IHG Accelerate Offers A Free Night For Every Two Stays

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.

Intercontinental Bora Bora could be yours for less than $180 per night
Intercontinental Bora Bora could be yours for less than $180 per night

IHG Accelerate for new members

Tiffany discussed the basics of the new member offer in her post, but to recap:

  • Make two stays by December 31, 2015
  • Earn a free night good through December 31, 2016
  • Stay two more nights, get another free night
IHG's Accelerate offer for new members
IHG’s Accelerate offer for new members

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.

Intercontinental Bora Bora award availability for May and June 2016
Intercontinental Bora Bora award availability for May and June 2016

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.

Finding cheap IHG mattress run rooms isn't that hard
Finding cheap IHG mattress run rooms isn’t that hard

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.

Bottom Line

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?


  1. So you are advocating IHG Rewards Club members fraudulently register themselves as a new member so too scam two free nights out of IHG Rewards Club?

    Pathetic to see these kinds of blog posts.

  2. Let’s please clarify what hotel you’re talking about. The IC Bora Bora Le Moana is the one that has availability like that – and it’s for a room on a beach just like in any other beach town. Be prepared to spend a pretty penny to upgrade to an overwater bungalow. The real dream IHG property is IC Bora Bora Thalasso which only has overwater bungalows (and hence you’re guaranteed one if you book any room), yet it never has availability except for one night at 50 weeks in advance.

  3. I’m with Ric on this one. This is advocating scamming the program and the post should be taken down. The ethics are pretty poor here.

    Maybe lucky could have done a post of: “I got this certificate from United and I found out I can use it over and over again”.

  4. From personal experience, I can tell you that IHG locked both my accounts when they found out I had two accounts. Fortunately, one of them didn’t have any activity, and was opened years ago (with a different address within the same state too!) and I simply forgot about it. They closed down the inactive account and unlocked my active account. This was years ago though.

  5. I respect the viewpoints here folks.

    The one question I have is this — a week or so ago I posted about how to get instant savings by buying Wyndham points and then using them to book Go Fast cash and points awards. I even suggested that you could circumvent the 5,000 point annual cap on purchased points by opening another account.

    There was a good amount of discussion, including by Ric, yet no one raised any concerns.

    How is this different?

  6. Americans close to the border should do mattress runs in Canada. you can get holiday inns in the Toronto area for USD80/night.

  7. Does anyone know how fast the “free night” get posted usually?

    I could go for a Matress run now that I’m heading for China…

  8. In your post last week on Wyndham Go Fast rewards, you wrote

    “Why stop there?

    You could open Wyndham accounts for your Mom, Dad, and Grandmother. Maybe even your dog. Then you could buy 3,000 points in each of those accounts.”

    My only comment to that post was to state Wyndham Go Fast stays do not qualify for earning Wyndham Rewards points.

    Your comment about opening an account for your dog was not the main emphasis of that article. The end result is you are buying Wyndham Rewards points at the same price as any member, even if you are fraudulently creating an account for a dog to buy points.

    In this article you openly advocate fraudulent behavior on the part of IHG Rewards Club members to scam IHG by creating new accounts for a potentially highly lucrative offer of free high end hotel nights using a promotion the existing IHG Rewards Club member is not eligible to earn.

    “Bottom Line

    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.”

    Many of us in the miles and points blogger business have worked for many years to develop good relationships with the hotel and airline providers in the travel loyalty program space. This is the kind of article that breaks down those relationships when a prominent miles and points blog posts an article on how to fraudulently scam a hotel chain for free nights.

  9. I would not suggest on opening new account for the purpose of this promotion. IHG are pretty hard with there account auditing and you would be in jeopardy of losing all your accounts and points. I know that things like the history of paying with the same credit card for rooms under different accounts for the same name would trigger an audit.

  10. Travis, IHG is known to close duplicated accounts, regardless of your status. There have been cases where Plat RA got account closed due to duplicated accounts.

