A successful Best Price Guarantee claim with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) awards one free night for a reservation booked through IHG. A lower room rate for the same date and room type on a third party online travel agency site like Expedia is an opportunity to book a best rate guarantee claim.

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Here is a another look at U.S. News & World Report Travel Rewards Programs rankings released this week. My earlier post asked, Do you agree Marriott Rewards is top hotel rewards program? and this post 2014-15 Best Hotel Rewards Programs U.S. News & World Report gives an overview of the survey.

IHG Rewards Club ranks high in U.S. News & World Report Travel Rewards Survey. My feeling is that all hotel program comparative surveys hold limited value in choosing a hotel loyalty program. This post looks at IHG Rewards Club, the second highest rated hotel rewards program in the USNWR survey. Loyalty Traveler takes a look at the program synopsis in the U.S. News & World Report survey and some of the real value of IHG Rewards Club missing in the program details.

#2 IHG Rewards Club

IHG Rewards Club is a large hotel loyalty program closing in on 5,000 hotels worldwide with more than 70 million members. One of the ‘Pros’ given by USNWR is points can be used for hotels outside the IHG family of hotels. This is true and in the past I have shown how some Hilton-brand hotels required fewer IHG points than HHonors points to book. I have not done that analysis in a couple of years.

Last year I interviewed Don Berg, VP of IHG Global Loyalty Programs. One of the points he emphasized is IHG points can be used for so many purchases besides hotel nights. Two managers with IHG told me about how they used their points to make household purchases like major appliances.

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IHG Rewards Club says my traveler type is local connoisseur. You can check out your traveler type too by answering several questions about your travel preferences at www.ihg.com/rewardingexperiences.

IHG Local Connoisseur

I am a local connoisseur according to my IHG quiz answers. I agree with that type. My toughest choice was whether to say I was born to ride in an electric car or bus. A hot air balloon is my true travel transportation desire. One of these days, maybe, but that is not really a practical Point A to Point B type of travel.

I chose electric car since that is my aspiration. The bus is much more my personal experience though. I have seen a lot of the UK and Ireland and the USA by bus.

And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus
Rollin’ down Highway 41

Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man
Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can
When it’s time for leavin’, I hope you’ll understand
That I was born a ramblin’ man

Allman Brothers Band – Ramblin’ Man Lyrics

My mother had the comfort of a hospital. I did travel many thousands of miles in cars as a child. And many thousands of miles in busses as a teenager.

The quiz item I could most relate to is I’d walk a mile for….. a view. I have logged in thousands of miles on my feet for the views.

Rocky Mountain NP

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, July 2013

Air travel sure cuts the time to reach different places. Once I am there, I want to meet local people and the local wildlife and imagine what it would be like to live locally.

After 24 years of travel and living in other places, I came back to my home base of Monterey in 2001. It feels good to be connected to a place.

What is your traveler type? Find out at IHG Rewarding Experiences.

*****

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.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

There is an IHG Rewards Club buy 60% bonus points promotion to August 18 on purchases of 10,000 points or more.

You may purchase points in 1,000 increments:

  • 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

IHG Rewards Club Buy Points Rates with 60% bonus

$135 = 10,000 points + 6,000 points = 16,000 points ($8.44 per 1,000)

$137.50 = 17,600 points ($7.81 per 1,000 points)

$299.00 = 41,600 points ($7.19 per 1,000 points)

IHG buy points 60 bonus

Buy IHG Rewards Club points by August 18, 2014 for 60% bonus points.

IHG Rewards Club program Terms & Conditions state a member may buy 50,000 points in a calendar year. That is outdated. The limit was increased to 60,000 points a couple years ago. And the current sale wording indicates a much higher annual points purchase limit for IHG Rewards Club members.

Members may purchase a maximum of 120,000 points per calendar year and receive as a gift a maximum of 120,000 points per calendar year.

IHG Rewards Club points were available through Daily Getaways this year from late May to July 4 at the price of $567 for 100,000 points. Those points packages did not sell out.

