IHG has been badly lacking in its response to coronavirus.
Hilton has been leading the pack by a long way, extending Hilton Honors status by a year and reversing status drops. It also guaranteed that any bookings you make by 30th June can be cancelled – at any point – regardless of policy.
The best that IHG could offer was that any booking for arrival by 30th April could be cancelled. Tough luck if you had something planned for 1st May.
The good news is that IHG has moved on – a bit. Take a look here.
Here are the changes:
Bookings made up to and including today, 6th April, for travel by 30th June, can be cancelled for a full cash refund, even if they were sold as non-refundable
Going forward, Advance Purchase pre-paid rates will no longer be available, except in China
A new discounted rate ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ has been introduced
‘Book Now, Pay Later’ is basically ‘Advanced Purchase’ without any restrictions. The rate is still cheaper than Best Flexible Rate and can be cancelled up to 24 hours before arrival.
The cancellation policy on ‘Best Flexible Rates’ has also been improved. These can now be cancelled until 6pm on the day of arrival. I doubt it is worth paying 5%-10% extra to get 6pm cancellation vs 24 hours advance cancellation however.
No deposit or pre-payment of any sort is required.
IMPORTANT: if you try to cancel a non-refundable room online, the IHG website still says you are not getting a refund. However, it also said this for bookings in April which have been cancellable for free for a while, and readers report money arriving back OK.
How long will ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ be available?
IHG’s ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ will be bookable until at least 30th September for stays up to 31st December.
There is also clarity on IHG credit card free night vouchers
If you earned a free night voucher from your IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard, there is a new expiry policy:
All certificates expiring after 1st March 2020 have been extended to 31st December 2020
All certificates earned in 2020 will have an 18 month redemption period
You can confirm this at the bottom of this page of the IHG website.
There is still no official news on extensions to Ambassador free weekend night vouchers.
Is there any further news on status extensions?
IHG is still lagging the pack here.
The only concession so far is that you can renew your current status more easily. Spire Elite, for example, will only require 55,000 base points in 2020 vs the usual 75,000.
There is NO concession at all for existing members who have been unable to get full benefit from their current status.
Given the moves by Hilton, I doubt that IHG and Marriott can afford to stick to their current positions, albeit that it seems that they need to be dragged kicking and screaming to that conclusion.
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