  11. Yeah, this is not a good post idea.

    To address your point Travis, your Wyndham post basically suggested that in one small paragraph and wasn’t the whole focus of the post, which was the use of points/etc.

    Here this post is, IMO, “Break the T&Cs to get a targeted offer.” (fwiw, this is why I figure most people don’t like targeted offers in general) – the whole point/strategy of the post is based on something fradulent.

    I’m w/Ric and the others on this one.


  12. Yeah, this is the second time that I’m aware of that Travis has written a completely horrible/misleading blog post. Last time he wrote about IHG pointsbreak and posted a pic of IC Thalasso and said it was on pointsbreak in the past. This time he doesn’t clarify which IC property, although he didn’t try to misrepresent this time as the picture definitely isn’t the IC Thalasso. In addition to suggesting fraudulently opening up additional accounts. I’ve always thought of OMAT as more of a higher class of blog, but it has definitely gone down hill with the addition of these contributors. I know the workload is too much for lucky, but when it was just him, every blog post was an enjoyment to read as well as learning experience. Now, its definitely way down

  13. Ric — I still don’t see why you endorsed the Wyndham strategy, and not this one. Wyndham limits the sale of points to 5000 per member per year. I don’t know why, but they do.I showed how to get around that for Go Fast awards, and you didn’t have a problem with it.

    Would it make you happier if I had said to register a second IHG account for your Mom, Dad, or Dog who would be a new member with IHG? Because you could exactly that — it does NOT need to be in your name, and therefore would be within the terms and conditions of the IHG program.

    How would that work if it’s not in your name?

    The IHG booking form has a field where you can add a second guest. That field exists for both revenue and award (free night) bookings. So you could book the revenue nights from that account, with you added as a second guest, thus allowing you to check-in for the mattress run nights. Then at redemption, you can book the free night from that account, and add yourself as a second guest allowing you to check in to it.

    By my interpretation, that would be wholly within the IHG T&C’s.

    I apologize for not going into that level of detail here — you’re right, I took the easy way out by saying to open the second account for yourself, when I should have specified that the second account should be in a friend or relative’s name who has never had an IHG account before. Because it will work just the same.

  14. Wow, this is a really irresponsible post, and it significantly lowers my opinion of Lucky to have allowed this be published on his blog.

    Even besides the ethics part, doing this is just asking for your account(s) to be closed and all points lost.
    While maybe 2-3 yrs ago, IHG semi-encouraged people signing up for promos they weren’t targeted for, the current management is extremely unhappy with such behavior and have shut down many accounts – including accounts with significant number of other point earnings (eg credit card sign-up bonuses). Travis pointed this out in his post, so I’m doubly shocked that even though he knows this fact, he is still blithely recommending actions that can shut down all your accounts.

    Now, if the recommendation was to sign up your travel partner that doesn’t yet have an IHG account, that is perfectly fine and no one would have an issue with that.

  15. Morality aside, IHG has been very proactive in closing duplicate accounts. If you are determined to do this, be prepared for the risks and consequences it may incur.

  16. Lucky, come on. You’re making yourself look like TPG with this get-around-the-rules nonsense. Need an example of how to do it right? Tiffany’s original post which Travis rewrote but with more on how to commit fraud.

  17. Travis – I never said I endorsed your Wyndham strategy for signing up a pet as a loyalty member. I just did not feel the need to comment on that line from your previous post.

    This post is different in that the primary strategy you are presenting is for an IHG Rewards Club member to create a new account to get a better promotional offer than they were targeted for in their existing IHG Rewards Club account.

    I have never used my pets to scam more points and miles from a promotion. I play by the rules. I often write that it is possible to grow IHG Rewards Club balance by booking Cash & Points reward stays to buy 10,000 points for $70. Cancel the reward stay and the points go into your account. That strategy is ethically questionable since it is a workaround to paying $13.50 per 1,000 points through the normal channel for buying points. I think the Points & Cash reward situation is more of a travel hack. Did I actually need the IHG Points & Cash stay? Or did I book the hotel stay only to buy cheaper points? That is only something I know for sure.

