No more IHG Rewards Club points on food and drink on Expedia stays

The major hotel chains are involved in a minor war with the online third-party booking sites such as Expedia.  They don’t like the commission these sites take, which is not surprising when Expedia is known to keep up to 25% of your purchase when you book an ‘Expedia Special Rate’ hotel.

Last week I wrote about how Starwood and Marriott have discovered a new trick.  From February, you will receive free internet when you stay with these chains – but ONLY if you book directly.  Anyone booking via Expedia etc will still need to pay.

The major hotels chains already refuse to give stay credit or points in their own loyalty schemes when you book via a third party.  What differs between the chains is:

whether your status benefits are acknowledged – Hyatt, Marriott and (in my experience) Hilton are OK for this

whether you earn points for your food and drink spending – all chains except Hilton have historically allowed you to do this

IHG Rewards Club 350

View From The Wing notes that IHG Rewards Club, the Holiday Inn / Crowne Plaza / InterContinental etc scheme, has changed its rules.

Take a look at the new point 12 of the IHG Rewards Club terms here:

IHG Rewards Club: OTA Earn Restriction.  IHG Rewards Club members will not earn points during a stay or retroactively on any reservations booked through Online Travel Agencies (OTA). This restriction includes but is not limited to: earning points on  food and beverage purchases, parking, in room dining, movies, and any other incidental charges incurred during the member’s length of stay.

The lines are being drawn.  On one hand, hotel chains want you to book direct and get stay credit, points for incidental spend, points for your room rate spend and elite benefits.  On the other, the online travel agents offer you their own rewards scheme (eg Welcome Rewards from and cashback via TopCashback etc.  The choice is up to you.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from 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.)

Open forum .... any suggestions for tweaking the site?
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  1. since I discovered the rewards (thanks to you) I haven’t looked back.

    Hilton gold card still works at Hiltons for me too, all over the world and most recently Bangkok where I got a whopping size suite room. shame it comes to an end soon. I got the aussie visa card trick one, we need something like that again!

  2. Lady London says:

    fair enough.

    I just think fast wifi should be like electricity… available everywhere and within every room rate.

  3. The free wifi at the Times Square intercontinental, was so slow, it wasn’t worth using anyway!

  4. Flieduk says:

    My understanding was when you booked via the property (i.e. the company running the actual hotel you are going to rather than Hilton Worldwide LLC or the relevant chain brand) had to pay the chain (i.e. Hilton Worldwide LLC) a commission PLUS had to pay for all the points that you are credited with.

    Therefore, surely the PROPERTY would still be quite happy to give you free wifi if you book via Expedia, etc? Also, why would it be of any concern to the chain how much commission sites like Expedia take when it is the property that has to pay them out?

  5. Sofitel have always offered me Platinum upgrade privileges when I have booked via a third party, though not the loyalty points.

    • Same here, last time at T5 for a stay booked through got a double upgrade on the room and also a free drinks voucher for one drink for both of us staying in the room. Couldn’t really complain since i paid <£80 for the room.

  6. With regard to Wi-Fi, I often find a 4G data package from my supplier is cheaper and faster than hotel W-Fi packages anyway!

    • Same here, my last stay I just abandoned the WiFi after I tested it to be 0.4 Mbps which is barely better than dial up and I was getting 10 Mbps on my 4G. More power intensive sure but when you’re in a hotel room it really doesn’t matter that much.

      I would be disappointed to loose WiFi (even slow WiFi) at a foreign hotel though.

      • Lady London’s comment above is spot on, wifi is a utility and should be treated like one.
        It’s frustrating when a hotel wants to charge you for something virtually everywhere in the western world takes for granted.

    • I think I may start asking hotels that don’t offer free wifi where the nearest McDeadthings is. If they ask why, I shall say it’s so I can use the free wifi that I would expect to get in the hotel.

      • Yes, I.,m sure the. 24year old at the checkout in Budapest or Bangkok would be devastated to hear that 🙂

        • Probably more so than the 35 yr old on reception at Milan. But I’m more likely to be in Milan than Bangkok.

  7. Of course it would be much easier if the chains simply had the same price as the discounters… or didn’t find every excuse under the sun to refuse the “BEST RATE GUARANTEE”

    • Yes, I got exactly the same offer via as the room I’d booked via Best Western’s site at at least 20% less. When I challenged their guarantee, they said it didn’t refer to third party sites. So I cancelled and booked elsewhere. Still got free wifi and breakfast, but no points.

  8. The hotel only lose if you are savvy enough to book elsewhere. Plus if they dropped the headline rate they’d be at risk of entering a price war with the OTAs

  9. I have an upcoming Park Hyatt stay, booked through Expedia as it was approx 25% cheaper than the best rate on the Hyatt website. The Expedia confirmation email gives me an Expedia itinerary number as well as the Hyatt reservation number, which means I can access my reservation directly on the Hyatt website too. Here, I can enter my Hyatt Gold Passport number (not an option on Expedia), make special requests… potentially even delete the travel agent codes from the reservation which marks it as an Expedia booking. Haven’t tried any of this for fear of voiding the booking, but does anyone have any experience re: accessing / changing Expedia bookings directly through hotel sites? And with Hyatt in particular?

    • From what I’ve heard Hyatt are the best of all the chains at honouring benefits/points on third party stays, not sure if that’s changed recently at all.

      • Hyatt have never awarded me points in recent times when I have booked the room through a third party.

        • Ahh OK – I’ve not stayed with them for a while myself, this may have been ‘enhanced’ away at most properties now, they certainly used to offer credit, but that was perhaps 2011! They do honour elite benefits though I believe.

  10. gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

    Of course there’s always SPG who will give you points for food in one of their properties (sometimes including elite discounts) even if you are not resident.

    Club Carlson gives elite discounts but no points for non residents.