Whine Wednesday: Hotels Not Earning Proper Credit Card Points Due To Incorrect Merchant Code


Our Whine Wednesday topic this week is about co-branded hotel credit cards that should earn extra points when staying at the respective hotel chain but those don’t always come through.

Being recognized as a proper payment requires the merchant to be properly coded, allowing the bank that issued the credit card to properly identify it as a hotel purchase.

More often than not hotels actually are not coded properly and a bank such as Chase has no indicator to award additional points to the cardholder.

I had such a case just this month again after staying at the Intercontinental Singapore, a property that has been around forever yet it doesn’t seem to resonate with Chase which issues the various IHG card products to U.S. based customers.

The purchase was made at the front desk as usual:

Yet when receiving my monthly folio I noticed that the transaction wasn’t recorded properly:

The purchase fell into the general category “all other purchases” which is a big loss of points compared to the 10X I’m supposed to earn for IHG purchases.

I contacted Chase through the secure messages function on the website to notify them of the mistake.

Their answer:

I understand how important it is that you earned the correct points for your purchases. It is my pleasure to help you today.

I confirmed that the transaction from IC Singapore Front Off was not processed as an IHG Property. This is why you did not receive 10 points per $1 on this charge.

Since you already earned 4 points per $1 on this transaction, I went ahead and added the additional 6 points per $1 to make it a total of 10x points.

I added 1,294 points to your account, and you can use them immediately. You can see this adjustment at chase.com or on your next billing statement.

Furthermore, I submitted a feedback regarding how the transaction was submitted by this merchant to avoid this from happening in the future.

Obviously I can’t use the points immediately because they won’t post instantly to IHG. It will take at least until the next billing statement until they get reported to IHG. This was just a small transaction but it’s annoying having to follow up on these things.

Another pet peeve of mine is when the credit card transaction doesn’t display the name of the hotel but rather the owner/franchisee. Especially in a country where it’s not programmed in latin letters but instead in mandarin, kanji or another language. Then it shows up like JIJEHAAJHIT or a similar massacre on your credit card statement.


Not sure why hotels can’t make sure their POS systems aren’t properly coded and registered. I’m even more surprised that this is going on because I’m definitely not the only guest that had this problem at Intercontinental Singapore. It’s a very popular hotel and considering how many IHG customers have their credit card a bunch of people must get short changed throughout the year.

Let’s see if the points earnings will come out correctly the next time I’m there as they promised to forward the issue to their respective teams to fix it.