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IHG is fixing the free night problem on the IHG Rewards Premium credit card

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Here is an example of how commenting on HfP can (occasionally) get a problem solved.

A few days ago, multiple commented about problems with the free night voucher issued with the IHG Rewards Premium (‘black’) credit card.

This is an excellent credit card, possibly too good given that IHG and Creation, the issuer, pulled it from the market a couple of years ago.

For an annual fee of £99, you received:

  • 2 IHG Rewards points per £1 spent, which I’d value at 0.8p per £1 spent
  • Platinum Elite status in IHG Rewards
  • a free night voucher each year when you spend £10,000

It was a package we liked so much that it won an ‘Editor’s Choice’ prize at the 2019 Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards. I can only imagine that the card economics didn’t stack up, leading to it being withdrawn soon after.

The problem which emerged earlier this month was with the free night voucher.

The voucher came with a one year expiry date. This was always a ‘book by’ and not a ‘stay by’ expiry, so in reality you had almost two years to use it as long as you could make your booking within 12 months.

This is a change from how IHG credit card vouchers are issued in the United States. Over there, the vouchers come with a ‘stay by’ and NOT a ‘book by’ expiry date.

I contacted IHG and, whilst it was news to them, they agreed to take a look. Late last week I got a note saying:

“We have investigated the anniversary night booking query and have identified that certificates issued from April 2020 when we extended certificates to 18 months were deposited with book and stay by expiry date rules.

We will update all impacted active anniversary night certificates to remove the stay date rule and ensure that all certificates awarded going forward will not have the book and stay date rule.”

If you had trouble booking your free night in recent days, it will be hopefully be resolved soon.


IHG Rewards update – October 2021:

Get bonus points: You can earn up to triple IHG Rewards base points with IHG’s new Autumn promotion. It runs from 1st October to 31st December. You can register here and our full article on the offer is here.

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

Buy points: If you need additional IHG 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 (73)

  • Andy says:

    I still haven’t received mine from two years. After countless emails and calls I told them to stick it and vowed to never use IHG again. Poor service

    • Ls says:

      Make a complaint to the credit card company. Say your free night is valued at … whatever you can make it reasonably seem. I imagine £200+. Ask for this to be paid if the voucher is not put in your account. Take to the ombudsman if they fail or refuse. You will win, and have the cash equivalent, rather than the voucher. It is the better position.

      • Andy says:

        I phoned Creation and they told me to speak to IHG. I then called IHG and they told me I had to call creation. I no longer have the credit card as a result. Probably worth me chasing this up again.

        • Mark says:

          Exactly what happened to me. After six months of IHG telling me there’s a problem they are working on with no expected resolution date, and then finally admitting that they weren’t getting engagement from Creation I’ve now raised a formal complaint with the latter as it was Creation with whom a I entered into a contract to provide it. IHG also told me the problem is affecting a number of people.

          If Creation don’t fix it, it will be going to the Ombudsman. Only reason I let it run this long is that I wouldn’t have much opportunity to use it so far.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            Same here. Still waiting for mine from March 2021. Received and used the 2020 one OK. Creation told me it was a known IT problem and they were working on it.

          • Mark says:

            Working on it since at least the start of year doesn’t really cut it though… How hard can it be to deliver what was promised and presumably was working?

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            I agree 100%

          • QFFlyer says:

            My OH had an issue with this year’s certificate, I fired off an email to both Creation and IHG and it was resolved in a couple of weeks. Never heard a word from Creation, but IHG were pretty good at responding within a few hours each time.

      • the_real_a says:

        Just remember to claim a monetary amount from the ombudsman. They have no power to, and will not award a points/gift settlement if you move for a judgement (after the initial voluntary resolution stage)

        • Mark says:

          Would be interested to know others thoughts on what an appropriate amount would be and experience for anyone who has reached that point. Can the Ombudsman substitute a lower amount if they consider it too high?

    • Michael says:

      Kind of pleased to hear I’m not the only one this has happened to!
      A year after the voucher should have been posted neither IHG or Creation could help. Creation cited an “internal ongoing issue”. They ‘guaranteed’ I would get the voucher but could not say when. I asked if it would be days, weeks, months or years and they wrote to me saying they had no idea. So I raised a formal complaint and they gave me a £150 as a gesture of goodwill.
      I told them their ‘guarantee’ I would get the voucher was worthless if they could not provide any estimate of when that would be. The £150 didn’t cut it either, as a free night at certain properties could easily be £700+ on certain dates.
      The complaint is now with the Ombudsman.
      Pretty shocking that Creation weren’t able to offer the key benefit of the card for so many customers.

      • Yorkie Aid says:

        Well done for raising with the ombudsman Michael. Please keep us informed of the result.

  • Nick says:

    I’d missed this subtlety altogether – helps a lot.
    So my free night with a “booking date” expiry of Jan ‘22 just needs to be booked by then, rather than me having to actually use it in the next 3/4 months?

    Presumably if I go beyond that date, I lose flexibility though? I.e. if I had to cancel the night I’d booked, I won’t get the voucher back if I do so after January?

    • Nick says:

      Correct, you will lose the certificate if you try to change it after the book by date, in my past experience. Anytime prior to that a change is OK, as it’s ‘redeposited’ (provided it’s prior to the book by date).

    • YC says:

      I’m not sure if there are differences with ‘the extension’ voucher vs the voucher that u earn every 12months. Rob can you clarify if it’s book by for both?

      • Rob says:

        There are not meant to be any differences. It’s just when IHG extended the vouchers, they messed up and coded them wrongly. All UK card vouchers should be ‘book by’ and not ‘stay by’.

        • Phillip says:

          Thanks Rob. I was always under the impression that they were “book and stay by” and that we were quietly getting away with being able to “book by” for stays up to a year in advance. I just assumed the recent change was them actually enforcing the rules!

  • Olly says:

    Does the free night voucher work at the Six Senses resorts?

    • Memesweeper says:

      Most aren’t even available for points never mind the free cert.

      The one that I know *is* available on points is Ibiza. So you might be able to find a free night there?

      • Olly says:

        There’s quite a few available on points now (HfP ran an article earlier in the year about it) but still not obvious about the free nights. Looks unlikely though

  • Benilyn says:

    Good work 👍

  • QFFlyer says:

    Thanks, I hadn’t even noticed this was an issue but sure enough.

  • Matt says:

    Thank you, Rob. Added to yesterday’s US news it looks like I might finally be able to put these vouchers to good use.
    I wonder if it will be obvious in our accounts when the issue is resolved.

  • Rob says:

    Always thought it was required to STAY by the expiry date, so this is a neat clarification.

    Any likleyhood IHG will extend the expiry dates on these vouchers again?

  • Anna says:

    Great, thanks!

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