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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 – June 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.

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.

  • 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?

  • DS says:

    Fake news! Advance Saver is still there and it is still not refundable.
    I checked some hotels in Manchester; in Aug. and Sept. it’s gone, but from
    October and onwards I see 3 rates with 3 different prices
    -Advance Saver Rate
    -Book Now, Pay Later
    -Best Flexible Rate
    In the T&Cs it does say “removed until later in the year”
    On a different note, it does look like they have removed the 30% partner rate.

  • Andrew says:

    According to Business Traveller – back in February, after just a month of travel restrictions, all China IHG members were given a year extension – so why not everyone else?

    “ IHG launched its status extension policy for its IHG Rewards Club members in the Greater China region on its official WeChat account on February 18.
    According to the hotel group, eligible members refer to those whose account address was in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as of February 17.
    IHG said its Gold Elite, Platinum Elite and Spite Elite members now have their current membership tier extended by 12 months from December 31 this year until December 31, 2021”

  • Trevor says:

    Yes, IHG not as good as Hilton. Still waiting to cancel a July booking whereas I cancelled out July Hilton with full refunds.

  • GOONFACE says:

    Is there going to be an official communication from IHG to members on the voucher extension? I emailed their customer services 2 weeks ago and also called them. I’ve received no reply from their email and on the phone I was told I need to email to get my answer.

    I’ve not received any official IHG email on the expiry extension either.

  • J says:

    Just clicked through from the email link for IHG change/cancel a stay I have for May 1st, it still states April 30th when I get through to the cancel page and I loose my prepaid deposit….Guess need to wait for a while.

    As for the IHG loyalty, ALL have done the same in Greater China also in giving one year extension.
    ALL have dumped 13k status points in my account (50% of required amount for top tier)
    IHG reduced to 55K..

    The lockdown and travel restrictions will be around for a many more months, why they drip feed their changes is beyond belief..should just bloomin do it..

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      IHG have still not reduced Spire Elite down to 55k for some people so far and no annual bonuses like the 25k points for hitting Spire have shown up in my account…

      • Chrism20 says:

        They seem to be adjusting the status requirements in batches. Mine dropped sometime on Saturday and notably the elite expiration moved from ending in 2020 to 2021. Looks like it is possibly requiring some form of manual intervention for it to happen.

        • Anna says:

          Mine was adjusted over the weekend so it looks like they are being done in stages.

      • memesweeper says:

        I’m about 500 points short of Spire under the old rules, but like others have not picked up the 25k bonus for re-qualifying (yet). I’m not going to complain, I’m sure they’ll get there eventually, and it’s not like there’s too much rush for me to spend the points right now…

    • Nigel Scollin says:

      I had the same situation. I have a booking for late May early June-went to cancel, and it was still saying that I would lose my deposit, so I called the Hotel Indigo customer call centre instead. The call was answered immediately (rather surprisingly) but the lady I spoke to said that she had not been informed from her ‘higher -ups’ about this change. I suggested (politely) that she might want to have a look at the IHG website. I’ll leave it a couple of days…

  • Rob B says:

    I had an advance purchase booking at Staybridge Suites which I needed to cancel because the event we were going to has been postponed. I emailed the hotel direct explaining why I wanted to cancel and received a very prompt reply saying that as no payment had been taken from my credit card they would cancel the booking free of charge. A very fair response, I thought and I think it’s worth contacting the hotel direct rather than using the IHG website.

  • Orlandobelle says:

    Just went to cancel my May booking and the IHG page still states only ‘up to 30 April’

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