Better Upgrades To Suites, Premium Room Awards Coming For IHG One Rewards Guests

Last year IHG rebranded its loyalty program IHG One Rewards, meant to unify all of the chains brands and give customers a reason to stay loyal. They introduced whole new suites of benefits including top tier Diamond status with free daily breakfast, and benefit choices like confirmed suite upgrades, club lounge access, and food and beverage spending credit to use on property.

I spoke with IHG’s Senior Vice President Heather Balsley to learn more about how the new program is going, and what benefits are coming next.

Driving Consistent Delivery Of On-Property Benefits

I asked Heather what area she felt wasn’t yet where she wanted it to be and had the greatest opportunity for continued improvement. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone working with hotels to learn that it’s consistent on-prpperty delivery of benefits. A central program sets up the benefits, but those are delivered by individual employees, who work for a franchise. So “job one was training and focus on property” noting that how hotels handled the “breakfast benefit, upgrades, and even simple recognition” is something that has had six to eight months of focus and something they “remain very focused on continuing to build.”

Heather knew about the Intercontinental hotel in China, for instance, that renamed its club lounge so that members who had opted for club lounge access as a benefit wouldn’t be able to use it. They’d instead opened up a room with modest snacks and beverages, calling that the club lounge, while reserving the ‘real lounge’ for paying guests. She noted that they responded and corrected the issue quickly.

Overall they’re happy with the positive feedback the program has gotten, and appreciate the examples they’ve seen of inconsistent benefit delivery so they’re able to follow up.

Confirmed Upgrades Available On More Rates

IHG One Rewards offers two types of upgrades. Platinum and Diamond members are supposed to receive space available upgrades at check-in, including to standard suites, if available. This wasn’t actually a new benefit last year, but hotels are now expected to follow program upgrade guidance and have been trained on doing so.

In addition confirmed suite upgrades are now a benefit of the program. Members can select one as a choice benefit at 20 and 40 nights (the 40 night benefit can be selected twice), and select two at 70 elite nights (the 70 night benefit can be selected twice) each year, and these are valid on non-prepaid revenue stays within 14 days of arrival based on published room inventory. That’s a benefit that Marriott and Hilton do not come close to matching.

It’s not always smooth, and it’s a complicated internal process. Despite training, call center agents sometimes give out inconsistent information about what rates are upgradeable.

Heather explained the process on the back end. The agent is basically taking an existing reservation the customer has, cancelling it, and then booking a new reservation at the original rate into the upgraded room category. But it “doesn’t always work as designed with pre-paid rates” or “rates have moved materially since time of booking.”

Prepaid rates were initially excluded from these upgrades, but it’s actually possible to do upgrades on some prepaid rates where deposits haven’t been taken.

IHG’s goal is to make “more rates eligible for upgrades” and they’re “working on making these eligible on reward nights.” The “main exclusions [that will remain] are corporate negotiated rates.”

In addition they’re working on offering members the ability to electronically confirm their suite upgrades.

Premium Room Awards In The Pipeline

One thing that Heather mentioned they’re working on, in addition to using confirmed upgrade certificates on free nights, is the ability to spend more points on a better room when redeeming a free night award.

Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott all offer free night awards in standard rooms, and also ways to spend more points for a better room. IHG doesn’t have this option. If you want a suite, or an ocean view, you either need to spend cash or hope for an upgrade. They’re working to change this.

I participated in an IHG focus group held in Old Town Alexandria, in Northern Virginia, about 18 years ago. There was a cash payment for spending the hour or two, and they gave us more money for bringing in our elite cards to prove our status. That might have helped the research firm offer credible findings. At the time the one thing that all of us in the room wanted was a better room when spending points.

Back then, and even up until this new program, award stays were generally exempt from delivering benefits with IHG. That’s no longer the case, and a big improvement. This would take it a step further, making it possible for reward stays to be even more rewarding.

Addressing Value Of The Currency

We only had half an hour on the books to talk, so I didn’t have the chance to dig in, but she offered that “we’re not finished introducing compelling benefits and the refining redemption program (in terms of the value of the currency or redeeming for more than the standard room).”

She mentioned this in the context of positive things they’re doing, though ‘refining the value of the currency’ is something I’d usually worry about. In recent years IHG has made their points worth quite a bit less, adding redemption categories and then eliminating award charts, pricing hotels higher and higher.

