IHG Rewards Club

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The brand new PointBreaks list allows us to book hotel rooms through October 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.

INTERCONTINENTAL PHNOM PENH, Cambodia is currently on the PointBreaks list
INTERCONTINENTAL PHNOM PENH, Cambodia is currently on the PointBreaks 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.

HOLIDAY INN - ANA RESORT MIYAZAKI, Japan is currently on the PointBreaks list
HOLIDAY INN – ANA RESORT MIYAZAKI, Japan is currently on the PointBreaks 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 July 31, 2016.

We can stay at any hotel on the PointBreaks list for $30 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 ($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.

Normally your best option is to buy IHG points for 0.6 cents each. But first, try clicking this link (and signing into IHG Rewards Club) to buy them. There are different targeted bonuses, so you may or may not see an option like I did for a 100% bonus which would be like buying IHG points for .575 cents each.

If you don’t see a bonus that brings down the price to anything less than .6 cents each, then follow the steps below.

You need some IHG points already in your account to be able to buy more for .6 cents. 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.

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.

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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. For this reason, you always want a balance of 5,000 points at the end for your next round of buying points.

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 $30, 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 $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?

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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This is about the math behind one of my hotel stays. But the same concept applies to all your hotel stays and flights when deciding between an award and cash.

This week I stayed in the Holiday Inn Express in Belgrade, Serbia. The hotel came to my attention because it was a PointBreaks hotel, which means I could buy points for about $29 and book it “for free” with those points. But I ended up paying $61 for a paid night instead to get a big bonus from the current IHG Rewards promo. Here was my thought process.

Free Now or Free Later

Occasionally this hobby requires a little math to figure out the best deal among several good ones. Don’t shy away from that math, and don’t expect anyone else to be able to do it for you since it often requires your personal valuation of miles and points. Luckily the math is always easy!

Here was my math.

I had 6,000+ points in my IHG account, enough for one free night at the Holiday Inn Express in Belgrade, which was 5,000 points per night because it was on the IHG PointBreaks list.

IHG also runs near constant promotions for bonus points on stays, and for the current promotion, here was my targeted offer.

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That’s 6,000 bonus points on my first stay if it was by May 31–5,000 for me and 1,000 to share that I can “share” with myself. My stay was May 29.

On the night of my stay, the advanced purchase rate was 54.30 euros ($61)

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The normal earning rate is 10 points per dollar at most IHG brands, including Holiday Inn Express, so my paid stay would earn 6,610 points between bonuses and normal earning.

So here’s the math: a paid stay costs me $61 more and leaves my account with 11,610 more points (6,610 earned plus 5,000 not spent) than a free stay. Which do I value more? If I value points at more than 0.525 cents each, the right move was to pay for the stay.

That’s almost exactly what I value IHG points at, 0.5 cents each. In the end, I decided to pay for the stay because not paying would have left me with 1,000 points in my account, and it’s really important to always have at least 5,000 IHG points to be able to use this trick to buy more points for 0.63-0.7 cents each.

Bottom Line

Should you use cash or an award? Whether with airline miles or hotel points, it is a simple math problem adding up the costs of each in miles and points and applying your value for the miles or points.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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This week I stayed one night in the Holiday Inn Express Belgrade – City in Serbia.

This hotel was on the current PointBreaks, though it has sold out for PointBreaks. (In fact, the only European hotel left for 5,000 points or $29 stays through July 31 is the Holiday Inn Garden Court Wolverhampton.) For the next two days, IHG points are being sold so cheaply that you could book 24 consecutive nights at a similar PointBreaks hotels for $690, which is $28.75 per night, or $862.50 per month, if you want to compare it to your rent.

I’ll do a quick rundown of PointBreaks and whether to use them for long term stays instead of Airbnb or apartments and then a trip report of the hotel itself.

Live in a PointBreaks Hotel

PointBreaks List

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

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 current list of PointBreaks hotels is good for stays now through July 31, 2016. Unfortunately IHG caps how many 5,000 point nights can be redeemed at each property, so this list which came out April 25 is much diminished. Get ready to hop on the next list, which will probably come out around July 25 and will be covered here.

Buying Points

You can always buy IHG points for 0.63 cents each through this method, meaning you can always book PointBreaks hotels for $31.67 per night.

Through Friday (June 3, 2016), you can purchase IHG points for 0.575 cents each through this link, meaning you can book PointBreaks hotels for $28.75 per night. You are limited to 120,000 points through this method, enough for 24 nights at PointBreaks hotels for $690.

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I don’t believe there is a limit for the 0.63 cents-per-point method.

Looking at the list of available hotels in South America, there are still some interesting ones. I wouldn’t mind spending a month in Rosario, Cuiaba, Natal, or Puerto Montt one bit. (Guayaquil wasn’t my cup of tea.)
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You could book a month at the Holiday Inn Express Rosario starting tomorrow for 150,000 points, which would be $862.50 during the current sale. (Buy from more than one account, since each account is capped at 120,000.)Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.09.57 PM
For a month’s rent, 30 breakfasts, and daily maid service, that’s an interesting price indeed. I briefly considered booking the Holiday Inn Express Belgrade for my 35 days in Belgrade, but decided against it. My Belgrade apartment is $690 during that time period ($19.71 per night). I would have happily paid the extra $9 per night for the hotel for the breakfast and maid service if it had a kitchen and it were located where my apartment is, but it’s a few kilometers from where I want to be.

