My wasted trip to Wandsworth (IHG’s Big Win)

We all get it wrong sometimes.  Just to show that we can all make mistakes, let me tell you the story of Monday afternoon and my wasted trip to the Holiday Inn Express in Wandsworth!

When IHG Rewards Club relaunched ‘The Big Win’ promotion this Spring, I ignored it.  I had no revenue stays planned and it was not worth doing a mattress run (ie checking in but not staying) to trigger the bonus.

I did have a night at InterContinental LeGrand in Paris.  This was booked on points, though.  A week before the stay, I switched it to cash and claimed a Best Rate Guarantee.  This should have also made the room free and non-points earning.  However, as I explained here, it did end up being treated as a Qualifying Stay.

This changed my Big Win dynamics.  If I did one night in London, anywhere, it would trigger 9,600 bonus points as I would have completed two ‘big city’ stays.

9,600 points is not enough for a mattress run, though.  However, I was also offered 20,000 points for using the IHG Rewards Club Black Visa to pay for a stay.  I decided to apply for the Visa card (again!) and trigger both bonuses with one stay.

I booked the cheapest midweek London room I could find.  A £58 Advance Purchase rate at the Holiday Inn Express Wandsworth, a depressing location opposite a massive recycling dump and surrounded by a McDonalds, a B&Q and a massive road.

HIX Wandsworth

Whilst on holiday over Easter, a mix up led to the PIN on my IHG Rewards Club Visa being locked.  A new PIN was on the way in the post, but would not arrive before my Wandsworth trip.

Not to worry, though, because it is an Advance Purchase rate and the hotel will have charged me IN ADVANCE …. surely …..

No!  Disaster struck when I arrived in Wandsworth.  Out of the goodness of their heart, the hotel had decided not to bother charging my card in advance!  Perhaps it was hotel policy, perhaps it was because of my Platinum status or perhaps they just forgot.

On arrival, though, they asked me to pay for the stay.  And, of course, without the new PIN I couldn’t use my IHG Rewards Club Visa.  Goodbye to 20,000 bonus points!

To add insult to injury, the hotel forget to offer me my Platinum welcome bonus of 300 points and – more worryingly – I forgot to ask for it!

The stay is a not a complete disaster, of course.  I will earn about 13,000 points from it as the ‘two big city stays’ bonus of 9,600 points will trigger.  This means that I will just about break even given the £58 room rate and the cost of getting to Wandsworth.  I won’t be getting that afternoon of my life back though ….

(To see our complete list of all current hotel promotions for the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. No public transport nearby? What about the Wandsworth Town (Zone 2) railway station across the road and the numerous buses which pass the end of the street?

    This was my hotel of choice when on work trips to London – outside the congestion zone, pretty good transport links, a car park (and one across the road), two good traditional pubs round the corner (one on the river) and cheap prices.

    That hotel never charged me in advance, so it was probably your Platinum status.

    • Oh, Matron! says:

      Yes, it is a hell hole, although that McDonalds is well, placed for a cheeky breakfast!

      And it’s a 20 minute walk to the busiest train station in Europe.

      However, we’ve all done things like this…. Booking an stupidly cheap upper class flight with Virgin and then, when checking in to return home for work the next day realising that you’d booked for the day after, thus mandating the use of 40,000 FC miles to get home in time for work (and associated taxes!).

      It’s how you deal with these which makes the person you are (or the other way round). Chin up, have a laugh, and realise that, not a 3 minute walk from here, is Old Wandsworth Town, a quaint street with some great restaurants, including a fantastic Thai that does an amazing Tamarind Duck…

  2. Has anyone actually received the 20k points for applying for the Visa card and paying for a stay? I got in January and paid for a stay at the start of Feb but no sign of it registering on Big Win or the points.

    I’m a little reluctant to chase it up however as this was the only stay I’ve paid for using the card and it earned me 16k points from bonus codes. Don’t want then to look into the stay in case they decide I’ve abused the system and close my account (loosing around 300k points).

    • Yes but took almost 5 weeks and 3 email to customer service. Points were credited yesterday and email to advise me that all resolved.