I can only hope the refinements involve bringing down points costs, or more specifically delivering a greater value per point for redemptions relative to the cash cost of a room. It’s not clear from our conversation – I ran out of time – but wanted to mention anyway that the value of the currency is a topic of discussion.

Considering How To Fully Integrate Kimpton, Intercontinental And Regent Programs

The IHG One Rewards program isn’t (yet) the ‘one’ rewards program fully covering all of IHG’s brands. An IHG One Rewards Diamond member gets breakfast now at Intercontinental hotels, and if they’ve elected for a club lounge membership they’ll receive club access on their stays. That’s a huge improvement from when IHG’s elite status didn’t apply at Intercontinentals!

However Intercontinental still has its own paid Ambassador program, and top elites in that program earn invite-only Royal Ambassador status. The Kimptom loyalty program has mostly been folded into the main program, but Kimpton’s top guests still receive separate privileges. And Regent has its own program as well.

Heather tells me they’re working on “what to do on the smaller loyalty programs connected to individual brands.” They’re “working on it now, researching, pilot testing” – for instance they extended Ambassador benefit to Kimpton and Regent during the pandemic but pulled back this year as they realized the same benefits don’t necessarily work for each pool of guests (Ambassador members paying for a membership may still want something different, if a paid program still matters).

Furthermore the Royal Ambassador and and Kimpton Inner Circle groups “have gotten very big, even apart from Covid” and that’s made it challenging to deliver benefits. So they’re evaluating the size and benefits of their invite-only tier. As a former Intercontinental Royal Ambassador myself of many years ago, I warned not to take away free minibar!

New Program Is An Improvement Across The Board

IHG has always had a competitive earning and redemption program. Their big gap was in benefits. They’ve addressed that. The Diamond breakfast benefit is explicitly for a buffet or hot item (not continental). Suites aren’t just based on availability at check-in, and can be confirmed up to two weeks in advance (though not yet on free nights). Members have benefits they did not have before.

This has made the IHG program competitive. Some members come out really well, for instance those who spend a number of nights at Holiday Inn Express properties in the Midwest and then pay for a week upgraded in a suite with breakfast (or club lounge) at an Intercontinental. Whereas once the lack of benefits was a reason not to be loyal, they now have a competitive offering that helps keep customers inside their ecosystem. And it’s good to know that there’s more improvements to the initial offering coming.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. IHG’s program is, at least on paper, better than Marriott and Hyatt.

    At IHG properties with a full-service restaurant, you get a real restaurant breakfast.

    At Hyatt, you only get a real restaurant breakfast if the property doesn’t have an open club lounge.

    At Marriott, you’re supposed to get a real restaurant breakfast within certain brands or based on whether the property is a resort, but Marriott never properly worded the benefit and many properties refuse to provide a breakfast that includes juice and coffee.

    The problem is IHG doesn’t have enough good hotels. It’s not as bad as Hyatt since Holiday Inn Express is everywhere and most Holiday Inn Expresses are better than most Hyatt Places, but it’s still a problem. Kimpton and good Intercontinentals within the Lower 48 of the United States are few and far between.

  2. During recent (January 2023) stays at both of the Intercontinental Hotels in San Francisco, my family enjoyed the benefits of the upgraded IHG Rewards program. This was much better than in 2022, so I believe IHG is improving the consistency of delivery across the brands. Both my wife and I are Diamond Ambassadors and we definitely believe IHG has improved its elite recognition. The biggest tweak in the program that we would appreciate is the establishment of lifetime status, such as we earn with Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt (and even through a roundabout way with Accor).

  3. @ Gary — Assuming Heather is reading this, I have a message for her: mess with Royal Ambassador, and we will walk. We’ve spent north of $200,000 at IC in 20 years. We will gladly take that revenue to Hyatt if IC chooses to screw us over. What they should be doing is making our current RA beneifts good for LIFE.

  4. “… if [Diamond members are] elected for a club lounge membership they’ll receive club access …” Can you please clarify this? Does a member have to request this? Are there certain criteria they have to meet? Is it limited to (some?) Ambassadors?

  5. This all would be very nice. I’ve been top status at IHG for years, so I’ll believe this when I see it. It would be nice to have a real choice between Hilton and IHG when booking hotels.

