IHG Rewards Club points are on sale with a targeted mystery bonus offer for 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% more points on your purchase. This offer is available through 11:59pm ET April 21, 2014. My email offer came from IHG Rewards Club on Friday, March 21 with the title “Reveal Your Mystery Bonus”.

My targeted offer was 50% bonus points. I will pass on this promotion. Note that the offer is targeted to the specific IHG Rewards Club member and is non-transferrable.

The regular purchase rate for IHG Rewards Club points ranges from $11.50 to $13.50 per 1,000 points. The price is lower when purchasing a higher number of points.

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

Here are the promotional rates depending on your bonus offer:

25% Bonus Points

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $10.80 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $10.00 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $9.20 per 1,000 points

50% Bonus Points

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $9.00 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $8.33 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $7.67 per 1,000 points

75% Bonus Points

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $7.71 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $7.14 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $6.57 per 1,000 points

100% Bonus Points

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $6.75 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $6.25 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $5.75 per 1,000 points

IHG Mystery Purchase

IHG Rewards Club bonus points offer analysis

My targeted offer was 50% bonus points. I will not consider this offer at 50% bonus points. The 50% bonus points offer means I would pay $90 for 10,000 points or I could buy 60,000 points for $460.

Through booking Points & Cash rewards and canceling the reward reservation after I purchase points, I can buy 60,000 points for $420.

There is no discount with this mystery bonus offer compared to the other option I have for acquiring points.

The only real deal here is if you are targeted for 100% bonus points. The rate drops to $5.75 per 1,000 points. The 100% bonus means 120,000 points can be purchased for $690.

This is $150 less than buying 120,000 points through Points & Cash reservations that are cancelled after booking. It will cost $840 to buy 120,000 points through Points & Cash rewards or $690 to buy 120,000 points for a member targeted with the 100% bonus points.

Buying IHG Rewards Club points is not an elite qualifying points transaction, so that is not a consideration here in favor of the Points.com purchase.

In my opinion, this mystery bonus points offer is just another IHG marketing gimmick with little value for the savvy IHG Rewards Club member. I’d only consider this offer if I needed some points to enable booking Points & Money rewards to buy more points at a lower rate.

Here is a response I posted on Deals We Like when she asked, Is Purchasing InterContinental Points Worthwhile?

Last year when IHG Rewards Club points were available for $567 to buy 100,000 points during the U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways, the IHG points did not sell out.

As Stephen Colbert likes to say, “The market has spoken”.

If you have a plan for using IHG points, then this current sale is a good deal at 100% bonus points.

Otherwise stay once or twice at an IHG brand hotel, earn 10,000+ points through stackable promotion bonuses, and then book Points & Cash reward stays to buy more points and cancel those stays to build your account balance at the rate of 10,000 points for $70 when you actually need points.


This post shows how I received nearly 16,000 points on a one night stay at a Holiday Inn Express. And I even got my money back for the hotel stay payment since it was a Best Rate Guarantee.


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.

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The PointBreaks rates for reward nights at 5,000 points at 150+ hotels are now loaded.

Here is the list of hotels.

United States (88 Hotels)


Holiday Inn Express Dothan North

Holiday Inn Express Greenville

Holiday Inn Montgomery Airport South


Holiday Inn Express Batesville

Holiday Inn Express Pine Bluff/Pines Mall


Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly (Chinle)