    • Nope I haven’t received my bonus for this challenge either. I emailed them and they confirmed my stay was eligible but that I had to wait 4-6 weeks, so I’m going to get back to them in a couple of weeks to say it (not surprisingly!) still hasn’t posted.

    • Thunderbirds says:

      Yes, also had this problem. I had to ring in to get my 20,000 points posted for a stay at the beginning of February. Whilst on the phone the lady at the support centre said they were having technical issues with posting of this bonus (no surprise there) but the problem will be that the extra 20,000 being a recovery of service deposit has not triggered the completion of this task on my Big Win account. I suspect that many people will also have to chase their final Big Win bonus if they are relying on the credit card bonus to complete their Big Win.

      • FlyingChris says:

        I too took out this card, booked & paid for a stay over 8 weeks ago – still no sign of the 20k Big Win bonus.

        I called this morning chasing it & despite spelling it out very politely – was put on hold 3 times and told she didn’t understand what I was saying twice…before simply hanging up on me. What completely awful customer service.

        Sent through a Missing Points form – but who knows. Anyone else got any tips/other email addresses to accelerate the issue as rather keen to book rooms for an upcoming holiday with the points…

        • I went for the IHG Care team via Twitter. They’ve confirmed my stay was eligible under the Black VISA Big Win offer and will add it manually one six weeks post-checkout has passed.

  3. Sam wardill says:

    Hey don’t dis the HI Wandsworth! It’s 2 mins from the river, 2 mins from Wandsworth town station (which is 10 mins to Waterloo), 2 mins to the pubs, cafés and restaurants of old York road and 10 mins walk from shops and cinemas of southside (and 1 min from b & q in case you want to catch up on DIY browsing).

  4. Chris says:

    I’ve also had trouble with missing bonus points with this promotion. I’ve successfully completed all the Big Win challenges, and although I’ve paid for all my stays using my IHG Rewards Club card, the 1500 points for the use of the credit card and hence also the additional bonus of 33,000 points for completing all challenges have not posted. I have contacted customer services who have so far not been terribly helpful, unfortunately!

    • Sam Wardill says:

      I had problems with this promo as well. After many emails I got the 10,000 for using the card plus the 48,000 Big Win bonus as a recovery. Eventually the points posted via the proper channels as well!

  5. Had similar issue with crowne plaza. Booked before Christmas using BAPP and forgot all about it. Stay was at Easter. By The time of stay I was close to triggering 241 voucher and was very careful to not to spend on card as didn’t want the voucher till August.
    Not only had crowne plaza not charged the stay but they then made a mistake and charged double!
    Despite them reversing the transaction immediately it triggered the voucher (the charge and refund went through on same day) and the ever helpful BA would not even consider stopping the voucher despite spending, even today being short of the £10k target.
    You live and learn!

  6. Froggitt says:

    Next time, thin layer of melted candle wax or spray plaster over the chip, and you’re back onto a mag stripe auth, with a signature, not a pin.

    • takke says:

      In my experience at a few retailers when the chip doesn’t work and you try the stripe, it has given me an error message something like ‘this is a chip and pin card, please insert in the chip reader’. I think the issue is that if that wasn’t the case, any fraudster would use the trick you describe and circumvent the security benefits of the chip and pin system. As far as I know, the signature can only generally be used in machines that don’t have chip and pin capability (mainly abroad eg USA) or some parking machines etc.
      I may be wrong but this is my understanding of how it works

      • AFAIUI, it is up to the retailer if they accept payment using swipe and signature. If they do and the transaction turns out to be fraudulent then the retailer and not the card company takes the hit. Some retailers do and some don’t.

      • Actually after the 3rd attempt with a chip failing, it’ll say “CHIP ERROR, SWIPE CARD”, it’ll then you let you swipe the card just fine.

        A good way to force a terminal to let you fallback is just to insert your card in backwards 3 times and then it’ll let you swipe it.

  7. James67 says:

    Did your black visa paid stay register on your big win dashboard? Still waiting for mine for a stay over 3 weeks ago. How long did it take your points to come over from Barclays for card application? Have not got mine yet and CS have told me twice I must wait 6-8 weeks. I think this is trash, was not my experience when I had card before.

