IHG Rewards

IHG Clarifies Their Confusing Booking Clarification Email

Crowne-Plaza-Doha-16

A few days ago I wrote about how IHG sent an email to members with a “member booking update,” which was very poorly handled. In the email they stated that as of January 1, 2017, members would only receive the full benefits that come with IHG Rewards Club membership when booking directly through IHG, and not when booking through other travel booking sites.

This is certainly the trend in the industry, as hotels are trying to reduce bookings through online travel agencies as much as possible, given that they have to pay them a commission.

However, there were two problems with IHG’s email:

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IHG Cuts Benefits On Third Party Bookings… Again

InterContinental-Sydney

One of the major trends we’ve seen in the hotel industry recently is hotels emphasizing that they want you to book directly with them. When you book through an online travel agency, hotels have to pay a big commission, and that’s an area where they feel they can cut costs.

That’s why hotels have been doing everything they can to encourage you to book directly with them.

For example, most of the major hotel chains now offer member only rates, the intent of which is that you get a small discount when you book directly with the hotel. Many consumers are under the impression that you get the best deal through online travel agencies, though now hotels are emphasizing that they have the best rates for their rooms.

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IHG’s Infamous “Priceless Experiences” Promotion Returns, With Some Changes

ihg-priceless-experience

Many of you probably remember last year’s Priceless Surprises promotion from IHG, which helped keep the USPS busy. 😉

The promotion was offered by IHG Rewards Club and MasterCard, and the premise was that you could win prizes for stays at IHG properties, and at a minimum you’d receive 500 bonus IHG Rewards Club points per stay. But the interesting twist in the promotion was that since this was a sweepstakes, IHG had to provide a free way for people to enter. So there was an option to mail in a postcard with your IHG number, and you were allowed one entry per day.

Well, I don’t think they quite anticipated what would follow, because hundreds (if not thousands) of people sent in 94 postcards (since the promotion lasted 94 days), each of which netted them 500 points.

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New IHG PointBreaks List Live: Book Hotels For 5K Points Per Night

intercontinental-cali

IHG Rewards Club’s PointBreaks is traditionally one of the best promotions in the hotel industry. Through this promotion, select hotels are available for just 5,000 points per night. Since IHG Rewards Club points can be purchased for just 0.575 cents each right now, that’s like booking stays at certain hotels for under $30 per night.

Also keep in mind that if you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card you get a 10% refund on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points back each year. That means for the first million points you redeem each year you get a 10% discount, so you’d be paying an effective 4,500 points for each PointBreaks night.

IHG’s newest round of PointBreaks hotels is now bookable (we shared the list on Friday before it became bookable), valid for bookings and stays between October 31, 2016, and January 31, 2017. There are 127 hotels participating in this round of PointBreaks, and as of now they’re actually bookable.

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New IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks Deals Start Monday

holiday inn

IHG Rewards Club’s PointBreaks is traditionally one of the best promotions in the hotel industry. Through this promotion, select hotels are available for just 5,000 points per night. Since IHG Rewards Club points can be purchased for as little as 0.575 cents per point, that’s like booking stays at certain hotels for an incredible ~$29 per night.

IHG has just made their latest PointBreaks list available, valid for bookings and stays between October 31st, 2016 and January 31st, 2017. This is a preview list, so the individual hotels won’t be bookable until sometime on Monday, but it’s always worth perusing the list in advance, as desirable properties sell out of PointBreaks rooms quickly.

Keep in mind as well that IHG Rewards Club updated the terms of PointBreaks bookings in 2014, and you can only book two stays per hotel per promotion (however, the stays can be as long you’d like):

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Buy IHG Points With A 100% Bonus

InterContinental-Tampa

IHG Rewards Club is offering a bonus on purchased points this week, valid through November 16, 2016. Through this offer, IHG Rewards Club is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased points. IHG has been offering this promotion fairly frequently lately, and it’s as good as it gets.

In order to get the 100% bonus on purchased points you need to buy at least 16,000 points pre-bonus. If you buy between 5,000 and 15,000 points you’ll receive a 50% bonus.

If you max out this promotion and purchase 60,000 points you’d end up paying $690 and would get a total of 120,000 IHG Rewards Club points.

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Signs That A Hotel Credit Card May Be Too Good To Be True?

InterContinental-DC

You know the saying: “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

One card that I’ve felt that way about for a while is the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. The card has an annual fee of just $49, and that fee is waived the first year. That’s one of the lowest annual fees on any “premium” hotel credit card. While it’s not a card I put a lot of spend on, it’s one which I’ve found to be worth holding onto long term. I also think that for most people this is the best value hotel credit card, and that having this card is a no brainer.

There are three things that make this card especially compelling, in my opinion:

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Great Deal: Buy IHG Points With A 100% Bonus

InterContinental-London

IHG Rewards Club is offering a bonus on purchased points this week, valid through September 30, 2016. Through this offer, IHG Rewards Club is offering a 100% bonus on purchased points, which is as good as their offers get.

Unlike some past promotions, you get the 100% bonus no matter how many points you buy, whether it’s 1,000 or 60,000 (in the past there were often minimum thresholds to get the 100% bonus).

If you max out this promotion and purchase 60,000 points you’d end up paying $690 and would get a total of 120,000 IHG Rewards Club points.

