2

The brand new PointBreaks list allows us to book hotel rooms through July 31, 2016 for $30 per night.

Even if you’ve read other posts on the PointBreaks list, read this. I’ve honed my strategy for getting $30 per night rooms quite a bit, and I want to share it, so everyone can have access to the best practices.

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InterContinental Mendoza (Argentina wine country): on a previous list

Plus I’ve stayed in PointBreaks hotels several times in the last few years, so I want to say a word on their quality.

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Holiday Inn Express Cartagena Bocagrande (Colombia Caribbean Coast): on a previous list

This post will tell you how to book any hotel on the list of IHG Reward Club’s PointBreaks hotels for at most $28 per night, even the ones that ordinarily cost $200 or more per night.

  • What’s my strategy to make the most of PointBreaks?
  • What are the top properties on the newest PointBreaks list?

IHG Rewards Club Pointbreaks

IHG Rewards Club is the loyalty program for InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, and Staybridge Suites.

As we covered here, IHG Rewards Club normally charges 10,000 to 50,000 points for a free night depending on the property. But every few months, IHG Rewards Club releases a list of a select few hotels where you can stay for 5,000 points per night. That’s a 90% discount on some hotels!

The new list of PointBreaks hotels is good for stays now through July 31, 2016.

We can stay at any hotel on the PointBreaks list for $28 per night!.

Problem #1: Not every hotel is on the PointBreaks list.

Solution: There is no solution for this problem.

When a new list comes out, I check its end date then consult my travel schedule to figure out where I’ll be between now and then that I might want a hotel. I also consider trips I haven’t planned, but have been mulling. And finally I look for the incredible properties that normally cost 50,000 miles to see if I want to take an impromptu trip.

I note all the hotels that I might want to stay at.

This time the only hotel that caught my eye for my own travels is the Holiday Inn Express in Belgrade, Serbia.

Problem #2: Not every night is available at hotels that are on the list–and what availability there is can disappear quickly.

Solution: Book award space now.

This leads to Problem #3.

Problem #3: I may want to change my plans later, but I may have to cancel the entire award to do that, costing me the chance at 5,000 point ($28) nights.

“Due to the limited availability, each member may only book two PointBreaks® Reward Nights reservations per hotel during the special offer time period.”

You have to make your best guess for when you’ll want to stay at a hotel. Or you can always make two reservations each from multiple accounts.

If you book more nights than you need, I also think it’s possible that by calling IHG or the hotel, you can trim some dates off a previous booking, but I can’t say for sure that would work.

Problem #4: I don’t have any IHG Rewards Club points.

None of the IHG Daily Getaways packages from three weeks ago sold out. You can buy them right now:

From the terms on the Daily Getaways site:

“Within 10 business days of purchase, you will have 100,000 IHG® Rewards Club points deposited into the IHG® Rewards Club account provided at time of purchase, to be used however you choose.”

I expect they’d post sooner, but I can’t find any reports online of how long the points are taking to post. Please leave that information in the comments if you have it.

 

Caveats

Not all hotels are on the PointBreaks list. Not all nights are available as 5,000 point award nights at the hotels that are on the list. Check availability before buying points.

Make sure your account has 5,000 more points than you need for your speculative bookings. For this reason, you always want a balance of 5,000 points at the end for your next round of buying points when the Daily Getaways deal is not on.

Best Hotels on This List

As usual, the list is mostly Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Expresses abroad plus Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites in the United States. At $28, even those are steals of course.

Here are some properties that caught my eye because of location or just looking nice:

Examples of My Pointbreaks Stays

Example from Summer 2013

I scoured that summer’s PointBreaks list to see if any of my travel plans coincided with any of the hotels, and they did in one case: I was in South Africa in August and there was a Holiday Inn Express in Pretoria and a Holiday Inn in Sandton (Johannesburg) on the list.

I booked three consecutive one night stays at the Holiday Inn in Sandton and three consecutive one night stays at the Holiday Inn Express in Pretoria.

The Sandton Holiday Inn goes for $117 per night, but I got the rooms for $28.

I used three of the six nights, and I canceled the ones I didn’t need within a few days of check in when I finally knew my plans. (Check the cancellation policy when you book as it varies by hotel, but you always have until the last few days at a minimum.)

Neither hotel was luxurious, but both had free internet and the Holiday Inn Express had a free hot breakfast buffet that saved me the cost of a meal.

Both hotels were clean and comfortable, so I was very happy with my stays as I reported in my post about saving 88% on my hotel bill in Stockholm.

Example from Summer 2012

I checked that summer’s PointBreaks list to see if any of my travel plans coincided with any of the hotels, and they did in one case: I would be in Krakow, Poland and the Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre was on the list.

I was in Krakow June 6 – 9, and I didn’t have a hotel booked. While the Krakow Holiday Inn was hardly the nicest property on the PointBreaks list, its cheapest room June 6 was 531 Polish Zloty, which was $153.

The first thing I did was search availability, and I found space June 6 and 8, but not June 7. I decided to book June 6 and 8, so I needed 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points.

I had zero IHG Rewards Club points in my account, so I transferred in 5,000 points from Ultimate Rewards. I bought 10,000 more points for $70 exactly how I outlined above leaving me with 15,000 points after I cancelled my dummy booking.

With my new points, I made two one-night bookings on June 6 and 8.

I noted the cancellation policy, which varies by hotel, in case I had to cancel. At the Holiday Inn Krakow, I just had to cancel by 4 PM the day of arrival.

I ended up very much enjoying the stay at the Holiday Inn Krakow, and I wrote about it in my Krakow, Poland Hotel Guide.

Recap

The new PointBreaks list is out from IHG Rewards Club. This is a list of hotels you can book for 5,000 points or $28 per night. The best way to take advantage of the list is to be active right now.

Which hotel will you stay at for $28?

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

1

Registration is open for IHG’s 2016 Share Forever promotion, which offers bonuses for stays from May 1 to September 5, 2016. The promotion is only open to IHG Rewards Club members whose address on file is in North America or South America.
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The promotion is being offered in partnership with Coca-Cola–see the bottle on the left side of the picture above?–and each member’s offer is targeted like all recent IHG promotions.

The promotion’s name, “Share Forever,” refers to the fact that in addition to your own rewards for making stays, you earn points or free nights to give away to other people. You can, however, share those extra rewards with yourself.

