IHG updated its coronavirus (COVID-19) policy on Saturday (April 4 – read more here) that was quickly withdrawn yesterday, and the previous one (read more here) reinstated. The IHG later on Monday issued yet another update dated April 6.
The policy change is for worse as the hotel company now allows some properties to provide vouchers that are essentially IOU’s that are worthless if the individual hotel ceases to operate, changes its flag, or you cannot travel within credit validity.
You can access IHG’s page for coronavirus here.
Here’s the updated policy:
Cancellation policy & booking flexibly
Given the flexibility our guests and customers need right now we have implemented the following policies:
For Existing Bookings:
Existing bookings (bookings made through April 6, 2020) at all IHG hotels* can be changed or cancelled for stays up to June 30, 2020, noting that:
- Hotels are subject to local law in the market in which they operate. Therefore, government legislation and regulations may supersede this policy in specific circumstances. (including the type and timing of the refund).
- If you cancel a rate which required a deposit or payment in advance, we will do everything we can to process your refund as quickly as possible. Refunds (which may be vouchers where required by local law) may take up to 90 days for hotels to process from the date of cancellation. Reservations may be changed without a fee but may result in different pricing.
- Exclusions may apply for time periods with special event restrictions or peak demand weeks.
- Bookings via a third-party: For bookings made through an online booking platform (e.g. Booking.com, Expedia) or third-party travel professionals, please contact them directly – we have advised these companies of our cancellation policy and you should refer to their terms and conditions.
- Groups & Meetings Bookings: We will work with customers to manage any changes needed to Group & Meeting bookings on a case by case basis. Our hotels are actively supporting groups and meetings organizers to address the needs of each group, including moving event dates to another time, in line with terms and conditions of that booking. Please contact the hotel the booking was made with to discuss further.
- *Cancellation fees for existing and new domestic bookings at all IHG hotels in Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and the Taiwan region will be waived for stays up to April 30, 2020
We continue to monitor the evolving situation and will be keeping this policy under review.
For New Bookings:
We want to help you plan and book any future travel with confidence. So, we have several ways to support guests to amend travel plans as necessary:
Book Now, Pay Later: This new rate offers flexibility and savings. With no deposit required and cancellations possible up to 24 hours before your stay for direct bookings, travel planning is commitment free. Guests benefit from 5% or more off our Best Flexible Rate for bookings made up to September 3, 2020 for stays until December 30, 2020 (excluding Greater China).
Best Flexible Rate: This rate offers maximum flexibility to change or cancel your reservation. For direct bookings this rate can be fully changeable or refundable up to 6pm (local hotel time) on the day of arrival (dependent on the hotels’ individual house policy).
IHG Rewards Club Members Rates: Additional savings are available for IHG Rewards Club members on these Book Now, Pay Later and Best Flexible rates.
IHG Rewards Club nights: You can change or cancel these bookings with no penalty prior to the time period set by the hotel.
We have removed our more restrictive (pre-paid/non-refundable) Advance Purchase rate from sale until later in the year (excluding Greater China)
These rates, and others, have their own terms and conditions. Please refer to specific rate information when booking for further details – including cancellation terms. Changing the date on any reservations may result in different pricing.
There are few issues with this updated policy:
1. Greater China
Stays within Greater China (China, Hong Kong. Macay and Taiwan) can only be canceled through April 30, 2020, for members residing in these countries. Members elsewhere with bookings for stays in Greater China can be canceled per the global policy.
IHG promised REFUNDS for all reservations previously, and now there is a possibility of VOUCHERS in some markets.
IHG CEO’s video response to the coronavirus:
Not sure why the previous policy was withdrawn for a few hours, and then another one introduced later on the same day?
The updated policy applies for stays booked on or before April 6, 2020. IHG from today no longer has non-cancelable rate plans loaded for markets outside of Greater China. All rate plans are cancelable for up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival.
I am still not a fan of these “voucher” refunds, especially for hotels that are closed. It would be cleaner for everyone if hotels would provide refunds.