If you are a member of IHG Rewards Club, you probably received a slightly odd email from them on Saturday morning.
Entitled ‘Member booking update’ it said this:
We’ve made a change. Effective from 1st January 2017, members must book directly through IHG®(IHG.com, IHG® App, IHG® brand sites, corporate travel sites, Central Reservations, or Hotel direct) and not through other travel booking sites in order to take full advantage of the benefits that come with an IHG® Rewards Club membership. Why? We want to give you the best travel experience—from start to finish—every time. And we can only do that when you book with us directly.
Take a look at what you can get through booking directly with IHG:
• Your Rate* – a special rate that’s just for members
• Points that you can earn, track and redeem for rewarding experiences
• Personalised rewards and offers to help you make the most of every stay
• Reward Nights with no blackout dates
• Complimentary upgrades are always a nice surprise
This is all a little odd.
Because NOTHING has changed.
IHG ALREADY refuses to give you any IHG Rewards Club points on your room rate, or stay credit, if you book via Expedia, hotels.com etc.
It ALREADY states in its terms and conditions that you will not receive status benefits if you book via a third party.
Most members would already know this so I’m not sure what the point of this email is meant to be.
I can only think of two possible things:
Some IHG hotels do still offer status benefits to members who book via a third party. This is basically a goodwill gesture. But is IHG really going to tell hotels that no way – under any scenario – are they to do this? If a hotel was forced to upgrade some guests, would they have to choose non-status members who booked direct over Spire Elite members who – perhaps because their client made the booking – were booked via a ‘third party travel site’?
Is IHG going to stop members earning points on food and drink spend in the hotel if they booked via a third party? If they are, this seems like an own goal to me as it removes one of the incentives for a guest to eat in the property.
(EDIT: I forgot that the latter was already dropped this year.)
Off the top of my head, I am struggling to think what else IHG could mean by this email. Let me know if you have any better ideas.
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