Here’s my targeted offer:

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 11.13.57 PM

I can earn:

  • 5,000 bonus points after 1 night from May 1 to May 31, 2016 (only 1,000 points if it’s completed between June 1 and September 5, 2016)
  • 1,400 bonus points after 2 nights from May 1 to September 5, 2016
  • 3,000 bonus points after 4 nights from May 1 to September 5, 2016
  • 20,000 bonus points after 9 nights from May 1 to September 5, 2016
  • 40,000 bonus points after 24 nights from May 1 to September 5, 2016

Plus I can share (including with myself):

  • 1,000 bonus points to share after 1 night from May 1 to September 5, 2016
  • 1 free night to share after 15 nights from May 1 to September 5, 2016 (stay by February 28, 2017 within the Americas)

If I stay 24 nights at IHG properties from May 1 to September 5, 2016 (one of which is by May 31), I’ll earn 70,400 bonus IHG points, plus one free night at any IHG property in the Americas. If I value the free night at 50,000 points, which is the most expensive free night on the IHG chart, that would be 120,400 bonus points for 24 nights, which is about 5,000 bonus points per night.

Spoiler alert: I am not going to stay 24 nights in hotels in the four months. I only had 15 hotel nights total in 2015, very few of which were paid nights.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.28.49 PM

But I might make a one night stay in May. That would be worth 6,000 bonus points. And another night would be worth another 1,400 bonus points.

Then I would look to use those points for PointBreaks hotels, which cost only 5,000 points per night for a free night.

Full IHG Share Forever promotion terms & conditions here

Mattress Run Worthy?

I value IHG points at 0.6 cents each. They’re offering me $36 worth of points for a one night stay and about $720 worth of points/free nights for 24 stays. Neither is worthy of a pure mattress run (ie booking a hotel when you have no use for one just because the rewards are worth more than the hotel costs), but both offer a big rebate on hotel stays you do need.

Bottom Line

Register for the Share Forever promotion to see your targeted offer. You should get 6,000 or 8,000 points for a one night stay and a lot more if you stay more nights.

What was your Share Forever offer?

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Today is the third day of five weeks of discounted travel packages from the US Travel Association called Daily Getaways. Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will often sell out in a few minutes. The morning of interesting deals, I’ll have a full write up.

Don’t buy these IHG packages that are on sale today.

  • 15,000 IHG points | $90 | 1,000 available | 0.6 cpp
  • 25,000 IHG points | $150 | 1,000 available | 0.6 cpp
  • 50,000 IHG points | $293 | 1,500 available | 0.586 cpp
  • 100,000 IHG points | $565 | 3,850 available | 0.565 cpp

You can get plenty of value at IHG points purchased for 0.565 cents each. For instance, you can book $28 hotel rooms. In past years, you could consider buying IHG points at these prices because the normal rate was 0.7 cents.

However, you can now buy IHG points in 15,000 point increments for 0.6 cents. That means unless you need 50,000 or 100,000 points today, you should not buy.

It is always a mistake to buy miles or points unless you have an immediate high value use. This lesson has been reinforced consistently, most recently this week with the overnight Alaska/Emirates devaluation.

My Plan

I’m sitting this one out. I don’t have an immediate use for any IHG points, let alone 50,000 or 100,000.

Will This Deal Sell Out?

I highly doubt it.

What Cards to Use to Purchase Daily Getaways

Last year, Daily Getaways purchases coded as purchases from a travel agency with multiple cards.

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I expect that to be the case in 2016 also. If it is, you should purchase with an Arrival Plus, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Sapphire Preferred.

  • You can redeem Arrival miles from the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® to eliminate the cost of your package if your purchase is greater than $100.
  • You can earn 3x ThankYou Points per dollar by purchasing the packages with a Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.
  • You can earn 2x Ultimate Rewards per dollar by purchasing the packages with a Chase Sapphire Preferred.

While I can not directly link to the current Chase Sapphire Preferred or Arrival Plus card offers, you may find them by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Purchasing the Packages

To maximize your chances of getting in on the deal, I recommend using a site like whattimeisit.com to figure out the official time. The sale starts at 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT. Keep refreshing the deal page until you see the BUY NOW button replace the SEE DETAILS button.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.55.17 PM

This is what happens if you try to purchase something when all quantities are already in someone’s cart.

This doesn’t mean the deal is sold out. If someone doesn’t complete his purchase, that quantity will immediately become available for someone else. Keep checking until the dreaded “Sold Out” appears.

Key Links

Do you plan to buy IHG points? Why?

 

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

10

If you sent in handwritten entries for the Priceless Surprises sweepstakes and didn’t get the game plays to which you’re entitled, what should you do?

Email questions@helloworldfulfillment.com and tell them about your entries they missed.

This FlyerTalk thread is replete with examples of this getting people replies with either the missing game plays or just points credited to their IHG accounts.

Hurry, the game ends tomorrow (March 15 at 11:59 PM ET).

For more information on the promotions, see:

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

5

Today only, February 26, 2016, you can buy IHG Rewards Club points and get up to a 100% bonus on the points purchased.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 11.32.24 AM

IHG is the loyalty program of these brands, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.44.58 PM

IHG points normally cost 1.15 to 1.35 cent each.

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points

If you buy 26,000 IHG points by tomorrow–the smallest number that gets the lowest price–you’ll receive 52,000 points for $299 or 0.575 cents each.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.36.20 PM

The maximum number of points you can purchase is 60,000 plus bonus points, meaning 120,000 total points.

IHG has nine categories of hotels that cost 10,000 to 50,000 points per night. There are some OK deals on this chart, but the best use of IHG Rewards points is always to book PointBreaks hotels for 5,000 points per night.

Buying points for 0.575 cents each and redeeming free nights at the 5,000 point PointBreaks price means hotels cost $28.75 per night.

When to Buy (Math)

Is buying IHG points for 0.575 cents each a good deal?

I would not buy IHG points speculatively for 0.575 cents each because I value them at 0.5 cents each. But if you have an immediate high value redemption in mind or if you are preparing your account for future PointBreaks, buying points can be a good deal.

For instance, with a 100% bonus, PointBreaks hotels are $28.75 per night. Category 1 properties would be $57.50 per night. Top tier Category 9 properties would be $287.50 per night. For all these categories, you can get a big discount off the retail nightly rate if you travel at a peak time.

Search your dream hotel to see how many points you’d need to book the hotel you want for a night. Search the dates you’d like to stay to see the paid price. If buying the points makes sense, there is award space on your dates, and you are ready to redeem now, buy the points.

