IHG Priceless Surprises Results For Team OMAAT

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.

Priceless Surprises contest page
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.

Our Results

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.

IHG game pieces recieved
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.

IHG points won
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.

IHG account with points posting
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?


  1. I received all 94 entries and walked away with 50,500 points from this promotion. Honestly, I was just as surprised to receive all 94 since my handwriting is horrible. I actually mailed in 100 entries since the envelopes, cards and stamps each came in as a pack of 100. I would have otherwise probably thrown out the cards and envelopes but I figured that USPS might lose a few and another few might be illegible so I sent in the few extra.

  2. I mailed in 94 early February and have NOT received one email. The wife sent in a week later and has received 75 from which 69 arrived in one day and balance the next. Yet to get anymore

  3. For my wife’s account, she received 89 entries and won exactly 50K points. I entered later and mailed them in all during the last week of the promotion. To date, I’ve received 76 entries and received 46.5K already. I’ve written HelloWorld to inquire about the missing entries and received an email claiming they are looking into it.

  4. Haven’t stayed at an IHG property in a while and got an email that my points would expire. I sent in 2 entries , one in case they lost the other.

    I got enail for both, got 1500 points and I am happy. Writing and penmanship is not my Forte so did the minimum to achieve my goal.

  5. I used View from the Wing’s “deal”. Got about 20 emails, but certainly not 94! What a waste of money!

  6. I have received about 72 out of 94 back. One thing you might want to try is to click on a previously received entry. Apparently the number of entries isn’t email specific. Your number of valid entries is stored somewhere and you can click on the same entry multiple times until the number of valid entries is used up. So, it’s possible that you might have missed an entry or an email went errant along the way.

  7. Received all 94 for a total of 59,000 points. Was lucky to get 2 5000 points, which bumped up my total. I emailed them to ask about 64 missing entries and received all of them a few days after that. My dad hasn’t received any; I had him email and still waiting to hear back.

  8. Jonathan — Thanks for mentioning that. I meant to include that in the post, but forgot.

    I’ve actually been doing that, but alas, no more game plays have showed up. But for sure, I’ve had more game plays than emails received!

  9. Like Kevin, we have one family member who has received ZERO emails on 94 entries. My wife wrote all of them for six of us. Only one person received all 94, but 4 of us received more than the 47k points we expected. One person received ZERO (entries sent in between those who did receive the emails) and my wife only got about half the emails. Seeing as how she did all of the entries and had excellent penmanship, I’m not sure where the ball got dropped. I guess it was a net win, but tell her that after getting no entries on one despite hours of writing.

  10. Nico — When I hear about people who have received 0 entries, I have to wonder if there was something amiss. Like maybe they forgot to register for the promotion? Or transposed a digit in the IHG number? Just seems like a more fundamental problem.

    Not saying that’s the issue in your case of course, just thinking out loud.

  11. For those who are claiming they got 0 e-mails so far. You probably forgot to enroll in the promotion 🙂 You have to signup for IHG, but also register for the promotion. If you don’t register, then you won’t get any game plays. Better luck next time!

  12. We did a little north of OK running our family business winning a few thousand in gift cards as well as several hundred thousand in points.

  13. We had a combo of mail in and stays…..I had more stays and am a spire member, my husband had less stays and is a club member…….he did better he got a total of 60,100 and I have got a total of 51,000……it was a bit of a hassle but worth it I guess.

  14. Thanks for the update Travis. You and your family certainly fared better than I did!

    I sent in 94 handwritten entries, and got a whopping four elevator emails back. 🙁

    I sent an email to IHG and am waiting for a reply. But, it’s hard for me to imagine that 90 of my entries were lost in the mail or were illegible (ergo declined). I think that Hello group infrastructure was simply overwhelmed by the number of free entries and thus unable to process them.