Loyalty Traveler – Daily Getaways IHG Points Did Not Sell Out (May 26)

The current sale is a decent offer if you have an immediate use for points like the current PointBreaks list for hotel reward nights at 5,000 points per night.

Loyalty Traveler: IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks July 28 to September 30, 2014 (July 26, 2014)

Otherwise, simply buy points as needed using Points & Cash option for award nights at rate of $70 per 10,000 points. Points purchased for Points & Cash Awards do not count toward the annual purchase limit. Members keep the points purchased for Points & Cash reward nights when the Points & Cash reward stay is cancelled. This is a way to buy points at an even lower rate of $7.00 per 1,000 points compared to the current 60% bonus points offer.

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InterContinental Hotels Group opened the first hotel in their fitness and wellness brand EVEN in the city of Norwalk, Connecticut this week. The central idea of the hotel brand is catering to people who want an active wellness lifestyle through environment, diet and exercise.

Be Well-comed with infused cool water and scented hand towels. Reminds me of an in-flight before meal experience.

The hotel is four-story, 129 rooms, with public work areas, dining and social areas, natural outdoor spaces, and fitness centers. There are four more hotels in the works with two in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and one in Rockville, MD. These are all high income bracket centers of commerce.

Even hotel photo

IHG Even Hotels

EVEN Norwalk Rate Check

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This post summarizes dozens of hotel loyalty promotion offers in the major hotel chains currently available in the month of June 2014 for hotel stays this month and beyond.

Last update: June 3, 2014

Please send me an email at ricgarrido@loyaltytraveler.com if you know of a good hotel promotion not listed here.

Summer 2014 Hotel Loyalty Promotions

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One of the good pieces of news to come out of IHG Rewards Club is all 178 InterContinental Hotels worldwide will have the same points earning structure of 10 points per $1 for hotel folio spend. This changes the current system whereby InterContinental Hotels outside the Americas only earn a maximum 2,000 points per stay in IHG Rewards Club.  That is a lot of points left on the table for someone paying more than $200 for an InterContinental Hotel stay. And most everyone is paying more than $200 outside the Americas.

The change means a $2,000 stay at an InterContinental like IC Amstel in Amsterdam will earn 20,000 base points as of July 1, 2014.

That is a real bonus for those leading the InterContinental life.

Hotel charges not eligible include: No Shows, Gift certificates, Health Club/Spa fees, Ticket sales, Internet Access, Audio Visual, Flowers, postage, etc.

InterContinental Hotels in the Americas changed to earning 10 points per $1 in January 2012.

*****

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.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

IHG has rate discounts for all their hotel brands across Europe, including InterContinental Hotels, with 25% off 4-night stays and 30% for other stays from July 4 to September 4, 2014.

This post looks more closely at these discounts and has me asking if the IHG 2-for-1 rate is dead this summer in Europe?

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The IHG Reel Summer promotion email announcement today pissed me off when I could not register for the offer through the link provided. Then, IHG emailed again five hours later with a 500 bonus points apology.

Reel Summer is the new IHG Rewards Club global promotion launched today. Stay 3 nights from May 15 to September 2, 2014 and earn 5,000 bonus points. I received an email at 1:30pm today California time.

IHG Summer reel email

Simple and easily achievable bonus offer for summer travel all over the globe and three nights earn 5,000 bonus points. These are sufficient points for a free PointBreaks award free night at 5,000 points.

I clicked the “Register Now” button.

IHG Summer Reel registration

I clicked the “Register Now” button again for promotion code 7093. 

IHG Summer Reel denial

IHG Rewards Club promotion registration denied.

“The code you entered is invalid for your membership. Please check the qualification requirements for your country, region or program. For further assistance please visit the IHG Rewards Club Customer Service Center page.”

After a couple more tries, I gave up trying to register for the promotion. I was annoyed at IHG Rewards Club for somehow messing up my promotion registration email.

At 6:30pm another email from IHG Rewards Club arrived.

