Nov202008

Buy Your Way to the Top – IHG Priority Club Rewards Platinum Elite

The economy is falling at an accelerated pace and hotels along with hotel guests are just more dominoes waiting in the line.  Your personal financial situation may or may not be on the skids.

If 2009 is looking brighter than sleeping on your couch and watching TV glare, then here are some more tips for planning hotel elite status in 2009 for travelers who have not yet locked up elite status in a hotel loyalty program or are looking to change brand loyalty for 2009.

InterContinental Hotels Group  – Priority Club Rewards

No more Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental hotels budgeted for your business retreats?  Is 75 nights for Marriott Platinum looking as easy to see as Russia from Wasilla, Alaska?

IHG Priority Club Rewards is the hotel loyalty program for around 4,000 hotels worldwide.  Priority Club has more hotels than Marriott or Hilton and covers the major IHG hotel brands of Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express in addition to several other brands in the upscale and luxury segments and two extended stay hotel brands. 

On the luxury side is the InterContinental Hotels brand, originally started as a division of Pan Am airline back in the 1950s to place luxury hotels in major cities around the globe.  InterContinental Hotels has a separate, highly rewarding hotel loyalty program with a $150 annual membership fee  InterContinental Ambassador – recommended for Priority Club members planning stays at InterContinental Hotels.  (A link at the end of this post has more on elite benefits of Priority Club Rewards and Ambassador.)

Crowne Plaza is the more prevalent IHG upscale hotel brand in the USA.  Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites round out the IHG chain as extended stay, apartment style brands. Hotel Indigo is the newest brand filling a boutique niche, but still relatively few in number with less than 30 hotels currently open.

Top Elite for Cheap

Priority Club Rewards offers the cheapest route to top elite among the major hotel loyalty programs and is expedient.  Basically, Priority Club allows you to buy elite status.  Priority Club Gold Elite membership is available for just $50 and offers some amenities like a 10% points bonus for hotel spending. 

Priority Club Platinum elite is the top-tier membership available through two different qualification standards:

1.      Stay 50 nights during a calendar year at any of the IHG brand hotels. 

2.      Earn 60,000 Priority Club points in a calendar year.

The 60,000 points method is the fast-track way to Priority Club elite.  One of the features of IHG Priority Club that is different from other hotel loyalty programs is allowing points earned from activities other than hotel stays to count towards elite status. 

Fast-track to IHG Priority Club Rewards Platinum Elite with more cash, fewer hotel nights

Earning Points Option 1: The current Priority Club Rewards VISA credit card offer is 30,000 points for new cardholders. You are Gold elite after reaching 20,000 points and this current credit card offer puts you half way to Platinum elite membership.

Earning Points Option 2: A points purchase of 30,000 points for $345.00, in addition to the credit card 30,000 points, puts the member all the way to Platinum elite membership.

Alternatively, a member can buy 40,000 points ($460) and probably earn the remaining 20,000 points through hotel stays, promotion registrations, or online shopping. 

Caution: There is a 40,000 points purchase limit per 12 months.  Do not purchase points in 2008 unless you can reach 60,000 total points for 2008 and you will have Platinum elite for all of 2009.  Elite status is based on points earned in a calendar year.  Your Priority Club elite qualification points are reset to zero (0) on January 1, 2009. New Priority Club Rewards loyalists should wait until January 2009 to buy points and when you reach 60,000 points in 2009 you will have Platinum elite for all of 2009 and 2010.

Priority Club Rewards Bonus Points

Priority Club Rewards Bonus Points can be purchased as an addition to your room rate for many hotels.

InterContinental San Francisco regularly awards 2,000 Priority Club points per stay.  The regular rate for Nov 26 is $169 and offers 1,000 bonus points.  The Priority Club member will receive 3,000 Priority Club points for a one-night stay. 

Another rate plan offers 4,000 bonus points for $179 rate.  The Priority Club member will earn 6,000 Priority Club Rewards points for this stay.  To earn 3,000 additional points will only increase your room rate by $10 (actually $10 + 14% San Francisco hotel tax = $11.40 more).  $11.40 for 3,000 points is less than 1/3 the purchase price to buy points from Priority Club.

Priority Club Bonus Points advertisement

Priority Club Bonus Points can add 1000s of points at low cost

Priority Club Rewards Shopping Partners

Priority Club has an extensive network of more than 200 online shopping partners.  And 25 of the merchant partners are offering double points for the holiday shopping season. 

Word of caution if planning elite status around shopping bonus points.  Elite status is based on calendar year activity.  Bonus points earned will be posted to your Priority Club account no later than 12 weeks after the promotion ends. Bonus points will appear as a separate deposit into your Priority Club account.

