Back in April, IHG blanketly instituted Dec 31, 2020 as the expiration date for all unexpired free night certificate (FNC) as of Mar 1, 2020 that had already been issued. That means if yours originally expired Dec 15, 2020, you get a whopping 15 extra days. New certificates issued in 2020 would get 18 months from the issue date.
Well, Dec 31 is quickly approaching, and I know many people have yet to find use for their FNC because of COVID, which is currently spiking, with increasing areas locking down or close to it. What has IHG done in response? You guessed it – Not. A. Thing.
Just for a comparison, here’s what Hilton and Marriott have done:
- Hilton has instituted Aug 31, 2021 as the expiration date for all unexpired FNC as of March 2020. New FNC are good for 2 years.
- Marriott has similarly instituted Aug 31, 2021 as the expiration date for FNC that originally expired in 2020.
Is it a surprise that IHG is behind competition in customer-friendly policies? Absolutely not. The few times I needed to contact IHG’s nonexistent customer service, I found it amusing how little they cared. With other chains, while I didn’t particularly look forward to calling Marriott to adjust a Points Advance (RIP) booking to the old category rate, or SPG to shorten a stay booked 10 months ago that had since gone up in category but wanting to retain the old rate, I always got knowledgeable representatives that wanted to help and ultimately solved the issue. As a Platinum member with IHG (which is higher than what I had with SPG), I’ve gotten very little of that willingness to help. As I said in another post, their corporate employees are quite content giving you the middle finger, and that culture no doubt was inherited from top down.
Don’t get me wrong, I love IHG points, especially back when 5k Point Breaks (RIP) were around, but also now after their dynamic award pricing lowered redemption rates across the board. I get great value out of it and will continue to use it to my advantage. I just don’t expect them to go above and beyond their very basic policies when I need help. And neither should you, unless maybe you’re a Royal Ambassador.
Still, Loyalty Lobby was told by a IHG rep that they are maybe considering an extension to the FNC. Let’s see if that translates into result or just lip service.