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Y’all, I think IHG must have gone temporarily insane. As I wrote earlier today, the terms changed on the “Into the Nights” promo for many folks in recent days. Since the promo has been running for over a month, and many people have spent actual time and money based on the terms that were displayed to them, the reasonable conclusion behind changing terms was a “tech glitch”, right? They wouldn’t really think you can change terms of a promo mid-stream since people had spent cold hard cash based on what the IHG promo had shown them. That seems like a sure-fire way to open up a can of all kinds of problems.
Turns out, at least someone at IHG thought that changing the terms in the middle of the promotion was okay. Well, at least until they decided that it wasn’t.
Right after writing the post this morning I tweeted to IHG to get some help with the changing terms. I was told to email their customer care department at a certain email address, which I promptly did.
A few hours later I received this response (bolding mine):
Dear Mr. Ms. Hull,
Thank you for your contact via Twitter. We are sorry for the confusion regarding the “Into the Nights” offers changing.
Initially you were not given the correct set of offers. Upon IHG Rewards Club Service Center realizing this, the correct set of offers were assigned. The offers you now have are the correct set that have been personalized for you.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us as we value your patronage. Should you require further assistance, please feel free to contact the IHG Rewards Club Service Center again.
Are you quacking kidding me? In that email they confirmed my offer had indeed changed and they decided the correct course of action was then to say that the new version is the correct one. I didn’t agree, so I wrote back and said basically that I had spent real money in good faith based on the terms presented beginning in September, and that the revised terms would not work for me. I needed the original terms honored or comparable credit issued based on what I had spent.
I also then tweeted about their quacking crazy response, because in 2014, like it or not, that’s what you do to get problems solved.
All this happened while I was on my iPhone at the dentist, so when I got to a real computer I saw both a comment on my site and a tweet from IHG that IHG had responded to this issue on Flyertalk. Their response on Flyertalk had actually happened hours before the email I received from them that told me to pound sand and go with the new terms, so it seems that the left and the right hand needed to communicate a bit better.
The Flyertalk response from an IHG rep said:
We have been advised of the following:
All affected IHG Rewards Club members who we know have made progress towards the offer, but then received a revised hurdle offer, will have their offer marked as “completed.”
IHG Rewards Club will be sending a direct email communication to those members who have made progress toward their offer. We will be letting them know we will be honoring the original offer and marking their progress as complete.
IHG will be honoring their original offer and IHG Rewards Club Members will see their offer as complete if they made progress toward it. If the members have yet to stay toward their offer, but have already registered, it will transition back to a hurdle of one stay to complete.
IHG will not be changing any point values, so the members will receive the original amount of points that the offer showcased.
IHG Rewards Club Members who have yet to register or to see their offers will receive the variable stay amounts. To those who may inquire why they have a variable amount, we are honoring the original offers that members saw when they received their offers. All members who are newly registering are receiving the correct variable amounts.
So, it seems that the original terms will be honored after all for those who registered for them. I’m not clear how all of that will play out exactly, but certainly good news they have made a statement about honoring the old terms. Horrible, horrible news that anyone at IHG thought it was okay to tell people they can change a promo mid-stream and that’s okay. Some folks were told that the offer had changed and then were offered amounts ranging from 2,000 – 15,000 IHG points as a consolation. I wasn’t offered any points to make it better, just got a cold hard email. That is very worrisome for me because I don’t want a program to have my back only if someone decides that they legally have to have my back (which I am guessing is what happened here). I want a program who actively wants to do right by their customers.
I also don’t think you should have to be a Flyertalker to get up-to-date info from your program of choice. I hope they are re-emailing anyone who reached out with questions about the terms because it can’t be assumed that those people will notice they changed their mind about changing the terms. Or something like that.
This whole thing was nuts, and since I’m someone who lives and breathes points, I get pretty disappointed when a points program shows signs of not valuing the customer’s time and money. I’m glad that it seems IHG has gone full circle in such a short time to decide they will honor the original terms, but that doesn’t make the changing of the terms totally alright.