For instance, this summer The InterContinental Resort and Spa Moorea Hotelin French Polynesia costs 40,000 points (Category 7) per night or about $313 after taxes.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.45.42 PM

For $690, you can but 120,000 IHG Rewards points and redeem them for three free nights at the hotel, saving $249 off of retail.

One other consideration about whether to buy: the “real price” is never 1.15 to 1.35 cents each. You can always buy IHG points for 0.6 cents each with this method. Because of the 0.6-cent back up plan, I am not going to buy these points speculatively for 0.575 cents each. I looked into whether it made sense for an upcoming stay in Romania, and it didn’t, so I am sitting this sale out.

Buy IHG Points with These Credit Cards

IHG points purchases are processed by points.com, so the purchases will not code as a bonus “travel” or “hotel” purchase on any credit card. You will not earn category bonuses from the purchase of IHG points.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 6.31.02 PM

That means you should make the purchase with whatever card you need to meet a minimum spending requirement on.

Bottom Line

You can buy IHG Points for as little as 0.575 cents today only. That’s too high to buy speculatively, but there are a lot of immediate awards you can book where that price offers great value.

The best use of IHG Rewards points is always to book PointBreaks hotels for 5,000 points per night.

Hat Tip View from the Wing

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

35

The brand new PointBreaks list allows us to book hotel rooms through April 30, 2016 for $30 per night.

Even if you’ve read other posts on the PointBreaks list, read this. I’ve honed my strategy for getting $30 per night rooms quite a bit, and I want to share it, so everyone can have access to the best practices.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 2.48.45 PM
InterContinental Mendoza (Argentina wine country): $30 on a previous list

Plus I’ve stayed in PointBreaks hotels several times in the last few years, so I want to say a word on their quality.

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Holiday Inn Express Cartagena Bocagrande (Colombia Carribean Coast): $30 on a previous list

This post will tell you how to book any hotel on the list of IHG Reward Club’s PointBreaks hotels for at most $30 per night, even the ones that ordinarily cost $200 or more per night.

  • What’s my strategy to make the most of PointBreaks?
  • What are the top properties on the newest PointBreaks list?

IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks

IHG Rewards Club is the loyalty program for InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, and Staybridge Suites.

As we covered here, IHG Rewards Club normally charges 10,000 to 50,000 points for a free night depending on the property. But every few months, IHG Rewards Club releases a list of a select few hotels where you can stay for 5,000 points per night. That’s a 90% discount on some hotels!

The new list of PointBreaks hotels is good for stays now through April 30, 2016. Bookings will become available sometime today.

We can stay at any hotel on the PointBreaks list for $30 just by using one loophole!

The basic premise is that IHG Rewards Club lets you buy 15,000 points for $90, which is 0.6 cents per point.

Problem #1: Not every hotel is on the PointBreaks list.

Solution: There is no solution for this problem.

When a new list comes out, I check its end date then consult my travel schedule to figure out where I’ll be between now and then that I might want a hotel. I also consider trips I haven’t planned, but have been mulling. And finally I look for the incredible properties that normally cost 50,000 miles to see if I want to take an impromptu trip.

I note all the hotels that I might want to stay at.

This time the only hotel that caught my eye for my own travels is the Holiday Inn in Cordoba, Argentina.

Problem #2: Not every night is available at hotels that are on the list–and what availability there is can disappear quickly.

Solution: Book award space now.

This leads to Problem #3.

Problem #3: I may want to change my plans later, but I may have to cancel the entire award to do that, costing me the chance at 5,000 point ($30) nights.

“Due to the limited availability, each member may only book two PointBreaks® Reward Nights reservations per hotel during the special offer time period.”

You have to make your best guess for when you’ll want to stay at a hotel. Or you can always make two reservations each from multiple accounts.

If you book more nights than you need, I also think it’s possible that by calling IHG or the hotel, you can trim some dates off a previous booking, but I can’t say for sure that would work.

Problem #4: I don’t have any IHG Rewards Club points.

To buy IHG points for 0.6 cents each, you need some already in your account.

Solution: Take advantage of an IHG promotion, transfer in 5,000 Ultimate Rewards, or buy 5,000 points for $67.50. Once we have 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points, we can buy unlimited quantities for 0.6 cents each.

The first step if you don’t have any IHG Rewards Club points is to get to 5,000. From there you can buy more points cheaply.

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Purchasing Points for 0.6 Cents

Once you have 5,000 or more points in your account, you can buy the rest of the points you need for 0.6 cents each.

The way to buy IHG Rewards Club points for 0.6 cents is to make a cash and points award booking then cancel it. Once you have an IHG Rewards Club account with 5,000 points, the next step is to book a cash and points award.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.20.04 AM

As you can see, this award costs 35,000 points or 20,000 points and $90. Select 20,000 points and $90 and pay for the award. The confirmation screen on cash and points awards makes it very clear that the cash is going towards buying points that would be immediately used to book the award.

After booking, immediately cancel the reservation online by following a link from the booking confirmation page. That brings you to this screen:

The points immediately credit back to your account, including the 15,000 purchased for $90.

If you need more points, then you repeat this step.

Caveats

Not all hotels are on the PointBreaks list. Not all nights are available as 5,000 point award nights at the hotels that are on the list. Check availability before buying points.

Make sure your account has 5,000 more points than you need for your speculative bookings. You always want a balance of 5,000 points at the end for your next round of buying points. It would be a shame to have to make another Ultimate Rewards transfer next PointBreaks list.

Best Hotels on this PointBreaks List

As usual, the list is mostly Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Expresses abroad plus Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites in the United States.

At $30, even those are steals, but if you want something more upmarket, check out:

Examples of My PointBreaks Stays

Example from Summer 2013

I scoured that summer’s PointBreaks list to see if any of my travel plans coincided with any of the hotels, and they did in one case: I was in South Africa in August and there was a Holiday Inn Express in Pretoria and a Holiday Inn in Sandton (Johannesburg) on the list.

I booked three consecutive one night stays at the Holiday Inn in Sandton and three consecutive one night stays at the Holiday Inn Express in Pretoria.

The Sandton Holiday Inn goes for $117 per night, but I got the rooms for $30.

I used three of the six nights, and I canceled the ones I didn’t need within a few days of check in when I finally knew my plans. (Check the cancellation policy when you book as it varies by hotel, but you always have until the last few days at a minimum.)

