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Coronavirus: IHG Rewards Club scraps Advance Purchase prepaid rates

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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.

Coronavirus: IHG Rewards Club scraps Advance Purchase prepaid rates

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.

Coronavirus: IHG Rewards Club scraps Advance Purchase prepaid rates

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?

No.

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.


IHG One Rewards update – May 2022:

Get bonus points: IHG One Rewards is offering bonus base points on all cash stays between 18th May and 31st August.  You earn double points on your 2nd to 5th nights, triple points on your 6th to 14th nights and quadruple base points from your 15th night. Our full article is here. Click here to register.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

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

You will receive an 80% bonus when you buy IHG One Rewards points by 10th June 2022.

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 Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (74)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • jil says:

    also you have to call IHG to extend your free night cert., this is automatic for other chains.

  • James says:

    In my app, Spire status shows as being extended to the end of 2021. And I’m not in China. Or China Town.

  • Charlie W says:

    I have a booking for June using my free night voucher, that I’m not going to be able to use anymore (the trip was for a wedding, which has now been cancelled). The voucher has expired (31/12/19) – does anyone know if there’s any chance of getting that voucher back, with an extended expiry?

    • Scallder says:

      I’m in similar boat (trip to Vienna in early May using voucher that expired June 2019). Talk on here that if you call they’ll likely give you 6 months on it…

  • ChrisC says:

    The ‘book now pay later’ rate has been around at least since last Tuesday when I made some prospective bookings for later in the year.

    I was deliberately looking for the cheapest refundable booking though at the time ‘pay now’ non refundable rates were still there.

    The pay later Refundable rates were about £10 per night more for the hotels I booked in Manchester.

  • BJ says:

    I have a four night HIX booking via amex travel in June as the rate plus the £50offer made it a better deal than going direct. Does this make now a good time to ask them if they would refund a nonrefundable booking or better to sit tight until we see what FCO guidance is for travel nearer the time?

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    Has anyone had any experience yet of BA Holidays and how they are applying these hotel chains allowing full refunds on non refundable bookings? BA still say on their T&Cs that non refundable hotels are “forfeited” if you cancel.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Bookings with BA Holidays are bound by their T&C’s

      For as long as FCO recommend none but essential travel your holiday won’t happen.

      When is your booking for?

  • Adam says:

    IHG refunds: cancelled a Boston Kimpton stay (6-11 April) and Chicago HI stay (12-17 April) online on 19 March. Refunded for Boston within a week, nothing from Chicago yet despite phoning Member Support line.
    What kind of timings are others seeing on IHG refunds?

    • Rob says:

      Says allow 90 days if you follow the link in the article.

    • Kip says:

      Less than a week. No need to call, just cancel online and the refund goes in a few days later.
      Also, status extended to end 2021, Ambassador status extended, status points total reduced.

      Not sure what else IHG can do tbh.

  • Lloyd says:

    Be interested to know how this works in practice. I have a booking in for an Australian hotel in early June that I made some months ago. If I cancel in the member zone it clearly states that I will forfeit the full value paid up front. I’ll let things settle for a few days but did anyone else experience the same issue when their policy was only to 30th April?

    • Arno McLean says:

      I was about to cancel a stay in Ottawa for may, and on the cancellation page the following message appears: “We are waiving our cancellation fees for bookings at all IHG hotels for stays through 30 April.”, IT has not caught up with the new policy?

      • Rob says:

        Seems not, clearly!

        • Arno McLean says:

          The dutch version of the Page still states 30th of April. Think they really are still lagging It wise on their system.

          • Rob says:

            The UK version did last night too – our link is to the US version.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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