While IHG is not my primary hotel chain, I do enjoy earning easy points through the ‘Accelerate’ programs, offered quarterly each year. IHG Accelerate 2017 was no different, I registered in December in hopes that my stays in early January would yield easy points. It seemed possible in theory, until I discovered a glitch in their system combined with my gaffe in not reading the terms and conditions closely/literally.

Glitch in IHG Accelerate 2017

My IHG Accelerate 2017 (Q1) offer was a total of 44,100 points and included some easy-to-achieve points with ‘weekend stays’ and ‘book and stay once’ offers. As highlighted in the picture below, my qualifying stay from first week of January was posted on the accelerate dashboard.

IHG Accelerate 2017

IHG Accelerate 2017 (Q1) offer

Upon close inspection however, I realized that the dates of my completed stay, as captured in the accelerate dashboard were INCORRECT!! My ‘qualifying stay’ dates in Dubai – Deira Crowne Plaza were Jan 5 – Jan 7. I double checked my IHG account and sure enough the correct dates were being reflected there.

IHG Accelerate 2017

IHG account – Correct qualifying stay dates

I had made two separate bookings at the same property, one night (Jan 4) on points and two paid nights (weekend stay, Jan 5 – Jan 7). Clearly, the information on accelerate dashboard did not correspond with the IHG account. The real issue I was trying to address was that in picking the wrong dates, I was missing out on the weekend stay points. Jan 5 – Jan 7 (Thursday and Friday) are normally considered weekend stay in the Middle East.

I contacted the IHG twitter team to address the situation and they did acknowledge the glitch with the dashboard. They were able to confirm that their system showed the correct dates but were not able to explain/address the weekend stay issue.

IHG Accelerate 2017

IHG twitter team response

 

To get to the bottom, I then called the IHG Rewards support team and discussed my concerns. Here’s the deal;

  1. The rewards support member confirmed that their system reflected Jan 5-7 as the qualifying stay. I was put me on hold several times and then tried to explain that the “text on the dashboard” was incorrect but that the system had captured the right dates.
  2. Thursday and Friday, normally defined as a weekend in Middle East, DO NOT meet the requirements for this Q1 promo. The weekend stay required either Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday stays only. For context, here is how Intercontinental Ambassador (and IHG promo in the past) has defined weekend stay;
    IHG Accelerate 2017

    Weekend Definition – InterContinental Ambassador

     

  3. ‘Book and Stay once’ and ‘January Bonus’ points were not triggered because I made the booking in November! For it to qualify, I must ‘Book and Stay’ within the promotion period.

Take Away

Item 1: I am not convinced that the dashboard error is simply a “text” issue. Incorrect dates of stay could cost members thousands in points – make sure you check and double check the dates listed on the dashboard.

Items 2-3: I am puzzled why the promotion would not include Middle East weekends in their definition (they have in the past). Same with ‘Book and Stay’, the T&C’s have definitely changed in 2017 to exclude bookings made outside the promotional period.

Inconsistent terms and conditions do not make for a great loyalty program. While I am pretty good with reading fine print, my assumptions in interpreting the T&C have come back to bite me this time. Make sure you account for the above when planning stays. In my search to understand the discrepancy, I came across this 17 page (so far) thread on flyertalk discussing other issues with the 2017 promotion.

Have you had similar issues with the dashboard or with interpretation of the T&C’s?