Neither hotel was luxurious, but both had free internet and the Holiday Inn Express had a free hot breakfast buffet that saved me the cost of a meal.

Both hotels were clean and comfortable, so I was very happy with my stays as I reported in my post about saving 88% on my hotel bill in Stockholm.

Example from Summer 2012

I checked that summer’s PointBreaks list to see if any of my travel plans coincided with any of the hotels, and they did in one case: I would be in Krakow, Poland and the Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre was on the list.

I was in Krakow June 6 – 9, and I didn’t have a hotel booked. While the Krakow Holiday Inn was hardly the nicest property on the PointBreaks list, its cheapest room June 6 was 531 Polish Zloty, which was $153.

The first thing I did was search availability, and I found space June 6 and 8, but not June 7. I decided to book June 6 and 8, so I needed 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points.

I had zero IHG Rewards Club points in my account, so I transferred in 5,000 points from Ultimate Rewards. I bought 10,000 more points for $70 exactly how I outlined above leaving me with 15,000 points after I cancelled my dummy booking.

With my new points, I made two one-night bookings on June 6 and 8.

I noted the cancellation policy, which varies by hotel, in case I had to cancel. At the Holiday Inn Krakow, I just had to cancel by 4 PM the day of arrival.

I ended up very much enjoying the stay at the Holiday Inn Krakow, and I wrote about it in my Krakow, Poland Hotel Guide.

Recap

The new PointBreaks list is out from IHG Rewards Club. This is a list of hotels you can book for 5,000 points or $30 per night. The best way to take advantage of the list is to be active right now.

Which hotel will you stay at for $30?

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

32

Through February 15, IHG is running a promotion that offers a prize for every stay beyond your first. Since the prize is randomly drawn, though, IHG had to offer a free way to enter to avoid violating lottery laws.Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.01.15 PM

All you have to do is send a hand-written note to IHG’s prize fulfillment company, and you get an entry. You can get 94 entries this way. See “GET 47,000+ IHG POINTS FOR $56 FROM HOME” for more information.

The promotion has been running since November 15 of last year, so MileValue readers have provided a lot of data on how the contest is going for them. You can check out all their comments here.

The interesting data points to me are that points are now posting, almost everyone reports that all prize entries have gotten at least 500 points, and envelopes do not need to be hand-written.

  1. The first Priceless Surprise game plays were received on December 4th. The first points posted on December 29th.
  2. Almost everyone has reported that all their entries won 500+ points. One commenter reported that only 46 of his 50 entries won a prize. Let’s conservatively say that 92% of your entries get 500+ points. That means you can expect 41,000+ points. I am sure the true expected value is over 50,000 points with all the other prizes available.
  3. The index cards cards clearly need to be handwritten with (1) your full name, (2) complete mailing address, (3) day and (4) evening phone numbers, (5) valid email address, (6) IHG member number, (7) the first six digits of your MasterCard, and (8) date of birth. But many people wondered whether the envelope needed to be hand written. The answer is no. You can use pre-printed address labels.

I haven’t filled in my index cards yet. Have you? With what results?

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

1

IHG, the loyalty program of InterContinental, Holiday Inn, and Crowne Plaza, has frequent sales during which you can buy its points for 0.575 cents each, a 50% discount on the every day price of 1.15 cents each.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 8.06.22 AM

There has long been a workaround to buy points every day for 0.7 cents each. Now that workaround can buy them for 0.6 cents each.

That makes the best IHG awards, a rotating list of PointBreaks hotels that cost only 5,000 points per night, cost only $30 per night. The fanciest IHG hotels, which go for 50,000 points per night, now cost $300 all in every day with award availability.

The Workaround

When you search award availability, you are always given the option to pay the full number of points required, between 10,000 and 50,000 per night depending on the hotel, or to book a cash and points award.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.42.28 AM

The cash and points award always have the same options. Save 5,000 points for $40 or 10,000 for $70. That’s like buying points for 0.8 or 0.7 cents each.

The confirmation screen makes it very clear that the $70 is going towards buying 10,000 points that would be immediately used to book the award.

After booking, you can immediately cancel the reservation online by following a link from the booking confirmation page. That brings you to this screen:

Canceling puts the points you just purchased into your account. If you need more points, then you repeat these steps.

Through this workaround, you have been able to buy IHG points for 0.7 cents each every day.

Well now, some hotels are offering 15,000 points off their normal price for $90.  Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.21.00 AM

If you select that option and then cancel the hotel stay, you have purchased points for 0.6 cents each.

Not all hotels are offering 15,000 points off for $90. If you want to use this option, look for the InterContinental Sydney or Candlewood Suites Jersey City, two hotels which I doubt have much in common.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.20.04 AM

Bottom Line

A new option to buy 15,000 IHG Points for $90 has been added to some properties on ihg.com during award bookings. This option allows the purchase of points for 0.6 cents each every day, which is just a bit worse than the best sale price of 0.575 cents which is often offered.

Use IHG points for PointBreaks properties.

Hat Tip One Mile at a Time

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

I only cover hotel promotions when one is so good that with a little time and money, you can unlock stays that are worth several times your effort.

IHG Rewards Club’s new Accelerate promo for stays from January 1 to April 30, 2016 is mattress-run-worthy for some people.

Sign into your account here to see your targeted offer. My offer is:

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 8.11.08 AM

 

If I don’t apply for the IHG credit card from Chase, I’d need to make:

  • two stays
  • at Holiday Inns
  • for five total nights
  • one of which includes either Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday night stays
  • one of which is in January

That would net me 53,000 bonus IHG points in addition to the points I’d earn from the stays themselves. I could probably knock this out for $500. If the stays had no value for me, that would be like buying IHG points for 1 cent each, which is a bad deal because they are worth 0.5 cents and because you can always buy them for 0.7 cents each.

If I needed the stays and valued them at full price, then I’d be getting $265 worth of IHG points for free.

I have registered, and I will look at my 2016 stays to see if the promo makes sense for me. If I had gotten an easier bonus, I would definitely be involved. One Mile at a Time got this offer:

  • January Bonus Offer — 5,000 bonus points (stay once in January)
  • Stay Once Get 5,000 — 5,000 bonus points (stay once during the promotion period)
  • Stay More, Earn More — 10,000 bonus points (stay five nights during the promotion period)
  • Earn More, Faster — 2,000 bonus points (book a bonus points package during the promotion period)
  • Spend On Your IHG Rewards Club Credit Card — 15,000 bonus points (pay for a stay with your co-branded credit card)
  • Your Achievement Bonus — 31,500 bonus points (complete three of the four offers — excluding the January Bonus Offer — and earn this bonus)

That means he “could book a stay at the Candlewood Suites Clearwater with a 1,000 point bonus package for $81.99 for one night… and therefore unlock the achievement bonus.”

