It seems like IHG (Intercontinental Hotels) has been making blog headlines lately. They’ve had a number of not so minor IT issues and recently changed the terms of a possibly lucrative promotion midway through the promotion period. I can somewhat understand IT issues, but changing promotion terms in the middle is simply inexcusable. However, my rant is not related to either of those issues. My rant is about changing a hotel reservation from a full paid to a cash & points reservation.
I have an upcoming reservation for a Saturday night at a somewhat popular location. Rooms were filling fast and the rate was more than I wanted to pay. I reserved a room so I would still have one. I didn’t have enough IHG points at the time but I knew I would be getting some soon after that. A few days later I called the IHG reservations line and explained why I was calling. It only took a few short minutes for the phone rep to find my reservation and confirm my new rate would be 25,000 points and $70 (to cover the extra 10,000 points).
Rant Part One: A different room type
The phone call took less than 10 minutes and part of me thought it was way too easy. Until I got a new confirmation email. I clicked on the link in the email to view my reservation. Lo and behold, my room was changed to an ADA accessible room. This wasn’t mentioned and I don’t like staying in ADA rooms. The bathroom is never as clean or as nice as a regular room. If the phone rep had told me that there were no available rooms, I might have been ok with it. I would have challenged that statement as the room I had reserved should have been put back in the inventory. Not the end of the world so I let it go.
Rant Part Two: Additional Cash & Points Purchase
In addition to the new confirmation email and an email about the points “purchase” for $70, I got 5 extra emails saying I bought 10,000 points for $70 ($350 total). WHAT?!? I understand that when doing a cash & points reservation you’re essentially buying the extra points, but I should have only needed one bunch of 10,000 – not 6! The account activity made no sense to me. It’s as if I was making a hotel reservation for someone else.
I immediately turn to Twitter and said that the phone call was an absolute failure and I asked if I could direct message them. @IHGCares said I should email them instead.
Attempted Resolution: An Email
I had high hopes that my two rants would be taken care of as neither were something I did or asked for. I’ll let the emails speak for themselves…
Email from me:
I reached out on twitter (@SterlingTravelr) to assistance with this. My IHG Rewards Club number is: xxxxxx.
Before I called 800-421-5160, I had two reservations at the <hotel_snipped> on consecutive nights (<dates>). Confirmation # xxxxxxx.
I called in to change the reservation to a points & cash reservation (25,000 points + $70). I already had 25,000 points in my account.
There are two issues:
1) The room was changed to a wheelchair accessible room. I wasn’t told this and I want a regular room.
2). Looking at my IHG Rewards account, there is a lot of activity including 5 points and cash purchases (50,000 points) should not be needed.Please change my room type back and reverse the extra transactions.Thank you,TheSterlingTraveler
We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may have caused you.I have forwarded your comments to the General Manager and ownership of this hotel. We are committed to guest satisfaction and appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.As our hotels are in the best position to assist, I have requested they contact you directly to discuss the situation further. They will be contacting you directly via email within 48 hours. For your records, your comments are documented under reference number xxxxxx.In addition, regarding your comments of the Points and Cash transactions you have on your account, unfortunately all points and cash transactions are final. If you would like to discuss this further you may call the IHG Rewards Club Service Center at 1-800-272-9273.Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact our office. We appreciate your patience.
Attempted Resolution: Phone Call
Immediately after receiving the email, I called the number. After 2 clueless phone reps and 10 minutes, I was repeatedly told that the transactions are final. Using a very stern voice, I clarified that the transactions were done without my consent and I need to speak to a supervisor. I was put on hold and another 15 minutes later I was connected with a supervisor. I again explained the situation. She reiterated that the transactions are final. I, as calmly as possible, said that the 5 extra transactions are for cash & points reservation and I only have one and that if she cannot void the transactions I’ll be forced to dispute the charges with my credit card. She got a lot of attitude after that statement and finally relented to void the transactions. I told her I would not hang up until I saw it reflected on my account. She said that wouldn’t be possible as it may take time for that to happen (recall the aforementioned IT issues). I got confirmation my call was being recorded and reluctantly hung up.
Total phone call time: 35 minutes
Several hours after receiving the first email, I got another email from the manager of the hotel. Saying that my room was being to a non-ADA accessible room and upgraded. Shortly after that, my IHG Rewards Club account activity was back to normal.
My advice to you is to check your email as you are making changes to any flight or hotel reservation over the phone. You never know what might happen. If I had been doing that, I would have noticed the 5 extra transactions towards the end of the first phone call and the ordeal may have been prevented. I’m hoping it was just a mistake or an inexperienced phone rep, but for some reason, I’m skeptical that it would have been avoided.
Has this ever happened to you? What other tips do you have to prevent such events?