Earning 60,000 points before December 31, 2008 will give you platinum elite status for all of 2009, however, if you earn 60,000 points in January 2009 through credit card activity, online shopping, points purchases and hotel stays, your Platinum elite status will be valid for all of 2009 and 2010.

Points purchases will post to your account almost immediately and are the way to go if you are within reach of Platinum elite for 2008. 

A new member to Priority Club should try to push online purchases as close to the end of December as possible to allow little time for the points to post in 2008.  Ideally you will receive your points in 2009, and can then apply for a credit card, or purchase points, or sign up for Priority Club bonuses and begin earning hotel stay points in January.  60,000 points is not a difficult threshold to meet for Platinum elite.

Priority Club is the easiest program to reach top elite membership without having to spend money on hotel stays.  Of course, top elite status only has value if you are planning hotel stays for 2009.  And if you are looking for the amenities and benefits of top elite with the widespread availability of hotels in both the upscale and mid-market segments, then Priority Club Rewards may be a good option for your hotel loyalty in 2009.

Priority Club Double Points Merchants for Holiday Shopping

Priority Club Double Points Merchants for Holiday Shopping

Priority Club Shopping 2008 Holiday Promo Terms and Conditions

Double Priority Club Rewards points will be awarded to members for each qualifying transaction made only through the Priority Club Shopping site between November 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008.

·         Apple Store (2 points/$1)  remember i-Phones are excluded

·         Barnes & Noble.com (8 points/$1)

·         Circuit City (2 points/$1)   

·         CompUSA (4 points/$1)  

·         Current Catalog (8 points/$1)

·         Dell Home (2 points/$1)   

·         Dell Small Business (2 points/$1)    

·         Hickory Farms (10 points/$1)

·         HP Home Store (4 points/$1)

·         JCPenney (4 points/$1)   

·         Kmart (4 points/$1)   

·         Lands’ End (8 points/$1)

·         Macy’s (6 points/$1)

·         Nordstrom (8 points/$1)

·         OmahaSteaks.com (8 points/$1)

·         Overstock (6 points/$1)  

·         REI (8 points/$1)

·         RitzCamera.com (4 points/$1)  

·         Ross-Simons (8 points/$1)

·         Sears (4 points/$1) –  

·         The Home Depot (4 points/$1) – you can’t sell it so you might as well fix it up

·         TigerDirect (4 points/$1) – one of the best online computer discount store

·         Victoria’s Secret (6 points/$1) – just don’t tell her you did it for the points

·         VistaPrint.com  (20 points/$1) – get your new business cards ready

·         Walmart.com (2 points/$1) – points are even more value for your money

No bonus points will be awarded for purchases at any other merchants at Priority Club Shopping. Double point offers only valid on the US Priority Club Rewards Shopping mall website. Points per dollar spent are awarded on purchase totals before taxes and shipping costs.

Bonus points earned will be posted to your Priority Club account no later than 12 weeks after the promotion ends. Bonus points will appear as a separate deposit into your Priority Club account.

Participating merchants may have additional terms and conditions, see website for details.

I was thinking of an i-Phone purchase for points (played around with my sister’s and loved it), but then read the fine print to find i-Phones are excluded from earning points.  There is a lot of fine print and I have included it here.

Three of these merchants award points for gift cards: Overstock.com, Sears.com, and TigerDirect.com.

Merchant T&Cs and Custom Exclusions

Apple Store Exclusions: As of March 22, 2008 purchases of iPhones are not eligible to earn Priority Club points. Purchases of iPhones, gift certificates, gift cards, prepaid cards and gift wrapping are not eligible to earn Priority Club points. You will not earn Priority Club points from Apple iTunes if you click the Apple iTunes tab from the Apple Store website link. To earn Priority Club points from the Apple iTunes, shop directly with Apple iTunes.

Barnes & Noble.com Exclusions: Not valid with any other offers or promotions.

Circuit City Exclusions: The following are not eligible to earn Priority Club points – Circuit City Gift Cards and/or all other gift cards/prepaid cards purchased through Circuit City, Purchase of Music Digital downloads, Memberships, Subscriptions, Car Style and Performance Parts, Wireless Phones (not including Prepaid Wireless or Wireless Accessories), Vonage or any VoIP items, or any services, including but not limited to: Direct TV installations, Home Theater installations or Home Network installations or any purchases made from partner links where the customer is leaving the CircuitCity.com web site.

