A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email with issues he is having with IHG Rewards Club and the lack of customer service from the Ambassador desk in the Philippines.
You can access IHG Rewards Club here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
Looking at the emails below, I have had a level of frustration beyond the normal points chasing, I’ve had to do for a lot of my amenity points. I was wondering if you had any advice as to who else I could talk to in IHG or how to escalate my issues.
I keep getting road blocked at the initial level. Rarely escalating to actual management. Im not the heaviest of traveler but I think I’ve earned some amount of response to issues I’ve faced recently. Any help would be appreciated. I’ve also seen the same issues of having adjusted stays for past hotel stays as well as the glitch of me being docked 12k points and reinstated in the chain below. Thanks for your time. I appreciate any help you can give me. Love your site and it always has something interesting.
Here’s the reader’s original email to Ambassador member services:
Wondering why I was docked 12, 000 points after earning the reward they the share forever program? This combined with missing welcome amenity points from an early June stay at JFK. Also, my ambassador kit has been missing for quite sometime and my emails have been less than important to IHG and the management. Please respond as my list of issues continue to grow as we speak.
Here’s the reply from Ambassador service center:
Thank you for taking the time to contact the InterContinental Ambassador Service Center.
I was able to review your account and I see here that the 12,000 points has been deducted to your account. I sincerely apologize for the technical error. I see here that you were able to complete the 12 qualifying nights for the bonus points. I’m pleased to inform you that I have returned the 12,000 points to your account. Your current point balance is 233,256.
In regards with your missing welcome amenity points, Kindly let us know the check in and check out date of your reservation as well the exact whereabouts of the hotel so that we may review it further.
I sincerely apologize that you still haven’t received the Ambassador Kit. We are pleased to inform you that we have arranged an expedited delivery of your Ambassador portfolio and will be delivered at the address provided approximately within fourteen business days.
Please make sure that someone will be available to sign the parcel, as it will be sent via UPS.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be of service to you. Please let us know if you need further assistance by sending us an e-mail to email@example.com.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you and being of further assistance. Have a great day!
And Here’s the follow up from the reader:
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to justify spending thousands of dollars with you and your properties. The last week alone I used 150,000 points in a hotel in South Beach (Z Ocean) and was really displeased. There was a party on our floor at one of the condo units. It was a loud affair with the tenant screaming at security for the entire evening.
The whole hotel reeked of weed smoke and there was nothing the hotel could do because it was private property. Knowing this going in, I probably would have stayed elsewhere as the relaxing weekend I had planned with my wife was ruined.
Although a nice hotel, it was quickly uncovered of the ongoing dilemma of having condos inside hotel property. Even the extra snarky sign in the lobby warning the independent rentals to book thru you for a “real” hotel experience certainly changed our view. I am looking forward to explaining this in my review. Look for it soon on the Z ocean page on IHG.com.
But that is not even what I have been meaning to talk with someone about. As you see below (if you actually read) I have had trouble for quite some time with trying to get a real customer service manager from the US to answer my emails correctly and accurately. I am looking for 2 nights of welcome amenity points for the following stays:
June 29th for 1 night REMOVED
June 8th for 1 night REMOVED
These should be added to my account immediately. I shouldn’t have to track down items from the hotels.
I still have not received my ambassador kit. Recently, after missing a couple of promised dates, you emailed me back to tell me 14 business days. 3 weeks is way too much time to wait for this item. If you cannot fulfill my membership, please refund the 24,000 points I used to purchase ambassador for another year.
Also, please share with me why you cannot complete this? I was looking for answers and all I have received was sorry. Sorry was ok when you deleted my 12,000 point reward for this summers promotion. Sorry was ok when the dashboard for the same promotion is not right. Currently, what has been posted in my account has been 15 nights, not including the 3 nights in Miami as mentioned above.
I have stuck with IHG for the points, but it seems like this is getting to be so much of a hassle. I am also platinum with SPG and they certainly look to take care of the business traveler. Unless I receive fair compensation, I will be taking my business elsewhere. There has been too much legwork associated with keeping my account in check.
If 15 nights in the last 2 months, and 48 for the year so far are not something worth keeping, just let me know. I am sure your competitors will take it in with open arms. Also, a lot of my colleagues use IHG as well. They spend the same if not more. I will be sure to tell them where to stay. Please have someone call me and email me back from Management.
There are several issues here:
The problem with sending out the Ambassador kits is well documented here in LoyaltyLobby and there is zero excuse from the IHG for not being able to get them out promptly. I am still waiting for my Royal Ambassador portfolio after requalifying back in September 2015!
Apparently they are now really sending them out based on the emails that I have received from the readers.
IHG Rewards Club launched this amenity program called “Surprise and Delight” where the member can choose between an in-property amenity or bonus points. Some hotels give you a scratch cards that you can use to deposit the points to any account of your choosing. Other hotels should automatically deposit these points to your account.
The problem is that someone needs to do this manually. It is not tied to the stay posting at all. At some hotels the clerk checking you in can post them while you are at the front desk while at some hotels a manager should do them at some late point. And this later point may be never….
Then there are hotels that are not aware of this program at all or are only willing to give you the small F&B amenity (usually water bottle & bar of some kind). I guess that these hotels are too cheap to pay for the points…
There is really no excuse for the IHG Rewards Club to deduct the points from your account that you had earned for the Share Forever. Be glad that the promo is actually tracking for you. I just wrote about yesterday issues some members were having of nothing posting at all.
The problem is that the IHG Rewards Club and Ambassador customer service is handled from the Philippines. If you try to reach consumer affairs during the US business hours, you may be then transferred to the IHG contact center in the Salt Lake City.
If you want to get your complaint to someone else higher up in the IHG, I would suggest that you use LinkedIn and search for a vice president in charge of the IHG loyalty programs. LinkdIn won’t give you the email address but they are in the following format: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is really unfortunate that IHG and IHG Rewards Club are failing in the Customer service side. Eventually this will affect their hotel business as well when frequent travelers are moving their stays to other chains that actually take care of their guests’ concerns.
The IHG Rewards Club customer contact center in the Philippines is quite fast at getting back to you but not always empowered to do anything.
Many companies have brought back the customer contact centers inshore finding that the customer satisfaction using these offshore centers is usually lacking.