Monday, September 8, 2014

IHG Into the Night Promo

InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) is a great secondary or tertiary hotel chain to have in your rotation. While my parents and I prefer Starwood as our primary, the simple facts are:

(a) They don't always have a hotel you want to stay at in every location you want to go

(b) Free/easy points from another chain shouldn't be overlooked out of "loyalty"

I know...I know... No one loves staying at a Holiday Inn, but I have to say, the brand is quite stellar outside the United States. For example, we had a great one-night stay at the Chiang Mai Holiday Inn in Thailand last year. And since we had Platinum status (that came with the Chase IHG credit card), we were upgraded to a massive suite.

But of course, IHG has more premier brands, including their higher end InterContinental Hotels. This is the IHG brand that we usually stay at when we don't find a Starwood or Hyatt. For example, we were lucky enough to stay at the InterContinental Hotels at Berchtesgaden (Germany), San Juan Puerto RicoHong Kong and De La Ville Rome.

 Most of these stays were on points or free night certificates. But how did we get all those points?

1. Chase IHG Visa (80,000 points plus a free night award certificate every year)
2. IHG Seasonal Promotions (~150,000 points)

The biggest promotion of 2013 was called the IHG Big Win. From signing up and completing a series of customized challenges (staying 5 nights at 3 different hotel brands in 2 cities), my father earned 91,700 IHG points - with about half of them as a super bonus for completing all the tasks. We used those points to stay 2 nights at the InterContinental De La Ville in Rome (worth ~$1,000 at $499/night).

This year, IHG kept the same concept but called it their "Into the Night" Promotion. This year, my father has an opportunity to earn 30,000 points PLUS either (a) 30,000 bonus points or (b) 2 free nights. Assuming the Free Nights are not restricted, that's probably the better bet than the 30k points, given my family's travel patterns often take us to hotels that cost over 15,000 points/night.

Unfortunately, this year, my father's personal challenges require (a) 7 nights instead of last year's 5 nights and (b) 2 international stays. Given we're not planning to travel internationally in the next several months, it looks like my father won't be able to complete the full list. And the smaller individual bonuses aren't worth going out of our way for.

My mother's challenges, however, were a lot better. First, she only had to complete 4 of 5 tasks to win, and second, a single $113 (including tax) stay at the EVEN Hotel in Norwalk, CT could net her 27,700 IHG points. Then one more Saturday night stay anywhere else (let's just say at $100/night), would get us another 8,000 IHG points + 2 free nights.

However, if someone were to sign up for a completely new IHG account with a different email address, then they would receive the "standard" offer for all new IHG members (see below), which is a lot easier to achieve for those coveted 2 free nights.

So under this "new member" scheme, staying just 3 nights at 2 different Holiday Inns (for about $100/night) over a few Saturdays  would earn us 2 free nights at any IHG property, including those expensive amazing InterContinentals we mentioned above or even the one in Bora Bora. Sounds pretty compelling now, doesn't it?

What scheme were you given this year? Are you going for it?

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