I have written a post last week on how I scored a Holiday Inn in Niagara Falls, that normally runs 35000 points for only 10000 points per night. In it I mentioned how I could cancel that redemption without penalty and get 280,000 points back, but decided against it. Well, there was an interesting turn of events and I wanted to tell you about it.
Last year I participated in Daily Getaways promotion ( coming back soon, see preview) and bought 72,000 Choice program points. I paid around 0.43 cents per point and planned to redeem them for a trip to visit some relatives, but it just never materialized. So, recently I decided to take a look at my Choice stash and figure out what to do with it.
I’ve researched some hotels in Florida that participate in the program, and everything I liked seemed too expensive, costing either 20,000 or 30,000 points per room. But then I remembered my Niagara Falls trip.
I looked, and lo and behold, there was a decent looking Quality Inn near the Falls. The reviews were good, no bed bugs were mentioned, and the rate was 8,000 points per night or just over $34 per room all-in, based on my points’ purchase.
We needed two rooms for four nights, so it would cost me 64,000 points total. The best part was, I could redeem for 1-bedroom suite, with the paid rate being $168 per night. Here is a photo, taken from hotel’s website.
My reservation at a Holiday Inn was for a standard room. That’s a nice perk of Choice program in that you are able to redeem for a suite without an extra cost in points.
However, if you are personally not stayng at a hotel, you are only allowed to book for a relative, though they only go by your word. Another drawback is that you can’t make a reservation more than 30 days in advance (60 days for international locations).
If you have an elite status with another hotel chain, like Platinum membership with IHG through their co-branded credit card, you can get a match to Platinum level with Choice group as well. That will allow you to book up to 60 days ahead in U.S.
Anyway, back to my dilemma. As much as I can, I try to book a suite, something anyone with kids would understand. That way, my husband can nap or just relax in a separate bedroom area. That’s why I decided to go ahead and cancel my IHG reservation, but do it the honest way and give IHG an option of deducting the extra points.
I called and explained to the agent what happened. She put me on hold to talk to a supervisor and told me they would let me keep 200,000 extra points as a courtesy. I value that amount at 1,000 dollars. Thank you, IHG, you are the best! So now I have a boatload of IHG points and made an amazing redemption with my Choice points as well. Oh, and I didn’t have to compromise my ethics, which is another plus!
Very often in this hobby I notice an attitude of complete disdain toward rewards programs. Basically, let’s fleece them because after all, they fleece us. In a way, I understand, with all the unannounced program “enhancements” that took place recently. However, sometimes companies go above and beyond what’s required, and I don’t want to forget it next time (inevitable) devaluation hits.
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Leana is the owner and 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.