So I’m basically saying if you’re a nomad like me, live in a PointBreaks hotel if it is in an interesting place and you don’t want to cook for yourself.

Trip Report: Holiday Inn Express Belgrade City (PointBreaks Hotel)

Last year, I came to Belgrade for one month. I did what I read on the US State Department’s website and registered at the nearest police station on my first day:

U.S. citizens with tourist, official, or diplomatic passports do not need a visa to enter and stay in Serbia for up to 90 days.  However, you must register your presence within the first 24 hours of your arrival.  If you are staying at a hotel or similar accommodation, they will do this for you automatically.  If you are staying at a private residence, then you will need to register in person at the nearest police station.

My Airbnb host went with me happily, but she told me I didn’t really need to register. She’s probably right, but better safe than sorry.

This year, I knew I wanted to stay in an apartment again instead of a hotel, but I didn’t want to waste another hour on registering, so I decided to book a hotel for the first night, so they’d register me automatically.

The Holiday Inn Express was on the last PointBreaks list, so it was a no brainer to book.

The hotel is not ideally located for tourists. It is 1.4 miles from Republic Square and 2 miles from Kalemegdan Fortress, which in my opinion, are the centers of the tourist area. There are much better located hotels.

I took an 1,800 dinar flat rate ($16) taxi from the airport to the hotel–I loved the flat rate given my trouble with Serbian taxi scams–which was about a 25 minute ride.

Check in at 11 PM was smooth, and I was told that as a basic IHG member I could get free late checkout until 2 PM.

The lobby had a retro look, which I looked.

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The sleek, modern elevator…

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…took me to room 510, which was a standard room with one king bed.Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.04.25 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.04.37 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.04.46 PM The bathroom was nice looking. I didn’t have a chance to use the shower.Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.04.56 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.05.04 PM

The room also had a safe.

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I was happy with the room except for the free internet. My computer joined the network fine. Then my phone got an error that the user name was wrong. I called down, and they reset something allowing my phone to sign on. Each subsequent attempt to get on with my phone or computer required the same call. There must be a limit of one device per user name, which is insane in 2016. The reset calls were only 30 seconds each, but that’s still annoying.

The bed was comfortable, but I didn’t get much sleep, which was probably a combination of recovering from a crazy sleep schedule in Prague, leaving the temperature at the pre-set 76 degrees (24.5 C) instead of turning it down, and mis-using melatonin.

I woke up at 9:15 AM and headed down for the free breakfast, which runs 6:30 – 10:30 AM.

I was impressed by the free buffet. They had (roughly) American bacon…
Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.05.32 PM …cereals…Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.05.41 PM …fresh and dried fruits…Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.05.49 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.06.10 PM …pastries and breads…Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.06.18 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.06.28 PM …veggies…Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.06.38 PM …cold cuts and cheese…Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.06.46 PM …and yogurts.Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.06.55 PMI fixed a plate of bacon, salami, cheese, and veggies and got a glass of juice. As soon as I sat down, an employee came by to ask whether I wanted scrambled eggs or an omelette to order. That’s a nice touch!

A few hours later when I went to check out, I was mildly annoyed by the bill. (I didn’t actually book this as a PointBreaks hotel, and I’ll explain why tomorrow. It had to do with bonuses.) Online, it said my bill would be 54.30 euros, but that was a lie. The hotel collects payment in Serbian dinar.

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I understand that far more people know how much 54.30 euros is than know how much 6,695 Serbian dinar is, but I think the hotel should tell you what you’ll actually pay when you make a reservation, not approximately how much that amount is in some other currency.

I asked to have the hold on my credit card removed and to pay the bill in cash. The bill was 6,695 dinar, which means the euros were converted at 123.3 dinar to the euro, which is only overcharging customers by about 0.1% or less.

Interestingly the hotel had an automatic currency converting machine in the lobby, which could change dollars, euros, pounds, and Swiss francs into dinar. It offered only 119 dinar per euro, which is 3-4% worse than the 24 hour exchange places within a few blocks of the hotel. Belgrade is overrun with exchange offices and the rates are excellent.
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Bottom Line on Trip Report

The hotel was nice. The breakfast was delicious and varied. The internet and being charged in a currency other than the one on my reservation were annoying. I wouldn’t stay here again because of its location. There are better located hotels and Airbnbs in Belgrade.

Bottom Line on Living in PointBreaks

I would happily pay $862.50 per month to live in a hotel in an interesting place if there were a healthy, cheap restaurant nearby, but there are not many of those around, so I’ll stick to Airbnb for now.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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Through Friday (June 3, 2016), you can buy IHG Rewards Club points with a 100% bonus. That brings the per-point price down to 0.575 cents, which means you can book certain hotels for as low as $29.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 until Friday. 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.

Purchase link: Buy IHG Rewards Club points with a 100% bonus

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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:

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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.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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5

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

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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.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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.

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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?

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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2

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.

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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.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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.

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Some Priceless Surprises are huge.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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.

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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.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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