Update – Called IHG customer service. Spent one hour on the phone. 3rd agent offered the same points rate for the inferior alternative property 15 miles away. Couldn’t get a better offer after 2 more supervisors. Basically, I’m paying the same rate for a worse alternative.
You booked a stay using hotel loyalty points, and that hotel leaves the chain. Will your award reservation be honored? With SPG, Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton, you have a good chance – perhaps requiring some effort. With IHG and Radisson, you can expect them to politely tell you to go f— yourself. That’s what’s happening to my reservation at Lodge at Eagle Crest in Oregon. It was part of IHG when I booked with points, and I just got word it’s leaving. IHG sent me an email saying they have involuntarily cancelled my reservation and returned my points, and I can call to
beg for make alternative arrangements. The only other IHG property is a cookie cutter Holiday Inn Express 15 miles away and cost more on points. According to data points on Flyertalk, I can maybe get them to put me in that boring HIX, if I can convince the grumpy call center agent. Even that is hardly ideal though – the hotel I had booked at lower points (read more) is far superior. I had locked in flights months ago.
This isn’t the first time IHG has done this to me. They have relatively fewer low-category sweet spots, and those seem especially prone to leaving. IHG will tell you to pound sand in most cases.
Club Carlson (now Radisson Rewards) also did this to me. Actually, I never heard anything from them or from the hotel. The day before my stay, I logged in to find the reservation invalid. Only after I called did I discover the hotel had left the chain, and they wouldn’t honor the award booking. I ended up spending way more for alternative accommodation.
In a Nutshell
This is an example of when you’re at the mercy of the customer service culture of the company. At hotel programs with good customer service, they’ll likely go out of their way to take care of you (this has been my experience). At programs like IHG and Radisson that could care less, expect the middle finger.