May212010

Priority Club “Hit it Big” $50 gift cards, Double Points or Miles

U.S. based Priority Club members can earn a $50 gift card for every IHG brand stay worldwide that includes a weekend night, Friday or Saturday, from May 14 through August 31, 2010. The gift card offer becomes activated with the second qualifying stay during the promotion period. There is a maximum earning limit of $500 in gift cards.

Gift card certificate expires in 12 months from date of issue. Gift card certificates should be awarded within six weeks of qualifying stay.

Priority Club member registration is required.

Priority Club members must choose between earning a) Double Points or Miles and b) the $50 Gift Cardoffer. You can’t switch offers once you have made your selection.

I initially wrote about the Priority Club summer promotion on April 15, however, the link for the “Hit it Big” gift card offer, an additional US resident component of this summer offer was not yet active.

Personally, I selected the gift card offer.

There are too many great opportunities to put much effort into IHG stays this summer when other programs allow members to earn free nights like Hilton (4 stays) and Hyatt (2 stays) through June 30, Starwood (3 stays through July 31), and Best Western (2 stays by Aug 15), Carlson Hotels (2 stays by Aug 31), and Marriott (3 stays by August 31). Check out this week’s the Loyalty Traveler hotel promotion summary for other offers.

But still, I might find myself needing a couple of nights with an IHG brand and $50 is a decent incentive.

Priority Club Rewards “Hit it Big” Promotion analysis:

Earn a $50 Gift Card beginning with second weekend stay.

The $50 gift card offer is on top of the normal points or miles earned for a hotel stay. The list of merchants eligible for gift cards includes Amazon.com, Target, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreen’s and many restaurant chains. The gift card should be as good as a cash rebate for many travelers. Here is the full list of merchants.

Sample Hotel Stay Analysis

Assume you stay a Friday night at one IHG brand and a Saturday night at another IHG brand hotel. Your rate is $75 per night. You earn 1,500 base points for the stays and if you sign up for several other Priority Club promotions, then you will likely earn another 5,000 or so points.

The $50 gift card is an additional 33% rebate. Additional weekend stays will provide a $50 rebate. There are plenty of IHG brand hotels that will be under $75 per night, meaning one weekend night can provide nearly a 100% rebate after points and gift card are earned.

San Jose Example:

May 21, 2010 Holiday Inn San Jose International Airport, AAA rate = $54; $61.48 after tax.

May 22, 2010 Crowne Plaza San Jose-Silicon Valley, AAA rate $67.15; $73.91 after tax.

The first IHG weekend stay at the Holiday Inn does not earn the $50 gift card. The second night at the Crowne Plaza earns a $50 gift card and every subsequent weekend stay during the promotion period earns the gift card.

Total cost for two IHG brand hotels stays in San Jose this weekend = $135.39.

Two stays earn 1,211 Priority Club points + $50 gift card.

Repeat this same pattern next week and you earn a total 2,422 Priority Club points + $150 in gift cards for a total outlay of $271.

While this promotion is probably not worth booking hotel nights unless you really need them, the opportunity to have four hotel nights for a net cost of $121 after the gift card rebates — an average room night cost of $30.25 — is a bit better than you will find with Priceline or Hotwire.

Check out the Priority Club current promotion offers on this FlyerTalk thread or PriorityClubInsider.com for other promotion codes to register to your account and increase your chances of earning over 5,000 Priority Club points per hotel stay while earning gift cards. Savvy Priority Club members pull in as many as 5,000 to 10,000 points for each IHG stay. Priority Club is great for allowing combinable bonus offers on the same hotel stay.

The other Priority Club Hit it Big Earning Options

Double Points/Miles – This offer begins with your first stay if Candlewood Suites or Staybridge Suites, otherwise double points or miles will be earned beginning with your second qualifying stay at any IHG brand between May 14 and August 31.

This offer is probably better if you have multiple night stays or if you rarely stay on Friday or Saturday night. And of course you will only have this offer if you are not a U.S. resident since the gift card component is restricted to residents of the US.

Earning Priority Club points (IHG link)

Double points is an additional 10 points per $1 for most IHG brands and is not affected by other promotions or elite status.

Assume $200 spent on Wednesday-Thursday night stay. You will normally earn 10 base points per $1 + promotion bonuses + elite bonuses. Double points means $200 earns 4,000 Priority Club base points + additional bonuses for other promotions and elite status. InterContinental Hotel stays earn a fixed 2,000 points per stay so double points is 4,000 points per stay, regardless of the amount of money you spend.

Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites regularly earn 5 points per $1, so double points is 10 points per $1 at these two IHG extended stay brands.

Earning Airline miles from IHG stays

Most US and Mexican airline partners with Priority Club normally earn 2 miles per $1. Double miles offers 4 miles per $1.  InterContinental Hotel stays normally earn 500 miles per stay – 1,000 miles with the double miles offer. Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites offer 1 mile per $1 regularly so 2 miles per $1 with double miles.

Most international airlines normally offer 500 miles per stay regardless of brand. The double miles offer is a good time to earn miles with an international airline partner of Priority Club for 1,000 miles per stay.

There are plenty of airline miles earning variations so check the Priority Club airline partner list for all the fine print details.

You must select miles as your earning preference to collect double miles.

Conclusion: The gift card offer is a good deal if you need a hotel stay and the rates for an IHG brand are significantly lower than the other brands offering free nights. Be sure to register for Hyatt, Carlson goldpoints plus, and Best Western to take advantage of their two stays earn a free night offers.

This is an incredible time for hotel travel these next few months. Pack your bags, load the car or jump on a plane, and register for all the lucrative hotel offers.

Priority Club’s Gift Card offer is a 4-key promotion, however, keep in mind there are plenty of five-key free night offers from other hotel loyalty programs this summer that allow you to earn a free night at an upscale hotel for less than the normal rate of one paid night.

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.

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