That’s paying under $90 for over 50,000 IHG points, a no brainer.

By contrast, some on FlyerTalk are being required to stay 40 nights or stay at hotels in four foreign countries to unlock all their bonuses.

Should You Participate

Simple math: is the value of participating greater than or less than the cost?

For the value, add up your bonus points, the regular points from stays, and the value of your stays.

For the cost, add up the cost of the stays and the cost of your time going to mattress runs (zero value stays you make only for the promo).

Only participate if the value exceeds the cost.

Bonus

You still have time to participate in this amazing IHG promotion to earn 47,000+ IHG points for $56 from home. Read the comments to see actual experiences of people participating.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

170

Read the comments (at least the most recent ones) for updates. People are receiving their game plays and notifications of their prizes, though the actual points haven’t posted.

IHG and MasterCard have announced a Priceless Surprises promotion that allows you to win 47,000+ IHG points from home for $56 and a few hours of your time.

The way the promotion is supposed to work is that you get 1,000 points for your first qualifying IHG stay with a check in date between November 15, 2015 and February 15, 2016. Then for each subsequent qualifying stay during that time period, you get a Priceless Surprise.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.01.15 PM

Some Priceless Surprises are huge.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.01.27 PM

Some are pretty big.Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.01.38 PM

But if you read the fine print, you see that most are 500 IHG points.

Speaking of reading the fine print, there is a second way to get Priceless Surprises. IHG cannot require purchase for a promotion that randomly assigns prizes since that would run afoul of state lottery laws. For that reason, according to the official rules, “From November 15, 2015 to February 15, 2016: You can enter the Instant Win Game without completing a Qualifying Stay… Each entrant is eligible to receive up to ninety-four (94) Game plays during the Promotion Period, regardless of method of entry.”

Now they don’t make it too easy.

“To enter without completing the minimum two Qualifying Stays, hand print your full name, complete mailing address, day and evening phone numbers, valid email address, member number, the first six (6) digits of your MasterCard and date of birth on a 3″ x 5″ piece of paper and mail it in an envelope with proper postage to “IHG and MasterCard® Priceless Surprises® Promotion,” c/o HelloWorld, Inc., P.O. Box 5996, Kalamazoo, MI 49003-5996. Once your mail-in request is received, you will receive an email within five (5) business days from the Administrator inviting you to play the Game and you will receive one (1) Game play for each mail-in request. Limit: One (1) request per envelope. Once you receive an email inviting you to participate in the Game, click on the link found within the email and follow the links and instructions to play the Game. The Game results will be instantly displayed. Potential winners of the Game will be provided directions for validation. All potential winners are subject to verification before any prize will be awarded. Administrator is responsible for the functionality of the Instant Win Game. All mail-in entries must be handwritten and must be postmarked by February 15, 2016 and received by February 22, 2016. All entries become the exclusive property of Sponsor and none will be acknowledged or returned. Proof of sending or submission will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by Sponsor. Sponsor is not responsible for 308468.1 lost, late, incomplete, invalid, unintelligible, illegible, misdirected or postage-due entries, which will be disqualified. All Game plays must be completed by March 15, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET.”

So this is what you can do starting November 15:

  1. Register your IHG number for the Priceless Surprises promotion.
  2. Buy this 100 pack of 3″ x 5″ index cards for $2.99 from Amazon. (Free shipping as part of a larger order.)
  3. Buy this 100 pack of envelopes for $6.99 from Amazon. The price seems high. Can you find some cheaper? (Free shipping as part of a larger order.)
  4. Buy 94 stamps for $46.06.
  5. Fill out 94 of the cards with (1) your full name, (2) complete mailing address, (3) day and (4) evening phone numbers, (5) valid email address, (6) IHG member number, (7) the first six digits of your MasterCard, and (8) date of birth.
  6. Fill out the 94 envelopes with the address IHG and MasterCard® Priceless Surprises® Promotion, c/o HelloWorld, Inc., P.O. Box 5996, Kalamazoo, MI 49003-5996 and stamp them.

This will probably take you three to four hours.

Within five days of HelloWorld receiving each entry, you will get an email that gives you one entry for a Priceless Surprise. Each entry is worth a prize.

Ten prizes are worth about $20,000 each, 24 prizes are in the $600 to $2,500 range, 1,775 prizes are in the $50 to $120 range, and the vast majority of prizes are 500 to 5,000 IHG points. Check out the prizes here.

If you do everything right, you are guaranteed to get at least 47,000 IHG points (94 times 500). I’d value those at about 0.5 cents each or $235. If it takes you four hours, costs you $56 to get those points, and you value your time at under $45 per hour, that’s a good deal.

You will likely do better than 47,000 IHG Points. Here are the odds for the points prizes:

  • 5k points: 2.333%
  • 2k points: 3.5%
  • 1k points: 7%
  • 500 points: ~84.746%

See nerd note at the end, if you, like me, are a nerd.

I am going to do this. It is a decent return on time, I’ll get a rush out of beating the system, and hey, maybe, I’ll win one of the big prizes!

(And by, “I am going to do this,” I mean that I am going to offer my nieces a chance to do the work for pay. How does $50 sound to a 10 year old?)

Is anyone else in?

Nerd note:

The Frequent Miler has a version of this post where he notes that the prize odds are stated like this:

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.10.58 PM Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.11.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.11.06 PM

 

He correctly points out that those don’t mean 1 in 28.57 and 1 in 1.18. Those mean 1 in 29.57, 1 in 2.18, etc. He reasons that this means you are actually likely to win only 31,657 points on average.

However, I am almost certain that that’s just a typo on IHG’s part and that the odds are 1 in 28.57, 1 in 14.29 etc. My three pieces of evidence:

  1. The promotion clearly says that each stay after your first unlocks a priceless surprise. It doesn’t say “may unlock.”
    Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.12.42 PMI think that clearly means every entry gets a prize. The smallest prize is 500 IHG points.
  2. IHG’s Twitter says my reading is correct and every entry wins a prize.

