Mini Points: Free Holiday Inn Resort Night & Amex Transfer Bonus

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Here are a couple updates in the miles and points world that I haven’t had a chance to write full posts on….

Stay Two Get One Holiday Inn Resort Promo:

This morning I received an email from Priority Club announcing a new promo where you earn a free night certificate to use for a free night at any Holiday Inn Resort in North America (except the Waikiki Beachcomber that seems to have its own restrictions) some time in the next year just by staying two consecutive nights at a Holiday Inn Resort between November 23rd through February 28th.  You do have to register for this promotion, and it is only available to US residents.  On first glance this seems to be a pretty good promo for those in the US, but when you get to the terms and conditions then it gets a bit more confusing and much less lucrative as well.

You have to stay two nights when you redeem the free night and they also have a restriction on only one free night per household per trip.  That would mean (in theory) that spouses couldn’t both redeem an earned free night on the same trip.  The award travel has to be booked through a specific source, must be booked 45 days in advance, and etc etc.  Basically, they grabbed my attention at the beginning and then totally lost my interest in the details.

Here are the actual terms and conditions:

  1. Offer is open to legal residents of the 50 U.S., including DC.
  2. You must register your Priority Club® Rewards Number in advance of your two night stay at and your stay must be completed between November 23, 2012 and February 28, 2013 to be eligible for free night Award. If you are not already a Priority Club Rewards member you may join for free at A stay is defined as two consecutive nights at the same hotel, regardless of frequency of check-in/out. A stay is qualified when paying qualifying rates, which include most business and leisure rates. Qualifying Room Rates do not include the following reduced room rates: net wholesale individual and group rate, certain package rates, employee discount rate, friends and family rate, crew rate, special discounted contract rates, seasonal worker/crew rate, 50% travel club discount rate, travel industry discount rate, distressed passenger rate, Priority Club Reward Nights/Airline Hotel Reward rate, complimentary hotel stays and any other rates not defined as a Qualifying Room Rate. Also excluded are opaque rates and “name your own price” rates (where hotel name, location and/or rate not visible until after booking is submitted).
  3. You must claim your Winter Break Promotion Award (“Award”) online within 30 days of receipt of the Award email at before using it (“Award Registration”). Only the person who initially received the Award can claim it and redeem it and must be the traveler. A toll free number to make Award travel reservations will be provided upon Award Registration. Award travel reservations must be made through this number.
  4. Award travel must be completed within one (1) year of Award Registration.
  5. Questions regarding the promotion may be emailed to
  6. Your Award may be redeemed for a single free hotel night at any Holiday Inn Resort location in North America, excluding the Waikiki Beachcomber, up to a maximum value of $400. For a list of eligible resorts visit: If you stay at the Waikiki Beachcomer property for two (2) consecutive nights, you will be eligible for two (2) free nights, up to a maximum value of $600, for redemption for another stay at the Waikiki Beachcomer property, using the same process as described herein.
  7. Stays to utilize the Award must be a minimum of two consecutive nights, and the Award’s value will be used to cover the cost of the night(s) with the lowest cost. The Award’s value will be applied to a standard room. If you wish to stay in a higher category room you may apply the Award’s value to that room’s cost by paying the difference in rate.
  8. Awards redeemed for stays in Hawaii require the purchase of airfare to Hawaii. Airfare and the hotel nights must be booked at the same time.
  9. Room inventory is subject to the availability of IHG’s Advance Purchase Rate. Blackout dates may apply.
  10. Full payment of any amount beyond the value covered by the Award must be made at the time of booking using a major credit card.
  11. All Award travel must be booked through ATG (CST# 2001330-10 and Florida Seller of Travel Registration #35395, and Nevada Seller of Travel Registration No. 240000054), using the toll-free phone number provided upon Award Registration.
  12. Travel must be booked at least 45 days in advance of departure.
  13. The office that will book your travel is open from 8:30AM to 5:00PM (Pacific Time) Monday through Friday, and closed on holidays. Please consider the hours of operation when booking your travel. You may need to call more than 45 days in advance of departure to reach an agent during business hours.
  14. This offer is subject to the availability of hotel and airline inventory at the time of reservation, so the farther in advance you can make your travel plans the easier it will be to accommodate your specific preferences.
  15. Travelers are subject to all rules and regulations of the issuing airline and/or hotel property, including but not limited to refunds, exchanges, cancellations or changes of itinerary. The names of the travelers cannot be changed. Changes or cancellations to the original booking may be subject to additional fees charged by the airline or hotel. Changes and/or cancellations to the original booking must be made through ATG. If changes are made directly with the hotel or airline, the Award will be voided and the discount may be charged back to the purchaser’s credit card.
  16. Only one Award can be redeemed per trip. This Award cannot be combined with any other promotional program.
  17. ATG has no control over schedule changes, cancelled or oversold flights. Remedies for these situations are at the discretion of the validating carrier and subject to federal regulations.
  18. ATG has final authority on all ticketing, pricing, and availability decisions.
  19. Only one award may be redeemed per trip per household. Multiple awards may not be used for guests in the same party.
  20. Terms and conditions are subject to change. For complete, up-to-date information, please go to

American Express Transfer Bonus:

According to those “in the know”, beginning today through December 29th there will be a 35% transfer bonus from the American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic.  This would not even be a blip on my radar except for the fact that there is a very favorable transfer ratio from Virgin Atlantic to the Hilton HHonors program.  I get lots of emails about how to best make use of a large Membership Rewards balance, and transferring to the HHonors program via Virgin Atlantic is usually one of the options I suggest.  I personally prefer to use most of my MR points in the British Airways Avios program (especially during a BA transfer bonus time) on domestic American Airlines flights, but if you have a Hilton redemption in mind this can be a good transfer to consider.

