Oct292014

IHG Into the Nights fiasco deconstructed

Looks like I have to carry the FLAME torch for IHG on my own, as I am seemingly the only Boarding Area blogger burned last week by a complete change of tasks for the Into the Nights promotion.

Over the past week I deconstructed my experience with the IHG Into the Nights events.

IHG Into the Nights fiasco deconstructed

Loyalty Traveler (Sep 4, 2014) – IHG Rewards Club – We are sorry, but there was an error.

I was staying at the Clarion Royal Christiania in Oslo, Norway when the IHG Rewards Club Into the Nights offer debuted. My September 4 Loyalty Traveler post reminded me that I was one of many IHG Rewards Club members who did not see any Into the Nights offer when it launched in early September. Trying to log into Into the Nights site resulted in an error message.

I was finally able to register for IHG Into the Nights on September 5, 2014 when I saw this offer in my account.

IHG Into the Nights tasks

Loyalty Traveler – My IHG Rewards Club Into the Nights offer (Sep 5, 2014)

This IHG Into the Nights offer is the one I planned my hotel reservations around for two trips in November with two Saturday nights booked at Holiday Inn hotels through the IHG App. Those two Saturday nights would have earned one free night and then I only needed to stay one more night on any night of the week at any IHG hotel worldwide to earn the second IHG reward night.

IHG Into the Fights

Early last week there was buzz over the change in tasks related to the IHG mobile app.

Loyalty Traveler – IHG Into the Nights Clusterf#*k (October 20, 2014)

Many IHG Rewards Club members saw their required number of stays booked through the IHG App increase significantly. When I checked my account I saw the IHG app task had changed from “a stay” as seen in the offer above to “10 stays”.

On FlyerTalk there is an IHG Into the Nights 2014 thread with discussion on this promotion. There are FlyerTalk member reports beginning October 17 citing changes to IHG Rewards Club members’ Into the Nights task for the number of stays required to book through IHG mobile app.

FlyerTalk member swancity reported a change from “download and book a stay with the app” to “book 12 stays via the IHG app”. This is post #1,118 on page 75 of the FlyerTalk thread. These changes happened six weeks after the IHG Into the Nights promotion launched on September 4. The issue with the change in the IHG App stays happened on a Friday afternoon and the situation festered over the weekend as members contacted IHG customer service to be told what they were seeing were indeed the new requirements.

The next ten pages of the FlyerTalk IHG Into the Nights thread are filled with other members reporting increases to the task with higher number of stays required using IHG app for booking. Some as high as 59 stays.

Mid-day Monday, October 20, IHG addressed the changes to the IHG app booking terms with post #1275 on the FlyerTalk Into the Nights thread.

IHG Care is the FlyerTalk company representative account for IHG.

Response from IHGCare: Into The Nights Promo

Hello

We apologize for the recent issue regarding the Into The Nights Promotion. We have identified the solution and are moving toward quick resolution.
We have been advised of the following:

· All affected IHG Rewards Club members who we know have made progress towards the offer, but then received a revised hurdle offer, will have their offer marked as “completed.”

· IHG Rewards Club will be sending a direct email communication to those members who have made progress toward their offer. We will be letting them know we will be honoring the original offer and marking their progress as complete.

· IHG will be honoring their original offer and IHG Rewards Club Members will see their offer as complete if they made progress toward it. If the members have yet to stay toward their offer, but have already registered, it will transition back to a hurdle of one stay to complete.

· IHG will not be changing any point values, so the members will receive the original amount of points that the offer showcased.

· IHG Rewards Club Members who have yet to register or to see their offers will receive the variable stay amounts. To those who may inquire why they have a variable amount, we are honoring the original offers that members saw when they received their offers. All members who are newly registering are receiving the correct variable amounts.

IHGCare on FlyerTalk

The bold font is mine. This IHGCare post only appears to address the issue of changes to the IHG app bookings issue.

My issue with IHG Into the Nights is different since I logged into my account on Monday, October 20 to find not only did my IHG app bookings change from “a stay” to book “10 stays”, but all my tasks changed from the Into the Night five tasks I received upon registration on September 5, 2014.