Holiday Inn Express Calexico

Candlewood Suites Orange County/Irvine Spectrum

Holiday Inn Express Lathrop-South Stockton

Holiday Inn San Diego North Miramar

Holiday Inn Selma-Swancourt

Holiday Inn Express Tracy


Candlewood Suites Craig-Northwest


Holiday Inn Express Hartford-Downtown

Holiday Inn Express Southington


Holiday Inn Dover-Downtown

Holiday Inn Express Seaford-Route 13


Holiday Inn Express Perry

Holiday Inn Express Arcadia


Holiday Inn Express Atlanta-Johns Creek

Holiday Inn Express Blairsville

Candlewood Suites Columbus Fort Benning

Candlewood Suites Warner Robins/Robins AFB


Holiday Inn Express Newton

Holiday Inn Express Sioux Center


Candlewood Suites Idaho Falls


Holiday Inn Express Le Roy-Bloomington Area

Candlewood Suites Aurora-Naperville

Holiday Inn Express Lincoln


Candlewood Suites Elkhart

Holiday Inn Express Goshen

Holiday Inn Express Warsaw


Holiday Inn Express El Dorado


Candlewood Suites Bowling Green

Candlewood Suites Radcliff-Fort Knox


Holiday Inn Morgan City

Holiday Inn Express Eunice


Candlewood Suites West Springfield


Holiday Inn Warren

Candlewood Suites St. Joseph/Benton Harbor


Holiday Inn St. Cloud


Holiday Inn Express Sedalia

Holiday Inn Express Warrensburg


Holiday Inn Express Forest

Holiday Inn Express Laurel


Holiday Inn Helena

North Carolina

Holiday Inn Epress Forest City

Holiday Inn Express Williamston

Holiday Inn Express Murphy

North Dakota

Holiday Inn Express Jamestown

Holiday Inn Express Minot South


Holiday Inn Express Omaha-Southwest

New Jersey

Holiday Inn Philadelphia South-Swedesboro

Holiday Inn Somerset-Bridgewater

New Mexico

Candlewood Suites Roswell New Mexico


Holiday Inn Express Elko

New York

Candlewood Suites Elmira Horseheads

Candlewood Suites Nanuet-Rockland County


Holiday Inn Express Greenville

Holiday Inn Wilmington

Holiday Inn Express Mt. Vernon

InterContinental Cleveland



Holiday Inn Express Altus

Holiday Inn Express Owasso

Holiday Inn Express Weatherford

Holiday Inn Express McAlester


Holiday Inn Express Frazer-Malvern

Candlewood Suites Harrisburg

Rhode Island

Crowne Plaza Providence-Warwick (Airport)

South Carolina

Holiday Inn Express Newberry

South Dakota

Holiday Inn Express Winner


Holiday Inn Express White House

Holiday Inn Express Dyersburg


Holiday Inn Express Brady

Holiday Inn Express Brownfield

Holiday Inn Express Duncanville

Candlewood Suites Baytown

Candlewood Suites Deer Park

Holiday Inn Express Orange

Staybridge Suites Salt Lake-West Valley City


Holiday Inn Express Kilmarnock

Holiday Inn Express Orange

Candlewood Suites Richmond North-Gen Allen


Candlewood Suites Lakewood


Holiday Inn Wausau-Rothschild

Candlewood Suites Milwaukee Airport-Oak Creek

West Virginia

Holiday Inn Express Charleston-Southridge


Candlewood Suites Sheridan

Asia & the Pacific (10 hotels)

The People’s Republic of China

Holiday Inn Zhuhai

Holiday Inn Zhengzhou

Crowne Plaza Zhengzhou

InterContinental Hangzhou


Crowne Plaza Beijing Zhongguancun

Holiday Inn Jasmine Suzhou


InterContinental Marine Drive-Mumbai


Republic of Korea

Holiday Inn Gwangju


Holiday Inn Clark


Holiday Inn Express Taoyuan

Africa & the Middle East (3 hotels)


Crowne Plaza Nairobi

Saudi Arabia

Crowne Plaza Al Khobar

United Arab Emirates

Staybridge Suites Abu Dhabi-Yas Island

Europe (27 hotels)


Holiday Inn Villach


Holiday Inn Sofia

Czech Republic

Holiday Inn Brno


Holiday Inn Clermont-Ferrand Centre

Holiday Inn Express Marseille-Provence Airport


Holiday Inn Berlin-Mitte

Holiday Inn Express Dortmund

Holiday Inn Express Baden-Baden

Holiday Inn Express Guetersloh

Holiday Inn Minden


Holiday Inn Cagliari

Holiday Inn Milan-Linate Airport


Holiday Inn Vilnius

Netherlands (Holland)

Holiday Inn Eindhoven


Holiday Inn Moscow-Vinogradovo


Holiday Inn Express Alicante

Holiday Inn Express Pamplona

Holiday Inn Express Madrid-Alcorcon

Holiday Inn Express Madrid-Leganes

United Kingdom

Holiday Inn Express Antrim-M2, JCT. 1

Holiday Inn Bolton Centre

Holiday Inn Doncaster A1 (M), JCT .36

Holiday Inn Express Liverpool-Knowsley M57, JCT .4

Holiday Inn Reading-West

Holiday Inn Express Swansea-West M4, JCT .43

Holiday Inn Stevenage

Holiday Inn Leeds-Wakefield M1, JCT .40

Americas (23 hotels)