  6. As a Diamond Ambassador, I still have to fight tooth and nail for free upgrades to suites when they’re available upon check-in. Both Holiday Inn Resort Kuroyon and Intercontinental ANA Tokyo tried to charge me a fee last month (January 2023) for the junior suite upgrade even though it was available. The Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis in December 2022 also tried to refuse me a suite upgrade at check-in even though it was available. In all three cases I had to show them the blog post that Gary did with Heather back in May 2022 to convince them that free suite upgrades are a perk of the program. Every time I fight I lose over 30 minutes to 1 hour of my precious vacation or business travel time, and my spouse is not happy. Please work on this Heather. I beg you.

  7. Ihgs program has seriously improved under Heathers leadership and I think the best is yet to come for the program.
    One big problem are IHGs horrible clueless call centers.They thank us for our loyalty reading from a script but do not understand the very program they are supposed to support and assist others.Either it’s the language barrier or these are some of dumbest call center agents in hospitality history..Some are nice but few are actually helpful.as they repeat misinformation after misinformation for many years.It’s cost them a fortune in lost room sales

  8. @Gary – Does this mean that the games a lot of Intercontinental hotels were playing where they reassigned the club lounge to specifically exclude elites is over? I recall reading about Paris doing this among other locations, specifically to invalidate the new benefit.

  9. @Christian – I specifically asked about the Chinese property, but if there are examples of other hotels doing this let me know and I’m happy to follow up.

  10. I agree that inconsistency is a key challenge. As a Diamond member, I recently stayed at a few IHG hotels in Latin America. One Holiday Inn in Mexico was inconsistent with breakfast even day-to-day within the same hotel. At check-in they gave me a little coupon with “buffet” covered over with white out and replaced with “Americano” breakfast. When I nudged back about this, the reception staff insisted that the
    buffet was absolutely not permitted (even as a paid upgrade) even though IHG policy states a hot main item OR buffet. The first morning I waited twenty minutes for someone to take my hot main order. When I questioned the waiter about the delay, they said that the buffet was the only breakfast. The next morning, I was about to get up to go to the buffet when a different waitress ran over to inform me that I could have (only) eggs, fruit, and a side of beans. I watched as she went to the buffet, took those items off the buffet, and brought them back to me. This sequence repeated over the next two days of my stay. The third day I was offered the full buffet, the last day only for her to go to the buffet for me. One of the days I was almost late to a meeting because she wasn’t fast enough. Based on this, it seems to me that the operators of this hotel are (at best) incompetent to coordinate an efficient breakfast and (at worst) willing to go to painful lengths to provide the most inconvenient breakfast possible to their presumably most valuable customers by rationing access to food on a buffet that will probably otherwise be thrown away. (As far as I can tell, this hotel does not even have a breakfast menu aside from a menu with one item that they make up for Diamond members.) In contrast, two other hotels that I visited during the same trip (another Holiday Inn and an Intercontinental) happily volunteered the full breakfast buffet. At one of them, the gentleman at the front desk ecstatically explained to me how delighted he was to be able to offer the choice of free breakfast. At the other hotel, I got a wonderful letter from management with all of my Diamond and Ambassador benefits clearly listed. Therefore, there really is a lot of inconsistency across and even within hotels. Personally, I think breakfast is well positioned as a choice benefit because it retains the ability for individual hotels to make money from business guests who can expense their breakfast. However, one drawback that I see with the overall breakfast policy is that it’s not completely clear based on how it is written who decides (the hotel or the guest) between the “hot” main item or the buffet. In my opinion, the blame for inconsistencies resulting from that ambiguity lie with IHG. On the other hand, I don’t personally feel that “eggs” alone are within the policy of a hot main menu item if there is no menu to begin with. In my opinion, the blame for that lies on the hotel. Suffice it to say that this is the first and last time that I will stay at this particular Holiday Inn.

  11. IC Barclay NY made us fight tooth and nail for breakfast as Diamond for a 2nt stay last month. Initially at check-in I was given two coupons and told each was was ‘continental breakfast for one’. I corrected him and he didn’t push it further, as though it had been a slip of the tongue, and he got a second voucher out. He then said it was the continental buffet, which I again corrected and said it was for a full buffet. I was told to take it up with the restaurant.

