IHG Rewards Club tightens perks on 'third party' hotel bookings

By Chris Chamberlin , November 22 2016
IHG Rewards Club tightens perks on 'third party' hotel bookings

IHG Rewards Club members will no longer be treated to their usual membership perks on hotel stays booked via third party websites such as Booking.com and Expedia from January 2017.

From the New Year, travellers must instead make reservations through IHG – including online, using the IHG app, through central telephone reservations, with the hotel direct or via corporate travel portals – to enjoy their usual privileges.

Among the benefits at stake: free in-room Internet access, priority check-in, complimentary room upgrades and a late check-out, depending on your IHG Rewards Club loyalty tier, plus free drink vouchers at selected Crowne Plaza properties, such as in Singapore and Kobe, Japan.

In an email sent to IHG Rewards Club members, the chain justifies the move by saying that “we want to give you the best travel experience—from start to finish—every time. And we can only do that when you book with us directly.”

However, online travel agencies and booking websites are known for charging hotels high commissions on bookings – up to 15% of the total booking price in Australia and up to 25% in the USA and Europe – a cost that many chains and also smaller operators would rather avoid.

IHG already encourages travellers to book direct by offering ‘Your Rates’: a selection of discounted room prices only available to IHG Rewards Club members on direct bookings which undercut other online providers, with similar incentives also used by Accor, Hilton and Starwood.

The promise of earning loyalty points on hotel stays has also long been used to lure travellers to book directly with hotels, with IHG continuing to withhold these on bookings made via third party websites.

Read: Want points for your hotel stay? Avoid third-party booking websites

Connect with other business travellers in our IHG discussion group

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Feb 2012

Total posts 31

i am surprised that more airlines dont have these restrictions in place or at least limit the SC and points earned

That could get a little messy for business travellers relying on corporate travel agents and the like, although Delta recently barred over 20 online travel agencies from selling its fares entirely and many other travel aggregators like Kayak, favouring direct bookings with the airline.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 302

Chris can you clarify - if booking using corporate booking tool this is done through our TMC who are using GDS, so all OK here? I read it as if using the likes of Expedia, booking.com etc that benefits won't apply. 

Hi Adam, this should be fine. A follow-up email received from IHG reads as follows: "We would like to reassure you that when you book directly with IHG (IHG.com, the IHG App, IHG brand sites, Central Reservations, or Hotel Direct), nothing will change, and this also applies to corporate business bookings made through your company's travel agency or travel department."

18 Aug 2016

Total posts 2

What I find annoying is the "guarantee" of lowest rate.
Its seems to be one of the biggest lies.
Recently booked 3 nights thru booking.com and got effectively 50% off, much better than the 35% direct I would have gotten.

EdS
EdS

QF

21 Jul 2016

Total posts 37

IHG does with corporate travel portals which is good for me, but GHA Global Hotel Alliance does not which is bad.  You have to book directly on-line with GHA to get anything.  Even a direct telephone booking does not generate rewards.


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