It has been a while since I have had free night award certificates sitting in my account (remember those China and other promotions way back?).
IHG Rewards Club (their name back last year) targeted my account for a free night certificate after two stays (read more here), and I earned another by renewing my Ambassador-membership for additional 12 months and staying once (read more here).
You can access IHG Rewards here.
Both certificates were for 40,000 points max, and there were no brand usage restrictions. Both were expiring this spring.
You have to book the reservations using these certificates separately. I had no issues using the one on the right for a stay at the Kimpton Aluna in Tulum, but the one on the left gave me headaches.
Despite award availability, you couldn’t use it, and I had no idea why.
I decided to drop an email to the Ambassador Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dear Ambassador Service Center,
I am trying to redeem one free night certificate that is capped at 40,000 points for a night at the Kimpton Tulum on March X for a night (I have already used another free night cert for the following night REMOVED).
It was earned from a promotion that is listed on LoyaltyLobby’s website:
There is nothing on the T&C’s that it would have brand limitations beyond a max of 40,000 points per night:
“InterContinental® Ambassadors who enroll in the programme or renew their programme membership between 30 July 2020 – 31 December 2020 and then complete one Qualifying Stay at InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, or Regent® Hotels by 31 January 2021 will be awarded a Reward Night redeemable for a Reward Night priced at 40,000 points or less. The Reward Night will be deposited into the Free Nights section of the member’s account within 72 hours after check-out from the qualifying, paid stay and will be valid until 30 April 2021.
And here what it says on the certificate online:
Please withdraw this certificate from my account and make an award reservation for the Kimpton Tulum for two people for March X for one night.
The following reply came less than six hours later:
Warm greetings from the InterContinental Ambassador Service Center!
I hope you’re having a great day. Thank you for reaching out to Intercontinental Ambassador Services. My name is Dana and I am delighted to assist you with your concern
I’m sorry if it caused any problems REMOVED. I have now converted your Ambassador free night to points to make the booking at Kimpton Aluna Tulum. The good news is I have made a new booking (Confirmation Number: REMOVED) for a night on X March 2021 for a 1 King Bed Essesntial Non smoking room. You can cancel your reservation before 6:00 PM (local hotel time) on Friday, 26 February, 2021 will result in no charge. Canceling your reservation after 6:00 PM (local hotel time) on 26 February, 2021, or failing to show, will result in a charge of 1 night per room to your credit card or other guaranteed payment method. Taxes may apply.
Thanks for contacting us. If you need anything else just call or send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll get in touch.
Here’s how IHG handled the certificate:
The Ambassador Service Center canceled the certificate, deposited 40,000 points into my account, and redeemed those points for a night at the Kimpton.
Not sure what the issue was with the certificate because I should have been able to redeem it online for a night at this new Kimpton, as I did with the other cert.
I have generally found the Ambassador-email service to work well, and replies tend to come in few hours (not days). I cannot remember the last time I would have called IHG.