    My cat Pim has a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account. The reason I created an account for my cat was Virgin Atlantic Flying Club locked me out from accessing their website back in 2008 due to not having flown their airline. I was working on a freelance project contract that required accessing the Flying Club website. That was a solution to my problem.

    To each his own. Many people have no issue with claiming their residence is another country to get in on a miles or points promotion offer. I won’t do that either.

  18. Ethics aside, IHG closed my accounts for this type of shenanigans and they will close lucky’s readers’ accounts too. Bad bad recommendation.

  19. Ric —

    Like I said, I respect your point of view, and that of other posters. In fact, I consider your blog the grand-daddy of how to play hotel loyalty programs. I still miss the “key” ratings you used to give to indicate whether a promotion was good or not. So thanks for the continued discussion.

    Perhaps this post shows the many shades of gray of playing promotions. The cash and points trick on IHG is perhaps the worst kept secret in all the miles and points game. Nobody seems to question it anymore. Yet it also violates “the spirit” of the program, given that IHG would prefer to sell you points at a higher rate. So it’s the age old question of, where do you draw the line? For some, the cash and points trick may cross, for others this. For others, none at all.

    I’d to hear your comments on the revised strategy I posted in the last comment — the IHG website has a field for adding a second guest on both revenue and award stays. To me, that seems like a perfectly legit way to open IHG accounts for friends and family members who don’t already have them, make the stays, and then harvest the awards. Do you see that one differently?

    Again, I appreciate your civil discussion of the matter and your perspective.

  20. Yikes. This is a terrible post and terrible recommendation. I can’t believe this got approved by lucky.

    There are many ways to scam yourself into free things in this world. But I’m assuming the vast majority of us read this blog to learn how to best utilize membership programs and the like in the most advantageous, yet legal and ethical way. Not how to defraud the companies that run the programs.

  21. It is SHAMEFUL that Travis just kept debating with Ric on the tangent things but avoid address the main issue in in this article – Openly tell readers to FRAUDULENTLY SCAM A PROMOTION from a hotel chain that has been well known in recent years that audit accounts signed up with ineligible promotions and not just shuts down accounts but ban the customers from the program for good.

    Moral aside, it is very irresponsible to write such article. Those who have same low moral standard as yours might go ahead and then found out later they not only lose everything they earn, but they are also banned by IHG for good.

  22. Terrible post.

    I’m glad that Ric and the others have called you out on this for whatever their reasons — though I note that most think it is reprehensible what you are advocating — I’m glad that your ethics are on display for all to see.

    While I can’t opine about Ric’s post on your Wyndham “strategy,” I can state that I made no comment on that for the likely reason that others did not — we are not interested in their program so passed over your maneuver.

    Aren’t there enough decent deals out there to game the system LEGITIMATELY, without having to resort to such an underhanded and unethical way that you advocate.



  23. Gaming can be legitimate if it is done within the rules of the program.

    Moreover, I would prefer to have someone question the applicability or use of my terminology for the question at hand, rather than being the individual who by his actions exemplifies the traits of a MORON.

  24. And Travis just doubles down…..

    Fwiw I have an existing ihg account with moderate activity and I was targeted for the B2G1 promo

  25. Where did I double down? I’ve said in the comments that everyone has their own lines, and for some, this will cross it. What else can I say?

    As for *legitimate gaming*, I’m sorry, but that’s an oxymoron. If you are doing everything by the book and *within the spirit of the promotion*, that’s not gaming, that’s participating. Thus, if you describe your scheme or activity as gaming, you’ve already crossed a line.

    Here’s the bottom line — Everyone has their own concept of what’s OK and I respect that. But let’s not get on a high horse and pretend that signing up for 10 credit cards in a day, and then doing that 4 times per year is totally legit either. Is it better than opening a second IHG account? I guess that’s up to each to decide for themselves. We all have our own lines.