  3. Sum the probabilities my way and you find a 97.579% chance of getting 500-5,000 IHG points. There are 2,009 other prizes listed. Assuming they constitute a 2.421% chance total, that means that everyone gets a prize, and IHG is expecting about 82,982 entries. Sounds reasonable. Sum the probabilities the Frequent Miler’s way, and the chance of getting 500-5,000 IHG points is 58.073%. That means that either IHG is expecting 4,792 entries (way too low!), or IHG is not giving everyone a prize, which doesn’t square with points 1 and 2 on this list.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

5

IHG has comes out with its Fall Promo, Accelerate, for stays between September 1 and December 31. Registration is required to see your targeted offer. I don’t stay in hotels much, so hotel promotions only catch my eye–and make an appearance on MileValue–when you can earn rewards worth more than the price of the hotel rooms you need to book to earn the rewards. This promotion meets that threshold of offering greater than 100% back–if you were targeted for one of the better offers.

Free Nights Offer

New members, or in some cases, inactive members are being offered one free night at any IHG property after two paid stays at any IHG property and a second free night after two more paid stays. That offers amazing opportunities for “winning” the promotion. Two cheap one-night stays at properties under $100 per night could yield a free night at the $400-per-night InterContinental Hong Kong or the $1,000 per night Intercontinental Bora Bora.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.42.49 PM
InterContinental Bora Bora

If you get the free nights promo, it is a no-brainer. Earn the two free nights with four real stays if you can. If you don’t have any upcoming uses for hotels, mattress run (book hotels purely for the sake of earning rewards) four times for one night stays at nearby cheap IHG properties in the Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, and Holiday Inn Express brands.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.49.59 PM

Points Offer

Old members, like me, are getting game-ified promotions that offer points for completing certain tasks like booking a certain number of stays, booking a certain number of stays at certain IHG chains, staying a certain number of nights, staying weekends, or opening the IHG credit card.

Here is my offer, for 50,000 total points:

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 12.54.23 PM

To get all 50,000 points, I’d need to:

  • stay 7 nights
  • on at least two separate stays at Holiday Inns
  • at least one of which was a two-night weekend stay
  • plus open their credit card

All that is definitely not worth doing just for 50,000 points, which I’d value at about $250.

Some folks have easier offers, and some folks are being offered 150,000 points, so check your targeted promotion here.

Do the math to see if changing your behavior to earn the points is worth it. Add up the extra cost of your hotel stays from changing your behavior (that would be the total cost of the stay if you do a pure mattress run and have no use for the room) and add up the value of the points earned. If the points are worth more than they cost, jump on the promotion.

Terms and Conditions

Here is the fine print of the offer. Understand it before jumping in.

You must be an IHG® Rewards Club member and must register your member number in advance to participate in “Accelerate” (“Promotion”). Upon Registration, members will be presented with the opportunity to earn at least 50,000 bonus points upon completion of all offers presented. Members will be awarded bonus points listed for each individual Promotional offer (“Offer”) after completing the requirements of each individual Offer. Each Offer must be completed between 1 September 2015 and 31 December 2015 (both dates inclusive) (“Registration”).   The bonus points earned through individual Offers can be used for redemption opportunities toward Reward Nights, merchandise and other redemption opportunities. See individual Offers for the specific terms and conditions per Offer type.  A Stay is defined per IHG® Rewards Club Membership Terms and Conditions as one night or consecutive nights at the same hotel, regardless of frequency of check-in/out (“Stay”). A Stay constitutes a “Qualifying Stay” when member pays qualifying rates, which include most business and leisure rates at InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, EVEN®or HUALUXETM hotels worldwide. Bonus points are not issued for Non-Qualifying Room Rates or Non-Qualifying Stays. “Non-Qualifying Room Rates” or “Non-Qualifying Stay” include the following: any stay at a Kimpton Hotel, net wholesale individual and group rate, certain package rates, employee discount rate, friends and family rate, crew rate, special discounted contract rates, seasonal worker/crew rate, 50% travel club discount rate, travel industry discount rate, distressed passenger rate, IHG® Rewards Club Reward Nights/Airline Hotel Reward rate, rates booked through third party web sites, complimentary hotel Stays and any other rates not defined as a Qualifying Room Rate at IHG’s sole discretion. Only one room per member per Qualifying Stay will be awarded the applicable bonus points. Each Promotion Offer of bonus points is available only once to each member. No retroactive bonus points will be awarded for Stays prior to Registration.  Except as otherwise stated in the terms and conditions, please allow up to 2 to 3 weeks for Promotion Offer bonus points to be credited after checkout .This Promotion is subject to standard IHG Rewards Club Membership Terms and Conditions and earning structure, which can be obtained by visiting www.ihgrewardsclub.com. This exclusive Promotion is valid and applies to the original recipient only. IHG reserves the right to remove a member’s bonus points or cancel a member’s account if fraudulent use of the Promotion is detected. IHG® Rewards Club reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Promotion/Offer at any time with or without notice.  IHG reserves the right of final interpretation of this Offer. Members must make any promotional inquiries by 60 days from the end of the campaign promotional period.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

6

Until August 31, 2015, you can buy IHG Rewards Club points and get up to a 100% bonus on the points purchased.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 1.37.14 PM

Head to this page and enter your IHG Rewards Club number to what bonus between 50% and 100% you get. I got a 100% bonus.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 1.38.21 PM

IHG is the loyalty program of these brands, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.44.58 PM

IHG points normally cost 1.15 to 1.35 cent each.

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points

With the 100% bonus, the price drops to 0.575 to 0.675 cents per point. If you buy 26,000 IHG points before August 31–the smallest number that gets the lowest price–you’ll receive 52,000 points for $299 or 0.575 cents each.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.36.20 PM

The maximum number of points you can purchase is 60,000 plus bonus points, meaning 90,000 to 120,000 total points depending on your bonus.

IHG has nine categories of hotels that cost 10,000 to 50,000 points per night. There are some OK deals on this chart, but the best use of IHG Rewards points is always to book PointBreaks hotels for 5,000 points per night.

Buying points for 0.575 cents each and redeeming free nights at the 5,000 point PointBreaks price means hotels cost $28.75 per night.

When to Buy (Math)

If you have a 50% or 60% bonus, do not buy. Points are more than 0.7 cents each, and you can always buy points for 0.7 cents each with this method. If you have a 70%+ bonus, points are less than 0.7 cents each, and you can consider buying.

