IHG Free Night Certificate
My frustration with IHG has been building for years, mostly since the IHG loyalty program’s “One” refresh. Those issues played a heavy role in my decision to step back from the program and get rid of my Chase IHG Premier, ultimately deciding to downgrade to the no-fee traveler card. My wife and I each still had an IHG free night certificate to use, though. These have provided our only small wins with IHG for quite some time – a relatively low-maintenance redemption for a visit to one of our favorite nearby destinations. But recently, IHG has somehow figured out a way to screw up that experience, too. Today, I’m describing an IHG website flaw that got in the way of using FNC’s and our way around it.
Just Let Me Use My IHG Free Night Certificate
The Initial Search
Our IHG free night certificate use has been issue-free for a good while, and I expected it to be that way again this year. I hopped on my desktop to book our two-night stay at a new Holiday Inn Express Kitty Hawk location in the Outer Banks during low season. As has been the pattern, we planned to book two separate one-night IHG reservations so that my wife and I could each use our certs. Things started out okay:
The FNC was available for use at the Kitty Hawk property. We figured that this was accurate, given that the site only displayed a paid rate for the Nags Head property we’ve previously visited. If the FNC rate wasn’t available at the Kitty Hawk property, the site would’ve just displayed a cash rate there, also, right?
Wrong, according to the IHG desktop site.
After clicking on the “Select Hotel” button listed for the Kitty Hawk location, the following page appeared:
Weird – I only saw a cash rate listed. Plus, I received the lovely statement at the bottom: “Your preferred rate is not available as requested. Please modify your stay dates or select from the available rates.” I’m fully aware that certs aren’t always compatible with any IHG property anywhere. But in the past, IHG has clearly stated that based on the initial search, not after first teasing a FNC rate. I gave the “View Prices” a click in a last-ditch effort to find that FNC rate. Of course, that didn’t work:
An Easy Solution
After hitting this dead end, my mind went in a few different directions, followed by my actions. I varied dates at the same property but hit the same issue. I considered using the cert at other properties, but I quickly stopped searching. Our goal was to stay at the Kitty Hawk property. We didn’t want to rationalize a redemption on a lower-priority goal. I resolved to find a solution.
It didn’t take long. I quit thinking like a firmly middle-aged guy using a desktop. I flanked to my mobile, opened the IHG app I rarely use, and performed the same original search. Magically, I clicked on through and was able to book the same property twice for our desired nights, using an IHG free night certificate each time.
Is this flaw a true one, or is this an intentional move on IHG’s part to make the certs tougher to use on the desktop site? Perhaps it’s the former, but based on my recent experiences with IHG, I can easily convince myself it’s the latter. I don’t expect IHG wackiness to subside. And that nonsense often involves consumers’ increasing challenges in realizing rewards, making that job tougher than it should be. Regardless, don’t give up on using your IHG free night certificate at your preferred property. What issues have you experienced using your IHG free night certificate?
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