Last week I made our reservations for our trip to see our oldest GRANDson graduate. We've been looking forward to this day a long time so planning our trip early was a good idea. I logged onto Priority Club Rewards, Holiday Inn's loyalty program that allows us to use our earned points for stays at any of their many locations world wide. My husband has traveled for years on business and racked up an enormous amount of points for free stays. How did he do that? Well, when you stay at a hotel for many weeks a year and your bill is in the $800 range for a period of several years, the points add up.
I entered our membership number, then proceeded onto the reservation. Date of stay, date of departure, number of guests, type of room and then you click confirm. In minutes I got a confirmation email, odd it said "charged credit card $717." I immediately called Priority Club back and they said, "No problem, let us fix it for you!" They said the queen room I had requested wasn't available with points and that's why the system charged me on the credit card on file. OK. He reserved another queen room and reminded me to call and cancel the first reservation. That's when my day got bad. The manager said the reservation was for advanced order (yes, 7 weeks early to be exact) and could not be canceled without penalty. The deposit she said, which was the full $717. "Do you want to keep both rooms," she asked. It just struck me as funny and I said, "Well I guess each of us could stay in separate rooms but I'd rather not!" The whole conversation I kept thinking she would say, "I'm so sorry for this mistake... let me correct it." But she didn't. Neither did Holiday Inn customer service or Priority Club Rewards complaint department.
It seems a change to their "pricing structure" has implemented new ways that has allowed them to offer deeper discounts," their wording exactly when I received this response from from Myrna, an IHG Care case manager...
Dear Mrs. Tilton,
Thank you for your email. We appreciate you allowing us the opportunity to explain the choices available to you when making a reservation.
We have recently implemented a new pricing structure that allows us the opportunity to offer deeper discounts to our customers. In order to offer these rates we must attach restrictions such as cancellation fees or full prepayment. Some of our lowest discounted rates carry full prepayment requirements while others carry a cancellation fee.
It is certainly not our intent to inconvenience our valued customers, but to instead offer options that make sense. We always appreciate comments from our guests, and we will use this feedback in making decisions about our future pricing strategies.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We value you as a Priority Club Rewards member, and hope you will continue to choose IHG for your future travel needs.
Reference No. XXXXXXXXX
I wrote her back on their Facebook Fan Page Priority Club Rewards...
Case manager Myra says that this morning's $717 cc charge instead of applying my points is part of a plan..."We have recently implemented a new pricing structure that allows us the opportunity to offer deeper discounts to our customers. In order to offer these rates we must attach restrictions such as cancellation fees or full prepayment. Some of our lowest discounted rates carry full prepayment requirements while others carry a cancellation fee." The more I look, the more I see a pattern of complaints. Beware.
Has anything like this ever happened to you?