Holiday Inn Express Red Deer

Holiday Inn Express Sherwood Park-Edmonton Area

Holiday Inn Express Whitecourt Sourtheast

Holiday Inn Surrey East-Cloverdale

Holiday Inn West Kelowna

Holiday Inn Winnipeg-South

Holiday Inn Halifax Harbourview

Holiday Inn Express Chatham South

Holiday Inn Express Toronto-Mississauga


Holiday Inn Fortaleza

Holiday Inn Express Sumare Ave. Sao Paulo


Intercontinental Medellin


Costa Rica

Holiday Inn San Jose-Aurola


Holiday Inn Express Quito

El Salvador

Crowne Plaza San Salvador


InterContinental Real Tegucigalpa



Crowne Plaza Lima


Holiday Inn Express Manzanillo

Holiday Inn Express Tuxtla Gutierrez La Marimba

Holiday Inn Durango

Holiday Inn Express Guadalajara Iteso

Holiday Inn Matamoros

Staybridge Suites Queretaro


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.

This month’s list of Last Minute Reward Nights offers 56 IHG brand hotels at 50% off points is available for stays this weekend from Friday, March 7 to Sunday, March 9 are . There are 43 hotels in the USA and 13 hotels in seven other countries. Must book these award stays by Thursday, March 6.


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Holiday Inn Resorts has a good looking deal for one free night certificate after a two-night stay by May 23, 2014. You need to register for this IHG offer at holidayinnresorts.com/freenight.

HI Resort free night offer

There are 19 Holiday Inn Resorts listed in USA, Aruba, Grand Cayman and Mexico.

The problem is after I registered, I was unable to find this offer for any of these hotels on any dates I tried.

Crowdsourcing might help or perhaps writing about this offer on Loyalty Traveler might get someone at IHG to check this offer out and see why there is no availability.

Free Night Later Terms & Conditions

1. You must register your IHG® Rewards Club Number in advance of your stay at www.holidayinnresorts.com/freenight and stay at least two consecutive nights between February 17, 2014 and May 23, 2014.

2. Offer is open to legal residents of the 50 U.S., including DC, Canada and Mexico.

3. Offer valid at participating Holiday Inn Resort property located in the United States, Mexico, or Caribbean.

4. Only one (1) Resort Free Night will be awarded during the promotion period.

5. Offer not applicable to groups and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or special promotions.

6. If you are not already an IHG® Rewards Club member you may join for free at www.ihgrewardsclub.com. A stay is one or more consecutive nights at the same hotel regardless of frequency of check-in/check-out. A stay is qualified when paying qualifying rates, which include most business and leisure rates. Qualifying Room Rates do not include the following reduced room rates: net wholesale individual and group rate, certain package rates, employee discount rate, friends and family rate, crew rate, special discounted contract rates, seasonal worker/crew rate, 50% travel club discount rate, travel industry discount rate, distressed passenger rate, IHG® Rewards Club Reward Nights/Airline Hotel Reward rate, complimentary hotel stays and any other rates not defined as a Qualifying Room Rate. Also excluded are opaque rates and “name your own price” rates (where hotel name, location and/or rate not visible until after booking are submitted).

7. Resort Free Night is valid at Holiday Inn Resort hotels and must be redeemed, and stay must be completed, within 12 months from date of issue. Resort Free Night is valid for one standard room night rate and applicable taxes only. Rooms are limited, subject to prior sale and availability of allocated resources and may be unavailable during high demand periods. Resort Free Night may not be transferred, extended beyond the expiration date, redeemed for cash, or re-credited for points. Individual hotel’s cancellation policy applies to the use of the Resort Free Night. Cancellation fees apply if cancellation is made outside of the hotel’s cancellation time period. Resort Free Night rules and regulations are subject to change.

8. Program terms and participating properties are subject to change without notice.

9. Offer may be discontinued at any time without prior notice.

10. Subject to IHG Rewards Club Membership Terms and Conditions.

There is also an offer for 5th night free on paid stays and I can pull up that prepaid, nonrefundable rate for 5th night free, but that deal is not as enticing to me as a future free night at Holiday Inn Resorts with a 2-night paid stay.


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.

In celebration of the 5th anniversary of Holiday Inn Club Vacations brand, IHG Rewards Club has a promotion for 5,000 bonus points per night on stays of two or more nights from February 5 through May 23, 2014.

This offer requires a special rate code and my checks of two properties shows the rates are higher for the 5,000 bonus points.

In my opinion, this offer is about a break-even value to pay a higher nightly room rate for the 5,000 bonus points per night. This is based on the ease of buying 10,000 points for $70 through Point & Cash rewards.

The Holiday Inn Club Vacations resorts may be a great value at their regular rates and AAA rates for a family traveling together instead of booking a couple of hotel rooms. These resorts offer two bedroom villas in most locations.

There are currently 10 Holiday Inn Club Vacations resorts.

