Yesterday in the morning I requested the receptionist for the scissors, and calmly cut up my black card and threw it over the counter.
What a pathetic excuse for a loyalty program. No free nights, no consistency in upgrades, just occasional frequent flyer points.
I have been staying in Parkroyal Saigon for 7 years. They know me by name. I have remained quite loyal for a reason of convenience, room is decent when they do not have loud weddings next to the swimming pool, food is ok, and airport is close by
Since I have been given a black card, I thought maybe it is time to book lower grade of room to be upgraded to the Orchid Club, since I am entitled to a double level upgrade. I always booked in Club level rooms before
First stay I was given a room that was not in the Orchid club, and was told that it was indeed a 2 level upgrade and it was Orchid club. I very much doubt it. When I went up to the lounge 5 minutes before closing time and had a can of mineral water ( the food there is so horrible, one of the worst lounge foods anywhere in a hotel of that alleged standard, so I rarely bothered), I
was charged 17 USD for consumption since my room was not considered Orchid Club, despite reception telling me it was. They graciously offered to waive the fee if I cashed in my "local experience", a buffet lunch for two worth about 4 times more. I declined and asked to speak to manager. After many sorry sorry sir, I was charged 17 USD for my soda water and checked out disgruntled. Surprising how they found an extra level of room between the ones that I checked on the website. I specifically went for 2 levels below club
On the last stay I booked one category up, just to be told on check in that I was not entitled to Orchid Club wing again, but was put in a premier room, whatever that is despite my protestations. It was a big room with standard facilities, and not really different from standard rooms. I did not want a microwave and a stove.
After 5 minutes I was called from reception to say that they made a mistake and will send someone over to move me to the Orchid Club.
In the morning I went down to the buffet to graze on some salad (since lounge - thankfully I may add - does not do breakfast), again to be told that my room rate did not include breakfast, but since I only had a cup of coffee and 3 leaves of lettuce they will charge me a reduced continental rate. I signed the bill and said I will take it up on check out. I went up to the room, threw my laundry into the laundry bag ( for which they now incidentally charge USD 2.5 - another first) and went downstairs. At check out I was informed that since breakfast was not included in my original rate, my upgrade was to club room only and breakfast will be charged. Again a million sorries, followed by the me paying the bill in silence and asking for scissors. Card went flying across the counter, I told them that after 7 years I am moving elsewhere, and that their GHA card was worth about as much as their sorries.
Startled manager chased after me from hotel, tried to offer complimentary limo ride to the office, etc etc. I told them I do not want to take anything from them, got into a regular taxi and got the hell out of there.
It is not the money, it is the principle. IHG got the hint and standardised their programme and made it more consistent (but harder to achieve elite levels). These people do not even offer nights, just crappy local experiences that most people travelling on business can or will never take advantage of - I do not care for river cruises, or spa treatments when I work 14 hour days and return to hotel well after their "spa" is closed.
So basically, you have been warned.