A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question about an email that he had received from IHG affiliated hotel asking to cancel an award reservation.
You can access Holiday Inn East Taipei’s IHG page here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I was hoping you could help me out with an email I’ve received from a IHG-member hotel. A couple weeks ago I’ve made a 3 night award points booking in Holiday Inn East Taipei (3-6 march). Now I’ve received an email directly from the hotel stating they will be exiting the IHG program by 31st of December and therefore cannot honour my points booking. They are asking me to cancel the booking before the 31st of December.
A few things I thought were a bit odd:
– Why am I receiving an email from the hotel and not from IHG?
– Why is this so last minute? 31st of December is just 3 days from receiving the email. Surely they would have known about this sooner?
– Why are they asking me to cancel? Shouldn’t they be doing that themselves? Seems like they are trying to make me cancel so they (or IHG) cannot be blamed.
I’ve made the booking direct with IHG by the way. I’m also a platinum member if that matters.
Now I’m an active follower of your blog (great work there btw!) and noticed you sometimes discuss cases like these. I was wondering if you have some advice for me on how to handle this. I couldn’t really find anything about cancellation terms on points bookings. Maybe you have some experience with this?
Here’s the email that the reader received from the hotel:
It is rather rare that a hotel that is being deflagged would send out an email like this. Loyalty program member usually notices when a hotel has ceased to “exist” when the reservation just disappears or when the email from the program arrives.
I see this email from the hotel more of a piece of marketing letting us now of its new name.
The reader should first contact IHG to find out if they are willing to relocate the reservation to any other hotel or if they have made an arrangement for this Holiday Inn to honor all existing award reservations even after the reflag. Sometimes this is the case.
The hotel and IHG likely have their agreement ending on December 31st and either party decided that it was not worth renewing. These negotiations can continue until the very last minute.
Sometimes the location of the hotel is more important than the brand or affiliation. Not sure what is the case here.
I find it interesting that the hotel will retain “Holiday” on its name even after it has ceased its affiliation with IHG. You would think that their agreement with IHG would prevent this kind of arrangement.
We have covered these reflags and possible reasons for them number of times. They have become more common once all the chains have instituted the so called “asset light” strategy meaning that they don’t own very few if any of the hotels that carry their brands. Higher end/luxury hotels are usually managed by the chain while others are franchised out.
Hotels are moving in and out of the chains for various reasons, and it seems that the loyalty program members are the ones losing out.