Rewards Club has been piloting Elite member amenity program in Europe where Gold and Platinum members have been offered extras at the check in.

This program “Surprise and Delight” is rolling to all Crowne Plaza, Indigo, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in Europe by the end of 2013.

The program is expected to roll out in the United States in 2014.

This is definitely good thing as Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood have all been offering either some extra points or food and beverage amenity for their top tier members.

crowne-plaza-platinum-amenity

I hope that IHG would also introduce complimentary breakfast and/or club lounge access for their top tier members that all the main competitors mentioned above are already offering.

Conclusion

This is really welcomed change and hopefully all the properties in Europe are offering this soon and the US ones next year.

Some properties do go above and beyond for the IHG Rewards Club elite members but there are less than stellar ones that do the absolute minimum that is practically nothing.

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  • choochmac

    The unpredictability of recognition is one of the big downsides of IHG. I have stayed at run of the mill HIEs in the middle of nowhere (rural PA) who greet us with bottles of water and full snack bags, but other places not even a mention. We have stayed at Crowne Plazas in which we were given wine, free parking, or comped appetizers and a breakfast in the morning but nothing at other CPs (even asking for late checkout seemed like a huge deal). Glad to see management at least sees they need to do something to beef up recognition. Not holding my breath for breakfast though, probably never going to happen.

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      Absolutely. That is the drawback that makes very difficult for me to stay at Holiday Inns and Crowne Plazas. As I pointed above and you on your comments, the treatment sometimes is fantastic and at some other times nothing.

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  • Dave Jennings

    I’m Plat with IHG, and last time I checked in I was asked to pick from a selection of envelopes, each of which contained some kind of unknown goody. Mine was a voucher for a bottle of house wine, which was pretty great!

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      That is nice. Where was that and what property?

      • Dave Jennings

        This was the Crowne Plaza in Reading, UK. Staying CP Brussels this week so will postwhat happens there.

  • Thanh Viet

    Got a free wallet at Holiday Inn Shanghai and a free drink voucher, and nothing at InterContinental Tokyo Bay ?!? Funny part was the HI was almost better than IC in Tokyo :D

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      You need to have Ambassador or Royal Ambassador status for benefits at the InterContinental Hotels. The Royal Ambassador benefits are usually very good.

      • Evan

        John, do you still know someone willing to sell their RA Referral?

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  • Alex

    I really hoped that they would offer free access to the club launch at least were also we can have a small breakfast to their platinum members. I know some of the Crowne Plaza did offer it until the “new and improved” IHG reward club was put in action. After the change they were not allowed anymore to offer this extra benefit as the rules changed and they were not allowed according the contract with IHG to provide there top tier customers special benefits. I think this is a major step back and I already considered get a status match at an other hotel chain and move on. They may upgraded me to a club room but did not give me access to the club launch.

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      Part of the problem is that IHG alone cannot dictate all these benefits to hotels that are all basically independently owned (there are only handful of properties that are still owned by IHG). Properties need to co-operate as well. I do agree on your opinion that is same as mine that they really should offer the club and/or breakfast for PLT members.

      I don’t believe that IHG would have told properties that they CANNOT upgrade PLT’s to Club level or give Club access. is really up to the properties.

      • Alex

        Thank you for your answer, but precisely that is what they told me at the reception when I checked in. I asked them, why can’t we access the launch anymore as PLT and they told me starting with the new IHG reward programme they are not allowed this benefit anymore to offer.

        • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

          They might blame the corporate even if it had been a local decision.

          • Alex

            They were know for their great benefits for Platinum members….

  • Alex

    I really hoped that they would offer free access to the club launch at least were also we can have a small breakfast to their platinum members. I know some of the Crowne Plaza did offer it until the “new and improved” IHG reward club was put in action. After the change they were not allowed anymore to offer this extra benefit as the rules changed and they were not allowed according the contract with IHG to provide there top tier customers special benefits. I think this is a major step back and I already considered get a status match at an other hotel chain and move on. They may upgraded me to a club room but did not give me access to the club launch.

  • Qi

    just stayed at staybridge Sao Paulo brazil. was given a scratch off ticket at checkin, and turns out i got a plastic waterbottle.

    • Alex

      The staybrigde Sao Paulo is not such an exiting hotel, stayed there once too. The only nice thing there is the Argentinian steakhouse next door… I go not even a scratch off ticket at that time.

  • hockeytraveller

    Like many I’ve had a variety of Platinum experiences. But this smells of them upping the Platinum program in 2014 when the number of people in it should drop significantly due to the bonus points being dropped as qualifying points.

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      Could be. The number of PLT’s should go down next year.

  • MonikaR

    I’ve been offered this at HI Cracow (PL). However I find this a bit ‘tiny’ for Platinum… I agree that Lounge access or free breakfast would be great. Especially breakfast would not cost them much, but what a PR… I still divide my staying between IHG, Starwood and Accor, because IHG is disappointing me sometinmes. Otherwise I would be extremely loyal, because I like their hotels.
    John – you do a great work! Regards from HEL :-)

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      I lived in HEL for six years, so know the city rather well.

  • http://invinoveritas.posterous.com/ Francesca

    If I use cashback will I still be able to get IHG points? You’ve mentioned shopping through topcashback. Just want to know if you have done this and received points. Thank you for your help!

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      Do you have a cashback site in mind that still pays for IHG stays? Yes. As long as the reservation is made on any IHG’s website and you pay qualifying rate, going through a cashback site won’t make a difference on posting of the stay.

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  • viewlander

    Upgrade at Manchester Airport Crowne Plaza achieved by call to hotel and also a grudging lounge access. They are so far our from others of the same brand in UK – and they tried to tell me they were all becoming more consistent.

    • http://loyaltylobby.com/ John O.

      Well. There is always problems with some properties regardless of the chain.

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