IHG is attempting to make a splash with a “double points” promo that, on the surface, looks pretty attractive. “Wait a minute,” you might say, “IHG just devalued—again, and again, and again!” And yes, they did, and if you’re suspicious of the promotion (and the IHG loyalty program in general) you’re probably thinking the right way.
The promotion is reminiscent of the old US Airways “grand slam” promotions in that there are different activities to perform and bonuses you can achieve for doing so. However, this promotion is a very complicated one so you’ll need to track your activities very closely to ensure you maximize it. Additionally, each person’s offer is different.
First of all, you need to register so you can see the exact details of your offer.
Unfortunately, my offer isn’t likely to be the same as yours so you’ll need to do some of your own analysis depending on what you get. Here’s my offer:
- Complete two stays.
- Reward: Double points, with a cap of 15,000 bonus points.
- Stay at 4 different IHG brands.
- Reward: 22,400 points.
- Book two stays using the IHG mobile app.
- 3,200 points
- Stay two weekends including a Saturday night.
- 8,400 points
My promotion is most valuable if you perform four different activities because a bonus is awarded.
Here’s how you should maximize this promotion (assuming it’s the same as mine):
You need to complete four stays in IHG properties. This will be tough for most people to accomplish in the limited time period of the promotion. Even if you do manage to do this, two of the stays need to include Saturday night stays. If you’re a frequent business traveler, this is the exact night that you won’t be staying.
Most insidious of all, double points isn’t really double points in many cases. Did you notice the first bullet point? There is a cap of 15,000 bonus points. So, it’s not “double points” for this promotion, it’s “double points” up to 15,000 bonus points and it only starts after the first stay! That isn’t per stay—it’s total.
If you somehow manage to register properly, have everything credited properly, and complete all of these activities, you’ll be the proud owner of 34,000 IHG points. There is so much you can do with these! You could transfer 30,000 of them to Delta SkyMiles at a 5:1 ratio, so you’d be the proud owner of 6,000 SkyMiles. That might be enough for a short-haul off peak economy class one way flight booked more than 3 weeks in advance, such as from Seattle to Phoenix.
Maybe you prefer to redeem for hotels. Let’s assume you max out the promotion, and you end up with 35,000 points total (which is a reasonable assumption based on how the promotion is structured). This will get you into some great, exotic properties for a single night;
- Holiday Inn Express in Metrotown, Burnaby, a dull suburb of Vancouver anchored by a mall.
- Holiday Inn Express in Berkeley, CA
- Holiday Inn Express, Fort Lauderdale Airport South and Fort Lauderdale Airport West
- Holiday Inn Exprses, Indianapolis Convention Center
You get the idea: it’s enough points for a single night in a Holiday Inn Express, and not even a Holiday Inn Express that is centrally located in a major city.
In all fairness, there are some great international properties at the 35,000 point level, such as the InterContinental, Shanghai Ruijin and the Crowne Plaza, Barcelona Fira Center. By and large, though, this isn’t enough points to justify jumping through a lot of hoops to obtain.
You have to do a ton of work to fully take advantage of this promotion, including staying on weekend days that are inconvenient for business travelers. After all of that, if you get everything right, you might score a single night in a suburban Holiday Inn Express. I’m definitely not as big a fan of this promo as recent Accelerate Promotions. I’d probably give this promotion a miss – unless your stays happen to correspond anyway.