    • The 40k from the card application have not appeared yet, but I haven’t received the points from the first month of card spend yet either! Barclays are very slow unfortunately.

      • Chris says:

        For the last seven months my points for the CC have all posted on the 23rd/24th of the month. My statement date is 12th if that helps in anyway.

  8. Can you give IHG customer services a call and explain the situation? From my experience I’ve always found them quite amendable. If I ever fail or neglect to earn points on a program I usually make a call, worst they can do is say no :-)

  9. I’ve had advanced stays not be charged and then they want me to pay at the hotel. I check my amex statement every time incase they have messed up. This mostly happens at Crowne Plazas and I am Gold status

  10. Dominic says:

    While we are talking IHG – can I ask… are we still meant to get a free night for having the black card? I’ve forgotten about this and want to see if I can get it – can’t even remember how do to so….

    • Yes, you get it at £10,000 spent. An evoucher is posted to your IHG account. My wifes posted fine recently although it took a couple of months from hitting the spend target.

  11. BillyBleach says:

    Why didn’t you try and sign for the stay instead of pay by chip and pin?

    I have found many vendors still offer signature authorisation when chip and pin fails. When my US colleagues visit the UK and their cards do not use chip and pin, they are rarely refused service based on signature alone.

    • Andrew says:

      The merchant machine will not process a signature when it’s a chip and pin card (there is an electronic chip&pin ID on the magnetic strip) and alters the user to use the chip.

      Depending on the system, the merchant needs to enter a special override mode to force a signature – i doubt very many reception staff know how to do this. And if credit card processing is integrated in to point of sale systems I doubt its even an option.

      Often using the magnetic strip on a chip and pin hugely reduces the daily per card limit too (if i recall ours is £250-£500) – so you might not be able to cover a typical hotel bill.

  12. There There!… I know how that feels…. you’re doing a good job!

    Btw some card services offer you to check your pin online! Which was great cos I have 3 amex carrds and I forgot which pin to which card…

    • You know what, I know the card companies don’t like it and it’s not exactly safe, but i use the same PIN for all my cards. Including debit and non-UK cards I have at least 30.

  13. It’s not a recycling dump. It’s a household waste recycling centre, a MRF and a Waste Transfer Station. It’s river served making it fantastic

    (Raffles will see my email address which will explain the love of this site)

    PS it’s a 3-4 minute walk to the railway station

  14. Mr Bridge says:

    Raffles, why didnt you say that it had to be billed to the card details already provided, and you didn’t have that card on you. they could still have done the cnp!

    • Andrew says:

      That’s a really good point. Hotels are surely set up for “card holder not present” transactions…

      Against the hotel/merchant rules though :)

      • Well he could have walked away from the desk and then he would have not been present. I’ve done it…

  15. USATB says:

    they should have pre charged the card in advance as per their terms, naturally therefore….. you didn’t take the card with you when you checked in so had to use another means of payment due to the situation they put you in…

    surely worth raising with IHG

    • cmcbugg says:

      If you pay in advance then you must present the credit card on checkin. I had that problem with one of my big win runs where the credit card had been cancelled and a new number issued. I couldn’t present the card they wanted, and they had to go to all the effort of refunding the original card, and recharging the new card. This was HIX Croydon. Another lovely place (but at least it was only £39).

      • Chris says:

        Yeah HIX Croydon is the only IHG hotel I have been asked to produce the card used for payment. Always thought it strange.

  16. I have just been sent this code – 4989. Worth a try.

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  17. andy stock says:

    Been past it many a time on the train from Waterloo to Richmond /Twickenham, looks a poor location.

  18. Trevor says:

    I missed using my card on my first stay because it arrived so late, but was able to use on 2nd stay, yet big win points still not posted, while 40k signup bonus has (probably one of the last to get this). That and big win book online outstanding, hence full big win bonus too. Alternatively, while not going for big win on this occasion, based on feedback here regarding the inability to apply for the credit card, sent complaint msg for my OH’s account and that has now been credited with 20k points, despite still not showing on her big win page. So, result there!

    Regarding not being charged in advance, I have had this happen for 2 pay in advance bookings in Belgium which has caused a slight but not huge issue. Bit annoying when you expect/rely on it and they break their own rules which has put you out of pocket!