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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?


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.

  • Alex Metcalfe says:

    Cancelled a non-refundable booking for later in April last week. Website said the usual ‘no refund’ message, and payment had already been taken from my card, but money was refunded couple of days later – didn’t need to call/mail the hotel.

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    Playing devils advocate here, IHG’s position on elites has been clear for years: the Corona crisis doesnt make a whole bunch of difference in benefits outside of European CPs since IHG status benefits are as meagre as they can possibly make them. Frankly whether you’re in a IHG property or not makes little difference to status benefits in my personal experience!

    Marriott ‘s response has been pitiful but again, that appears to be the New Normal. Perfect timing for me as work travel changed to mandate more MR stays and would qualify organically for titanium, it seems MR are on a race to the bottom against themselves.

    • The Original David says:

      What regions do you travel in? As a Spire in mainland China, I regularly get a mixture of lounge access, multi-category upgrades (including suites), F&B coupons, welcome drink vouchers, welcome points and even some free breakfasts! Plus nice extra touches like staff greeting me by name and remembering who I am. I’m pretty happy with Spire recognition.

      • J says:

        As Marriott/Hilton Gold, I’ve had great experiences in Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong – upgrades, welcome gift, lounge access. But even without any status, service is generally better in these countries so no surprise.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        US, UK, France and Spain. 75% the first two. But less recently covered much of Europe and had mostly predictable outcomes

        No far east trips though and there does seem to be a pattern of better recognition there

  • david shepherd says:

    Interesting that the IHG hotel you showed in the headline has been shut to the public, boarded up, and I suspect being used for Coronavirus purposes for many months! regards DS

  • SammyJ says:

    My Ambassador should have expired 1st March but I see it has been extended to 1st June.
    My Amb free weekend night cert also expired 1st March, but I have another one in my account now valid until 1st June.

    • Anna says:

      Yes mine extended by 2 months also.

      • Bentoni says:

        I was hoping that they would extend the Ambassador status a bit more .. since there no way that I will be able to use it this year ..

  • Ali says:

    when you actually click through to the cancellation page , it says ‘We are waiving our cancellation fees for bookings at all IHG hotels for stays through 30 April.’ This confuses me and makes me a bit unsure about clicking ‘cancel reservation’.
    Also they haven’t used the words ‘fully refundable’ in the new policy 🙁 Just that it can take a long time.
    Should I wait till that 30th April wording changes?(My booking is in May 2020)

  • Martyn Ford says:

    I have just written directly to the hotel to cancel an IHG reservation in Paris in May. They replied, confirming my refund, within a few minutes because of my status. They were unaware that the IHG policy had been extended.

    • Aston100 says:

      Which Paris hotel?
      The holiday inn at CDG weren’t interested when I contacted them 2 or 3 weeks ago.

      • Martyn Ford says:

        Aston, that is the very hotel I was due to stay at – my refund is already in my account.

  • Travelling Inspector says:

    June 30th date now showing on IHG website

    • Lloyd says:

      Still saying 30th April in a yellow banner for me on the page just before confirming. Will hold off for the time being.

  • Roy says:

    The free night certificate policy seems a bit odd, if I read what you right correctly: anyone who received the certificate in December 2019 – which therefore expires in December 2020 – gets only a few weeks of extra validity (if that). Whereas people who receives the certificate either earlier *or* later is treated much more generously.

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