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What is IHG’s weird “Member booking update” email all about?

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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.

IHG Rewards Club wide 2

Why?

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.


IHG Rewards Club update – November 2020:

Get bonus points: IHG’s current promotion is ‘2x’, which runs until 15th December 2020. You can learn more in our article here. You can register here using promo code 44480.

New to IHG Rewards Club?  Read our two-part overview of IHG Rewards Club here and here and our article on expiry rules here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards Club points, you can buy them here.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (36)

  • Leafwarbler says:

    I thought the email was a bit weird too. Thanks for confirming that using the HFP link for double points isn’t affected, Rob.

  • signol says:

    I always have to book through Capita Travel and have always got points and benefits, though I usually have to manually add the booking to my account.

  • Neil says:

    Email Just In…

    Dear Neil,

    We recently sent an email about changes to your member benefits that come into effect at the beginning of next year. We’ve realised that some of the details may not have been very clear, and we’re sorry if we caused any confusion. Our intention is always to be transparent with you about our programme. In this instance, we could have been clearer in our message.

    We would like to reassure you that when you book directly with IHG® (IHG.com, the IHG® App, IHG® brand sites, Central Reservations, or Hotel Direct), nothing will change, and this also applies to corporate business bookings made through your company’s travel agency or travel department. You will continue to receive all the wonderful IHG® Rewards Club membership benefits that you enjoy today.

    We truly value your loyalty to IHG® and are committed to doing all that we can to make your experiences with us all that you’ve come to expect from our people and brands.

    Best regards,

    David Canty
    Vice President, Global Loyalty Programmes, IHG® Rewards Club

  • Jason Hindle says:

    “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. ”

    Interesting. I thought the corporate travel agent from heck used Expedia, exclusively. Yet a couple of months back I made platinum in a single stay, in Harare*. I shall have to check with them, and ensure they use the correct web site. The corporate TA guarantee with a corporate card, but I use my own Amex card on arrival.

    * And it was lovely that everyone on the front desk recognised status-less me, after a two and half year absence, giving me an upgrade on arrival.

  • AB says:

    Hello,
    Not sure if this is the correct place, but I just wanted to raise awareness of what happened to me this week: I have recently contacted IHG support about a few bookings that were done on my account that I do not recognise, initially whoever hacked into it booked a hotel in Florida, it was cancelled soon after and another booking was made in your hotel in China, I have not been in China, someone else made these bookings, I have not received confirmation e-mails about any of these bookings and only noticed it when I logged into my account yesterday.
    They have not yet explained how my details were leaked? they stole 20k points worth, so be careful with your IHG account, if they had someone stealing member’s details, there is a good chance someone else will be targeted next.
    Thank you