Is buying IHG points for 0.575 to 0.677 cents each a good deal?

I would not buy IHG points speculatively for 0.575 cents each because I value them at 0.5 cents each. But if you have an immediate high value redemption in mind or if you are preparing your account for future PointBreaks, buying points can be a good deal.

For instance, with a 100% bonus, PointBreaks hotels are $28.75 per night. Category 1 properties would be $57.50 per night. Top tier Category 9 properties would be $287.50 per night. For all these categories, you can get a big discount off the retail nightly rate if you travel at a peak time.

Search your dream hotel to see how many points you’d need to book the hotel you want for a night. Search the dates you’d like to stay to see the paid price. If buying the points makes sense, there is award space on your dates, and you are ready to redeem now, buy the points.

For instance, this summer The InterContinental Resort and Spa Moorea Hotelin French Polynesia costs 40,000 points (Category 7) per night or about $313 after taxes.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.45.42 PM

For $690, you can but 120,000 IHG Rewards points and redeem them for three free nights at the hotel, saving $249 off of retail.

Buy IHG Points with These Credit Cards

IHG points purchases are processed by points.com, so the purchases will not code as a bonus “travel” or “hotel” purchase on any credit card. You will not earn category bonuses from the purchase of IHG points.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 6.31.02 PM

That means you should make the purchase with whatever card you need to meet a minimum spending requirement on.

Bottom Line

You can buy IHG Points for as little as 0.575 cents each if you are targeted for the 100% bonus. That’s too high to buy speculatively, but there are a lot of immediate awards you can book where that price offers great value.

The best use of IHG Rewards points is always to book PointBreaks hotels for 5,000 points per night.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

I don’t spend much time in hotels (here’s a breakdown of where I’m sleeping as I travel 365 days this year), but I’ve been looking at booking some upcoming hotel stays. I carry several co-branded credit cards, but as I’ve crunched the numbers, my Citi Prestige® Card has come out as a better option for paying the hotel stay in almost all cases.

That’s especially true if I’m looking at a four night hotel stay, since the Citi Prestige® Card offers the fourth night free on paid hotel stays, which is an ~25% rebate (more if you’re doing it right.)

But even on a one night stay at a chain hotel where I have the hotel’s credit card, the Citi Prestige® Card‘s 3x hotel category bonus is usually a better option. Since I value ThankYou Points at 1.8 cents each, getting three points per dollar is like a 5.4% return for me. I can either use the points for 1.6 cents off American Airlines and partner flights or transfer them to 11 types of miles.

Let’s take a look at some major chain and non-chain hotels to see the return from using a co-branded card versus the Citi Prestige® Card. In parentheses is the card I’d use for a stay at that hotel chain. If there is nothing in parentheses, I’d use the Prestige. Here are there rankings by number of affiliated hotels according to Wikipedia:

1. Wyndham (Wyndham card for American properties)
2. Choice (Choice card for American properties)
3. IHG
4. Hilton
5. Marriott
9. Club Carlson
10. Starwood (maybe SPG Card for American properties depending on how you use ThankYou Points)
15. Hyatt (SPG Business Card for American properties)
Non-chain hotels

1. Wyndham

The Wyndham card offers 5x points per dollar on Wyndham stays at the following brands:

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.26.25 PM

I value Wyndham points at 1.33 cents each now that you can book any Wyndham property for 15,000 points per night. That’s a 6.65 cents per dollar return from the Wyndham card versus 5.4% from the Prestige.

But the Wyndham card has a 3% foreign transaction fee that the Prestige doesn’t have, so only use the Wyndham card at American properties, not abroad where the Prestige offers more value.

2. Choice

The Choice card offers 15x points per dollar on Choice stays at the following brands:

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.32.26 PM

I value Choice points at 0.5 cents each. That’s 7.5% back.

But the Choice card has a 3% foreign transaction fee that the Prestige doesn’t have, so only use the Choice card at American properties, not abroad where the Prestige offers more value.

3. IHG

The IHG card offers 5x points per dollar on IHG stays at the following brands:

  • Candlewood Suites
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Hotel Indigo
  • InterContinental
  • Staybridge Suites

I value IHG points at 0.7 cents each. That’s 3.5% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

4. Hilton

The Hilton Reserve offers 10x points per dollar on Hilton stays at the following brands:

  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Embassy Suites
  • Curio, A Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hampton Inn
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton
  • Canopy by Hilton
  • Hilton Grand Vacations

I value Hilton points at 0.4 cents each. That’s 4% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

5. Marriott

The Marriott card offers 5x points per dollar on Marriott stays at 18 brands including Marriotts and Ritz-Carltons.

I value Marriott points at 0.4 cents each. That’s 2% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

9. Club Carlson

The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card offers 10x points per dollar on Club Carlson stays at the following brands:

  • Country Inns & Suites
  • Hotel Missoni
  • Park Inn
  • Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts
  • Quorvus Collection
  • Radisson Hotels
  • Radisson Blu
  • Radisson Red

I value Club Carlson points at 0.4 cents each. That’s 4% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

10. Starwood

The SPG card offers 2x points per dollar on SPG stays at the following brands:

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.47.17 PM

I value Starpoints at 2.5 cents each. That’s 5% back.

I’d prefer to get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back. But if you use ThankYou Points like cash toward American Airlines flights, they are worth 1.6 cents each, so you’d only get 4.8% back.

In any case, the SPG card has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so definitely use the Prestige at Starwood properties aborad.

15. Hyatt

The Hyatt card offers 3x points per dollar on stays at the following brands:

  • Park Hyatt
  • Andaz
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Hyatt
  • HYATT CENTRIC
  • Hyatt Place
  • Hyatt House
  • Hyatt Zilara
  • Hyatt Ziva
  • Hyatt Residence Club

I value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each. That’s 4.5% back.

However you can actually do better by using any American Express OPEN Business card, which offers 5% off Hyatt stays. The best would be the SPG Business card because you’d get 5% off plus 1 Starpoint per dollar (another 2.5%) for 7.5% back total.

Non-Chain Hotels

Definitely get 3x points by paying with the Citi Prestige® Card, which I value at 5.4% back.

Bottom Line

The Citi Prestige® Card is always the best card to book hotel stays of four nights with the fourth night free, and is often the best hotel card to book any stay.

The only hotel credit cards that offer a better return at their own hotels are the Wyndham and Choice cards, and those only offer a better return at American properties because of their foreign transaction fees.

