This is the email I got last September:
|It’s so great to see members like you win. With your first completed offer, you earn a “win”—1,000 points. Complete all of them, and you could earn 143,900 points, good toward that overnight trip or weekend getaway. The offers below are tailored just for you.Your available offers:|
This offer was actually for my mother-in-law. I signed her up for the IHG program a long time ago and put in my email address. I am the “points and miles keeper” of the family and really dropped the ball on this one.
I have been really busy with the blog and completing my own IHG BIG Win, so I set my mother-in-law’s offer aside. But on December 14th, I decided to take another look. After all, the offer was for 72,000 points. Or so I thought…
72,000 points was the bonus for competing all the offers. The total bonus was for 143,900 points! Whoa, how did I miss that? OK, now I was very motivated and had very little time left to make it happen. There were a total of 4 nights required to get the bonus. None in my immediate family could make use of the hotel stays, including me.
So, I went ahead and booked a 2- night hotel stay in Tampa for my cousin-in-law and her husband, and paid half of the bill. I put my mother-in-law’s name and IHG number first on the reservation and just added my cousin-in-law as an additional guest. This is something for you to consider instead of a mattress run. I booked Crowne Plaza hotel in Tampa, the same place we stayed at a while back.
The rate included a free night with each reservation, so I made 2 one-night bookings. They got a nice suite for 2 nights, plus 2 free night certificates in the mail.
Two nights down, two more to go. The biggest challenge of the offer was the fact that 2 hotel stays had to be in certain cities. I immediately dismissed international locations because of a potential language barrier.
The US cities were Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, San Francisco. I didn’t even search the last two, since it’s a very expensive real estate market.
After some digging around, I settled on the Holiday Inn Express in Washington DC for 75 dollars total with tax for one Saturday stay (there were 2 required.) The second Saturday stay was in Candlewood Suites in Chicago for 65 dollars total. There was no possible way we could be there, so it could only be done by phone.
I called the hotels and in both cases was told as long as I book a non-refundable reservation, I didn’t even need to call to check-in. It would automatically credit the points. But of course, I am a control freak. So, I called the Holiday Inn hotel in Washington on the day of the check-in. Turns out, the hotel never charged my credit card! But the front desk person took care of everything. The points were indeed credited and everything worked out just fine.
I also noticed that my Chicago hotel stay was not charged either. So, I called that hotel, and the guy at the front desk billed my card and everything seemed fine. The stay was not supposed to happen for a few days, but he said I didn’t need to call on the day of the arrival and that everything would be credited automatically. Of course, I was planning to call just in case. But then I got sick and forgot about it.
And from that point on, everything went south. I did call the hotel the day of the check-out, which was on Sunday. Apparently, the reservation registered as a no-show and no points were to be credited. What? But the lady said she reversed it and everything would be fine. She even sent me an email with the details. However, on it, it showed that the check-in and check-out both happened on Sunday.
I had a bad feeling right away, which was confirmed by the lack of both the Saturday stay bonus of 7,200 points and final 72,000 points bonus. I called the IHG customer service and a sweet lady tried very hard to help and even called the hotel. But since the check-in was technically on Sunday, there wasn’t anything that could be done. Except, begging (on my part). I asked her nicely if she would talk to her supervisor and make this one exception.
And they did! As a goodwill gesture, 79,200 points were deposited in my mother-in-law’s account. Thank you IHG, I love you! I will never abandon you for Hyatt, except if they give me free nights. So to recap: for 260 dollars total, we got 143,900 points plus 25,000 points earned from different stackable promotions, a grand total of 168,900 points. I value that amount at around 845 dollars. Plus, my relatives got a nice hotel stay out of it and 2 certificates to use in the future.
So, what are the lessons you can learn from my foolishness? First, register for the current IHG Big Win that runs through April HERE and read your email in its entirety. Don’t wait till the last 2 weeks of the promotion. Make sure to call the hotel on the day of the check-in if you are not physically going to be there.
Consider treating a relative if you can’t use the nights yourself. Make sure to book a prepaid rate and check your credit card to see if it was charged. Lastly, mattress runs over the phone do indeed work, so make a run for it and win those points!
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Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.