Oct272014

IHG upsell rates with Into the Nights promotion links

One of my interests on Loyalty Traveler is deconstructing hotel rates. I analyze hotel rates from a consumer perspective since I want to find the best value for hotel spend. For many travelers the lodging component of travel is the biggest trip expense.

Since IHG Rewards Club changed nearly all my tasks for the Into the Nights promotion (Sep 4-Dec 31, 2014) last week, I have made my first extensive analysis of IHG ‘bonus points with breakfast rates’. Booking one of these rates is now on my list of tasks to complete for the Into the Nights promotion. Loyalty Traveler – Dealing with IHG Into the Nights Fiasco.

What I found is IHG is using this Into the Nights promotion to upsell members a value added package rate.  There is a dedicated link for finding bonus points package rates. The bonus points package rates shown are all Best Flexible Rates for the hotel. Using the Bonus Points Package rate link excludes lower rates at the hotel seen when checking www.ihg.com compared to the lowest rates shown when using the dedicated link to find IHG ‘Bonus Points with Breakfast’ package rates.

You need to check both booking sites on IHG to determine how much additional money is charged for bonus points and breakfast at the hotel.

IHG Into the Nights Bonus Points with Breakfast Package Rates

Here is the task for my IHG Into the Nights promotion offer.

IHG IntotheNights tasks-2

Earn 2,000 points Bonus Point Package Reward

“Book 1 stays using the Bonus Points Package with breakfast rate to earn more points faster. Terms.”

Book 1 stays using the Bonus Points Package with breakfast rate to earn more points faster.

Must be an IHG® Rewards Club member and must register your member number in advance to participate in this Offer (“Registration”). Number of bonus points or bonus miles listed above will be awarded after required number “Bonus Points Package Rate with Breakfast” rate Stays have been consumed by the member between 4 September 2014 and 31 December 2014 (both dates inclusive) at InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn® EVENTM or HUALUXETM hotels worldwide (subject to availability determined by individual hotels).

While lower rates may be available, they will require payment at time of booking, a minimum length of Stay or will be non-refundable.

Please check at the time of your reservation to be sure you are booking the most suitable rate for your travel needs. Some restrictions apply based on individual hotel policies. 

Click here to book Bonus Points Package with Breakfast.

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”).

Only one room per member per Stay will be awarded the applicable bonus points or miles.

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.

I deleted some of the text regarding airline miles. One portion to point out in these terms is the last part that I placed in bold font. IHG modified my promotion offer last week and I have not been notified about the changes by email as was said would happen in the FlyerTalk announcement last week. If it were not for blogs, I would not even know my offer had changed a week ago with completely different tasks. I already had my IHG stay reservations booked to complete all my previous tasks. Loyalty Traveler – IHG Into the Nights Clusterf#*k (Oct 20, 2014).

Rather than drop my chase for this IHG Into the Nights promotion altogether, I calculate I can still fulfill the offer with two or three hotel nights. My objective is earning four free IHG nights through my account and my wife’s account so we can book four award nights into the InterContinental Amstel, Amsterdam next July. So, I continue to jump through IHG task hoops for the prize of two free nights. Kelley’s offer remains unchanged from her original sign-up offer and will take three hotel nights to complete.

How to find Bonus Points Package with Breakfast Rate?

Click here to book Bonus Points Package with Breakfast.

I am planning a trip to Dublin and London in November. When I searched rates using ihg.com for London or Dublin, there was no rate option shown for bonus points with breakfast. There were rates for bonus points and there were rates for breakfast and dinner, but no rate shown for bonus points with breakfast.

Turns out the IHG link to find bonus points package with breakfast rates is embedded in the terms of the Into the Nights promotion page. That is the link given above. I have included the IHG Bonus Points Package link several times in this article.

Analysis of IHG website rates

Holiday Inn London Gatwick (Saturday, November 8)

IHG HI LGW BAR

Going through the regular channel of booking at IHG.com shows the option of £69 GBP Best Flexible Rate and £18 GBP for breakfast. The other tab for bonus points shows an additional £5 GBP.

IHG HI LGW BP rate

‎£74.00 GBP rate for 1,000 Bonus Points per night package does not include the offer for £18 GBP breakfast. If I could combine these two rates, then the rate should be £92.00 GBP for 1,000 bonus points + breakfast. I can’t access a bonus points with breakfast rate booking through the normal channel on IHG.com.