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Have You Ever Volunteered Your Hotel Room?

holiday inn cape cod

The practice of overselling flights is pretty common in the airline industry. This happens when a flight ends up with more ticketed passengers than it can carry, for whatever reason. If the situation hasn’t resolved itself by the time the plane is ready to board, the airline is required to start soliciting passengers who might be willing to take an alternative flight in exchange for compensation.

Sometimes, however, they are unsuccessful at getting enough folks to voluntarily give up their seat and instead have to resort to denying boarding to some passengers involuntarily. As you can expect, this latter case can really start to tick people off. “You mean I bought a ticket for this flight, but you don’t have a seat for me!??! WTF!!!

Hotels can end up in a similar situation, only instead of running out of seats, they run out of rooms. They even have their own industry jargon — instead of getting bumped from a flight, you get walked to another hotel. (Why you can’t just get in your car and drive, I don’t know.)

The difference, at least I always thought, was that hotels don’t actually try to solicit volunteers to give up their rooms but instead just start walking folks when their inventory is depleted. If you check in late, and there’s no room in the inn, well too bad for you.

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Save 12% On IHG Points & Cash Bookings

InterContinental-DC

In early July, IHG ran a promotion for 15% off Points & Cash bookings. Well, they’re back with a similar promotion, though it’s slightly less generous.

Through September 18, 2016, you can receive a 12% discount on the cash component of a Cash & Points booking. The promotion is valid for stays booked through November 30, 2016. Furthermore, you need to be an IHG elite member to be eligible for the promotion, meaning everyone with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is eligible, since you get Platinum status for as long as you have the card.

On top of that, keep in mind that those with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card receive a 10% points refund when they redeem their points, for a total refund of up to 100,000 points per calendar year.

Points & Cash with IHG works a bit differently than with some other hotel chains. For example, at Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood, Points & Cash availability is capacity controlled and can represent an exceptional value. In the case of IHG, Points & Cash is available as long as a standard reward night is available, and simply decreases the cost of your stay by 5,000-20,000 points for a fixed dollar value.

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IHG Launches Their Newest Global Accelerate Promotion

IHG-Bonus-2

For the most couple of years, most of IHG’s global hotel promotions have been customized. Everyone gets some type of offer, but different members get targeted for different versions of the offer. The logic is that hotel loyal programs want to generate incremental business, so they’d rather try to get you to increase the business you’d otherwise give them, rather than just reward you for stays you’d make anyway.

The past several such promotions have been called “Accelerate,” and IHG is now back with their latest version of the offer. IHG has just announced the details of their latest Accelerate offer, valid for stays between September 6 and December 15, 2016.

You can now go to this page to see your IHG Accelerate offer, and register for it.

My IHG Accelerate offer is for a total of up to 79,300 IHG Rewards Club bonus points.

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Buy IHG Points With Up To An 80% Bonus

InterContinental-Sydney

IHG Rewards Club is offering a sale on the purchase of points, valid through September 9, 2016. Through this offer, IHG Rewards Club is offering up to an 80% bonus on purchased points.

You need to purchase at least 10,000 points to earn the 80% bonus — if you purchase 1,000-9,000 points you only get a 40% bonus.

If you max out this promotion and purchase 60,000 points you’d end up paying $690 and would get a total of 108,000 IHG Rewards Club points.

That’s a rate of 0.64 cents per IHG Rewards Club point.

Also keep in mind that if you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card you get a 10% refund on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points back each year. That means for the first million points you redeem each year you get a 10% discount.

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4 Credit Cards That Give You A Free Hotel Night Every Year

Park-Hyatt-Siem-Reap

There are a variety of factors that can make a credit card appealing. In general, I look at the following three things when considering a credit card:

— The sign-up bonus (how much value does the card offer me just for completing a minimal amount of spend)
— The return on everyday spend (how many points will I earn on this card for the purchases I’d make anyway)
— The ongoing perks (does the card offer any anniversary perks or other benefits that make the card worth holding onto)

With that in mind, I figured I’d talk a bit about the four hotel credit cards that offer you an annual free night in a hotel just for holding onto a credit card and paying the annual fee. In my case, I have several cards I hold onto just for the perks, without actually putting a significant amount of spend on them. That’s because the perks more than justify the annual fee.

For the average consumer, I think one of the best ongoing perks offered by a card is an annual free hotel night. After all, who doesn’t want a free hotel night every year? With that in mind, below are the four credit cards that offer an annual hotel night every year upon the account anniversary, roughly in order of how I value them:

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Chinese Insurer Anbang May Be Looking To Buy IHG

InterContinental-DC

While we’ve gone through a series of takeovers in the airline industry over the past decade, it seems like things have been heating up in the hotel industry over the past couple of years.

IHG is buying Kimpton, Marriott is buying Starwood, Accor is buying Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel, and HNA Tourism Group is buying Carlson. However, the impact has been different with each takeover:

— In theory Kimpton will be integrated into IHG at some point, though it seems to be a very slow process, and IHG seems keen on allowing Kimpton to maintain their identity
— The Marriott and Starwood merger was recently finalized, and I suspect over the next 1-2 years, Starwood’s portfolio will be fully integrated into Marriott’s
— Similarly, I suspect Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel will soon be integrated into Accor, as it helps Accor build a greater luxury portfolio
— I suspect HNA Tourism Group is primarily buying Carlson as a way of diversifying their assets, and perhaps to grow Carlson’s footprint in China; however, I suspect it will be “business as usual” for the most part

Anyway, there are now rumors that Chinese insurer Anbang is looking to acquire IHG (the parent company of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental, etc.) in a 7 billion pound deal. This was first reported over the weekend.

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