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IHG Rewards Club Connect has posted a preview list of Last Minute Reward Nights at 50% points for reward stays this coming Friday to Sunday weekend February 7-9. 2014.

These hotels will be available beginning tomorrow February 4 through Thursday, February 6 for reward booking at 50% off standard reward rates through this IHG Last Minute Rewards Night link..


People’s Republic of China

Holiday Inn Shanghai Vista

Crowne Plaza Beijing Sun Palace

Holiday Inn Hangzhou Xiaoshan

Read More…

The sneak peek of six hotels in an email announcement from IHG Corporate has clued some of us in on the Monday January 27, 2014 listing of 140 IHG brand hotels at PointBreaks award rate of 5,000 points per night.

Bookings can be made at available hotels for 5,000 points per night for stays from January 27 to March 31, 2014. These are capacity controlled and the best value hotels tend to drop off the list within the first week of bookings.

Here is a sampling of the 140 properties that will be featured:

  • Hotel Indigo University Area, Athens, GA
  • Holiday Inn Johannesburg, South Africa – Sandton-Rivonia Road
  • Holiday Inn Sao Luis, Brazil
  • Holiday Inn Express Shanghai, China – Shanghai Jinsha
  • Holiday Inn Berlin, Germany – Berlin City East-Landsberger
  • InterContinental Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Last day to book from current PointBreaks is Sunday Jan 26.

The current list of PointBreaks hotels is valid for stays through January 31, 2014. The list will be replaced on Monday, so the only real news to share in this post is you better book any available PointBreaks hotel for a stay you might want to complete between now and Friday, Jan 31. The current hotels on PointBreaks will be unavailable for booking as of Monday, Jan 27 or even earlier.

PointBreaks also tend to have flexible cancellation. I have a two-night PointBreaks hotel stay scheduled for next week. Looks like I might be too busy to break away for that trip. Cancellation is allowed up to day of arrival with no penalty for my specific hotel award stay.

The link for the current list should work for the new list when it appears on Monday.



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 or subscribe to a daily email newsletter of Loyalty Traveler blog posts.

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Two weeks ago I dropped by a Candlewood Suites in Santa Maria, California for a quick visit on my quest to earn 30,000 bonus points from the IHG 2013 Big Win promotion. I needed stays in three different IHG brands for 22,000 bonus points.

Candlewood Suites is an extended stay apartment style hotel brand with over 300 hotels in the USA. Most of the extended stay brands I have stayed are similar to a two room apartment with a kitchen and dining unit off a living room area and a separate bedroom. The primary difference between extended stay hotel brands seems to be the quality of furnishings in the room and the facilities of the hotel like a pool and fitness facilities.

Candlewood Suites is ranked a midscale extended stay hotel brand by Smith Travel Research, a hotel industry data company. The six tier hotel market segment of hotel brands ranges from luxury, upper upscale, upscale, upper midscale, midscale and economy. The rankings are based on the average room rate across the hotel brand. Still, there can be a wide range in rates within a hotel brand depending on the hotel location.

Photos of Candlewood Suites


One bedroom suite offered kitchen, dining area, couch, chair, TV in living room.

IHG-CS-living room

Most couches in an extended stay unit open into a sofa bed. This Candlwood Suites had a large collection of DVD movies at the front desk available for free rental. I saw movies on the DVD rack that had not hit the premium stations on my cable TV (for free yet).


Bedroom of suite. Notice the laundry basket in the closet. The hotel has a small free of charge laundry room in the ground floor fitness center.


Laundry room at Candlewood Suites Santa Maria, California.


The bedroom has its own door and another TV. The bathroom wa a standard bathroom, so no photo here.

The kitchen is the primary draw of an extended stay hotel room.

IHG CS-kitchen-1

Full-size refrigerator, microwave (with complimentary popcorn package inside), dishwasher and stovetop.

IHG CS-silverware

Eating utensils in the drawer.

IHG CS-kitchen-2

Plates, bowls, glasses and toaster in the cabinet.

IHG CS pots

Cooking pots in the drawer.

IHG-CS-empty cupboard

Empty cupboard for personal food items.

There is a self-service market on site with the bare essentials for dining.


Candlewood Suites Cupboard.


Candlewood Suites Cupboard


Pay at the front desk or fill out a slip to charge to room.


Fitness room was small, but nice equipment where you can work out while doing your laundry. The hotel did not have a pool. A BBQ patio and gazebo was being fired up when I arrived on an 80 degree Christmas Eve afternoon in sunny California. Record high temperatures were being recorded across California that day as I drove 300 miles up the coast from San Diego.


