Apr122014

Inn of Chicago, Ascend Collection one night for free

Within the first hour of check-in to my room at Inn of Chicago, I had a list of six room and hotel complaints. Still, I stayed and slept comfortably for free one night at Choice Hotels Inn of Chicago, Ascend Collection during the U.S. Travel Association IPW convention. The second night’s reservation I canceled without penalty.

Choice Hotels and IHG (Holiday Inn parent) are two hotel brands with a Best Rate Guarantee offer for one free night. First, you have to book the hotel through the Choice (or IHG) website, then file a best rate guarantee claim within 24 hours.

The lower rate was clearly available at another hotel booking site, so I booked a two-night stay at Inn of Chicago for $119 and then filed a Best Rate Guarantee claim based on a $94 hotel rate with Booking.com. The total room rate would have been $55 per night on a two-night stay. But, I only stayed one night for free.

Inn of Chicago

Inn of Chicago is one block east from the Magnificent Mile of North Michigan Avenue. The downtown central location is great and the hotel is surrounded by a number of affordable ethnic restaurants.

An interesting feature of Choice Hotels best rate guarantee is the free night and the $112 paid night were given separate reservation numbers. After booking the Inn of Chicago 2-night stay, I found a probable Marriott Look No Further best rate guarantee and booked The Blackstone, a historic hotel in the Renaissance brand reducing their $299 room rate to $120. I simply canceled the second night reservation for Inn of Chicago and only stayed the free night.

Inn of Chicago has a comfortable looking lobby.

Inn of Chicago lobby

Front entrance lobby at Inn of Chicago, Ascend Collection.

Inn of Chicago bar

Public lobby space and bar at Inn of Chicago.

First complaint came with the elevator. My room was on the 5th floor of the 22 floor hotel. There was no working light indicator on the elevator buttons to indicate if the elevator was activated after pressing the button. When on the 5th floor and the elevator stopped, I had to ask the occupants if the elevator was going up or down.

Inn of Chicago bedroom-1

The bedroom had a suitable appearance upon entering the room and the bed, while a little softer than I prefer, was sufficiently comfortable for a decent night’s sleep.

The bathroom was small, too small for more than one person at a time, but that was an expectation and not a complaint with the older hotel room.

Inn Chicago bathroom

I found the bathroom space was so small that if someone is on the toilet, a person standing in front of the sink would likely be touching legs. This bathroom was adequate for me as a solo traveler.

Second hotel complaint is out of view in the bathroom photo. The vent above the towel rack had loads of dust and one of the horizontal metal vent pieces was missing. The sound of a man’s voice coming from the vent was plain creepy. The vent transported more than air through the channel.

I had an hour in the room before I needed to head off to an evening event. Just enough time to relax with some TV and iron clothes.

Third complaint is the TV would not turn on. I called down to the front desk and within five minutes an engineer was at the door with a basket of remote controls. He tried out another remote and problem solved. Easily resolved issue.

Inn of Chicago tv

Fourth complaint was a lump in the floor in the space between the bed and room desk. It felt like something had been screwed into the ceiling of the room below and pushed up the flooring under the carpet. It was uncomfortable to step on in my socks.

Inn of Chicago room

Fifth complaint was the ironing board that wobbled so much that I was afraid the iron would fall off or accidentally burn me as I ironed. The board surface experienced a 5.0 earthquake every time I stroked the iron across my clothing while simultaneously trying to avoid stepping on the lump in the floor. You may notice from the picture, the room has no closet doors. There are two wall racks with hangars seen above the ironing board and a second rack by the room door.

Sixth complaint was something sticky on the surface of the iron. Whatever it was had burned into the iron surface. It did not rub off onto my clothing, however, the abrasiveness of the iron surface also made ironing a bit more difficult.

Inn of Chicago Magnificent Mile, Ascend Collection is part of Choice Hotels. The hotel currently ranks on TripAdvisor.com at #116 of 167 Chicago hotels with a 59% favorable rating.

The location is truly great for a Chicago tourist with Magnificent Mile shopping district directly to the west and Navy Pier entertainment area in walking distance to the east.

For a free room, my complaints are minor issues. TV, ironing board, iron, floor bump and bathroom vent were room specific issues that might not have been problems in a different room.

Inn of Chicago, Ascend Collection website.

Reward nights

  • 25,000 points through April 15, 2014
  • Rising to 30,000 points April 16-June 30, then drops to
  • 20,000 points July 1-Sep 15.

Room rates tend to be frequently $119 in the two months I have looked at this property. This was a property where I saw many potential Choice Hotels best rate guarantee claims for one free night.

Choice Hotels limits the free night to one best rate guarantee claim every 30 days between check-in, so I could not have had more than one free night for my week in Chicago, although I could have received the lower $94 rate compared to $119 for additional nights with another approved Best Rate Guarantee claim.

5.  Free Night Limit: one (1) free night per name on the Booking and/or household for any thirty day period between Booking check-in dates.
–    The limit is in reference to one (1) free night per CRS confirmation number which may include up to 9 individual guest rooms. (Example: CRS confirmation number 54689875 for Mr. Smith is for 6 rooms for 5 nights. The 1st night of stay for each of the 6 rooms is free with the remaining 4 nights at the advertised lower rate for each room).

Choice Hotels Best Rate Guarantee T&C

All in all, I would return again to Inn of Chicago for a best rate guarantee free night, but Chicago has so many other wonderful and exceptional hotels. I’d look around for a better option. At 20,000 points the Inn of Chicago might be a decent deal when room rates are high around the downtown. I would not recommend a Choice Privileges points award stay if the rate is above 20,000 points.

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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