    The coupons state that it’s only continental plus eggs, with a $10 upcharge (plus tax, plus service charge) for any hot items.
    I had to argue this with the restaurant staff, and even after I left I discovered a $25 charge on my card for breakfast because my husband had picked a sausage (hot items were dire anyway so we barely had any breakfast!) so they charged us both the upcharge for that one sausage that day. Plus tax and service, despite the $10 cash I’d left on the table as a tip.
    Shocking service, not from the staff but the cash-grabbing policy makers in that hotel.

  12. That’s a benefit that Marriott and Hilton do not come close to matching.

    I do not know about Marriott, but Hilton now has global automated room/suite upgrades that work like airline cabin upgrades: they are prioritized by elite status (Gold < Diamond < Lifetime Diamond) and they begin clearing automatically 72 hours before check-in. Here's the kicker that makes the quoted statement totally ridiculous: IHG elites have to earn so-called "confirmed" suite upgrades as milestone bonuses before they can use them, while Hilton's global automated upgrades, in addition to taking individual properties out of the equation, do not have to be earned before they become available. They're contingent on availability like for any other type of upgrade.

    Here’s a concrete case study:
    I am concluding a 4-week Asian holiday during which I had 5 Hilton, 2 Hyatt and 1 IHG award stays. Two of the Hilton stays did not qualify for upgrades: an award stay in a villa at WA Maldives, and a “premium room reward” stay in an oceanfront executive room at Hilton Pattaya that I paid outright for with points. For the 3 remaining Hilton stays at Hilton Singapore Orchard, WA Bangkok and Conrad Hong Kong, I got automatically and proactively upgrades to suites, including into a harbour-side executive suite at Conrad Hong Kong fully 3 days before check-in. Now, with such a REAL RECORD, tell me again how Hilton does not come close to offering IHG’s crap shoot?!

    On the other hand, what I can readily show with head-to-head comparison is why IHG One is not in the same league as Hilton Honors. As I indicated, one my stays during the past 4 weeks was at an IHG hotel. On purpose, precisely so that I would able to directly compare my elite treatment as HH Diamond and as a newly minted IHG Diamond Ambassador at the property, I’d booked a 2-night award stay at voco Orchard by IHG, which had been Hilton Singapore</b< until recently. As a HH Diamond staying at this very same hotel, I had been upgraded one of its executive suites countless times and I had access to the executive lounge, with the option to have breakfast there or full and free in the hotel's restaurant named "Opus". As an IHG Diamond Ambassador staying at the same property renamed as "voco", I was told at check-in that I'd been upgraded to a next-level room from the one I'd booked, but when I got to the room, it was a standard entry level room (next level room would've had a balcony); I suggested they consider upgrading me to one of the suites, and it was "no-go" (like, are you crazy?). Then I inquired about the executive lounge and I was told that I did not have access, which I first needed to earn as milestone bonus. Got that? This is a property where I had unlimited access to the executive lounge as HH Diamond, but as an IHG Diamond Ambassador I could not access unless I first earned it as milestone bonus!!! Perhaps the only that compsrable was that I did get free full restaurant breakfast in the "Opus" restaurant, as it is still called l, as an IHG Diamond Ambassador, just as I did as a HH Diamond. See the clear differences between the programs? Hilton offers perks (suite upgrades, exec lounge access) outright that one must earn as milestone bonuses with IHG (or even Hyatt) to enjoy !

    G'day from my harbour-side King Executive Suite at Conrad Hong Kong!

  13. That’s a benefit that Marriott and Hilton do not come close to matching.

    I do not know about Marriott, but Hilton now has global automated room/suite upgrades that work like airline cabin upgrades: they are prioritized by elite status (Gold < Diamond < Lifetime Diamond) and they begin clearing automatically 72 hours before check-in. Here's the kicker that makes the quoted statement totally ridiculous: IHG elites have to earn so-called "confirmed" suite upgrades as milestone bonuses before they can use them, while Hilton's global automated upgrades, in addition to taking individual properties out of the equation, do not have to be earned before they become available. They're contingent on availability like for any other type of upgrade.

    Here’s a concrete case study:
    I am concluding a 4-week Asian holiday during which I had 5 Hilton, 2 Hyatt and 1 IHG award stays. Two of the Hilton stays did not qualify for upgrades: an award stay in a villa at WA Maldives, and a “premium room reward” stay in an oceanfront executive room at Hilton Pattaya that I paid outright for with points. For the 3 remaining Hilton stays at Hilton Singapore Orchard, WA Bangkok and Conrad Hong Kong, I got automatically and proactively upgrades to suites, including into a harbour-side executive suite at Conrad Hong Kong fully 3 days before check-in. Now, with such a REAL RECORD, tell me again how Hilton does not come close to offering IHG’s crap shoot?!

