I went thru the biggest ordeal trying to change my Chase IHG Credit Card annual free night reservation. Here’s what happened.
I have the Chase IHG Credit Card. I highly recommend it. In addition to the generous sign-up bonus, each year, on your card anniversary, you get a free night that can be used at any IHG hotel – including the prestigious Intercontinental Hotels. The annual fee is only $49!
You have one year to use the annual free night, but I have consistently been told that you must only book the reservation by the expiration date, your stay can be after the expiration date. The proviso is that, after the expiration date, you cannot make any changes to the reservation or the reservation will be forfeited.
I am going to Killarney, Ireland in County Kerry in early October to attend a travel blogger conference. At the conclusion of the event, I plan to go to Dublin. A few weeks ago, I booked one night at the Dublin Intercontinental Hotel using my Chase IHG anniversary free night. I was told by the IHG agent who made the reservation that I could change it anytime on or before September 15th.
Lo and behold, my friend emailed me early yesterday (September 15th). She said that there is an event an hour outside of Dublin on the night of our reservation, and would it be possible for me to change the Intercontinental booking to the following night?
And so began my phone calls. From 5 a.m. on – for about three hours, I waited on hold trying to reach IHG. I contacted the Twitter support group but they informed me that my issue required an actual phone call. I resumed my efforts after I arrived at work. When I finally got through to an agent (in the Philippines), I was told that the reservation could not be changed because the expiration date was September 14th. This went on and on in circles for hours. I’d be transferred to someone in the USA and they would make progress, then they would transfer me back to the Philippines to complete the transaction, only to begin again. Thump!
One agent in US, went so far as to tell me that IHG might be willing to cancel the reservation, and then put the 50,000 points in my account so I could make the new reservation with those 50,000 points. In essence, this would work out the same as if I had just moved the date of the reservation. Then we got disconnected. And it began again.
This cancellation and placement of points into my account is what ultimately was agreed upon.
Interestingly, the supervisor (in the Philippines) who finally agreed to this transaction, read me the riot act before doing so. She
promised threatened that she would personally monitor my account (like a hawk) and if I were to cancel the new reservation, IHG she would claw back those 50,000 points faster than I can say Jack Robinson and I would forfeit them. I affirmed (in blood) that it was not my intention to cancel the booking and keep the points . . . (at least not this time).
One more thing, in searching through my emails, I found the email from IHG from September 2016 when the annual free award was placed in my account. The email said that the expiration date of the award was September 23, 2017, not September 14th or 15th, 2017. Even if this was some sort of mistake, it was never corrected by IHG. As such, I believe IHG would have been legally bound to honor that date.
It was an exasperating day. Not quite as bad as root canal, but you get the picture. IHG ultimately did the right thing, but how many people would have persisted to the extent I did? And I really don’t think I was ever asking for something I wasn’t entitled to.
- It is possible, under certain circumstances, to convert a free night to points.
- Always save your emails, take notes, keep documentation. You never know when you’ll need it.
- Don’t be afraid to HUCA, to ask to speak with an agent in the United States, or to ask to speak with a supervisor.