A LoyaltyLobby reader was at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza hotel in Washington D.C. last week when the hotel exited the IHG system and became, at least temporally, just independent “luxury” hotel called Hamilton.
You can access IHG Rewards Club here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I’m an avid reader of your site and wanted to write you about an experience I’m currently going through. I’m a IHG Spire and Hilton Diamond that most likely through my both leisure and work travels will be able to requalify for both.
Anyhow, I’m currently staying at, what was up until midnight this morning, The Hamilton – Crowne Plaza in Washington DC. Upon checking in Sunday evening, I was informed that effective midnight Tuesday, that the hotel would no longer be an IHG property, hence not a Crowne Plaza. I was informed I would only receive Spire perks and benefits for the first night, as Monday night into Tuesday of the cutover until my checkout date of Friday would be under new management.
I was confused since the hotel was available through IHG for nights into future months. I called IHG immediately upon arriving into my room and they didn’t believe me. I spoke with a case manager based in the US who called the hotel that night and confirmed this, which IHG immediately took the hotel off from inventory online. I have screen captures to show that it’s no longer available. IHG is telling me that the hotel is to honor all commitments with perks through my checkout date, but the hotel is denying this.
I feel as though I’m in the cross hairs and will have to go through hoops to not only get my points, but the treatment I expected to receive as a Spire. How should I proceed?
Attached is the letter I got under my door when I woke up this morning.
I requested clarification from the IHG spokesperson:
I’ve looked into this, and the guest should expect to get the same points that they would had the hotel remained in the system. If this doesn’t happen, he can reach out to me directly, and I’ll work with our internal teams to fix it.
I believe that this only applies to this reader and perhaps others that were at the hotel during when the switch happened.
Hotels get reflagged all the time because all the chains have instituted asset light strategy meaning that they own few if any of the hotels that carry their flags. Hotels are owned by wealthy individuals, businesses, real estate investment funds, retirement funds and all kinds of financial vehicles. Chains often manages these by themselves (mainly full service properties) or rely to third party management companies.
Reflagged properties usually try to hang on paid reservations done when the brand was still in place while trying to get rid of award reservations. Many loyalty program members would rather cancel their prepaid noncancelable reservations and they have strong argument to back them. No elite benefits, no points and no elite qualifying nights/stays. Why bother?
I wish that hotels and programs would give better advance notice to guests about these changes rather than dropping the hotel off their websites and remain silent. Often they are contractually forbidden to do so, however. Knowing that this hotel would have left the CP brand, would have lead to lower number of forward looking bookings coming from the IHG that the hotel would not have liked.
Perhaps they were negotiating until the last minute with IHG but couldn’t reach an agreement? Wouldn’t surprise me if this hotel would resurface under some other chain once the renovations are complete.
Hilton has Curio Collection, Marriott Autograph, SPG Tribute and Hyatt Unbound for independent minded hotels that yet would like to tap to loyalty program and worldwide distribution system. IHG is completely missing the boat on these softbrands.