After some time playing with the ihg.com reservations, I realized I had to log onto https://intothenights.ihg.com/amer/us/en/login/index, sign in and then go to the terms of my task to find “Click here to book Bonus Points Package with Breakfast.

IHG Into the Nights BP-Breakfast page 

Link to access IHG Rewards Club Bonus Points Package.

It is necessary to pay attention to rate details when trying to book a Bonus Points with Breakfast rate. I type in London Gatwick and see these rates.

IHG LGW HI 74GBP

The IHG Bonus Points Package page shows Holiday Inn London Gatwick Airport for £74 GBP.

IHG LGW HI BPB rates

The issue is the 1,000 Bonus Point Package does not include breakfast. If I book the £74 GBP rate, my IHG Into the Nights task will not be completed.

The task requires ‘Bonus Points with Breakfast Rate’ which is only offered in the ‎£97.00 GBP rate.

This is a good deal comparatively speaking since the rate would be £92 GBP if I had been able to combine the 1,000 points with breakfast at this airport hotel.

What is not seen through the Bonus Points Package link rates are lower, advance purchase nonrefundable rates.

The lowest rate I see when using the Bonus Points Package link is the £74 GBP Best Flexible Rate room rate with 1,000 bonus points. I do not see the room only ‎£69.00 GBP Best Flexible Rate seen when checking rates on IHG.com. So, I have no way of knowing IHG is charging an extra £5.00 GBP for 1,000 points which is a high price to pay for IHG points.

And without cross-checking IHG.com, I do not see the lowest hotel rate at Holiday Inn London Gatwick is £59.00 GBP for an advance purchase, prepaid, nonrefundable rate.

IHG LGW HI59

Holiday Inn London Gatwick Airport rates for Saturday November 8, 2014.

£59.00 GBP = advance purchase, prepaid and nonrefundable

£69.00 GBP = Best Flexible Rate, room only (all best flexible rates allow CX up to 4pm day of arrival).

£74.00 GBP = Best Flexible Rate, room + 1,000 bonus points (no breakfast)

£92.00 GBP = Best Flexible Rate, room + breakfast (no bonus points)

£97.00 GBP = Best Flexible Rate, room + 5,000 bonus points + breakfast. This is the lowest rate eligible for IHG Into the Nights task completion.

Yesterday, I showed an analysis of 5,000 Bonus Points and Breakfast rates for Crowne Plaza Denver Airport where the rate difference was $16 to $17 for 5,000 bonus points and breakfast for two persons compared to the advance purchase breakfast only or Best Flexible points only rates.

Bonus Points with Breakfast rate for Holiday Inn London Gatwick is £97.00 GBP compared to £69.00 GBP for room only. This £28 GBP rate difference is a $45 USD upsell for 5,000 points and breakfast compared to the Best Flexible rate for room only and a $61 upsell compared to the lowest rate available for the same room on a prepaid advance purchase rate.

IHG Bonus Points Package Rates

This Bonus Points with Breakfast rate analysis convinced me there can be good value in booking these upsell rates. Breakfast and 5,000 points for an additional $20 to $30 is a good deal considering the breakfast for two is likely a $20+ value at most hotels and 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points are worth $25 to $30 when used for reward stays (much more if used for PointBreaks nights).

IHG Bonus Points Package for elite qualifying points

Choose a hotel with the Bonus Points icon when booking and select a Bonus Points package to begin boosting your account balance. Don’t forget, the bonus points you earn from a Bonus Points Package counts towards earning and maintaining Elite status.

IHG Rewards Club obviously had the sell of points in mind when it revamped the program making elite bonus points earned from hotel stays ineligible for status while making credit card spend points earned and bonus points paid for through package rates elite qualifying points for IHG Rewards Club members.

I view the current IHG Into the Nights promotion as a marketing tool to train IHG Rewards Club members to pay higher rates for breakfast and bonus points packages. The rates are relatively low now and I consider many of the bonus points packages to be a good value, but bonus points package rates can shift higher once the trend takes hold. This seems to be IHG’s solution to the people who buy points for $70 per 10,000 through Points & Cash reward stays and then cancel those stays and keep the points. Bonus Points Package rates can be a cheaper avenue to buy points for IHG Rewards Club members who actually frequent IHG brand hotels on paid stays.

