There has been a lot of IHG Rewards Club members who have their accounts being closed because of violation of its program terms and conditions.
Basically, the reason that the accounts have been closed is that people sign up for too many promotions that may not have been targeted to you personally. With IHG Rewards, you can register 4 digit codes to help you earn bonus points for your stays. These promotions are one of my favourite ways to earn bonus points. The issue is that depending on where you live or whether you were targeted, not all 4 digit codes can apply to your account.
Flyertalk has a thread that lists out all the current codes. So if you gave all the codes a try, you might be registered to some, but not others. Anyway, IHG Rewards seems to be clamping down on members for trying to enter too many codes.
I am uncertain why they need to be so strict, essentially because the terms and conditions of the rewards program does not mention anything about signing up for too many promotions that we do not qualify for. Below is the wording in the terms and conditions on when a membership can be cancelled:
- Membership Cancellation. SCH reserves the right to cancel any IHG® Rewards Club membership and revoke any and all unredeemed IHG® Rewards Club points collected by any member for reasons that include, but are not limited to: 1) violation of these Terms and Conditions; 2) misrepresentation of any information or any misuse of this Program; 3) violation of any national, state or local law or regulation in connection with the use of membership privileges; 4) failure to pay for hotel charges; 5) a check to a participating hotel brand that is returned for insufficient funds or is invalid for any reason; 6) commission of fraud or abuse involving any portion of this Program; 7) more than one active account per member; or 8) physical, verbal, or written abuse of hotel or IHG personnel; or 9) action, in any other way, to the detriment of the Program or any of its alliances; all as may be determined by SCH in its sole discretion.
This has been such a sad post for me to write since IHG Rewards has been one of my favourite hotel loyalty programs and the bonus points promotions are one of the reasons why I keep staying at their hotels. Now I feel like I need to be cautious with which bonus promotion to sign up for to avoid my account being shut down.
Conclusion: This is a risky move by IHG Rewards, they could potentially lose a lot of customers that way. I guess they think the move will probably pay off because they are dishing out too many points to make it worth it? Wouldn’t it just be simpler to have less promotions rather than shutting accounts down?
I would now be more cautious about which promotions to sign up for. Apparently we need to sign up for promotions that were targeted to us by email. If that is the case, then IHG Rewards should make it clearer that customers can only sign up for targeted promotions, rather than giving confusion and then shutting down accounts.
This just adds fuel to the fire that people do not want to bother with loyalty programs, because of all the trouble it can give us. The biggest lesson to learn from this is not to hoard your points. Whenever you get a chance to use them, use them, because you never know when you will either be hit with a devaluation or lose all your points.
Fellow blogger LoyaltyLobby has also written about this issue.