Dear Richard,

Due to a technical issue, you may have had difficulty registering. We have confirmed that the issue has been corrected. Please register now. For your inconvenience, we will be awarding you with 500 bonus points which will be automatically deposited into your account.
As one of our most valued IHG® Rewards Club members, we’d like to offer you an exclusive opportunity to continue your winning ways. All you have to do is stay 3 nights and earn 5000 bonus points . Register today and complete your stays at any of IHG’s 4700 properties worldwide between May 15 and September 2, 2014, to take full advantage of your offer. It’s one more way we like to reward our loyal members.

Nice gesture from IHG Rewards Club.

Now, I am registered.

*****

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.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Marriott Rewards tallied top honors in the 2014 Freddie Awards winning four of five hotel categories for the Americas at last night’s ceremony in Seattle. Marriott has won Hotel Program of the Year for the Americas for seven consecutive years and has been voted this honor 15 times in the 26 editions of Freddie Awards.

Hyatt Gold Passport kept Marriott from winning a clean sweep by taking best hotel elite program in the Americas.

Americas

Hotel

Best Customer Service — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Best Promotion — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Best Elite Program — Hyatt – Gold Passport
Best Redemption Ability — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Program of the Year — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards

Hotel Freddies for other regions

Europe and Africa

Hotel

Best Customer Service — IHG – IHG Rewards Club
Best Promotion — IHG – IHG Rewards Club
Best Elite Program — Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Best Redemption Ability — IHG – IHG Rewards Club
Program of the Year — IHG – IHG Rewards Club

Middle East and Asia/Oceania

Hotel

Best Customer Service — Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Best Promotion — IHG – IHG Rewards Club
Best Elite Program — Hyatt – Gold Passport
Best Redemption Ability — Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Program of the Year — Hyatt – Gold Passport

You can see all the 2014 Freddies results for airlines here.

It would be nice if there were information sharing what offer won the Hotel Best Promotion for each region. Marriott Rewards MegaBonus was a great offer in 2013, but since so many hotels moved from category 4 and 5 to category 5 and 6 or higher, the value of MegaBonus free night certificates (1-4 hotels and 1-5 hotels) has diminished significantly in 2014.

Marriott gets my customer service vote this week

Marriott Hotels’ customer service places the chain in a class of its own based on my Best Rate Guarantee claims experience this week. Over the past few days I submitted eight best rate guarantee claims with six different hotel chains when I found lower room rates at competitor online travel agencies. Despite an available lower rate through an online travel agency for each hotel, four of my best rate guarantee claims were denied.

All sorts of reasons were provided by the hotel chains for excluding the lower rate from a Best Rate Guarantee claim. Bottom line is each hotel reservation with a denied BRG claim was a hotel room rate that could have been booked by me and most likely anyone at a lower rate through an OTA than the rate on the hotel chain’s website.

In the case of Hilton, the online travel agency rate at easyclicktravel.com was $60 less than the hotel chain rate and Hilton said easyclicktravel.com is not an eligible site for a best rate guarantee claim.

Marriott approved my best rate guarantee claim for Renaissance Blackstone Chicago where I stayed two weeks ago for $122 compared to the $300 rate on the Marriott site. The competitor site for the best rate guarantee claim was easyclicktravel.com.

My Best Rate Guarantee claims this week for Jacksonville, FL, Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC.

  • Best Western Hotels – denied.
  • Choice Hotels – denied.
  • Hilton Hotels – denied.
  • Starwood Hotels – denied.
  • Another chain – pending. ( I still have one best rate guarantee claim pending and the hotel chain seems to be holding out for a rate change with Expedia as it approaches 24 hours with no response and Expedia’s rate discount ends at 10:00pm tonight. I don’t want to risk an influence on their decision with this post. I’ll write it up after it is approved or denied.)
  • Marriott Hotels – 3 claims, all approved.

Three of eight best rate guarantee claims were approved and they were all Marriott brand hotels. Marriott has shown me great customer service this week compared to five other hotel brands.

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