One Mile at a Time had to fight for his Priority Club points to post from a recent stay at the InterContinental Grand Stanford in Hong Kong.
Priority Club initially refused to credit the points, which didn’t post on their own, even though the booking was made on their own website. They explained,
Unfortunately, the room rate paid during the stay in question was deeply discounted and is ineligible for credit to your account. We have provided the link for Priority Club Rewards’ Terms and Conditions below:
They also explained that eligible in-hotel spend might earn points, and encouraged Lucky to send his bill in ordetr to credit those points.
However, if you have incurred other charges during your stay , you may forward your itemized invoice to us in JPEG or PDF format so we may credit them accordingly to your account. Qualifying charges include food and beverage, phone, laundry, and Pay-per-View movies.
Now, let’s take this second part first. What points, exactly, were they going to post for non-room rate charges during a stay at an Intercontinental property? Intercontinental stays earn a fixed number of points, irrespective of the length of the stay or the rate paid. Food and beverage charges do not earn incremental points.
That’s one clue that Priority Club’s reps do not know what they’re talking about.
But it gets worse. The basis on which they deny points, directing customers to their terms and conditions, is not even supported by those terms and conditions. While Priority Club offers up this ‘no points on deeply discounted stays’ things from time to time, and usually flags “30% off usual rates” as their threshold, this actually is not supported by the program rules.
Not only should one obviously be able to rely on bookings made on the Priority Club website, especially when the website doesn’t flag otherwise (and frequently offers rates that earn bonus points for more money but potentially below the threshold Priority Club would otherwise apply for points earning), but the terms and conditions support the notion that bookings made through the website and Intercontinental’s Central Reservations qualify for points:
Points will be awarded for Qualifying Room Rates booked through IHG central reservation offices, IHG web sites, travel agents or directly at the hotel.
Now, there is a caveat about what rates qualify. But nowhere doess it specify that rates which are ‘too low’ do not, as long as they’re booked through a qualifying booking channel.
Qualifying Room Rates paid for hotel room nights: non-discounted rate, standard corporate rate, worldwide sales negotiated rate, national/regional/local government rate and specified leisure rates as confirmed by IHG’s HOLIDEX® Plus reservation systems.
Corporate rates, negotiated rates, government rates, leisure rates… these qualify for points. And if there are rates that do not then these need to be disclosed (in the terms and conditions explicitly, or at least very clearly when making a booking).
So where does the caveat come in about a specific level of discount forfeiting points? The terms and conditions do include one such exclusion — and the usual exclusion Priority Club cites when denying points is 30% below standard rates — but that exclusion only applies in a very limited circumstance:
In addition, in North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, points may be collected on locally negotiated rates if these rates are discounted less than 30%. At Asia Pacific hotels, Qualifying Room Rates also include all locally negotiated rates.
Only ‘locally negotiated rates’ (in contrast to rates booked on the Priority Club website!) exclude points earning if the rate is 30% below standard. That’s the only reference to a threshold at which specifici discounted rates do not earn points, anywhere in the terms and conditions.
Furthermore, the booking in question was for a hotel in Hong Kong — and the terms and conditions explicitly say that this 30% threshold does not apply to the Asia Pacific region! (Last time I checked, Hong Kong was in Asia.)
It would sure be nice if Priority Club would read its own terms & conditions.
That said, every time I’ve ever seen this happen, when a customer pushes back I’ve always seen Priority Club relent. But it’s annoying nonetheless.