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A Sequel to My “Points and Ethics” Post

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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Author: Leana

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.

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12 thoughts on “A Sequel to My “Points and Ethics” Post

  1. Wow. That’s awesome. Good things happen to good (and honest) people. Happy for you but a tad jealous too. 😉

  2. Thanks, Jen! It was a very unexpected windfall. Of course, I have already used a good part of it for various trips. I’ll keep an eye on PointBreaks list for the summer. Hopefully, I can treat you guys for a weekend somewhere! 🙂

    • Shoesinks, thanks! It did work out nicely. You may want to look into this promotion when it goes on sale next Wednesday. I’ll have a post with breakdown on Monday. This could be a very good deal for families who need 2 or more rooms.

  3. So, if my math is correct you got 280K points back (the original reservation) and then IHG threw in an additional 200K bonus because they were sorry the room didn’t meet your needs? Making your balance at least 480K. That is crazy – good for you! Now go buy a lottery ticket. It’s funny, the one time that I tried to take advantage of a PointBreaks offer was at a Candlewood Suites in TX. Because we were traveling as a family of 4, I book a “1-bedroom suite” which at any other hotel in the universe means a separate bedroom and sitting area. I open the door to the room and there is no separate bedroom – only a queen-sized bed, a small kitchen area, a desk, and a bathroom. Even though the room had a stated occupancy limit of 4, there was no sofa bed or any other bedding provisions. I return to the front desk and say “hey, that’s not the room I reserved, it’s supposed to be a 1-bedroom. Where are my kids supposed to sleep?” The clerk says “Well, most people bring sleeping bags or cots.” I do my best Amy Poehler “Seriously?” impression. He continues: “I understand. This happens frequently and you’re not the first person.” He points to the business card holder. “I’ve had that thing thrown at my forehead over this problem. I’ve pleaded with management to change the room description, but they won’t do it.” Of course, the hotel was completely sold out and it was past the penalty cancellation time, so he couldn’t move us to another room. Luckily, the clerk graciously refunded all my points without penalty and then I had to scramble to find a hotel room for the night (which was thankfully easy).

    • Erik, thanks for commenting! Actually, I originally used 80,000 of my own points. Then IHG added 200,000 points for that Holiday Inn. When I called, I told them they could keep the 200,000 points since I was switching to Choice. However, they let me have them. So, I ended up with 200,000 extra points. I know, the whole thing was a bit confusing.
      As far as hotels go, that’s the challenge for families of 4 or more. That’s why PointBreaks program is so useful, since you can splurge for 2 or 3 rooms and not feel bad. Otherwise, rentals just make more sense all around. That was a crazy story, how they told you, people just bring their own cots. You should have complained to IHG, for sure.

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