Have you ever included something tongue-in-cheek in a work document, only to forget to take it out so your boss sees it?

It seems like someone in IHG’s Marketing department now knows exactly what that’s like, except their joke was seen by customers.

I tend to read hotel, airline and credit card emails pretty carefully in case there’s a little nugget of something noteworthy hidden away. Despite writing about InterContinental’s current promotion offering a free night certificate when buying Ambassador status, I missed a brand new benefit that the status provides: free flights with Spirit Airlines.

InterContinental Spirit Airlines

Some IHG Rewards Club members are apparently more eagle-eyed than I am because I overlooked this great new benefit until IHG emailed again tonight to let us know that if they’re not going to give free breakfast to top-tier elite members, they certainly aren’t going to give away free flights.

OK, so they didn’t address the lack of a free breakfast, but they did apologize for erroneously advising some members that they’d get free flights on Spirit Airlines.

Dear Stephen,

Last week we sent you an email sharing the opportunity to receive an additional Reward Night when you join InterContinental Ambassador.

Unfortunately, the email contained an error in the programme benefits we outlined. ‘Free flights on Spirit Airlines’ was listed, however, we do not have a partnership with Spirit, and free flights are not one of the many advantages you can enjoy as an Ambassador member.

We are incredibly sorry this incorrect information was shared and any confusion it may have caused. We are looking into how this happened – as this is not the standard of member communications we hold ourselves to and you expect.

As a Spire Elite member you are especially important to IHG Rewards Club and we look forward to welcoming you through our doors when the time is right for you. If your plans include staying at one of our luxury or lifestyle brands, you may still want to consider joining InterContinental® Ambassador for USD200 or 40,000 points. Join by 15 November 2020 and stay once at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton, or Regent hotels by 31 January 2021 to receive a Reward Night, in addition to the suite of guaranteed Ambassador benefits:

  • Guaranteed room upgrades
  • Extended 4pm checkout
  • Minimum of IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status
  • Restaurants & bars credit of up to USD20 for every stay
  • A complimentary weekend night at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and participating Kimpton and Regent hotels

Please do accept our apologies for this mistake. We want to thank you for your understanding and your loyalty. We hope to see you enjoying an IHG Hotels & Resorts hotel soon.

With IHG’s luxury brand not even having a partnership with Spirit Airlines and presumably not having one on the horizon, the only explanation I have for how this made it into the email is someone in IHG’s Marketing department was messing around and added a nonsensical new benefit in a draft document, only to have it subsequently sent out by accident.

What’s even more strange is that the email with the Spirit Airlines benefit listed in it didn’t make it into every customer’s email. When looking back through my trash folder, my wife was advised about the benefit, whereas I wasn’t.

I’m curious what the powers that be at InterContinental were more horrified by – having an error in an email or being associated with Spirit Airlines. Either way, if you have Ambassador status, I’m afraid you’re not going to experience the joys of flying with Spirit – not for free anyway.

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