50k+ Points With The New IHG Fall Promo

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Last week I wrote about all the current hotel promotions, and it looks like there is a new one to add to the list! IHG Rewards Club has just announced their Fall promo, which they’ve titled “Accelerate.”

Like other recent IHG promos, the details are specific to each member. So you’ll need to login and register to see what your exact promotion looks like. The promotion runs from September 1, 2015 to December 31st, 2015. That means there’s a bit of overlap with the Share Forever promo, which might be useful for some of you.

The idea behind more focused promotions like this is to help drive incremental business to the brand, so it makes sense that IHG would want to target travelers more specifically. That being said, it’s 2015, so we’re all going to know about each others’ offers in about ten minutes, and many people will probably be unhappy.

Three profiles, three promotions

As an example of how different the promos can be, I thought it would be useful to look at the offers for myself, Ben, and my husband. Our IHG patterns are different enough that there are varieties in the promotions as well, and I think the differences are sorta interesting.

The worst IHG customer ever

I’m not shy about it, but I am probably not someone IHG expects to get a ton of business from. I don’t typically stay at IHG properties (at least not by myself, more on that below), and I think the only stays I’ve had in the past several years have been on points.

However, through the Accelerate promo, IHG is giving me several opportunities to change my behavior.

I have the option to earn up to 58,000 points:


And several different ways to do so. Mainly though, IHG is looking for revenue nights from me. Lots and lots of revenue nights:


I will probably make an effort to find a cheap stay in September, at least. IHG points are worth .7 cents each, so I’d break-even with a $70 stay. Stacking with the Share Forever promo provides some additional bonuses as well, so this could be a good deal for me.

Also not a great IHG customer, but at least he has the credit card

Ben stays at IHG properties a bit more than I do (afterall, he lives in hotels), but it’s still not his primary chain. He does, however, have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, and his promotion reflects that.

While I have the potential to earn 58k points, Ben can only earn up to 50k:


However, he doesn’t have to do quite as much to get those points:


If I stayed three nights (with one being in September) I would earn 16,000 points. If Ben has three stays on Points and Cash, he could potentially earn 39,800 points (I’m not 100% positive if paying for Points and Cash stays on the IHG card would count towards that offer, so he might need four stays).

But you can still see the huge difference there, and it makes sense that someone with Ben’s profile would be rewarded more rapidly.

An honest-to-goodness IHG elite member

My husband has one of those glamorous “jobs that require travel,” which basically means a lot of visits to the Holiday Inn Express by your nearby office park.

So he actually stays at IHG properties with some frequency, and that’s reflected in his offer — he can earn almost double the number of points that Ben can:


In terms of practicality, he also has the easiest promotion of the three of us:


He has to have four stays to earn a meaningful number of points, but as long as he can spread those across two brands he should earn 78,000 points. He’s absolutely the most profitable customer of the three of us, and it makes sense that he’d have the most rewarding promotion.

New IHG members

Beyond the targeted offers for existing IHG Rewards Club members, folks who are new to the program have a very nice offer.


Upon registration, you should receive the following promotion:


You’ll want to read the full terms, but essentially:

you must complete a Stay (as defined below), on two separate occasions, throughout the period of 1 September 2015 to 31 December 2015 (inclusive). Free Nights earned from any such Stay, must be redeemed by 31 December 2016.

That can be a pretty lucrative offer if you play your cards correctly. For example, one of my friends lives in Atlanta, and she just enrolled in the IHG Rewards Club today. While I’d prefer for her to find stays she can actually use, the Holiday Inn Express is just down the road from her house. She could mattress run, or if nothing else this might serve as an extra bedroom when she has company over:


After two stays, she’ll have a free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property worldwide (pending availability). That means she could use that free night at the Intercontinental in Bali:


Or even just over an expensive weekend in Las Vegas:


So there is quite a bit of potential there, particularly given the free night cert will be valid through the end of 2016.

Bottom line

Obviously this is a small sample size, but in our cases it seems like IHG did a decent job of matching up the offers. I think all of our promotions are reasonably lucrative, and in all three cases it will probably direct some room nights towards IHG that would have otherwise gone to a competitor.

If you aren’t an IHG member yet, you can earn two free nights that can be used globally, so there is likely something for everyone here.

What does your Accelerate promo look like? Does it make sense for your stay patterns?

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  1. To add one more to your sample size Tiffany, I got the exact same offer as you and have only stayed at an IHG property (Hong Kong Intercontinental) for 2 nights this year. Bummer.

  2. Tiffany with IHG paying for points + cash merely buys the additional points. Does not count as paying for a stay.

  3. I received the same offer as you did. I have one night to spend in San Diego in September and was considering where to stay so this kind of settles it.