    On the other hand, what I can readily show with head-to-head comparison is why IHG One is not in the same league as Hilton Honors. As I indicated, one my stays during the past 4 weeks was at an IHG hotel. On purpose, precisely so that I would able to directly compare my elite treatment as HH Diamond and as a newly minted IHG Diamond Ambassador at the property, I’d booked a 2-night award stay at voco Orchard by IHG, which had been Hilton Singapore until recently. As a HH Diamond staying at this very same hotel, I had been upgraded one of its executive suites countless times and I had access to the executive lounge, with the option to have breakfast there or full and free in the hotel’s restaurant named “Opus”. As an IHG Diamond Ambassador staying at the same property renamed as “voco”, I was told at check-in that I’d been upgraded to a next-level room from the one I’d booked, but when I got to the room, it was a standard entry level room (next level room would’ve had a balcony); I suggested they consider upgrading me to one of the suites, and it was “no-go” (like, are you crazy?). Then I inquired about the executive lounge and I was told that I did not have access, which I first needed to earn as milestone bonus. Got that? This is a property where I had unlimited access to the executive lounge as HH Diamond, but as an IHG Diamond Ambassador I could not access unless I first earned it as milestone bonus!!! Perhaps the only that compsrable was that I did get free full restaurant breakfast in the “Opus” restaurant, as it is still called l, as an IHG Diamond Ambassador, just as I did as a HH Diamond. See the clear differences between the programs? Hilton offers perks (suite upgrades, exec lounge access) outright that one must earn as milestone bonuses with IHG (or even Hyatt) to enjoy !

    G’day from my harbour-side King Executive Suite at Conrad Hong Kong!

  14. Sorry for the many typos errors above, as it is always tough to write a long comment from a hand-held, but the point should be clear: IHG still has a long way to go to compete in the big leagues.

  15. Anyone can be given a suite at a Hilton or other brand in Hong Kong as an elite. That says nothing about what the program requires hotels to offer, and doesn’t describe the use case for most members.

    Hilton hotels are ALLOWED but NOT REQUIRED to upgrade Diamonds to suites, if one is available at check-in.

    IHG now allows members selecting suite upgrade certificates to make their standard room reservation INTO A RESERVATION FOR A SUITE two weeks in advance, if a suite is available in published inventory, albeit not yet on reward stays. And they ALSO push hotels to upgrade to available suites now. In other words, they have the same benefit as Hilton AND THEY OFFER CONFIRMED UPGRADES two weeks out which Hilton does not.

    Show me all of the U.S. Hiltons doing 3 day advance upgrades to suites…

  16. @gary – there’s a full buffet laid out, with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and whatever else, alongside a small continental buffet. They don’t do any to-order options.

    Diamond gets ‘full breakfast’. They are saying you can only have continental plus one portion of egg. If you want to have options from the hot buffet,
    Ie a full breakfast, you pay $10 plus extras. Not at all how it works.

  17. @Gary — LOL. Such garbage. If you truly believe as you have been for years that any loyalty programs out there requires individual hotels to offer suites upgrades then you’re even more clueless than when you claimed for year how the starpoint, then the WoH point, was “the single most valuable hotel points currency.”

    You can deny it all you want but Hilton’s global automated upgrades are the real deal: they are automated, which takes out individual properties out of the equation; they clear up to 3 days before check-in (as I just cleared at 3 high-end properties); and they do not need to be “earned” as milestone bonuses like Hyatt’s or IHG’s (I guess you also prefer “earning” exec lounge access as milestone bonus than to just have a program offer it outright); they just come with status and are unlimited.

    You have become less and less relevant by the day because you cannot think beyond your biased bogus views.

  18. @Gary

    The IHG website states “one main MENU item with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages or FULL buffet with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages per person.” It does not say “one hot item from buffet” or “limited buffet.” If the hotel is limiting access to the full buffet or offering a singe hot item rather then providing choice from a full main menu then that appears inconsistent at least according to the publicly readable description of elite breakfast. The hotel should either give you the full buffet or hand you the “main” menu that is otherwise for sale to non-elites. Creating a sub-standard elite breakfast is equivalent to creating a sub-standard elite lounge.

