A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question regarding the closure of Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile which IHG claims to be closed due to Covid-19 countermeasures and will not be offering relocation per their policy.
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I am forwarding this e-mail for your opinion. Am I offline? They put me in a very bad way.
Cancellation email from IHG:
We are writing to you regarding your next reservation at the Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile. The safety of our guests is the number one priority, and we regret to inform you that the hotel must temporarily close until further notice to support the city’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, therefore the cancellation of your reservation. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this unexpected situation has caused.
All fees and penalties will be waived and refunded (which may be supporting documents required by local law) and processed directly by the hotel as soon as possible. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact our Reservations or Customer Support team or you can also choose to book a new reservation by calling the numbers listed below. You may also choose to book a new reservation by visiting our website at www.ihg.com or our mobile app.
As one of our IHG® One Rewards members and valued guest, we realize you have a lot of choices when it comes to your travel needs. We thank you for your patronage and look forward to welcoming you again soon with IHG® Hotels & Resorts.
IHG says the Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile is closed to support the city’s efforts to prevent Covid-19?
Reader’s email to IHG:
Please make a new reservation for the same rate at one of the kimptons or the Michigan Intercontinental.
Response from IHG Customer Relations:
Thank you for contacting us. I’m Leslie from IHG® Guest Relations. We appreciate your loyalty as our valued IHG® One Rewards Platinum Elite Ambassador and I am delighted to assist you today.
I understand that you need to rebook for the same rate at Kimpton or the Michigan Intercontinental. I would like to apologize that the Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile is unable to honor your reservation due to a sudden closure.
I want to take care of this for you. However, I cannot make reservations via email as our hotel rates may change daily. This means that rates are subject to availability and may vary depending on dates, location, local demand and business needs. Additionally, the hotel management and owner determine their own rates and set them to be competitive in the market they serve, independent of IHG® Hotels & Resorts.
I strongly recommend that you contact our reservations center via this number: 800 621 0555 so that they can help you find accommodation that suits you. My colleagues at the central reservations office will be more than happy to assist you.
Reader response to IHG:
I already called, that’s why I contacted you. I fully understand that hotels charge significantly higher rates during high booking periods combined with little notice. That’s why I made my reservation last year! I don’t think it’s in any way fair that I have to pay six times the rate for an equivalent room since I didn’t cancel my reservation (you did). I have ambassador status and I really question the value. It seems the simple answer is just to move my reservation to the nearest hotel on Michigan Avenue. I was told by the rep that ihg sold this hotel, which contradicts the cancellation due to covid. Would it be possible to get a copy of the request from the city asking ihg to close a hotel six weeks from today?
Response from IHG Customer Relations:
While reviewing this case, I learned that the hotel was closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. I understand the situation you are in and I am very sorry for the information shared by the agent regarding the hotel being out of stock.
If you would like to know the details of the hotel closure, you can also call the duty manager directly with the contact details below.
Holiday Inn Express Chicago-Magnificent Mile: (312) 787-4030.
I hope this information will help you.
Thank you as an IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite member. Thank you for choosing IHG Hotels & Resorts for your travel needs since 2001.
1. The reader has confirmed their reservation at the Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Magnificent Mile
2. The hotel is closed and IHG claims this is due to Chicago’s Covid-19 countermeasures.
3. IHG refuses to relocate the client to other open hotels in the area at the same rate.
4. Prices have skyrocketed.
5. Guaranteed room
Any respectable hotel business would rebook the affected guest at a similar or superior hotel in the same area and charge the offending hotel the difference (or have a relocation agreement in place).
IHG here tells the customer that they are on their own and may or may not get a refund if it was a prepaid rate. I find this unacceptable.
The problem is that IHG guarantees a room if you booked it on their website:
Booking on IHG.com is the best way to guarantee your room. If for any reason your reservation cannot be honored, IHG will provide you with a room and transportation to another convenient and comparable hotel. Additionally, we will cover the full cost of the first night’s accommodation, plus tax. Any deposit will be refunded to you.
The reader should send IHG a note and a link to this page and ask them to follow their own written and published policies.
If they do not, the reader should open a case with the Attorney General of Georgia (IHG’s US headquarters) or the US state in which they live against IHG for fraudulent advertising.
We have been in contact with IHG regarding the Chicago citywide Covid-19 restrictions that we are not aware of and why they would cause the hotel to close. We haven’t heard from them.
I don’t know why IHG is not honoring the reservation made on their website and asking the customer to rebook another hotel at their current price.
Don’t they think that maintaining reservations made on its website would generate confidence among elite members that they have IHG’s backing when things go wrong?
Why would IHG lie that the hotel is closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Chicago when there are no citywide restrictions (I checked)?
Why wouldn’t IHG honor its own published room guarantee?
I can only think it is a business decision by the owner to keep it closed. Either they defaulted on their obligations to the lenders or the revenues would not cover operational costs. Neither should be the guest’s problem.
It is unfortunate that IHG, as a company, is not a Platinum Ambassador. However, they could and should do better, starting with honoring their published policy.