Reader Question: Excess Fees At Six Senses When Using IHG Rewards Points?

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A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question regarding fees included in the paid rates but collected when redeeming points.

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You can access IHG’s page for Six Senses here.

READ MORE: IHG Rewards Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

Here’s the email from the reader:

Being stuck in Vietnam the past year is not fun, but what made it a bit more bearable is the abundance of very fine resorts at very reasonable prices in the country, and Six Senses Ninh Van Bay (SS NVB) is one of my favorites. There’s a long weekend coming up in September, and with SS NVB now being bookable using IHG points, I’ve decided to go ahead and book 2 nights there for my family. It was a steal at only 75,000 points/ night for rooms that go for US$676 for local residents and US$1,005 for non-locals, or so I thought.

After I booked, a representative from SS NVB asked me which transportation option I’d like to use, the cheapest of which (shared van and shared boat) goes for US$64 per person each way. So for us (3 people) we would have to pay a whooping US$384 just for transportation alone. I have been emailing back and forth with them about this charge but they haven’t budged. I remember that you’ve been to SS NVB already, but just as a reminder, SS NVB is on their own private island, which means there’s no way we can get there by ourselves even if we happen to live in the area. All our previous bookings at SS NVB included this option for free, so I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that this transportation charge is a blatant mandatory hidden fee for the unsuspected.

Needless to say, the maths for using IHG points now has changed dramatically. Valuing IHG points at 0.5 cent/ point, I’d come out slightly ahead using points (it’s a bit more complicated because the resident rate includes breakfast whereas reward nights don’t – but I’m an IHG Ambassador so will be qualified for breakfast for two – so just need to figure how expensive breakfast for one is).

However I can’t help but feel a bit ripped off by this charge, and wonder if my feeling is justified, especially considering how Vietnam has been closed for foreign travel for more than a year, and Nha Trang, where SS NVB is located, is hit especially hard by covid, even when compared to other tourist destinations in the country. It’s not entirely rational, but I’m considering going to the Amanoi, another excellent resort in Nha Trang where I feel like my patronage is more appreciate instead.

I would imagine that many of these Six Senses resorts will introduce fees, once the travel is more open, to discourage award redemptions

$384 transportation fee sound cheap when you need a helicopter ride to the tune of $2K to get to their resort in Seychelles.

If something is included on the paid rates, they should be included on the award ones too.

If the reader gets negative vibes on the email and other exchanges with the Six Senses Ninh Van Vay that their business is not appreciated, they probably should choose the Amanoi instead.

Here’s the recap of Ambassador benefits at Six Senses hotels:

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

42. Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spa is progressively integrating into the IHG® Rewards program and at that time the following benefits will apply for InterContinental Ambassador, Royal Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle members at participating Six Senses hotels:

a.  Complimentary Breakfast for two in the main restaurant per day

b. Signature Amenity of either a complimentary 50 minute Six Senses Spa massage for two or local experience once per stay.  The Signature Amenity varies by resort, is subject to availability and confirmed on arrival.  Not applicable with corporate or negotiated rates.

c. Complimentary one category room upgrade (subject to availability, excluding residences and 2 bedroom or greater suites/villas)

d. Extended check-out of 4pm subject to availability.  Guaranteed for Royal Ambassador & Kimpton Inner Circle members

e. Early check-in of 10 am subject to availability. Guaranteed for Royal Ambassador & Kimpton Inner Circle members and in circumstances where the room is not available at 10 am, the member may be checked into another available room until the original booked room becomes available.

f. Complimentary Internet access.  Internet accessibility, speed, and connectivity in common areas and guest rooms vary by resort

g. Wellness Platter welcome amenity on day of arrival

43. Benefits at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas are applied when booked through IHG’s central reservation offices, IHG® web sites, the IHG® App, authorized travel agents (exluding online travel agents such as Expedia.com and booking.com, and unauthorized agents on online vertical travel portals), or directly at the hotel and cannot be combined with any other on-property benefit provided by a third party.

44. InterContinental Ambassador, Royal Ambassador & Kimpton Inner Circle benefits apply only to the member’s personal room and the member must be staying as a registered guest in order to receive member benefits.

Conclusion

Not sure how smoothly this Six Senses to IHG integration is going. IHG is a select service chain with few luxury properties thrown in and is not a good fit for Six Sense. IHG has never got the luxury sector right, and I will believe that this attempt will end up in tears too.

There are often transportation charges to the island resorts in the Maldives and French Polynesia that you end up paying even when redeeming points. However, I am personally okay with it if paid rates are exclusive of them.

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