A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a case where they couldn’t use Food and Beverage rewards at a Crowne Plaza hotel in the UK and contacted corporate.
You can access IHG’s page for F&B Rewards here.
READ MORE: IHG One Rewards Rate & Bonus Points Offers
I’ve been with IHG for ages: currently diamond, and excited that they have upgraded their program.
I picked up a couple of F&B vouchers last year but was dismayed when I found out that they could only be redeemed in North America at launch. I contacted corporate via the online chat, was told that they would ensure my vouchers did not expire before I could use it, and was offered 5,000 points for my trouble. That was at the beginning of the year.
Fast forward to last week, the program is officially live globally, but I’ve heard that there were problems. I checked into the Crowne Plaza at Heathrow. Opted for the free drinks as we were up early in the morning and would breakfast in the airline lounge. As we were planning to eat in the hotel, I was thinking that a couple of free drinks, plus the two F&B vouchers (£15 each) would make the extortionate prices a little easier to stomach..
But given that I’d heard stories of people having problems redeeming these vouchers, I wasn’t surprised that when I tried to redeem them, the system failed. The message on the app said go talk to the Front Desk, so I did.
They were very apologetic and the FD manager explained that they were having difficulty connecting their system to the corporate one, so couldn’t process the vouchers. I stayed calm, and they offered two additional free drink vouchers. My wife and I now had four free drinks between us.
The next morning I contacted corporate via the webchat while at the airport and complained again. They verified the situation with the hotel, apologized and offered 20,000 points. I also expressed my concern that the vouchers might now expire before I can use them, and they reissued the vouchers with a further year of validity.
So I didn’t get my £30 off the food, but I got an additional two drinks (£20 value) and an additional 20,000 points, plus the 5,000 I had before. Plus I still have the vouchers to use.
Not a bad result?
It is now 16 months since the IHG’s program refresh and three months when these F&B rewards should have gone global at all participating brands and hotels, and here we are.
The issue is that hotels need to have a real-time connection with the IHG’s backend for these F&B rewards to work because you are offsetting eligible folio expenses using them.
If there is no real-time connection – you cannot use them.
I am glad that the reader was compensated for their inability to use them, and perhaps others should contact customer support if they are in the same situation.
And I am not blaming the hotels. IHG has been too aggressive in rolling these out without ensuring that the property participation and compliance is 100%.
IHG One Rewards Food & Beverage Rewards Coverage:
We have extensively covered the issues surrounding these F&B rewards extensively and had hoped that the problems with them would have been resolved by now, which unfortunately is not the case.
Isn’t it quite telling when a Crowne Plaza hotel in the UK cannot establish a real-time connection to the IHG, also based in the same country?
The issue that the reader here faced is only IHG’s making.
They first weren’t willing to release a list of where these F&B Rewards could be used, and now they pretend that they can be used at all participating hotels globally, but that is not the case.
The problem is that you cannot be sure whether you can use them until you have some F&B spend in your folio.
The situation with these F&B Rewards is similar to the Kimpton situation, where you won’t earn any points for incidentals at many of their properties, but IHG refuses to disclose the hotels (read more here).
You cannot pretend these work as communicated by burying your head in the sand.