The normal transfer rate to HHonors (when going via Virgin Atlantic) is 1:2, but with this bonus you will be getting 2.7 HHonors points for every 1 Membership Reward point.  HHonors points are not near as valuable as some other types of points for most redemptions, but this can still be a good way to boost your HHonors balance if you are looking to empty out your Membership Rewards account.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I’m surprised that people have issues with large MR balances. Perhaps it’s just me, but I never have any trouble finding things to do.

    Latest example – $1900 ticket to NZ charged to my platinum card. Used 179,000 MR points to offset that and got nearly 36000 bonused back by Amex. Got another couple of bonuses from Amex and MR account is back to 110K. So I decided to splurge and upgraded myself to “premium economy” on the Air NZ flight, and offset $1100 of the upgrade. And received 22,000 MR points bonused back.

    Basically, I got $3800 worth of flight for about $900…

    BTW, the 20% rebate on points used to offset platinum card charges goes away on Feb 1st, so take advantage soon if you’re going to!

    • Rob, I think that some folks who aren’t inherently “into” miles and points gravitate toward Amex, and end up accumulating large MR stashes they don’t know what to do with. At least, that is something I have encountered many times. I don’t usually use my points as cash, but thanks for sharing your story and the reminder about the 20% deadline.

      • Ah… that would make sense. I will admit I wasn’t “into” points travel much before this year, myself, beyond the occasional free star alliance flight. Too bad there isn’t a way for all those people with “useless” (or unused) MR points to transfer them to me. 🙂

        I would actually have found a better use for the points than cash, but it turns out that the EQM benefits of a long TPAC flight to NZ work in my favor for my current task of acquiring status on airlines other than United.

        In fact, with the exception of possible upgrades (that never happen to lowly silver/gold members) and free E+ seats at booking (for gold), there’s not much that United status buys you that you can’t get for a $95/year credit card.

        If I ever return to lots of business travel the hotel points might be worth investigating. In fact, since I’m just about tapped out with airline cards right now I might start churning hotel cards to open up hotel options for some future travel. Recently I’ve been using AirBNB (a great idea!) for my personal travel and it’s been fantastic. I meet great people, don’t need to endure sterile hotels, and usually it’s cheap. Sometimes *very* cheap.

        But I digress… just think of all those MR points lurking out there unused. I want them. Not unlike the FF points people accumulate and don’t use or the (shockingly) 20% of gift cards that go unredeemed. But those 20% finance the careful use the rest of us make of them, so I won’t complain…

  2. Economy, premium or regular, on a 14 + hour flight to NZ ? No thank you. Maybe when I was 18 and totally ignorant about what “economoy class lag” means, but not now. Happy trails….

    • @Robert Hanson:

      I guess it depends a little bit on how badly you’ve aged since you were 18, doesn’t it?

      I happily, at age 54, flew Air NZ economy on this same flight two years ago. Between sleeping, IFE, wine & decent food, a full hour at the back of the plane chatting with flight attendants, and then breakfast I didn’t find it traumatic at all. I got off the plane, made it to my B&B by 7am for a short nap before showering and heading off to embrace Auckland. This time I imagine it’ll be equally easy. It’s only a 4 hour time difference from me in Colorado, after all, and I’ll have adapted myself to their time in the weeks before I leave. I would have happily sat in economy this flight, but PE allows me to manipulate 2013’s airline status levels more conveniently.

      Just for yucks, I did a little investigation.

      Air NZ economy has a 32-34″ seat pitch and is 17.8 inches wide.
      Air NZ Premium economy is 38-40 seat pitch and 18.2 inches wide.

      As well, *my* premium economy seats are the aisle of a row two wide. Economy is 3 or 4 wide (although I would have had the aisle anyway)..

      compare this to the United Flight I’m flying in for 8 hours to Hawaii…

      E+ has a 35 inch pitch and is 17 inches wide.
      First (where I’m sitting) has a 38 inch pitch and is 20.5 inches wide. 2×2 seat rows.

      So, basically, Air NZ Premium Economy is equivalent, excepting a touch narrower, to United domestic first. The narrowness won’t bother me as I’m going to NZ to hike and camp, and my butt is far narrower than 18 inches!! And my experience in United first to date tells me that the IFE and “other” features of the United flight won’t be as nice as Air NZ.

      Also, Air NZ Premium Economy seats are also little self-contained pods with power, big tv screens and a lot more space (they are, after all fitting 2 where 3 economy would be). All in all, definitely worth spending MR points, IMHO.

  3. @MommyPoints Yes, being used to the Marriott stay 2 get 1 deals, at first I was very interested. Then I read the T/C, and found I had to go to a remote Hilton “resort”, stay 2 nights, and only get 1 free night for my trouble. Lets see, I fly to Aruba, stay 2 nights and one day, then get a certificate to fly there again, stay overnight, and go home the next day? Perfect, I guess, for someone who already has plans to stay at 2 Hilton “resorts” in the next few months. For the rest of us? Meh….

  4. .
    Thanks for the info on transferring from VA to HH. It had not really occurred to me when I first heard about the 35% bonus that I could then transfer to Hilton. Not sure if I will take advantage of that or not but it may be worth transferring the points for a vacation planned for May.

  5. Does it cost anything to transfer from Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic, like it does to other airlines (besides British Airways)? I think it cost $0.006 per point transferred like to Delta…

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