Does Intercontinental have the worst customer service?

For those who don’t know about IHG they operate a single frequent stayer scheme with Holiday Inn etc. , but also offer a paid subscription to Ambassador status which is useful for stays at Intercontinental properties as it offers enhanced benefits.

The basic membership costs $200 and offers:

  • Guaranteed room upgrade: enjoy an immediate upgrade to a superior room* (one category higher than purchased) each time you stay.
  • Fresh fruit on arrival and mineral water (water replenished daily)
  • Complimentary weekend night certificate**: valid at the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts property of your choice
  • 4pm late checkout
  • One complimentary pay TV film per stay
  • Complimentary daily newspaper
  • In-room welcome gift
  • Instant checkout

* Upgrade to a superior room will be assigned at check in. Superior room is defined as a room one category higher than purchased.

** Valid on the second night of a paid weekend stay on the Ambassador Weekend rate and issued upon purchase and renewal. Weekends may vary by region.

I have been a member for a very long time and often use it to secure Club Access by booking the room one category lower than Club Intercontinental. The 50% off certificate, which is paper and comes in the pack, used to be more generous but works fine at many of their properties in Europe.

Last July, IHG wrote to advise me that I needed to renew for 2015-16. On 7 July I renewed my membership and paid my fee.

What would normally happen is that a pack would turn up, with the certificate about 4-6 weeks later. But nothing came. An email to IHG received this reply in early October:

In line with this, may we request for you to verify if the mailing address indicated above is correct, otherwise, kindly provide us an alternate mailing address. Once verified, we will proceed with expediting a replacement membership portfolio accordingly.

We await your response in line with this matter.

I confirmed that they had the right mailing address, as they have for the past ten years at least, and waited.

A second email came the same day, this looked more promising:

We are pleased to inform you that we have arranged for an expedited delivery of your Ambassador portfolio and will be delivered at the address provided below within one to two weeks.

Please make sure that someone will be available to sign the parcel, as it will be sent via UPS.

Then nothing happened, I was home, a lot, waiting for the pack to turn up from UPS.

I chased again in November and was told that a third pack would be coming, again via UPS. What was UPS doing with all these packs?

We would like to inform you that due to system upgrade, we had an issue in delivering membership portfolios, this issue has been reported and has been fixed. In this regard, we have processed again an expedited replacement Ambassador portfolio to be sent via courier, UPS, on the preferred mailing address you have on file.

Considering the maximum delivery time, you may receive the expedited replacement Ambassador Portfolio within 14 business days. Kindly make sure that someone will be available to receive the parcel as it will be delivered via courier UPS.

 Only 14 more days to wait until I got my pack. It had been 5 months now!

As you can probably guess nothing came and when I followed up this week I got another email:

Foremost, please accept our apologies for the delay in the delivery of your Kit. We regrettably would like to inform you that we still do have problem in sending kits to our members. We will revert back to you as soon as possible once the issue has been fixed. Nevertheless, you can start using all of your benefits by just providing your account number at the hotel.

As a goodwill gesture Mr.MilesFromBlighty we have posted additional 5,000 points on your rewards club account for the inconvenience we have caused you.

So at least I know, when all the other emails said that all I had to do was to wait in and UPS would deliver my pack, they were untrue. There hasn’t been any packs – can anyone confirm that ?

It seems odd that such a huge chain doesn’t have a plan B for producing these kits, especially as the certificates are still paper. I am about 6 months in to my year’s membership now and honestly I have lost a lot of trust in IHG. The staff seem to make things up just to get rid of the email from the queue. 5,000 points – Wow! That just makes everything right – not!


  1. I’m a Royal Ambassador member with IHG. Same thing happened to me and I booked a stay using the certificate for January and I’m afraid I’ll have to cancel because didn’t get the package until now. I renewed on May and nothing till now, December 2015. I do hope they can really fix this, and their customer service is not good at all.

  2. Same issue for me, renewed in August and chased them in November. Blamed Spire introduction for delays. Have emailed again to see what’s happening. Frankly, if they don’t get it sorted within a month I’ll tell them to cancel the renewal and refund the money.

    P.S., not even 5,000 points of apology, maybe you need to be at the 6 month mark for that…

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