IHG announced their Fall 2015 promotion back in August, which is another of those targeted promotions where everyone’s offer is tailored especially for them. The Accelerate promotion is generally being promoted as an opportunity to earn 50,000+ points meaning that everyone should have the opportunity to earn at least that much.
This is all fine and dandy — and some of these targeted offers are actually quite good — but the best offers are being made to new members.
You know, those twenty people who, for unknown reasons, have never opened an IHG account. These folks are getting offers that allow them to earn a night at the Intercontinental Bora Bora — or another awesome property — after just two stays. If you remember the glory days of Hyatt’s Faster Free Nights, this is basically it.
Of course if you’re reading One Mile at a Time, you almost certainly have an IHG account already. But don’t let that stop you. Here’s how you too can pick up nights at the Intercontinental Bora Bora for only $180 or so per night.
IHG Accelerate for new members
- Make two stays by December 31, 2015
- Earn a free night good through December 31, 2016
- Stay two more nights, get another free night
The difference between this offer and Hyatt’s Faster Free Nights is that Hyatt didn’t limit how many free nights you can earn. (Though I’ll show you how to get around that limitation in a moment.)
I’m assuming that these Accelerate free nights will be treated the same as the IHG credit card anniversary free nights which come from the same bucket as points bookings. So if a room is available on points, you should be able to use a free night certificate as well. While IHG awards can be capacity controlled, I’ve generally found their availability to be pretty good — I’ve been able to book $700+ rooms using the free night certificate, for example.
Since I’m arbitrarily fixated on the Intercontinental Bora Bora, here’s what award availability looks like for next May and June. It was reasonably similar for other months.
But I’ve already got an IHG account
Yeah, so do I. So does everyone else reading this. But who cares? Is there anything stopping you from opening another one?
It’s really easy and takes about two minutes. The best part is that you can click on My Offers and you’ll be able to instantly enroll in the Accelerate promotion. You should immediately see the offer that enables you to earn a free night after two stays, and then another free night after two more.
Now you just need to find some cheap IHG properties near you.
The good news is that IHG has hotels everywhere, and they also have some pretty cheap properties. I generally think that most should be able to find a room in the $80-$90 range in most metro areas. Tiffany actually found a property around Atlanta that was less than $60 per night.
Now you just need to book two mattress run nights and, voila, you’ll have earned a free night good anywhere in the world.
But who wants to go all the way to French Polynesia just for two nights?
Getting more than two free nights
Well, assuming you are taking your significant other — and what’s the point of going to Bora Bora without someone to enjoy it with? — then they can get two free nights as well. If that’s still not enough free nights, well, I suggest you get creative. Maybe you have have a few friends who will rent out space in their mailbox to you….
A word of warning
The biggest downside that I see to the strategy of creating an additional account is that you’ll give up your elite status during both the revenue nights as well and the free nights. Then again, IHG status is much maligned anyway, given that it doesn’t actually guarantee you all that much. (I don’t necessarily agree with this assessment, but it’s sort of the party line, so let’s just go with it.)
Furthermore, if you, like me, earn your Platinum status just by holding the credit card, then this isn’t going to hurt your re-qualification either. Since you’ll also earn some regular points from your two revenue nights, those points will probably become orphaned in this new account. But don’t worry about it and instead keep your eyes on the prize — two cheap nights anywhere in the world!
Another downside is that IHG probably frowns on this sort of thing. They’ve been known to cancel accounts in the past for folks who added publicly available promo codes that they weren’t entitled to. So if they detected that you have two accounts, I suppose they could cancel one and you’d lose your free nights. Frankly, I don’t see that as all that likely, but it could happen.
Who Should Do This?
Earning a free night anywhere in the world after two nights at your local Candlewood Suites is a great deal, but only if you can get good value out of the free nights. So you should be planning to use these free nights at a top tier property, or in an expensive part of the world, since you definitely want to be getting more than $180 of value from them. (Or whatever you paid for your mattress run nights.) You also need to able to do that trip in 2016 as that’s when these nights expire.
If you can’t commit to a really cool redemption in 2016, you should probably stick with your targeted Accelerate offer, as those points can be banked for the future.
And if you don’t really care about aspirational awards, but instead prefer quantity over quality, then the pile of points from your targeted offer will get you more nights at cheap properties.
The IHG Accelerate promotion is a targeted promotion. If the version that you were targeted for isn’t all that exciting or achievable, you could consider opening a new account in order to get the Faster Free Nights version. Then you can earn a free night anywhere in the world for every two stays at your local (and hopefully cheap) IHG property.
Depending on what your travel plans look like for 2016, this could be a very lucrative promotion.
Would you rather have the new member Faster Free Nights offer, or the points offer for which you were personally targeted?