Check out my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Update 7/9/15: All these deals are dead. The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card has come out with an even better offer! 75,000 bonus points after spending $2k in the first three months.

Today (June 30) the 60k and 50k Delta credit card offers expire, the 50k Hilton credit card offer expires, and the ability to buy IHG points for 0.575 cents ends. It’s a big day for procrastinators.

I do not know the exact times the credit card offers end. If you click a link, and the offer is still there, it is still valid.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card with 50,000 Hilton Points after spending $1k in the first four months

Current Offer: 50,000 bonus Hilton points + $50 statement credit
Best Guess for Offer Tomorrow: 40,000 bonus Hilton points and no statement credit
Don’t Miss This Deal If: Some of the Category 1 (12 free nights) or Category 2 (6 free nights) Hilton properties appeal to you
Skip This Deal If: You want to stay at Category 3+ Hiltons (0-2 free nights)
Further Reading: How to Get 6 to 12 Free Nights from the Citi Hilton HHonors Card

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card offers 50,000 Hilton Points after spending $1k in the first four months and a $50 statement credit after spending $50 on your first stay at any hotel within the Hilton Portfolio during the first 3 months of account opening.

 

This card is designed for people who want to pursue the many-free-nights strategy with Hilton, taking advantage of underpriced 5,000 and 10,000 point hotels and the fifth-night-free benefit that cardholders get on all awards.

This card is terrible for people who want to stay at the fanciest Hiltons, which cost 95,000 points for a single night. They should get the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with two free weekend nights worldwide at any Hilton after spending $2,500 in four months.

Check out How to Get 6 to 12 Free Nights from the Citi Hilton HHonors Card for an explanation of maximizing the card and examples of getting more than $1,000 in free hotel nights from the card’s sign up bonus.

Delta Platinum with 60k Bonus Miles + 10k MQM, Delta Golds with 50k Bonus Miles

Current Offer: Platinum offers 60k Bonus Miles + 10k MQMs, Delta Golds offer 50k Bonus Miles
Best Guess for Offer Tomorrow: 30k all three cards
Don’t Miss This Deal If: You want to fly to Australia, Central America, or South America or you want MQMs
Skip This Deal If: You’re planning a trip to Europe or within the United States or you’ve already had the Delta Gold personal or Delta Platinum
Further Reading: Delta 50k and 60k Offers End Tuesday, Get Them Now

The Platinum card is the card for people who want to earn Delta elite status with their purchases:

  • 60,000 bonus SkyMiles after spending $2,000 in the first three months
  • 10,000 MQM after spending $2,000 in the first three months
  • 15,000 MQM after spending $30,000 in a calendar year
  • Another 15,000 MQM after reaching $60,000 in a calendar year
  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases, 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
  • Free checked bag on Delta flights for you plus eight companions on the same reservation
  • $100 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase in the first three months
  • Priority Boarding on Delta
  • 20% off Delta onboard purchases
  • $195 annual fee, NOT waived

The Gold personal and business cards are the “standard” airline credit card:

  • 50,000 bonus SkyMiles after spending $2,000 in the first three months
  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases, 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
  • Free checked bag on Delta flights for you plus eight companions on the same reservation
  • $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase in the first three months
  • Priority Boarding on Delta
  • 20% off Delta onboard purchases
  • $95 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months

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These cards are really fantastically easy ways to get Delta miles, which are especially valuable to Australia on Virgin Australia and throughout the Americas on AeroMexico. There are generally better miles to other places, so skip these cards if you’re new to miles and want a trip somewhere else.

Check out Delta 50k and 60k Offers End 6/30, Get Them Now for an explanation of maximizing the cards.

Buy IHG Points for 0.575 Cents

Current Offer: Buy IHG Points for 0.575 cents
Best Guess for Offer Tomorrow: Buy IHG Points for 1.15 cents
Don’t Miss This Deal If: You need to get your balance to 5,000 points to prepare for PointBreaks lists
Skip This Deal If: You don’t have a hotel stay in mind that is cheaper this way than just paying for the hotel with cash
Further Reading: Buy IHG Rewards Points for 0.575 Cents Each, $29 Hotel Rooms

There is a 100% bonus on purchasing IHG Rewards points, so that the effective price is 0.575 cents per point. That’s great news if you want to get in on 5,000 point per night ($29) PointBreaks hotels. That’s not nearly as fantastic if you want to book 50,000 point per night ($288) hotels.

For full analysis, check out Buy IHG Rewards Points for 0.575 Cents Each, $29 Hotel Rooms.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Updated June 4: Hilton has moved up its free wifi to today from its originally announced date of August 1.

Hilton, Hyatt, SPG, Marriott, IHG, and Fairmont all offer free internet in their hotels worldwide if you meet certain easy conditions. Finally the great hotels of the world are catching up with a standard benefit of hostels for the last decade. 😉

Hilton now offers free wifi as of June 4, 2015 to all Hilton HHonors members who book their stay through a Hilton-controlled channel (like hilton.com, the Hilton app, or by contacting the hotel itself.) Join Hilton HHonors free here. Diamonds will get premium internet. All other members will get basic internet. Hilton operates the following brands:

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Hyatt offers free wifi in lobbies and guest rooms worldwide since February 1, 2015. This applies no matter how you book your room–yes even if you use Priceline–and even if you are not a member of the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program. Hyatt operates the following brands:

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SPG offers free internet access since February 2, 2015. The free internet is only available to SPG members who book their stay through SPG.com or other SPG owned channels (ie the SPG app or sheraton.com.) Join SPG for free here. SPG operates the following brands:

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Marriott offers free internet access since January 15, 2015. The free internet is only available to Marriott Rewards members who book their stay through marriott.com or other Marriott owned channels (ie by phone or directly with the hotel.) Join Marriott Rewards for free here. Marriott operates the following brands:

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IHG has long offered free internet to IHG Rewards club members no matter how their stay is booked. Join IHG Rewards for free here. IHG operates the following brands:

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Fairmont has long offered free internet to Fairmont President’s Club members no matter how their stay is booked. Join Fairmont President’s Club for free here. Fairmont operates the following brands:

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This is great news for travelers. In the United States, I never bought internet from hotels anymore, opting to tether my laptop to my phone, but abroad I was often stuck paying 10 to 15 euros per day at hotels. I look forward to free internet at hotels worldwide for the rest of my life.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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