Bonus points packages can be a good value for IHG Rewards Club members who stay with IHG around ten times per year, but do not earn IHG Rewards Club Platinum status with its benefit of 50% elite bonus points. 60,000 elite qualifying points can be earned on ten or fewer hotel stays booking 5,000 bonus points package rates.

Assume 10 one-night stays spending $1,000 in hotel rate spend.

$1,000 IHG spend earns 10,000 points (assume no Candlewood or Stabridge Suites stays). Earn another 50,000 points with Bonus Pointds Packages. The cost for 50,000 bonus points can be as low as $100 to $200 extra for ten stays. 60,000 elite qualifying points earn IHG Platinum elite.

Takeaways from this Analysis

  • Use the dedicated IHG Bonus Points Package link to find Bonus Points with Breakfast rates.
  • Bonus points earned through IHG Bonus Points Package rates are elite qualifying points. A member staying eight or more times per year at IHG hotels can probably qualify for IHG Platinum elite by earning 60,000 elite qualifying points per year paying an additional few hundred dollars to book bonus points package rates. In many instances the cost to buy 5,000 points is a low acquisition cost for IHG Rewards Club points.

Or just get the IHG Visa credit card for complimentary IHG Platinum (not an affiliate link).

One of my other Into the Nights task is applying for an IHG credit card. I have never applied for this card, but I will apply for the IHG Visa as one of my 5 of 6 tasks to complete for two free nights instead of staying 7 nights at IHG hotels in the next two months.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

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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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Comments

  1. All this trouble for 4 nights in Amsterdam? You can MS $20k in spending on the Club Carlson cards in much less time and get 4 nights there. Sure it might not be as posh of a property, but it’ll be nice enough. Amsterdam as a place isn’t worth that kind of trouble to begin with…boring city.

  2. @frequent churner –

    1. I need hotel stays anyway so the decision is simply where do I get the best value for the money I spend.

    2. Comments frequently tell me I can get this or that travel component for manufactured spend.

    For two weeks in Europe next July I could MS 200,000 miles to fly AA in Business Class. I could MS my way to 14 nights in hotel rooms with 350,000 Club Carlson points. That is about $200,000 to $270,000 in spend right?

    That is a lot of spend management for a single two-week vacation. Multiply that by five other two week vacations this year.

    My method is simply to book hotels where I earn free nights while I travel. That is more interesting to me than playing credit card games and shopping.

    Amsterdam may be boring to you. That is not an issue for me.

  3. I don’t know why you’re putting words in my mouth about MSing for airline miles. I would never advocate 1x MSing.

    Considering how much of a pain in the ass this IHG promo has been for everyone, and obviously for you too, as you’re putting significant effort into it, regardless of having planned stays anyway. $20k is easy for a couple to MS in one month, if you aren’t obsessed with a 5-star hotel and a 4-star one will do.

  4. For those using corporate travel booking systems like Concur these bonus points with breakfast rates seem to only show when it is a distinct option without choices. Some hotels have multiple choices in one rate when you select how many points you want and these only seem to populate none or the most basic points offers like 1k or 5k for consecutive night stays without the breakfast.

  5. I booked a room at Crowne Plaza Queenstown NZ earlier this year and I experienced some strange things. The IHG Ipad app would only display the higher rates. It gets better- It appears there is more than one reservation program on the main ihg website, a full screen version and a partial screen version. I would get more or fewer rates depending on which I accessed, in particular the lowest rate – the AAA rate would only be shown on one version.

    I have booked a lot of IHG hotels and only saw this happen once, but I am wary.

    To access the partial screen, just enter a query on the ihg.com “Search IHG Hotels Worldwide”.
    To access the full screen version, press the “Reservations” tab on top of the screen and then “Make a Reservation”.

    You would think that the same program would be active for both versions, but apparently not.

    So, to get the lowest rate, you have to make sure that you are seeing all the rates.

  6. @walterj – IHG has always been a buggy website. When searching rates in years past, I often had to completely close my browser and start again to see AAA rates.

    @frequent churner – perhaps I’ll experiment to see what I can come up with for hotel value.

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