And by all-in, I mean staying just 1 night. I’ve written about Accelerate promo from IHG and the fact that it can be quite lucrative for some families. That said, I personally had no plans to participate in it. We have a lot of IHG points, and no major vacation plans coming up this fall. I thought I checked offers for everyone in the family, emphasis on “thought.”
Except, one day I got a phone call from my husband. He had to work till 3 AM in another city because of a major IT systems’ failure. What’s worse is that he had to be back at that location at 7AM to make sure everything was working right. Since the office is located one hour from our home, it didn’t make sense to drive back at night, get 2 hours of sleep, only to go right back. We’ve been in this situation before and usually, the bank paid for the hotel. But this came at the last minute, and we were looking at covering the bill ourselves.
I had a few hours to make all the arrangements, so I decided to follow the protocol outlined in my post few weeks ago. Since I’ve already settled on the location and had no choice but to reserve a hotel, I checked to see if I could pick up some bonus points from a promotion. It was either that or redeeming hotel currency. I knew Accelerate promo would give us some bonus points even after staying 1 night, so checked all the offers in the family. When I looked at my father-in-law’s set of tasks, I almost choked on my cheerios:
I couldn’t believe my eyes! All we had to do was book one-night stay in order to receive 43,200 IHG points. Of course, I had to make sure that it was a qualifying Bonus Points Package rate, and that it was paid with his Chase IHG credit card. I found a Holiday Inn Express where the rate was $121 and included 5,000 bonus points. The problem: There was no way to prepay the reservation, and the card was in my father-in-law’s name.
I actually thought about asking him if he wanted to hang out with my husband at a hotel, but didn’t want to take a chance on him being stuck in the room without a way back home. I called the property and explained the situation. I spoke to a manager and truthfully told her that we are trying to complete a promo, and that my father-in-law isn’t going to be present. Is there any way they can charge his credit card? She said Yes! She emailed me an authorization form where I had to fill out all the information, then fax it back to her. Voila! My father-in-law’s credit card was charged without any issues. Of course, I added my husband as an additional guest on the reservation.
So, did we get the points? Yes, we did! I mean, yes, he did. All the points were deposited after two weeks. I booked through Ebates, so we should get cash back from that as well.
The total price came up to about $114 (minus Ebates cash back), and it gave us almost 50K (Accelerate promo+ 5,000 points+ regular earned points). That comes out to, drum roll, please… a price of 0.23 cents per point. Plus, remember, we needed this hotel stay anyway and saved points as a result. At this price, I’m a buyer. The only thing that would have made it sweeter is if my husband’s job covered it. And they probably would, my husband just didn’t really want to ask.
Some of you may have gotten a special offer of 10K points for staying in Holiday Inn Vacations Club. It should be stackable with Accelerate, but check your terms carefully. Mine said that you have to stay two nights in order to get the bonus. This is significant since the offer page indicates “stay”, so it appears that you only need one night in order to complete this promotion. It’s only when you click on “T and C” at the bottom of the page, the full picture emerges. Oh, IHG, when will you stop playing these games?
My advice: Check, double check, triple check, take two screenshots on different computers, record names, conversations etc. OK, now I just sound paranoid.
Make sure to check offers for everyone in the family. If someone got an unusually lucrative set of tasks, consider doing what I did. Of course, make sure they let you use points afterwards!
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.