My IHG Into the Nights task for booking through IHG App changed again last week from 10 stays to 1 stay, but the other five tasks are still different from my initial tasks.

IHG Into the Nights Tasks-3

My advantage as a blogger is I posted screenshots of my IHG Into the Nights tasks as seen for my account on September 5, 2014 on Loyalty Traveler.

Does IHG Care?

What angers me about the change to my Into the Nights tasks is IHG Rewards Club never notified me the tasks changed for my account.

The first I time I saw the new set of tasks was Monday, October 20, more than six weeks after the promotion launched. I had already booked my hotel stays to fulfill the original five tasks for Into the Nights. Fortunately, my stays were flexible cancellation with no penalty since my new set of tasks does not require any Holiday Inn or Saturday night stays.

There have been no emails to me from IHG about Into the Nights. I could have easily completed my hotel stays to learn that the tasks I fulfilled were no longer the tasks assigned to my account for the Into the Nights promotion.

Only due to bloggers reporting about the changes to the IHG Into the Nights mobile app bookings did I even realize my tasks had changed.

How many other IHG Rewards Club members are going to stay at hotels and find out later that their tasks changed since registration? I can’t imagine that I am the only one out of 70 million global members who had all my Into the Nights tasks change since the promotion launch.

My offer went from one that could be completed with three hotel nights in California to an offer that requires me to either stay 7 nights or stay at IHG hotels in two countries outside the USA.

Have I contacted IHG customer service? No.

I am not concerned about IHG Into the Fights since my new set of tasks can be completed with only two hotel nights when I travel to Dublin and London in November 2014. The cost to fulfill five of six tasks for my Into the Nights offer is still only $200 to $300.

IHG Into the Nights promotion has been a fiasco. Perhaps all will be forgotten as IHG Rewards Club members and bloggers talk and write about their free night redemptions over the next year.

This post is my attempt to keep the record straight and show what a clusterf@#k this IHG Into the Nights promotion was for some IHG Rewards Club members like me.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

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About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. I for one respect the fact that you’re still trying to follow up with this. I had about 5 – 7 nights of stays in November that I had booked with IHG, but decided to cancel and re-book elsewhere after this series of events.

  2. Hi Ric – thanks for trying to get to the bottom of this. On another but related note, I have an IHG MasterCard through Chase and one of the “perks” was having platinum status for as long as I owned the card. Oddly, last week I got an email from IHG telling me that in order to keep my platinum status I had to stay another 3 more nights by the end of the year. Huh? Has something changed? Did you or anyone else who has the card get a similar email?

  3. I’m not as experienced in this as you are, Ric, but it seems to me if you have screen shots of your initial offer,a copy of the email IHG sent confirming that you are registered for the promo (which would have a date on it) and then you acted, in good faith, and did the offer they sent to you, you in fact, have a good case to argue for the promo you initially got. They offered you a deal, you acted in good faith and made non-refundable bookings and did stays, all of that constitutes a contract. And with a contract, you can force them to do the right thing by you. Copies of all that and a firm letter sent to IHG corporate, making sure to send copies to Corporate Legal should result in all points and free nights being deposited in your account. That is the course of action I plan on following for the 3 family accounts I control/help with. It’s a mess yes, absolutely. But it’s doable if we keep our heads and maintain some records.

  4. Hey Ric, double check your IHG offer. Travel is Free posted that the old offers are back in everyone’s accounts. I double checked mine and he’s right. Back to the original. Perhaps no fight will be necessary. But still keeping all emails and screenshots.

  5. My offer changed dramatically (absurdly) for the worse, and I JUST checked it, and it definitely has not reverted to the original, which I DO have a screenshot of…but it is almost certainly not worth the aggravation to me, and that’s after making an initial stay toward the promo that I really didn’t need to make. I may try a phone call and one attempt to gauge the response, but would anticipate it will connect to a distant call center and will just be frustrating. I’ll expect I’ll burn the IHG points I have, and be done with them.

  6. My offer changed dramatically (absurdly) for the worse – from 3 nites and 2 Saturdays to 7 nites, 4 Saturdays, and a requirement to apply for their card (!) I JUST checked it, and it definitely has not reverted to the original, which I DO have a screenshot of…but it is almost certainly not worth the aggravation to me, and that’s after making an initial stay toward the promo that I really didn’t need to make. I may try one phone call and attempt to gauge the response, but would anticipate it will connect to a disappointingly distant call center and will just be an exercise in frustration. I’ll expect I’ll burn the IHG points I have, and be done with them.

