It’s back, baby! The holy grail of IHG promotions, that is. This is one of very few that is worth bothering with, especially if your targeted offer is substantial. You can check it via this link.
Many bloggers have written posts on it by now. However, I wanted to gather as much info as possible before publishing my take on the whole thing. So, should you go for it? As with most things in this hobby, the answer is: It depends. First, you have to determine what you value IHG points at.
Here is the thing with points or miles: The more you have, the less they are worth. This is especially true for families with limited vacation time. Think about it: If you constantly participate in various promos, you will always have unused extra points or miles. That would be me…
I’ve checked 5 offers in our family (including in-laws) and decided to only pursue 3 of them. The other ones were “weak sauce,” a cool new expression I’ve picked up from my reader Cheapblackdad. I wonder if I should rename my site to CheapWhiteMomma.com? Nah, doesn’t have the same ring to it.
OK, back to business.
Here is my husband’s offer:
As you can see, I need to complete 5 out of 6 offers to get the bonus points or 2 free nights+points. That means I only need 2 paid nights and that’s it. Yes, please! This is better than BOGO, I’m in.
I’ve read that they are valid for any property and expire in 12 months. I hope to redeem the certs at a beachfront Holiday Inn in Florida, where the award rate is 35,000 points per night, a deal breaker if you need 2 rooms. But with certificates, it’s much more palatable.
The free night certificate should be valid at all-inclusive Holiday Inn Montego Bay Jamaica (up to 2 adults and 2 kids per room). To my Disney lovers: You should also be able to use it for a 2-bedroom villa (sleeps 8) at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Orlando
Be aware: This place does have some blackout dates during major holidays, but even if you redeem it in the low season, it would be a good value, since the rate starts at $159 (plus tax) per night.
In this case, we need 3 paid nights, 2 of them at a Holiday Inn. When all is said and done, he would get over 60,500 points, or 10,500 points+2 free nights. Once again, a promotion worth pursuing. I won’t show my mother-in-law’s offer, but it was also fairly lucrative.
So, basically, I need 5 paid nights to get over 100,000 points or 4 free nights+20,000 IHG points. The answer is Yes. What sealed the deal is the fact that we already have several stays on points coming up this fall. Stacking all offers on the same stays was a bit of a mind-bender, but I do love puzzles.
I switched some award nights to paid ones, so we won’t need to do any mattress runs. Plus, remember, I’ll be saving points I would have otherwise used for my trips.
As someone who has a good deal of experience with this promotion and IHG program in general, let me outline some potential problems and things to watch out for:
1. Make sure to read all the terms very carefully and follow them to the letter.
When it says Saturday night, it means checking-in on Saturday. If you plan to arrive after midnight, call and check in over the phone. Trust me, I’ve learned it the hard way. If it says you have to use your IHG card to pay for it, make sure to put it in your wallet a few days before your hotel stay so you don’t forget it in a mad rush of leaving the house.
If it says Holiday Inn (which includes Holiday Inn and Suites), remember, it’s not the same as Holiday Inn Express. Those are two different brands. From terms: “Stays at Holiday Inn Resorts and Holiday Inn Club Vacation properties count as Stays at Holiday Inn brand,” so you should be fine in this case.
Let’s take a look at my husband’s offer screenshot. One of the requirements is to book a “bonus points package with breakfast.” Many rates at IHG hotels usually offer breakfast or bonus package of some sort. However, when you click on terms of IHG offer, here is what comes up: “The rate is valid at InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn®, EVENTM or HUALUXETM hotels worldwide.”
Some brands like Holiday Inn Express already offer free breakfast, so don’t make a mistake of selecting the wrong brand. Here is an example of an eligible rate at a Crowne Plaza:
2. Expect the bonus not to post (even if you follow all the rules), and having to call in a few times.
I completed four IHG Big Win promotions, including my in-laws’. Two did not post after a month and a half. I had to call twice for each of them and was promised that everything was taken care of. It wasn’t. I suggest you ask to speak to a supervisor the first time you call and have them manually add the missing points. I ended up doing just that, but only after calling twice.
Interestingly, my bonus did post on its own two months later, so I got double the amount in points. I did the honest thing and called IHG to let them know that I’ve received 78,000 extra points I wasn’t entitled to. I was kind of hoping they would let me keep them, but no such luck. The amount was deducted from my stash. Still, I have no regrets, because I did the right thing.
My point is, expect some hassle; though, hopefully it won’t materialize after all.
3. Make sure not to use any bonus codes that you didn’t personally receive.
IHG has been aggressively closing accounts when they detect this activity. I strongly recommend you don’t risk your points balance. It’s not worth it to get 20,000 extra points just to lose 50,000 points (or more) later on.
4. Check EVReward to see if you can get cash back for your bookings.
If the offer requires you to reserve through IHG website, you can still go through a shopping portal because it directs you to IHG.com Look for “Intercontinental” not “IHG” while there. If you have to book through a mobile app, this advice is not for you.
Should you bother with it?
If the offer is substantial and only a few stays are required, I would have to say Yes. As long as you fulfill the requirements to the letter, you should get your bonus, just like I did. Let’s say you value IHG point at 0.5 cents a piece, and you need to stay 4 nights in order to get 50,000 points.
That means if you can keep the total cost down to $250, you would be getting your hotel nights for free. That’s an equivalent of about $62.50 per night. Most likely, you will spend more than that, but consider it a credit toward your hotel stay.
The cheapest you can buy IHG points is at 0.57 cents a piece once a year during Daily Getaways, and you don’t get any free hotel nights as a bonus, like you would in this case. You could also apply for Chase IHG Mastercard that comes with 80,000 points sign-up bonus, but it would mean having your credit pulled and potentially foregoing another Chase bonus.
Of course, if you sign up for the promo and get the card, you could possibly get free upgrades during your stays. It could be a win-win. To me, IHG currency is quite underrated in this hobby. Their best bargain is PointBreaks program where hotel nights cost only 5,000 points. So you could potentially get 10 nights out of this promo or 2 nights in a place like New York, where top IHG hotels go for $400 per night.
Readers, are you going to chase into the nights?
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.