Intercontinental Hotel Groups (IHG) has been running a pretty cool promotion over the past few months. The concept of the Priceless Surprises promotion was that you would earn entries into an instant win contest after staying at IHG hotels. Each entry gave you a chance to win IHG points or a few bigger prizes.
As Priceless Surprises was in effect a sweepstakes, there was also a “free” method of entry. All you had to was write about ten pieces of information on an index card and send it to a random office building in Michigan. Then a few days (or weeks) later, you’d receive an email with a link to the online game, which basically consisted of pressing one of the six buttons on the elevator control panel. My wife came to call it the “elevator game” after playing all 94 of her entries.
Well, the promotion is now over and it’s time to count our winnings. Collectively, we submitted 564 entries here at OMAAT. My Mom was gracious enough to do the heavy lifting, er I mean writing, and completed 94 entries each for myself, my wife, herself, and my Dad. To thank Tiffany for scoring them Qantas business class award tickets to Australia — where they currently are — she also sent in 94 each for Tiffany and her husband.
This elevator is now out of service
These results are still sort of preliminary. Although the contest postmark deadline was February 15th, you still have until March 15th to play the game. I guess that means that Hello World could still be emailing out the last of the game pieces, and there are definitely a few folks — including some of us here at Team OMAAT — who are missing some.
But waiting for game pieces to arrive is sort of like making popcorn — you never really know when the last kernel is going to pop, so eventually you just say to hell with it and take the bag out of the microwave. That’s about where I’m at now. We haven’t seen any new emails in two weeks, so I’m calling it.
There were six of us on Team OMAAT. Myself (T), my wife (W), my Mom (M), my Dad (D), Tiffany (T2), and her husband (H). Ben decided he had better things to do.
So together we submitted 564 entries. But like many, we didn’t receive all of our expected game pieces. We actually received 495 entries for a success rate of 87.8%.
In some ways, this kind of stinks because it means that either the USPS or Hello World screwed up. Then again, when you consider that there’s either manual data entry or OCR scanning going on, this might actually be sort of impressive.
Only 3 of us received the expected 94 entries (dashed red line)
We won 303,000 points in total for an average of 50,500 points per person. My Dad also won a $50 gift card which isn’t included in that total.
We averaged over 50,000 points per person
My Expectations For The Contest
When deciding to take part in this game, I conservatively estimated that each entry would win the minimum 500 points. That means that if somebody played 94 times, they should win 47,000 points. Using Ben’s valuation of 0.5 cents per IHG point, I expected each of us to win $235 worth of points.
On the other hand, I estimated that each entry would cost $0.75 in materials, not counting the labor. In the end, I think that was probably closer to $0.65. That means each person’s entries cost us $61, not including labor.
In other words, I expected this contest to have a net benefit of $174 per person.
We Did Better Than Expected
Our team won a total of 303,000 points. That’s worth about $1,515. Add in my Dad’s $50 prepaid Mastercard gift card, and the total winnings comes to $1,565.
On the other hand, we spent a total of $366 in supplies and postage.
That brings our net winnings to $1,199. Or about $200 per person.
Given that I think it took my mom about four hours to complete the entries for each person, I’d say her labor was worth $50 per hour. Not bad for a retiree!
Alternatively, if we think of my mom’s labor as free, we were able to purchase 303,000 IHG points for $366, or 0.12 cents per point point. That’s about a 75% discount.
All Our Points Have Posted
All of our points posted to our IHG accounts relatively quickly after playing the game. And for the most part, it was as expected. There were a couple cases where it seemed like we got an additional 500 points that we weren’t expecting, and in another we lost 500 points. But that could have just as easily been a tracking error on our part. Overall, I would say that the points posted have matched our points won very closely.
I will say that having all 94 game plays post separately to your IHG account makes it a little messy.
That’s a lot of account activity
It’s also worth noting that 2/3 of us also had an actual IHG stay during the promotion period. You might recall that your first stay earns 1,000 points, while the rest earn a game piece.
As best I can tell, the 1,000 points for the first stay is in addition to the 94 entries. And it posts with exactly the same description in your account activity which can be a little confusing. So if it seems like you received credit for 95 game plays, that might explain it.
We received 50,500 points per person, exceeding my conservative estimate of 47,000. For that reason, I’m declaring our participation in the IHG Priceless Surprises promotion a success.
Sure, it would have been nice to receive all of our game pieces, but given the mechanics of the contest, I think IHG and Hello World did reasonably well at meeting expectations.
How did you do in Priceless Surprises?