  4. One more (very lucrative looking…) data point – I got:

    -stay once for 1k
    -stay 5 nights for 6.8k
    -book a Bonus Points Package, get 2k
    -pay for 1 stay on IHG cc, get 1.5k
    -complete 3 of 5, get extra 38.7k

    Don’t know why it says 3 of 5, when there are only 4 other offers there, but… the great thing about this is that I can book *one stay* and earn 42.2k bonus points (worth over $300), provided I am sure to book a Bonus Points Package and pay with my co-branded card. That’s a steal for what could be one night in any IHG hotel.

  5. My offer includes applying for the IHG credit card through the Accelerate offer page – if applying through that avenue offers an 80K bonus I’ll eat my hat.

  6. @DJ

    I have a similar offer are you sure it will work on just one stay or do you need to do each one on a separate stay?

  7. @Mark O

    I read through the T&C and, as best I can tell, there is nothing prohibiting this. Plus, I recall hitting multiple goals with single stays for IHG’s Into the Nights promo last year, so I assume it will work this same this time. That said, once I choose my intended stay and make a (hopefully refundable) booking, I plan to call IHG Rewards and confirm that my stay will indeed trigger the bonus points as expected.

  8. Tiffany, if the point is to drive behavior change, wouldn’t it make sense to change the order of bonuses? Your husband already shows that he’s going to stay there, what does IHG gain by giving him easy points? I know this makes actual frequent users unhappy but it seems like it would make sense from a hotel’s perspective…

  9. Gaurav,

    Your statement is the logical statement that marketers and finance individuals make and for a logical reason. In business school they teach you that you should maximize profit and that you are leaving money on the table by offering a discount or rewarding your most loyal customers. However, this is not always the case for a variety of reasons.

    Take for instance myself. I was very loyal to IHG from 2012- 2014 staying 4 nights in 2012, 10 nights in 2013, and 25 nights in 2014. IHG had a variety of targeted promotions during this period and the promotions continually become harder and harder to achieve with my self-funded travel patterns and the fact that IHG’s IT has been less than stellar with these promotions in the past. In 2014 and 2015 I had over 35 nights of hotel nights on the books with IHG. However, I decided to get the Club Carlson credit card and after a strong dissatisfaction with the Into the Nights promotion from IHG during Q4 2014, I started staying at IHG less and Club Carlson more. Fast forward to today and I have stayed with Club Carlson 25 nights and IHG only 10 nights to date. 25 nights worth of reservations were cancelled by me to stay at Club Carlson properties because they are nicer properties, more centrally located, and offered a stronger value proposition. Had IHG not upset me with their various promotions which became increasingly difficult to achieve while new members were being showered with points I would have stayed at IHG and never even considered Club Carlson.

    In addition, you have to understand the hotel industry is different than most industries because they are really a middleman since they don’t own most of their hotels. Rather they pay for these promotional offers as a marketing expense when the customer redeems their points. I am pretty confident that when IHG analyzed the data from the last 4 or 5 targeted promotions they saw a trend. The new customers to the IHG program were earning a boatload of points, probably upward of 50,000 – 80,000 per promotions for a few stays and while the redemption costs on rewards stays only average $20 – $50 per night depending on the hotel this likely added up to at least $40 to $100 per promotion. Many of these customers as the promotions became more difficult stopped staying at IHG and simply used all of the points they earned. As such, many of these clients added very little to IHG’s bottom line since they only receive a franchise fee and maybe a percent of revenue from the hotels while their marketing expenses were pretty high while the more loyal clients who are the most profitable started leaving IHG over the dissatisfaction of being asked to stay every weekend in an IHG hotel or staying 50 or 60 nights a quarter in an IHG hotel. These road warriors do have families and there is a limit as to how much someone will stay in a hotel simply as a function of earning more points. Especially since these road warriors are probably points rich to begin with. As such, these road warriors are less likely to redeem all of their points earned from these promotions since they are points rich allowing for them to be devalued overtime which reduces the overall marketing costs to IHG while enhancing loyalty among these customers which creates free advertising and likely drives additional incremental revenue. Therefore, offering a boatload of points to new customers is akin to a credit card signup bonus which we know in this industry there are plenty that will jump on a lucrative offer just for the strong value proposition and then dump the card when the annual fee comes up. While it looks good on paper since these customers are expected to generate tons of revenue in the future, many don’t turn into loyal or long-term customers but rather short-term customers looking for free/discounted accommodations. These customers don’t enhance the bottom line but rather decrease overall profitability. It is important to remember the great saying, “20% of your customers generate 80% of your profits.” The 20% are the ones a company can’t afford to lose and targeted promotions which encourage new customers to join while discouraging loyal customers to stay by asking them for even more stays when this is unlikely to happen.

  10. My offer is amazing if I read it correctly
    – Thank you for being a loyal IHG® Rewards Club member. Stay once and earn 5,000 bonus points
    – Get closer to the rewards you want when you stay 5 night(s) and earn 6,800 bonus points.
    – Book and pay for one stay with your IHG® Rewards Club Credit Card and earn bonus points.
    – Complete all three get 36700

    So if I’m reading it right, one stay of 5 nights paid with the IHG card should net me 50K bonus on top of the stay points. Sold!