CompUSA Exclusions: Purchases of training, services, Business Sales and gift cards are not eligible to earn Priority Club points. The CompUSA Business, Auction & Clearance sites are excluded from earning Priority Club points.

Current Catalog Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates and gift cards are not eligible to earn Priority Club points.

Dell Home Exclusions: The following are not eligible to earn Priority Club points – Dell Auction@DellExchange, Dell Donation@DellExchange, Dell Host, Dell Employee Purchase Programs, Dell’s Business Systems Division (“”BSD””), purchases of gift certificates and gift cards. You will not earn Priority Club points from Dell Small Business if you click the Dell Small Business tab from the Dell Home website link. To earn Priority Club points from Dell Small Business, shop directly with Dell Small Business.

Dell Small Business Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates and gift cards are not eligible to earn Priority Club points. You will not earn Priority Club points from Dell Home if you click the Dell Home tab from the Dell Small Business website link. To earn Priority Club points from Dell Home, shop directly with Dell Home.

Hickory Farms Exclusions: None.

HP Home Store Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates and gift cards are not eligible to earn Priority Club points. Only purchases from HP Home Store and Home Office Division are eligible to earn Priority Club points. Purchases from other areas of the HP site, including Small Business Division, are not eligible to earn Priority Club points.

JCPenney Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates and gift cards are not eligible to earn Priority Club points. Sephora orders made through JCPenney.com are not eligible to receive Priority Club points. To earn Priority Club points for Sephora purchases, shop directly with Sephora.

Kmart Exclusions: None.

Lands’ End Exclusions: The following are not eligible to earn Priority Club points: Products listed on the www.landsend.com website as “not available”, gift cards, orders that include products with custom embroidery or logos including products listed and/or purchased under the Lands’ End Business Outfitters portion of the web.

Macy’s Exclusions: The following are not eligible to earn Priority Club points – Gift Certificates, Gift Cards, Electronic Gift Cards, Virtual Gift Cards, Macy’s Bridal, Macy’s Wedding & Gift Registry and Phone Orders (which include Tag Heuer).

Nordstrom Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates and gift cards are not eligible to earn Priority Club points.

OmahaSteaks.com Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates and gift cards are not eligible to earn Priority Club points. Orders that use a “priority code,” or orders placed through the “Order from a mailing” link are not eligible to earn Priority Club points.

Overstock.com Exclusions: Purchases from Overstock Auctions, Overstock Cars and Overstock Real Estate, as well as travel and the redemption of gift certificates or gift cards are not eligible to earn Priority Club points. Purchases of gift cards are eligible to earn Priority Club points.

REI Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates and gift cards are not eligible to earn Priority Club points.

RitzCamera.com Exclusions: Free Shipping Offer – Free Shipping offer applies to US orders over $100 and excludes Auction, Clearance, Oversized Items, Limited Specials, Heavier Items and service to AK & HI. If other shipping is selected, consumer will be charged the cost of the upgraded service.

Ross-Simons Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates, gift cards and loose diamonds are not eligible to earn Priority Club points.

Sears Exclusions: Purchases made on Sears auctions, Sears Canada, Sears Showplace, Room for Kids, Homecenter, Protection/Service agreements, delivery, installation or any licensed partners are not eligible to earn v points. Purchases of gift cards ARE eligible to earn Priority Club points.

The Home Depot Exclusions: The following are not eligible to earn Priority Club points – Gift certificates/Gift Cards, Installation Services, Contractor Services, and purchases made from links where the customer is leaving the Homedepot.com web site.

TigerDirect Exclusions: The following are not eligible to earn Priority Club points – “out of print”, “hard to find”, and “special orders” (or other words to similar effect indicating that a product is not readily available for delivery). Business Sales, Government Sales and Educational Sales. Purchases of gift certificates and gift cards ARE eligible to earn Priority Club points.

Victoria’s Secret Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates, gift cards and products offered by third parties at the time of checkout are not eligible to earn Priority Club points.

VistaPrint Exclusions: Purchases of gift certificates, gift cards and products offered by third parties at the time of checkout are not eligible to earn Priority Club points.

Walmart Exclusions: Purchases from Sam’s Club and Samsclub.com, pharmacy, optical products, travel, tires, financial Services, Wal-Mart Connect Internet Service, movie downloads, gift cards, online gift cards or purchases made from links where the customer is leaving the Walmart.com web site are not eligible to earn Priority Club points.

 

Related Loyalty Traveler post:

IHG Priority Club Rewards Elite Status Overview

http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2008/08/25/ihg-priority-club-rewards-gold-platinum-ambassador-and-royal-ambassador/

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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