Reader Question: InterContinental Chicago Charges For An Award Night (Several Times)

6 Comments

A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question that deals with award night issue that occasionally happens with number of chains.

Reader Question InterContinental Chicago

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You can access InterContinental Chicago’s website here.

READ MORE: IHG Rewards Club Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

Here’s the email from the reader:

I have a question regarding a recent stay with incorrect billing at the Intercontinental Chicago Magnificent Mile.

I booked a one night stay using the “Share Forever Free Night” certificate online. The reservation clearly shows the room rate as “Free”, and the use of the certificate was acknowledged upon check-in.

In the morning, the hotel put an express check-out bill under to door – with a one night charge for the room on the bill. I spoke with the front desk in the morning, and they assured me that it was a mistake and handed me a corrected bill.

I checked out later in the day, and my cell received a notification of a charge for the room rate. I turned around to speak again with the front desk, who recognized the error and issued a refund. However, a refund will not show up immediately on the credit card (unlike the charge).

A few hours after checkout, I received a notification on my phone of another charge. My account showed that the hotel charged my card once again, adding even more to the amount that is blocked out on my card. The stay was credited as a reward night on the IHG website. I have a few questions:

1. Now that I have left the hotel, who do I contact to resolve the issue? I couldn’t find an email address online, and the ambassador line indicated that I need to contact the hotel directly. The accounting department hours are at an inconvenient time for me since I am now in Asia.

2. Is it appropriate to ask for compensation, given that the hotel has incorrectly charged my credit card a few times? This has caused me some problems given that I have charged a lot to my credit card during the US holiday season.

Your advice is appreciated! Note that I am an ambassador with the chain, and have spent 104 paid nights with the IHG brand in 2016.

When loyalty program member stays using points or has a free night certificate, the individual hotel charges certain amount to the loyalty program after the stay has been consumed. Sometimes (sloppy) hotel forgets to move this folio amount to a separate account (that is netted with the chain) and charges the guest’s credit card on file instead.

The front desk should have ensured that this amount had been charged to a correct account when the reader informed the front desk about the charge that appeared on the folio.

The problem with the IHG Rewards Club is that often nobody takes any ownership of the issue. They could have opened a case and forwarded it to the hotel to fix (meaning refunding the stay). I would open a case with IHG Rewards Club (call during US hours and ask to speak with Customer Relations) and also request 10,000 points for the inconvenience.

Other option is to Google the name of the General Manager of the hotel and then send the person an email. IHG’s email addresses always use the form firstname.lastname@ihg.com.

Conclusion

It is unfortunate when this happens and especially around the holidays when the hotel’s accounting department and management that deal issues such as these are likely on extended holidays.

There is really no excuse for the front desk agent incorrectly not to move the folio charge for the free room to the correct account after contacted by the guest.

There used to be far more billing issues in the past based on my personal experience than today. I believe that these accounting systems have become more foolproof when it comes to these award charges. You still have to pay attention to the charges posting to credit cards.

 

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  • Dirk

    Something similar happened to me and a colleague at the very same hotel. When I read this i don’t believe anymore in a coincidence.

    • Yep. Seems that this hotel is extremely unorganized or doing this on purpose. Hope that it is the former and not the latter.

  • Kevin

    This exact situation happened to me July 2016 at this exact property. After emailing and calling the hotel for nearly 2 months, I finally got the proper refunds (charged 3 times for a stay on points!!!) While the hotel finally gave me a free night certificate, this really was worth very little to me as it expires in one-year from being issued and there’s no guarantee that I will be back in Chicago within that timeframe. Dealing with this particular property was an absolute nightmare.

  • simplyfantabulous

    While checking out yesterday at the Cali InterContinental, where I stayed a week on points, I was presented with a bill for 77K COP, or about $25, for drawing from the minibar and eating two breakfast buffets. Only thing is I had consumed nothing from the minibar and didn’t eat in the restaurant. Took 20 or 30 minutes to resolve.

  • Jason

    I cant believe this hotel overcharged me $1160 USD last year (2016). They fixed the problem partly but due to foreign exchange costs I was left $43.22 out of pocket. I complained to the front desk manager and after 6 months I have heard nothing more. As a Royal ambassador I am not very pleased I think the hotel must be overbilling a lot and perhaps not all customers pick it up?

  • Nofriendof

    I don’t think that 10000 points is adequate compensation.
    I value that at under 30 dollars, roughly half of what ihg sells the points in one of their frequent sales.

    The guest has clearly spent well over an hour on this, besides for the aggravation and inconvenience. If the guest can afford to stay at hotels in this price range well over a 100 nights a year — 104 with ihg alone — his time is worth ten times that at the very least , per hour. As a serial overbiller, I would suggest 1000 dollars and a hundred points as the appropriate compensation .