HUCA (Hang Up, Call Again)

Chase IHG Premier Rewards card

In the points and miles hobby, you’ll see HUCA written a lot in response to comments and questions about not getting a bonus, retention offer, extension or any one of a hundred other complaints. Hang Up, Call Again is the call to action. Don’t take the first (or second) customer service rep’s word for it. Try the person sitting next to them (or these days, sitting at home in another state).

I tried this a few days ago and it actually worked. A few months ago, I was tasked with booking three hotel rooms in Baltimore for a family event being held next weekend. I originally booked a Hyatt property using points as we will have two vehicles (a rental car and my daughter’s car) so I assumed Globalist status would score me free parking. Unfortunately, the hotel does not have their own parking garage and the one they use charges $42 plus tax per night. Globalists do not get free parking in this situation. It would have cost us another $168 plus tax to park the two cars.

I started looking at other options. I remembered that I had four IHG free night certificates (two from 2021 that were extended and two from 2022). I found a nice looking Hotel Indigo in a good location and as it happened, the cost per night in points was just under 40,000, which is the limit on IHG free night certificates. The cash rate was $300 per night so it was a good value for IHG points and even better for free night certificates. I called to book the rooms and was told that one of my certificates expired April 22, 2022, a week before our stay, and I could not use that one. I went ahead and used the other three certificates and booked the other nights with points (a total of six for three rooms x two nights).

It was bugging me about the one week difference between the expiration date and my stay, so this week, the day before the certificate expired, I called IHG Rewards again. The first rep said, “sorry there’s nothing we can do” and hung up. I called back and asked the second rep if they could escalate the situation to see if they could make an exception. After a five minute wait, she came back and said “I’m sorry we can’t extend the date on the certificate.” Then she said “But we can offer you 33,500 points instead!” That number was the average number of points I used for the weekend (the total was 67,000 for the two nights). I was very happy to accept this and the points were deposited in my account immediately.

Sometimes it pays to be persistent. I’m quite happy to be getting a good use of my IHG certificates, even the expired one, and will post a quick review of the hotel after our stay.

If you enjoyed this post (or have questions), let me know in the comments or send me an email at emptynestermiles@gmail.com. If you are thinking about opening a new credit card, please use one of my links.

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