  11. @ Gaurav — It is interesting to think about how they make these decisions, isn’t it?

    Keep in mind as well that these programs don’t have perfect data. All IHG knows about me, for example, is that I bought points during Daily Getaways a few years ago and redeemed them in London. They have no clue that I consistently have upwards of 100 revenue nights at other chains, so with the data they have it probably doesn’t make sense to try to incentivize me to stay more — I may only stay at hotels once every three years.

    For my husband, the system can see a few years of many IHG nights, and they probably have some algorithm to guesstimate his projected travel patterns. He’s the more valuable customer for them, and they want more of his wallet share.

  12. My offer is:
    – Online booking 1K
    – Stay at 2 Crowne Plaza 6K
    – Stay for 5 nights 3K (I think)
    – Use the IHG card 1K5 (I think)

    Then 31K5 for completing 3 out of 4.

    1. Does IHG allow stacking? I can book online on a CP, mattress run that CP and use the card to pay for the CP – that takes care of 3 tasks (almost).
    2. For the 2nd CP stay, does point and cash apply, or does that stay have to be full revenue stay?

  13. Useless!!! I am IHG Gold member and the promo I got is utterly useless to me. Examples of my ‘challenges’ … 1.) Stay 11 nights and earn 24,000 points 2.) Apply for the credit card to get 2,000 points 3.) Stay 6 times using a negotiated business rate for 12,000 points (I have never once stayed at an IHG property using a set rate … nor do any hotels I stay at set these rates for the amount I stay) 4.) Book using points and cash on 3 different stays for 5,400 points. (I have never used this feature and don’t think its a great value to do so) 5.) Stay 4 or more nights during a single stay and get 6,000 points (I am never in the same place more than a couple nights in a row). I guess I am off to Marriott to earn double points after my second stay (yawn!) for their promotion. Can’t complain too much because I earned 2 free certificates for any IHG property in the world during last year’s promo. Love those type of promos!

  14. does any one know if i booked 2 rooms for 1 night as 2 separate bookings count as 2 stays or 1 stay? spg counts them as 2 stays. is it the same for ihg?

  15. Hi Tiffany,

    I am going to NYC next month for 2 days. Can I book 2 reservations separately at one hotel(check out and check in on the second day) so I can earn one free night? Thanks

  16. Thanks for the post, Tiffany! Could you please explain “If I stayed three nights (with one being in September) I would earn 16,000 points.” I thought it would be five nights, three stays, am I missing something here?

    I am going to NYC for two nights and if I make reservations at two different hotels, that will qualify as two stays for 10,000 points, correct?

    Let me know and thanks!

  17. Is it possible to switch to a different IHG hotel in the same city without a spare night in between to get both stays acknowledged? Or is there a night in between necessary?

  18. @ Flo — If you’re switching hotels, that should be fine. The night in between is only necessary if you’re looking to stay at the same hotel.

  19. My offer is
    – Stay once and earn 1,000 points.
    – stay 5 nights and earn 6,800 bonus points.
    – Book and pay for one stay with your IHG® Rewards Club Credit Card and earn 1,500 points.
    – Earn 2,000 bonus points when you book 1 Bonus Points Package stay(s)
    – Complete 3 of 4 offers and earn (an additional) 38,700 bonus points.

    If I book a 1 night with bonus points package and pay with my credit card, does this mean I complete 3 offers and earn a total of 43,200 points?

  20. So, I just joined IHG rewards and got the 2 stays free night/points promo. I also signed up for the credit card. I’m wondering if I combine both those points, would I achieve Spire status giving me another free night? I’d be at 85000 pts after the requirements are met. Is this feasible?

  21. noob question here: are the free nights that can be earned by new members per person or room, i.e. can I bring an SO on the free nights? Similar for the qualifying nights?

  22. I am feeling a little jipped here. This is the offer I have:
    *Stay Once Get 5,000
    *Stay More, Earn More. Get closer to the rewards you want when you stay 22 night(s) and earn 28,000 bonus points
    *Stay a Little Longer. Earn 4,000 bonus points when you book a single stay of four or more consecutive nights.
    *Change Your View® Stay at 5 Holiday Inn® hotel(s)—including Holiday Inn Resort® and Holiday Inn Club Vacations®—and earn 13,600 bonus points
    *Las Vegas Bonus. Book a (1) 2 night minimum stay at The Venetian® or The Palazzo®, an InterContinental Alliance® Resort in Las Vegas and earn 5,000 bonus points.
    *Apply here for the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card and earn 2,000 points
    *Earn When You Redeem – redeem points and earn 1,000 points
    *Complete 6 of 7 offers and earn (an additional) 15,000 bonus points.

    I never seem to get any ‘targeted’ offers and from what I read, it seems that it is much harder for me to earn my bonuses.

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