When we first began to travel as a couple, we always booked Priceline Name Your Own Price hotels. These were GREAT for us at the time as we were not shelling out a lot for hotel accommodation. Any bookings made through a 3rd party do not earn hotel points or count towards any promotions.
However, we have since learned of the value of booking direct with the hotel. These bookings do earn points and count towards promotions. As a result, it is important to know of the different kinds of promotions that exist. Today we are going to give an overview of our favourite hotel brands loyalty program.
IHG, Intercontinental Hotels Group, is our main go to brand due to the IHG credit card that we hold. For $49 a year, we receive, among other benefits, Platinum Elite status which is the 2nd highest tier for IHG hotels. Within the US this is not generally given any special treatment. However, outside the US we have received complimentary upgrades, welcome drinks, daily drinks (France!!) or special dinner reservations at an All Inclusive Resort in Jamaica.
IHG's most popular promotion is the Accelerate promotion. Every quarter, IHG offer points for meeting various benchmarks through hotel stays. See below Peter's 2nd Quarter Accelerate promotion offers.
The great thing about these offers is that they can be accomplished simultaneously. Take for example our plan this quarter. We have scheduled to go to Florida over the Memorial Day weekend to visit the Everglades and have a paid, 2 night stay at the Candlewood Suites in Fort Myers. Our out of pocket cost for these two nights is $128.00.
1. We'll knock out the first offer "Stay once, get 2,000 bonus points".
2. The second offer we will not meet- it requires 5 nights during the promotion.
3. The third offer "A bonus weekend stay" will be accomplished because we purposefully booked 2 nights at the hotel.
4. The fourth offer is to pay with our IHG card. Done.
If we meet three of the four offers above, we will earn an additional 22,500 IHG points. In total, this $128.00 stay will earn 32,000 IHG points.
Well, what can 32,000 IHG points get you?
We realize that for many people reading this, you may not know what this means. If you use IHG points frequently, you will know that you can get a decent hotel for 32,000 points. An estimate by Wallet Hub values IHG points at $0.0077 each. So our $128 out of pocket has net us $246.40 in points. The Points Guy values IHG points at $0.007 each- so would net us $224 in points.
However, recently we were explaining to a friend about the points that we were earning and without context of what these points are worth, it did not mean much to them. The best example is practical- see the hotels below that you could book with 30,000 points and how much the hotel would cost for that night if paid with cash.
Stay local? 25,000 points or $306 ($306 for a Holiday Inn Express?!!??)
How about a beach? 30,000 or $263.
For a getaway that we were planning on doing anyway, this is a great additional bonus. The key here to maximizing the points we are going to earn for as little out of pocket cash as possible was choosing a lower cost hotel.
How can you take advantage of this?
If you have any planned leisure travel- SIGN UP FOR HOTEL PROMOTIONS. If you know that you are going to need a hotel, why not take advantage of additional points?
If you have any business travel- SIGN UP FOR HOTEL PROMOTIONS. If you are going to be there for work in the first place, make it easier to sleep at night knowing you are earning additional points for a future "non business" getaway!
If you have a cheap hotel around the corner from you that you don't even want to stay in- SIGN UP FOR HOTEL PROMOTIONS. Now this one is ninja level (@grantcj007) and will be the subject of a future blog post!!
If you've signed up for IHG Accelerate promotions, what offers have you received? Or what other hotel point program do you prefer to use?