  7. I sent them a complaint e-mail Thursday. They acknowledged it on Monday and it reverted back today. Kudos to you for pointing out the issue. I hope you will follow up with IHG and see if they do right by you. By the way, loved your visits/ trip reports to the land of “Frozen”

  8. I had completed a step before they changed, but it hadn’t been credited. I emailed about it and customer service basically said “sorry, tough luck.” I emailed again and they gave me the the equivalent points as “goodwill points” moved that task back to the other original goal but did not credit it as complete. Go figure. Thanks for keeping the topic alive.

  9. They changed my app offer from 1 to 24 stays!! I booked 4 nites with the app and they have not been credited. I also planned my hotels around this offer. I am a couple nights away from platinum but now I’m thinking I should switch to a less deceptive loyalty program.

    thanks for putting this out there – it’s good to know I’m not the only one that got ripped off.

  10. Glad you are sticking with this issue – I was lucky in that the offer hasn’t been the problem, but no stays/progress ever show up, unless I expressively send them a message telling them to do so.

    I agree – a lot of people aren’t necessarily going to check until *after* their first stay, and that may be when they see the different tasks. As you said, a charlie-foxtrot.

  11. @alistairdeacon – my offer did not revert back to the original offer. The reason I am not arguing for my original offer is the new offer is actually easier for me to complete.

    My wife had the same Into the Nights offer as my original offer and her offer did not change. We simply rebooked the Saturday night Holiday Inn stays for her account.

    I would definitely argue my offer change with IHG Rewards Club if I were not planning to be in Europe in a few weeks where I can book two IHG stays in two countries. As it is, the new offer is easier for me and no more expensive to complete than the two Holiday Inn Saturday night stays I originally received as tasks.

  12. This is certainly a c******f***. I registered my partner for an IHG account and he got a very reasonable, stay three nights get two free as a new member; the other requirements were also reasonable. Then, when I tried to check his progress, he got a completely new set of requirements, that were, of course, far less reasonable. The apology email came a couple of days ago, and infuriatingly nothing changed, no credit for the first two stays he had for the promotion, and no reversion back to the original offer. I think there needs to be a legal intervention at this point, this is clearly a “bait and switch” situation.

  13. Yep, after sending a note to customer service I got the apology and claim that it was a regrettable error and the offer would revert … it has not.

    Reading into others experiences as well, any investment in this is clearly a crapshoot. I often follow up with agents on the various promotions with hotels, banks, etc., and have found virtually all to be reasonably forthright and valid … until this one.

  14. Just got another auto-apology email after my own follow-up … explicitly states that the ORIGINAL offers were “wrong” and that they have now instated correct offers.

    Classic bait and switch indeed. We did make a discretionary stay toward the promo as it originally posted. It will be my last revenue stay at an IHG hotel.

    Truth be told I’m not a Holiday Inn kind of guy, but have in fact stayed at Crowne Plazas and Intercontinentals as diverse as Beijing and Singapore. F*ck them.

  15. RIc, sorry to keep posting on this (older) thread, but it keeps getting weirder for me. Hope you will keep the flame going.

    The latest apology note included 5000 sorry about that points, but lists my account balance at 27000 points. In fact it is over 100k and has been for quite some time.

  16. @dale m – I wrote an article for InsideFlyer about how loyalty programs are a two-way street and implicit to the customer contract is trust in the program. We have seen IHG, Marriott and Le Club Accorhotels change the promotions after they launched.

    IHG is covered in this post.

    Marriott Rewards changed terms of their Rewards Plus promotion for 2,000 points per month two months into the offer. It took 8 social media actions to earn 2,000 points in May and June and then changed to 80 actions in July for the six month promotion.

    Le Club Accorhotels offered 5,000 Aeroplan miles per stay and then dropped the promotion October 27 for an offer that was supposed to run October 1 to December 31.

    Three of the ten major global hotel loyalty programs have lost trust among their customers in recent promotion debacles.

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