Do IHG Friends and Family Rates always save you money on your hotel booking?
What are IHG Friends and Family Rates?
The InterContinental Hotels Group offers employee's friends and families a discounted rate at properties around the world, but it has been widely advertised and promoted to the general public for many years now. We've written about this rate before, in both 2014 and 2015, but wanted to see if you can still save money this way in 2016.
There isn't a generic web page to visit to book the IHG Friends and Family Rate; you'll need a special booking link that has an employee's key embedded, such as this one, which states that it's for Vasant Lad's friends and family. We used the same employee booking link for our tests last year, and seeing as it's still the first Google result when searching the term 'IHG Friends and Family', we wanted to check if it is still valid for use now.
How do I use IHG Friends and Family Rates?
To compare the Friend and Family Rate with the Best Flexible Rate for your hotel booking, you'll need to first search your destination and dates on the IHG site. We chose the Crowne Plaza Orlando-Universal for June 5th, 2017, which came out at $137 for the non-member Best Flexible Rate and $131.52 for the IHG Rewards member Best Flexible Rate:
We then checked the same hotel booking via the special employee link and it showed as $108.80, which is $22.72 cheaper than the IHG Rewards member Best Flexible Rate, saving you 17%:
IHG state that the Friends and Family Rate will save you up to 15%, but we even beat that a little.
It's important to note that the IHG Friend and Family Rate is stated here as non-refundable and you need to pay a deposit, which are the same terms as the IHG Advance Purchase Rate. The Best Flexible Rate in this instance, however, can be cancelled by June 2nd, 2017 and there's no deposit to pay.
What else do I need to know about IHG Friends and Family Rates?
To complete the booking process, you need to print out a rate voucher, which you can find here.
You'll need to add the employee's name to it, so in this case it would be Vasant Lad. Some IHG properties will ask for the voucher at check-in; it's been reported that most don't ask for it, but it's recommended that you at least take the completed voucher with you.
If you are an IHG Rewards Club member, you may not earn points or stay credit or receive elite benefits by using this rate, so you should always weigh up the monetary saving with any potential loss before booking.