  26. Well, then you and I differ in the way you and I use the term “gaming the system.”

    Given your understanding of the term, I am a participant who searches for valuable deals that might be buried within the terms and conditions of a promotion.

    You, on the other hand are an unethical fraudster who is a moron for advocating not only deplorable conduct, but also, a maneuver that might find like-minded low moral character individuals forfeiting their points.

    I could really care less if you and they are so penalized, but with all things, the saying “Pigs get Fat, Hogs get Slaughtered” is probably apt here, as well.

    I don’t want to see IHG retrench its offerings because bad apples like you cause them pain and those who play within the rules are also made to suffer.

    Witness what AMEX did with Small Business Saturday because of the abuse that occurred last year — and yes, that abuse was entirely legitimate and within the rules, but not the spirit of the promotion.

    Here, you are openly advocating a wholesale deception to get around the rules of the promotion, and far from whether or not Lucky should be condemned for permitting you to post such crap, I am entirely surprised that Randy Peterson would permit this to continue were he made aware of same.

  27. Further, unlike you, presumably, most readers don’t sign up for 10 cards in a day, like your confrere MMS, let alone 10 cards in a year!

    By your own words, you have put yourself in an unenviable category, one that I would not like to find myself in.

  28. “Everyone has their own concept of what’s OK” – you at least got that one right, and now everyone knows what you think is OK.

  29. I don’t even think saying “everyone has their own line” is even relevant, because it’s IHG’s policy that matters:

    You are encouraging people to do something you KNOW might get them in trouble. Your post is the travel equivalent of “I encourage you to steal stuff from stores that don’t monitor their customers carefully. You can save a lot of money that way, and probably won’t get caught”

    How are you going to feel if these people get their accounts shut down?

  30. Really sorry to say this, but with posts like this, and the lack of trip reports other than Emirates first class, this blog has sunk to it’s lowest it ever has, and I’ve been following it from day 1.

    Anyone who knows IHG promotions, should know that multiple accounts are a big no-no.

    To suggest that it’s ‘unlikely’ IHG wouldn’t pick up on this is bad.

    Purely from a readers point of view, I hope this blog goes back to what it was back in the days of 2009/2010. Travis has ruined the blog with posts like this.

    Really sad it’s just become a copy and paste of news headlines, credit card offers and guest posts that could get a newbie miles/points addict banned from a decent loyalty scheme.
    Here’s hoping this blog goes back to what it was when it first started!

  31. Travis,
    A while back (hmm, not even that long ago) IHG offered 100 points for doing a short survey. You could write a script to automate the process, the points weren’t limited to one bonus per account – and some people quickly got hundreds of thousands of points. Not surprisingly, IHG was not too pleased, and closed down those accounts. Yes, of course it was up to IHG to correctly program the limits to their promo, but they didn’t. IIRC, some people opened up brand new accounts to accumulate the points in, immediately redeemed for Amazon gift cards and ordered expensive electronic items that would ship right away and got the merchandise. So yes, you COULD successfully “game” the system and come out ahead and not be detrimentally affected. Are you saying that if something like this exists again, you will feel perfectly comfortable writing up how to “maximize” such a promo since this is just “gaming” the system? After all, this isn’t stealing, just “gaming the system?

    (This happened again a bit later, this time downloading a toolbar – very similar situation and outcome. I don’t know of any more recent examples however, maybe IHG wised up :-).

    I think the reaction you are eliciting isn’t so much due to just the fact that you are directly advocating contravening the T&C, but because you are advocating actions that both contravene the T&C AND will highly likely result in a shut-down of accounts and loss of all previously accumulated points.

  32. Eek – this is a dangerous post! Setting aside any moral issues, the major problem is that IHG are very quick to hone in on duplicate accounts and close them, potentially forfeiting all earned points. I’m surprised the post takes such a blasé approach to this eventuality as it is very much a real threat.