    BTW, here’s my original post about it where I’ll be posting any updates. (http://asklucky.onemileatatime.com/threads/ihg-priceless-surprises-fail.5748/)

  15. Definitely registered for the promotion and still 0 plays. Sent right before the deadline so may still be processing but still…

  16. I hear those of you mentioning that perhaps those with 0 entries forgot to register for the promotion or wrote something wrong. In our case, my wife did the leg work, so I can’t say with certainty that she didn’t make an error – but I think it’s unlikely that she registered for the promo properly for 5 people and didn’t for the one who didn’t receive any emails. At the end of the day, still a net win – we got a $200+ night in Hawaii on each of the 5 accounts that got the points plus had 15k left over for another $100 night somewhere or a couple of point breaks. Just a bummer that she put the time in for nothing on the sixth account.

    For the record, I don’t suspect anything devious on the part of hello world – on the contrary, I’m amazed they did as well as they did with this.

  17. I had a weird phenomenon happen with me, I only sent in 72 entries, but I received 90 emails. I played all 90, won, and had the points post to my account. So my 72 entries netted 54,000 points.

  18. Mental note… Make sure to set your earnings to points and not miles… Otherwise, you will end up with 10,000 United miles instead of 50,000 ihg points!

  19. My husband and I both sent in 94 entries each, and we received 94 emails each. The emails came in batches – I got 6, then 79, then 9. Hubby got 4 then 90!

    I ended up with 50,500 points and he ended up with 55,000.

    Nice! Not bad for a couple of hours work!

    I will be using the points in Australia in the summer, and will definitely get several hundred dollars worth of value out of them.

    Thanks, IHG.

  20. I submitted 94 entries but only got 12 emails back! However, I could somehow click on those links again and again until I hit a limit. Netted 53,000 points total (including a couple of 5,000 and 2,000 points), worth it at the end…

  21. My emails were slow to come in as well. I wrote to the promo organizer, Hello Workd, and initially received no response. A few days later I wrote again and with two days they sent the last 40 or so emails. I suggest writing them if you have not re wives your emails.

  22. Thanks Jonathan for your suggestion.,

    My wife was missing almost 40 emails. She found an old one this morning and tried to use it again. The plays were in her record. Don’t know what happened to the emails but she was allowed to use the link over and over. Let’s hope the points post.

  23. I sent 94 and got all 94 back, albeit, after some complaining to HelloWorld. Netted around 55K miles.

  24. The terms said the max we would get, with stays and entries, was 94 plays. I received the 94 entries I wrote away for, plus I still continued to receive entries for my subsequent hotel stays. SCORE!

  25. DW and I sent in 94 entries each, 75% of which were mailed minutes before the last pickup at the post office on the last day of the contest. I got 94 emails sent to me, 3 of which said I didn’t win anything. But several other were for 1K or 2K. DW got only half of her entries returned with emails, which had us disappointed for a while. Despite which she has already gotten 49K points posted, so apparently they gave her the points without her having to waste her time clicking on elevator buttons. I got a bit more than that, so a combined 100,500 points for the two of us. Happy Campers here…. 🙂

  26. For anyone who still hasn’t received all their entries, you should be emailing them every few days. We (as a family) were the same way. Mailed most entries in December and were among those never getting anything. It took several emails but we have finally received our “plays” in the last few weeks and the points have posted now. They did not always respond right away, after first sending the automated email that says 1 to 3 business days, but I emailed them again and in a few cases, again after that. I didn’t write all of those out and spend money to mail them, to get half or less of what I sent!

  27. Love this kind of analyses!

    I have fewer data points (2) that averaged out to slightly better results. 99% return rate, too! But for the most part I enjoyed the game aspect of this promotion.

    Btw it’s neat that your mom could do 94 entries in four hours. I averaged 5 hours even when breaking the task down to small chunks for maximum handwriting efficiency.

  28. Rene, where are you writing to follow up on missing entries? All of my wife’s came through, but I’ve gotten zero myself. I saved an image of one of the cards we submitted and everything looks good. I also double checked that I actually entered the promotion and I found that confirmation e-mail. Would love to follow up somehow.