  19. @DCS you continue to conflate two separate things.

    1. Unlimited space available upgrades, available based on status. Hilton does these a few days in advance, other chains at check-in. They can include up to standard suites. Hyatt delivers suites with this benefit far more often than Hilton does.

    2. Confirmed upgrade instruments, earned based on nights. Remember that both Hyatt and IHG let you earn these BEFORE YOU EARN TOP TIER STATUS and then let you continue to earn more. These come out of revenue inventory, and include suites. If there is a standard suite available for sale, the member can switch their reservation from a regular room to a suite at no extra cost. And IHG offers this 14 days in advance, Hyatt at booking. HILTON OFFERS NOTHING LIKE THIS.

    Your experiences *in Asia* are silly to generalize from. Properties in Asia treat elite guests better, regardless of chain, and better than they have to.

  20. How about requiring hotels to provide soap? The Intercontinental Le Grand Paris, which is one of the finest properties in the IHG portfolio, won’t provide soap anymore. Even to guests who request. You get dispensers with shampoo, conditioner, and body/hand wash. That’s it.

  21. IHG will always have the hardest time implementing tangible benefits for elites because almost none of their properties across any brand are managed by IHG. IHG almost exclusively franchises and licenses whereas Marriott still manages a majority of its hotels outside North America and within North America mostly still manages W, Ritz-Carlton, Edition, and some legacy JW Marriotts, Marriotts, Westins, Sheratons and Renaissances. Oddly, Marriott manages (and even owns) a few random Courtyards in the USA too.

  22. @Daniel — creating substandards that he then claims to be the best or worst, is what @Gary has done for years. He claims Haytt offers the “best” full restaurant breakfast when the truth is that WoH offers full restaurant breakfast ONLY when a property has no club lounge, unlike at IHG hotels where breakfast is always provided in the restaurant, or at Hilton overseas where it is optional: continental in the exec lounge or full and free in the restaurant. I had breakfast at Park Hyatt Saigon and Park Hyatt Siem Reap and each paled in comparison to the “royal feasts” that I got at Hilton Singapore Orchard, Hilton Pattaya, or WA Bangkok, among other places where I stayed…

  23. @Gary — screaming “confirmed” changes nothing. You need to alter your views as the reality around you changes, by keeing an open mind, educating yourself and keeping up. When was the last time you stayed at a Hilton hotel as a top elite? See? Are you aware that Hilton now automates its room/suite upgrades and that these are prioritized by elite status and clear (can be “confirmed “) automatically up to 72 hours before check-in, like airline cabin upgrades? Either you are in denial or you are clueless, neither of which reflects well on you.

  24. No, Hyatt has never provided more suite upgrades that Hilton, even when the latter’s where not automated as they now are and I cleared them all.

    HGP offered just 4 suites a year, without a written policy to offer complimentary upgrades. I documented clearing 12 of 12 in 2014 both in the US and overseas, while all HGP offered were the 4 “confirmed”, which also depended on availability and were at the discretion of each hotel. Making up stuff to claim your program to be better is what you have always done, without any supporting evidence.

  25. A big deal to me is that they still do not pooling of points in a family, which is allowed by all the other big three programs. Hard to understand.

  26. @DCS “No, Hyatt has never provided more suite upgrades that Hilton” now you’re just making stuff up.

    Saying Hyatt “offered just 4 suites a year, without a written policy to offer complimentary upgrades” is false. Hyatt introduced complimentary suite upgrades at check-in in 2017.

    And saying that Hyatt confirmed suite upgrades were “depended on availability and were at the discretion of each hotel” is misleading and false. There needs only be revenue availability for a standard suite to confirm it (you can’t confirm what is sold out, true, but misleading to call this dependent on availability as though there are capacity controls – there aren’t) and “at the discretion of each hotel” is completely untrue, there are no capacity controls on booking into the standard suite room type with Hyatt as there are with Marriott.