  33. Like others, I would not suggest on opening new account for the purpose of this promotion but I’m thankful for the general information about the promotion and just need to look over my offers to my account to see where and what my qualifications are — time to sleep it off with IHG.

  34. Free nights post about ten days after the completion of two stays.
    The availability appears to be the same as with the Chase free nights.
    Holiday Inn Kandooma Maldives, here I come!

  35. All in all, this is very risky strategy and risk level goes up with points amount in your account (duplicates might be closed). People with such accounts would not consider it and write about their frustration.

    Having said that for people with no IHG account it is great post and great promotion to learn the benefits of the program and is actually IHG intention. Open one account for you and one for your girlfriend and if needed for parents on both sides. It actually helps to spread the word about IHG (which I think is good). I used this promotion several years ago, then became RA, now have 900000 in my account, all because of it. And yes, I would not do it now, for obvious reasons. But I would let my girlfriend open one account, as she has none and it would be good argument. Hope this helps some readers.

  36. IHG® Rewards Club Global Membership Terms and Conditions

    Membership Cancellation. SCH reserves the right to cancel any IHG® Rewards Club membership and revoke any and all unredeemed IHG® Rewards
    Club points collected by any member for reasons that include, but are not limited to: 1) violation of these Terms and Conditions; 2) misrepresentation of any
    information or any misuse of this Program; 3) violation of any national, state or local law or regulation in connection with the use of membership privileges; 4)
    failure to pay for hotel charges; 5) a check to a participating hotel brand that is returned for insufficient funds or is invalid for any reason; 6) commission of fraud
    or abuse involving any portion of this Program; 7) more than one active account per member

  37. Bloggers are lowlife scum. This post illustrates it perfectly. Thank you for being so transparent about your character.

  38. A mileage run would be an example of gaming the system in a legitimate way without breaking any rules.

    Besides for being morally black, Travis shows ignorance in ihg record of closing down duplicate accounts, and removing all points, including those purchased directly from them for cold hard cash.

    I participated in a good promotion a year ago or so and also had my girlfriend open up a new ihg account under a slightly different promotion. They closed down her account on the grounds that she had eight ihg accounts. This way incorrect as she has no loyalty accounts whatsoever . I got ihg phone customer service to reverse the closure , but they were extremely unpleasant and incompetent.

    Lucky, Travis attempt to weasel out of this does not fly. He should either apologize or be dropped. And keep up with the boyfriend and other friend pictures — beats looking at a picture of a seat.

  39. I like OMAT for all the great reviews and tips.
    But this is fraud, plain and simple – and there is no “grey” zone here or personal interpretation.
    You are misrepresenting the facts by registering two accounts. The same is true when you are opening an account for another person and booking in their name when they have no plans to stay at the hotel. Whether that’s better or worse than signing up your dog is irrelevant – it’s breaking the program rules and fraud either way!

  40. IHG has a long reputation of closing members account due to violation of term. Just search it on Flyer Talk and you’ll found plenty cases of IHG members who racked up free nights and points and got their accounts closed. Duplicate account is one of the violation of Term and Policy. And regardless of their standing even RA, members wit IHG credit card, got their account closed. And IHG has been doing account audit on annual basis.

    BTW, we did stayed at IC Thalasso in Bora Bora early this year using 4 free nights, and I can tell you getting free night at IC Thalasso is almost mission impossible if you don’t do it almost one year in advance. IC La Moana has plenty of availabilities is no where nearly as nice as IC Thalasso.

  41. This is exactly the type of irresponsible blogging that has caused the abrupt devaluation of award programs.

  42. This comment is mostly for LUCkY — while I do think that T crossed a line here, I also think that I and some other comment were a little harsh.

    Travis in general provides good advice and always tries to find good value for those of us who
    Want to provide memories for our families. Travis , thank you,

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