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It’s not secret that most of the fall hotel promotions this year are not very exciting (or rewarding). Occupancy rates are up, and the need to lure points junkies like me through the lobby doors any more than normal just isn’t there. I like fun ways to strategize and earn points, so I wish there were more exciting promos to pick from, but there is one standout that is worth some extra attention.
The IHG promo “Into the Nights” has the fun “gamey” aspect of promotions that I like and it can be actually rewarding, which I really like.
The promo came out a few weeks ago, but I’ve been dragging my feet deciding whether to go for it for my own family. Part of the hesitation was to ensure that the two award nights you can earn would pull from availability that is actually available and not some super-duper-restricted-promo-only availability, and I have received confirmation from IHG that they do indeed pull from the same availability as the award nights earned via the IHG credit card. The other hesitation was to make sure I could align some fall travel with the promo as doing it all via “mattress runs” would not really be worth it in my view for my particular version of the promo.
My offer is:
- Stay 5 night(s) at any of IHG’s 4,700 hotels worldwide – 8,400 points
- Take survey – 100 points
- Stay two Saturdays – 8,000 points
- Download and sign in to the IHG App and book a stay – 1,900 points
- Complete all activities for 31,600 bonus points for a total of 50,000 points or two free nights.
Your offer may be different than mine, but the “prize” for completing your individual challenge will be a minimum of at least 50,000 total bonus IHG points, two free nights, or 10,000 airline miles. I would be playing for two free nights as those can be worth up to 100,000 IHG points, depending on where you redeem. Two nights at any IHG property sounds very nice, but before you decide if you want to play, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Remember that IHG points can be purchased for .7 cents each at anytime, and sometimes for less than that. If you are spending near that target in order to earn the “free nights” I would advise backing away. I would shoot for no more than half that price out of pocket. The caveat is of course if you really needed all of the IHG stays for actual travel and they were indeed the best choice for your travel patterns. In that case this promo is just a (great) perk you are picking up along the way.
- Booking via third party site will not count toward the promotion, so you may be forgoing some savings in order to have stays that qualify for Into the Nights. This is my current hold-up as I have IHG stays booked for less via Travel Pony than I can get directly with IHG. To go for this promo I will have to cancel those and rebook at higher rates with IHG. The payoff can still be worth it, but you need to add those totals up closely to make sure you are coming out ahead.
- Your free nights will expire on December 31, 2015, so be sure to have at least a pretty decent idea of how you will use them. This is also true because using them at lower tier properties changes the points/value equation. I have a trip to Europe on the books for 2015, so there are top Category properties going for 50,000 points in cities like London that would give me a big return for my reward nights. Domestically, I have enjoyed the Intercontinental Times Square and wouldn’t hesitate to use my reward nights there in 2015, but you need at least a basic redemption plan before worrying about how to earn the nights.
- If you do book IHG stays, be sure to go through a portal that will earn you cash back or extra points when making your bookings. This is not the same as going through a third-party site that won’t count as you are still booking directly with IHG. I recently saw IHG as high as 8% cash back via Ebates, but highest I am currently seeing 5% cash back via Top Cash Back. Those are my referral links.
I can find rates around here for Holiday Inn Express stays for as low as about $70 per night, and I bet that could dip into the $60’s on very off-peak days. If your offer awards two free nights anywhere for just 3 out of pocket stays (as I have seen), then this promo is hugely valuable. Mine will require 5 stays, but if I can get 3 or 4 of the nights to line up with nights I already needed, then this promo will be worth it for me. I’d like to keep my “extra” out of pocket costs for this promo to no more than $200 beyond what I would have spent on hotel stays between now and the end of the year.
If I can keep costs low and hit the requirements of my “Into the Nights’ promo, then I’ll be earning the two free nights, the regular points for the stays, cash back via one of the portals, some bonus points via the promo, and hopefully have some fun in the process!
Are you going for the IHG Into the Nights promo? If so, I’d love to hear your strategy! I’ll share more about my strategy as it is finalized!