  27. Umm- DCS- you’re the one who sounds clueless. If you use an IHG upgrade certificate and there’s suite inventory 2 weeks out, the hotel is required to honor the upgrade. No individual hotel is going to then decide that you don’t deserve the upgrade- that’s just BS

  28. There you go again making up stuff. All upgrades depend on availability. I have posted Hyatt’s official policy countless times in this space. The upgrades depend on availability and are at the discretion of each property. Your own interpretation does not get to supersede the official rule. If what you claim were true then not a single “confirmed” suite award would go unused, which ain’t the case. I guess you will also claim that Hyatt awards are always available for booking with points if they can be booked with cash at standard rate — another made up claim.

    There is nothing more frustrating than arguing with someone who believes their own bogus claims.

    You know nothing about Hilton Honors. Take the time to get informed.

  29. @George — hotels are not required to honor anything. This happens all the time. People can find standard suites but hotels claim none are available, leading to the now common charge that they “play games” with availability. Well, they can play games because they have full discretion!!!

    What you claim cannot be true or there would always be availability !!!

    G’day!

  30. Don’t forget: Hyatt Place is exempt from the World of Hyatt globalist upgrade policy whereas Holiday Inn Express is not exempt from IHG’s upgrade policy.

    You also generally don’t get any points at Hyatts for F&B expenses whereas you get points at IHG properties for F&B expenses.

    So, again, on paper at least, IHG is a better program than Hyatt and Marriott. The only issue is many or most of the IHG hotels are undesirable.

  31. IHG points have been continuously and seriously devalued. They’re probably worth 30-35cents each. That’s why it makes no sense for me to spend on the IHG credit card (it would take 3 points per dollar spent to match a mere 1% cash back card, let alone the Bank of America 1.5% card or the various 2% back cards). And that’s why Chase can afford to now offer 175,000 points for signing up. I wonder if IHG will be the first card to offer 1 million points soon, each point worth 0.05 cents.

  32. @FNT Delta Diamond,

    From Hyatt.com: What is eligible for earning at restaurants and spas?

    Eligible changes vary on a hotel-by-hotel basis, but generally include spa and salon services, spa and salon retail items, and food and beverage expenditures (except at outlets not operated by the hotel). Points will not be awarded on tips, service charges, taxes, gratuities and, in certain jurisdictions, alcoholic beverage purchases. Other exclusions may apply.

  33. @Claire

    I hate the Barclay. The IC off 8th Ave is an all around better property. We had breakfast issues at the Barclay as well. The FD has clueless employees. Two times they gave us key cards that did not work. I found the rooms to be dumpy. I don’t like the location. We will never stay there again.

  34. IC Muscat has a club floor but they refused me an upgrade or access to it, even though im the top tier access.. Diamond VIP. The Hyatt is across the road and are not rude to guests…

  35. “hotels are not required to honor anything”?! Now you are just sounding deranged, DCS. Sure, I can have a confirmed reservation for a suite that I booked two weeks out, and show up at the hotel and be told there’s no such room- we’ve all had reservations that are not honored before.

    But similar to getting bumped from a plane, or not getting your car because they’ve overbooked, it’s generally the exception, not the rule. So if you are going to start saying, but, but – you might get cancelled! no one’s going to listen to you. Oh wait- no one is listening to you anyway…

  36. Sure, I can have a confirmed reservation for a suite that I booked two weeks out, and show up at the hotel and be told there’s no such room- we’ve all had reservations that are not honored before.

    Apples and oranges. Before you can “confirm” that suite or a standard award, there must availability, which is as the sole discretion of individual properties. The number of such certificate-eligible suites or awards is limited. That is a universal truth, except for Accor ALL awards and Hilton’s so-called “premium awards”, which are indistinguishable from cash bookings because if such rooms are available for booking with cash, they are also available for booking with points.

    On the other hand, once a suite (or standard award) has been booked and “confirmed”, sure, hotels should be bound, at least ethically if not legally, to honor it. Do you see the difference or are you going to keep acting dense?

  37. Claire – I had the same experience at the IC Barclay in NYC. My gf and I had to go back to the front desk to get the proper # of vouchers (they wouldn’t let us sit without first doing this) and we were denied a hot item other than the buffet eggs. With that said, I thought the buffet was very good.

  38. well as a Royal Ambassador member for 15 years, i was shocked after my 120 nights did not qualify for RA.
    I obviously, have been made Diamond but really is that a big deal since you can get diamond with just 8 stays with the current promotion?
    I really dont think IHG has thought much about the program, in trying to keep guests who, stay many nights.

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