When IHG Loses a Hotel, They Stiff You, Too

The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is bankrupt and customers with reservations are not happy with the compensation offers from Hyatt (via View from the Wing).

Hotel chains vary in their handling of hotels leaving their portfolio. Club Carlson last year honored reservations at St Martin after it left the brand. Others leave you stuck.

Here’s my IHG story for the hotspot of Omaha, Nebraska.

Last fall I made plans for the last weekend of April 2015 to attend the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. That may be the only weekend Omaha is sold out. Even the air force base was letting rooms. I needed two room and made two award bookings for each night at the Holiday Inn Express Omaha Airport. One of the nights I could not get there so booked one night at Holiday Inn Express Omaha Southwest.

Holiday Inn Express Omaha Southwest

In late February, waiting for a flight from Praia, Cape Verde, I was called by IHG Relocations in Salt Lake City that Omaha Southwest was no longer part of IHG. The agent was friendly, I asked to have the reservation accommodated at Omaha Airport or one of the other IHG hotels, which by this point all had no award nights available. I was told I would have an update soon.

I checked my account and the reservation had vanished, did not show in canceled stays, and no points were refunded.

Over the next 6 weeks I left several voicemails with the IHG Relocations contacts, each always went to voicemail and gave the phone number of others colleagues who did not answer the phone or return call. I finally reached one in mid-April who said they had tried to call me though admitted they left no voicemail and sent no email. No other hotel would honor my reservation. They would provide no compensation and only refunded the points when I reminded. Talking to a supervisor produced no better result.

I was not thrilled, and for what it’s worth, am IHG Platinum.

We found a way to work out the rooms, I had a wonderful weekend, and in May-June took up several complaints to IHG Reservations and IHG Rewards Club that produced nothing until persisting enough to receive a call from a senior person in IHG Relocations who apologized for the handling and lack of responsiveness, though not the policy of not providing compensation. When a hotel leaves IHG they do not view it as their responsibility to honor or help with any reservations. Imagine working in IHG Relocations if you can’t do anything!

In the end she offered 15,000 goodwill points which was the same as the original cost of the room. I don’t want to be a serial complainer and was exhausted from this, so took the 15,000 along with the apology.

Short take: don’t expect IHG to honor reservations when they lose a hotel and if you want compensation, gird for quite a fight.

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  • Danny

    If you had canceled a non-refundable reservation what would happen? Ya, right! You would loose your money. But if they do it – they just say sorry and move on.

  • Sounds awful. Capo Verde…on my list. My takeaway from this is that Club Carlson has been quite decent in terms of customer service on these kinds of things. A lot of people booked Aruba right after the devaluation and that property was rumored to be sold and is now a Hilton. It will be interesting to follow how all that plays out.

  • Brenton

    If you ever get bumped from a reservation in Omaha again, There’s a room for you here. Also hotels are even more thoroughly sold out during the Olympic swim trials, and a lot of people do airbnb fitting during two events.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @smittytabb – I didn’t realize Aruba had officially been sold, had not kept up with the latest…we have a booking in September and about to buy airfare, I hope they honor it!

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Brenton – very kind of you. I am booked for 2016 (Country Inn), will you be around that weekend?

    I was thinking maybe the CWS sells out, was not aware of the Olympic swim trials.

    I really enjoyed Omaha, and my wife insists I take her along next year.

  • Brenton

    I’ll definitely be here next year, as a shareholder of brkb that was purchased on loyal3 with a credit card. 🙂