Reader Email: IHG Deceptive Practices (Had Booked Entertainment Rate)

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A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us an email about booking a rate using IHG app that turned out to be non-qualifying.

IHG Entertainment

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

Here’s the email from the reader:

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Tewksbury, Mass on 7/29/18 to complete two offers in the IHG Accelerate promotion, one for 28,800 points and the other for 19,700 points.  After the stay posted, the website said that this was a non-qualifying stay, allegedly because the “Entertainment Card” rate I booked on their app was too discounted.  When I called customer service, they said it was covered under the “discounted more than 30%” clause of their T&C, however the rate I booked was $102, and the rate at time was $122, a discount of only 16%.

The customer service rep would not budge, so I emailed them.  Their Executive Liaison said “IHG wants to be as clear and straightforward as possible”.  However he said the customer must choose to click through and read the “Rate Rules and Rate description”, and there, in the 7th of 7 lines it can be seen that “IHG Reward Club Points do not apply to this offer”.  A total of four screens are used to book the room on the app, and on none of them is it highlighted that this is a non-qualifying rate.  You must literally click through to read it.  If you do not click through, you complete the reservation without ever being notified it is a non-qualifying rate.  I doubt many people click through to read the fine print in an app the “makes hotel booking a breeze”.  And further, the base T&C of their Rewards program does not indicate the rate I booked is non-qualifying.

What do you think?  I’m a Hilton Diamond and Hyatt Globalist, but will not qualify due to Hyatt’s changes, so I thought I’d try IHG.  I’m realizing their corporate attitude is very legalistic.  I had to sign a paper document each of the four times I checked in recently.  I’ve never had to do that with Hilton or Hyatt.  Heck, check in on-line with Hilton, and they just hand you the keys when you arrive at the hotel.

I think this is very deceptive.  Bait-and-switch.  In the business world, I’d never do business with the type of people where you have to double-guess each transaction, take screen prints, and read each and every bit of small print assuming the counterparty is trying to trick you.

Not sure how the reader booked this Entertainment Card rate for his stay at the Holiday Inn-hotel. I have never seen them coming up on the rate searches. You usually need to input special rate or promotional code to bring up rates such as this.

Here’s what the T&Cs say about eligible rates :

  1. Qualifying Rates include most business and leisure rates, such as Advanced Purchase rates, Best Flexible rates, worldwide sales negotiated rates (including but not limited to Corporate Gold rates), national/regional/local government rates, and specified leisure rates as confirmed by SCH’s reservation systems. In addition, in North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean, Qualifying Rates include locally negotiated rates if those rates are discounted less than 30%. In Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) hotels and resorts, Qualifying Rates include all locally negotiated rates.

Here’s what the T&Cs say about exclusions:

  1. Exclusions. Members will not earn Points and/or enjoy Member benefits during a Stay, or earn Points retroactively, on any reservations booked through Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) or through unauthorized travel agents on online vertical travel portals. This restriction includes but is not limited to: earning Points on food and beverage purchases, parking, in room dining, movies, and any other incidental charges incurred during the Member’s Stay.Points are not issued for Stays at the following reduced room rates, which are Non-Qualifying Rates, and which make a Stay a Non-Qualifying Stay: net wholesale individual and group rates, certain package rates, the employee discount rate, the friends and family rate, the crew rate, special discounted contract rates, the seasonal worker/crew rate, the 50% travel club discount rate, the distressed passenger rate, IHG Rewards Club Reward Nights/Airline Hotel Reward rate, most rates booked through most third-party web sites, complimentary hotel Stays, and any other rates not defined as Qualifying Rates.

Entertainment Card is not explicitly named here and the discount that the reader received wasn’t great. The reader noted that the Rate Rules of the rate that he had booked had said on the 7th line that the points were not eligible and thus it would be ineligible.

You also have to pay attention to the Accelerate promotion booking rules. Sometimes they may require you to have made the bookings between certain dates.

UPDATE:

IHG Entertainment Rate Search

Seems that the dropdown rate menu at least for stays in the North America has the Entertainment Card rate available.

There are then several rates available:

Here the Entertainment Card rate is only 10% off

Rate Rules

IHG Entertainment Rate Rules

The fact that this rate doesn’t earn IHG Rewards Club points or is qualifying for night credit could be clearer.

Conclusion

This is really unfortunate situation. Reader lost close to 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points due to this oversight!

The Entertainment Card rate traditionally has been one of those that is not eligible for points or night credit. IHG should make this clearer during the booking process. There are rates that offer greater discount and are eligible at the same time.

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