  29. We only posted one entry each for the two of us however a one stage we kept on getting invitations to play the game and received about 12,000 points each. All 500 point wins except a 5000 point win and a 1500 point win. Strange but fun while it lasted

  30. This is interesting. It seems like something VERY different happened to me. I sent 94 entries for me and my husband right around the time when the promo started. He received all the emails, me none. In January I re-sent all the entries again (and yes, I had registered for the promo). I still have not received one single email from both entries. However, I checking my IHG account recently and saw 1000 points posted on February 23 from the Mastercard Priceless Surprise Reward. Has anyone had this happened to them? Very strange. I feel like they just posted the points to my account (obviously a measly amount compared to the potential of getting more) and will not be sending me the emails. Charlene, when you said you wrote to them, did you write to their mailing address from the promo?

  31. Small update: I sent an email to IHG asking about my “other” 91 entries. They said they forwarded it on to the appropriate department. I just got an email from Hello World saying that they’re “investigating” and opened a ticket. Maybe there is hope after all (??).

  32. I mailed in 90 entries (ran out of envelopes and labels). I received 83 emails back which corresponds to the 83 posts of points. I had a couple of 2000K point winners and one 5000 point winner. I ended up with a total of 57000 points. Quite pleased overall…. the points will be used in Paris in September. My costs were only for the postage ($44.10) – I had the envelopes and the labels already.

  33. I sent in 94 entries, about half a week before the deadline and the other half on the Sunday night before the deadline, which I thought was bad news because the 15th was a holiday. Didn’t know if they would postmark in time.

    I received two batches of emails within a couple weeks of sending each bulk of the entries.

    I ended up playing about 88 times, which included some 5,000 point winners for a total of 63,000 points.

    I was going to send in all entries for my girlfriend too but read too many comments about a lot of people getting 0 plays, so didn’t chance it.

  34. I received 72 emails for my 94 entries. I called customer service of IHG. After doing some research/consultation, the representative said their team would contact Hello World. I soon got an email from Hello World saying they were sending me the remaining 22 emails, and they did. I was very specific about having spent my time during the Super Bowl writing out all the cards and addresses by hand (and having my husband wonder what the heck I kept writing), being certain that they were postmarked on time because I mailed them the next day, etc. I doubt they “found” my entries but they gave me the benefit of the doubt in responding to my complaint.

  35. Hand wrote EVERYTHING and mailed only 30 enteries around the first of January. Haven’t heard a word.
    NEVER gonna waste my time doing this again!

  36. Update #2…I received an email back from Hello World customer service saying that they processed (only) 6 entries from me. So, I guess they’re saying 88 of them were either lost in the mail or illegible? Pretty ridiculous.

    I’m going to continue to pursue this. I spent a lot of time and about $40 postage/supplies on this.

    At this point it’s the principle that matters. If you’re going to put on a sweepstakes then you should be able to support it from an infrastructure perspective.

    Here’s the email from Hello World if you’re interested:
    “Good Morning,

    Thank you for your patience while we diligently review our records. Please see the below breakdown of the account belonging to your IHG Member ID, registered email address and full name.

    6 total entries

    Please note; entries will be considered disqualified if they are lost, late, incomplete, invalid, unintelligible, illegible, misdirected or postage-due entries.

    Thank you for your participation in the IHG Priceless Surprises Promotion.

    Customer Care”

  37. If you did not receive all your entries you must write HelloWorld. Follow up. They will at some point tell you that they have processed X (whatever you have already received) entries and that is all that they have. Write them back again and tell them that you sent however many you sent. (I added, truthfully, that I never had any mail missing from the USPS and did not believe that now 39 of my entries went missing in the mail.) They will then send you your missing prize emails. (There are many examples of this scenario on the Flyertalk thread.)

    I got 54,500 points.

  38. Thanks Ingrid!

    I sent them very detailed follow up email per your suggestion. Fingers crossed!

  39. At long last, after several emails, Hello World reviewed my account and credited all 94 of my entries. Happy to see that they made good on their promise. Thanks to all for your advice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* I consent to the collection of my name, email address, and content so that One Mile at a Time may manage comments placed on this site.