I almost went a whole year without IHG fucking me… almost.

IHG is pretty much a worthless loyalty program in terms of elite benefits, but I do like their points. They add up pretty fast due to frequent promotions and high elite earning rates, and they’re really useful for non-glamorous redemptions like airport hotels when you want to save some money. Plus, it’s difficult but not impossible to get outsized value from IHG points, and their hotels are everywhere.

So that’s the good part. The bad part is that IHG’s customer service is horrible, and they have a nasty tendency to behave in incredibly customer-unfriendly ways. My last issue with them was around a lackluster stay at the Intercontinental Chicago, and while the folks at the actual hotel were great, the back-end customer service reps took forever to respond to emails and were generally unhelpful.

Today takes the cake though… I’m not going to get all hysterical and claim that I won’t stay at an IHG hotel ever again on principle, but I’m still kind of shocked at what happened. Here goes: last fall, I noticed a fantastic redemption opportunity at the soon-to-be-opened Indigo hotel in Milan. Award rooms were only 30,000 points per night, and with daily rates usually around $400, that represented one of the best values I had ever seen for my IHG points. Based on the photos, I was actually pretty excited for the stay, especially since there would be a 1% chance that I’d get an upgraded room due to having Platinum status.

hotel-indigo-milan-5046783009-2x1

Cut to today. Thanks to an incoming link from Miles to Memories (thanks Mark!), my blog traffic has been higher than usual, which means that I’ve been paying more attention to my stats. One thing that jumped out at me was a hit from the search phrase “Indigo Milan opening date.” Uh oh. It was supposed to open in May of this year, and it occurred to me that I had never bothered to check if the hotel had actually opened.

It hadn’t. A notice on the hotel’s page says that it’s now accepting bookings for March 1, 2019 and later, which made me doubt that my stay in October would be very enjoyable. Not that IHG bothered to tell me about it, mind you. I went onto my account and saw that my reservation was still confirmed, with nothing anywhere on the page hinting at the fact that I might show up at the hotel and be shit out of luck.

I called IHG to ask them what was up, and the first person I talked to insisted that the reservation would still be good. I finally convinced her to look into it, and she came back and said that they couldn’t honor my reservation… but not because the hotel wasn’t open. No, according to this rep, since the credit card I used to hold the reservation had expired, IHG could no longer accept the reservation. I didn’t bother arguing and just asked to be transferred to a supervisor. He canceled the Indigo reservation for me, but when I kept complaining about IHG’s poor level of service, he transferred me to a third person who could only offer to rebook me in the Crowne Plaza instead.

Bottom line, IHG accepted reservations for a hotel that wasn’t open yet, pushed back the opening date, and didn’t bother to tell any of the people whose reservations were now worthless. Thank god I checked, or I actually would have shown up in Milan with nowhere to stay. It goes without saying that if you’re booked to stay at this hotel before March 1 of next year, you should probably seek other options.

There’s a silver lining though, which is that I’m just going to bite the bullet and spend 60k Hyatt points to stay at the Park Hyatt Milan. By all accounts it’s a fantastic hotel, and I can’t deny that the pics I’ve seen online are drool-worthy, even for basic rooms. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather spend 60k IHG points on a hotel that’s probably 80% as nice, but (and despite my frequent maligning of the Park Hyatt Paris), the Park Hyatt brand still has some sway over me. Plus, I can’t think of a better prelude to my first Emirates first class flight.

I suppose I should also apologize for recommending the Indigo Milan as an aspirational redemption on multiple occasions, since anyone who took my advice is probably going to get as fucked by IHG as I did. Anyone else hate IHG?

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