A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question regarding the closure of Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile that IHG corporate claims is closed due to Covid-19 countermeasures and won’t offer relocation per their policy.
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Question from the reader:
I’m forwarding this email to get your thoughts. Am I out of line? They are putting me in a very bad spot.
Cancellation Email From IHG:
We are writing you regarding your upcoming reservation for the Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile. The safety of our guests is the number one priority, and we regret to inform you that the hotel has to temporarily close until further notice in support of the city’s effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, thus the cancellation of your reservation. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this unexpected situation has caused.
All fees and penalties will be waived and refunded (which may be vouchers required by local law) and processed directly by the hotel as soon as possible. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact our Reservations or Customer Care team or you can also opt to book a new reservation by calling the numbers listed below. You can also opt to book a new reservation by visiting our website at www.ihg.com or our mobile app.
As one of our IHG® One Rewards members and valued guest, we realize you have many choices when it comes to your travel needs. We thank you for your patronage and look forward to hosting you with IHG® Hotels & Resorts again soon.
IHG corporate claims that the Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile is closed to support city’s effort to prevent Covid-19?
Reader’s Email to IHG:
Please rebook for the same rate at either of the kimptons or the Intercontinental on Michigan.
IHG Guest Relations Reply:
Thank you for reaching out. I’m Leslie from IHG® Guest Relations. We appreciate your loyalty as our valued IHG® One Rewards Platinum Elite Ambassador and it’s my pleasure to assist you today.
I understand you need to rebook for the same rate either in Kimpton or Intercontinental on Michigan. I would like to apologize that Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile is unable to honor your reservation due to sudden closure.
I want to take care of this for you. However, I cannot book a reservation through email because our hotel rates may change daily. This means rates are subject to availability and may vary based on the dates, location, local demand and business needs. In addition, the hotel management and ownership determine their own rates and set their rates to be competitive in the market they serve, independently of IHG® Hotels & Resorts.
I highly recommend you to contact our central reservations office through this number: 800 621 0555 so they can assist you in finding suitable accommodations for you. My colleagues in central reservations office will be more than happy to help you.
Reader’s Reply to IHG:
I already called, which is why I reached out to you. I fully understand that hotels charge significantly higher rates during high booking times combined with little notice. That’s why I made my reservation last year! I don’t feel that it’s in any way fair that I need to pay six times the rate for an equivalent room since I didn’t cancel my reservation (you did). I have ambassador status and I’m really questioning the value. It seems like the simple answer is to simply move my reservation to the nearest hotel on Michigan ave. The representative did tell me that ihg sold that hotel which contradicts the cancelation due to covid. Would it be possible to get a copy of the request from the city asking ihg to shutter a hotel six weeks from today?
Reply from IHG Guest Relations:
Upon reviewing this case, I have learned that the hotel is being closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. I understand the situation you are in and I am really sorry for the information shared by the agent about the hotel being sold out.
If you wish to know the details about the hotel being closed you can also call directly to the Manager on duty with contact details below.
Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile : (312) 787-4030.
I hope this information helps.
We are grateful for you as an IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite Member. Thank you for choosing IHG Hotels & Resorts for your travel needs since 2001.
1. Reader made a confirmed reservation at the Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile
2. Hotel is closed, and IHG claims this is due to Chicago’s Covid-19 countermeasures.
3. IHG refuses to relocate the guest to other open hotels in the area at the same rate.
4. Prices have skyrocketed.
5. Guaranteed Room
Any respectable hotel company would rebook the affected guest to a similar or higher hotel in the same area and charge the offending hotel for the difference (or have a relocating deal in place).
IHG here tells the guest that they are on their own and may or may not get a refund if this was a prepaid rate. I find this unacceptable.
The problem is that IHG guarantees a room if you have booked it on their website:
A Guaranteed Room
Booking on IHG.com is the best way to guarantee your room. If for any reason your reservation cannot be honored, IHG will provide you with a room and transportation to another convenient and comparable hotel. And, we’ll pay for the full cost of the first night’s lodging price, plus tax. Any advance deposit will be refunded to you.
The reader should send IHG a note and link to this page and ask them to abide by their own written and published policies.
If they don’t, the reader should open a case with the Attorney General of Georgia (IHG’s US HQ) or the US state they live against the IHG for fraudulent advertising.
We were in touch with IHG regarding Chicago’s citywide Covid-19 restrictions that we are not aware of and why these would lead to the hotel’s closure. We have not heard back from them.
Not sure why IHG doesn’t honor the reservation made on its website and tells the guest to rebook another hotel at their current price.
Don’t they think standing by bookings made on its website would generate trust among elite members that they have IHG’s backing when things go wrong?
Why would IHG lie that the hotel is closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Chicago when there are no citywide restrictions (I checked)?
Why would IHG not abide by its own published room guarantee?
I can only think this is a commercial decision by the property owner to keep it closed. They either have defaulted on obligations to lenders, OR the revenue would not cover the operational costs. Neither of these should be the guest’s problem.
It is unfortunate that IHG, as a company, is failing a Platinum Ambassador member. However, they could and should do better, starting by honoring their published policy.