IHG Rewards Club has updated the Terms and conditions governing its guest loyalty program effective August 2, 2016.
The changes mainly affect how the disputes are settled with the program members and IHG Rewards Club.
You can access IHG Rewards Club T&Cs here.
Here are the changes:
You and SCH waive any rights to maintain other available resolution processes for such disputes, such as a court action or administrative proceeding, to settle disputes. You and SCH waive any right to a jury trial for such disputes. The rules in arbitration are different from the rules that apply in court. There is no judge or jury, and review is limited, but an arbitrator can award the same damages and relief, and must honor the same limitations stated in the Agreement, as a court would.
SCH may amend the InterContinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador benefits and these Terms and Conditions at any time, even though such changes may affect the value of rewards or points already accumulated. You should check the last updated date in the footer for notice of changes to these terms and conditions or to the InterContinental Ambassador or Royal Ambassador programme. If the footer indicates that the terms and conditions, or a programme itself, has changed, immediately read it. By choosing to remain an InterContinental Ambassador or Royal Ambassador member after we have posted notice of such modifications, alterations, or updates, and after you have been provided an opportunity to read the revised terms and conditions or programme information, you agree to be bound by such revised terms and conditions or to be a part of the programme as revised. The current InterContinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador terms and conditions supersede all prior published versions.
SCH stands for Six Continents Hotels that is behind the IHG Rewards Club.
US companies have been trying to get these arbitration clauses to their contracts and T&Cs because they tend to be far more business friendly than courts. The companies pay for these arbitrators so you can imagine whose economic interests are on their minds.
These T&Cs obviously only apply for members residing in the United States when it comes to this arbitration clause.
I would say that it would be better for the IHG to get its house in order so that consumers wouldn’t have to sue them in the courts.