Compensation Clinic: Case Intercontinental ANA The Strings at Shinagawa Station, Tokyo


This week the Compensation Clinic makes a brief stop in Tokyo where I had an award reservation at the Intercontinental The Strings last month, but the hotel was unable to upgrade me due to occupancy plus some service issues.

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Here’s what happened:

I made a same day reservation, as award availability opened up the same morning, and I figured using 55,000 points at this hotel would be a great deal, especially considering a 20% return through the IHG Mastercard (10%) and the Ambassador with points refund feature (another 10%). The rates that day were crazy in Tokyo.

I arrived at the hotel around 2pm and was told the hotel was full which they really were and they couldn’t provide an upgrade that day. I was promised the new standard 10,000 points to be credited to my account which posted the following day.

I then had a friend meet me for lunch at the hotel and we wanted to try the seasonal spring cocktails that the hotel advertised eloquently on their social media channels however we were told the hotel bar that provides these cocktails can’t do so before 4pm.

Not sure why they would advertise all over the place without a disclaimer that it’s limited in time and you can’t even have a cocktail for lunch. Park Hyatt Tokyo for example never has that restriction, you can order whatever you like at the New York Grill

I was given a complimentary breakfast the next day which if of course is not a benefit of Platinum Ambassador. While I appreciated the offer the buffet at The Strings must have been the weakest breakfast I’ve ever seen at an Intercontinental to the point of being bizarre. I can’t imagine paying even $20 for that let alone the price they usually ask for. It’s a world away from other five star properties, even four star hotels in Tokyo. Not sure how they get away with that.

At least the points posted timely:

I used the 2000 Yen Platinum Amenity balance against something from the cafe the next day, the 88 points originate from the small supplement I had to pay.


I’m not happy with the situation that Intercontinental properties can now get around upgrading a member against a 10,000 points credit and wipe their hands. For a one night stay like this it’s actually not a bad deal at all as a one category upgrade really isn’t worth much, but for a longer stay I wouldn’t accept this and either negotiate for more like daily breakfast/club access or walk away from my reservation.