One of the funny aspects of this hotel is a Marriott Fairfield Inn brand hotel was adjacent to the Candlewood Suites. From the outside the hotels looked almost identical. Fairfield Suites is not an extended stay hotel brand. The Fairfield Suites has an indoor pool. There is a Holiday Inn across the street where I stayed the week before with an outdoor pool.

Fairfield Inn and Candlewood

IHG Candlewood Suites Santa Maria in foreground and adjacent Marriott Fairfield Inn in background. This photo was taken from Holiday Inn Santa Maria across the street.

Related Posts:

Winning Big with IHG Rewards Club Bonus Points (Jan 7, 2014) – this post details how I earned 53,000 points from The Big Win promotion for $190 on four IHG hotel stays. The $77 hotel stay at Candlewood Suites Santa Maria was one of those stays.

Extended Stay Brands for Hotel Apartment Living (Jan 10, 2014) – overview of different extended stay hotel brands across major hotel chains of Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood, IHG, Choice and Wyndham.

Holiday Inn Santa Maria BRG (Dec 27, 2013)


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 or subscribe to a daily email newsletter of Loyalty Traveler blog posts.

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IHG Rewards Club has a reputation for being the hotel loyalty program for quickly earning free nights. And it all comes down to the program’s software limitations. This post explains the normal earning scheme for IHG Rewards Club points and the hacker earning scheme employed by many members to earn tens of thousands of bonus points on hotel stays.

IHG Rewards Club has several earning rates depending on hotel brand.

Most hotel brands earn 10 points per $1.

  1. Holiday Inn (including Holiday Inn Resorts and Holiday Inn Club Vacations)
  2. Holiday Inn Express
  3. Crowne Plaza
  4. Hotel Indigo
  5. HuaLuxe (mainland China brand opening 2014)
  6. EVEN Hotels (new fitness lifestyle brand opening in USA 2014)
  7. InterContinental Hotels in Americas (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America). InterContinental Hotels outside the Americas region earn only 2,000 points per stay.
  8. InterContinental Alliance Resorts worldwide (The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas and InterContinental Montelucia in Scottsdale, AZ) earn only 2,000 points per stay.

Extended Stay brands earn 5 points per $1.

8. Staybridge Suite

9. Candlewood Suites

InterContinental Hotels outside the Americas region earn only 2,000 points per stay. This is equivalent to the points earned for a $200 hotel night and a severe limitation on the earning ability when possibly spending $2,000 for a 4 or 5 night stay at an InterContinental Hotel that would earn 20,000 points if located in the Americas.

One of the changes last year with IHG Rewards Club was to change the earning structure for InterContinental stays in the Americas from 2,000 points per stay to 10 points per $1.


Promotion Codes vastly increase the earning rate for IHG Rewards Club stays.

IHG Rewards Club has a variety of targeted promotion codes and many of these are organized and posted on the web in forums like FlyerTalk and travel blogs. The FlyerTalk thread has a long list of codes any member can register for prior to IHG hotel stays. There is no guarantee that any of the specific codes will work, but I have received great value using the codes.

Signing up for bonus codes can result in thousands of additional points per stay.

I will illustrate the effect of promotion codes by showing my IHG Rewards Club earning over the past 90 days from four hotel stays during The Big Win 2013 promotion.

In October 2013, I registered several IHG Rewards Club promotion codes at random from the list on FlyerTalk while I was sitting in my room at a Holiday Inn Express after check-in and before check-out.

IHG My Offer Status

I successfully registered for seven promotions using 4-digit codes found on FlyerTalk.

My stay at the Holiday Inn Express Tehachapi, California was an approved Best Price Guarantee room for a free night. Due to the Best Price Guarantee claim being approved only about 5 hours before check-in, I was notified that I would need to pay for the room at the time of the stay and I would receive a check by mail to reimburse me. I received a reimbursement check in the mail five weeks later.

Holiday Inn Express Tehachapi room rate = $125.

IHG HIX Tehachapi points

Hotel Stay 1: HIX Tehachapi $125 rate earned 14,000 bonus points from FlyerTalk code registrations on a room night that ultimately was free of charge after being reimbursed for an approved Best Price Guarantee.

  1. Welcome Back Bonus = 3,000 points.
  2. Elite Member Next Stay Bonus = 5,000 points.
  3. New Member Bonus = 3,000 points.
  4. 2,000 bonus points for 60 days bonus = 2,000 points.
  5. Anniversary bonus = 1,000 points.

My regular earning for this stay was 1,250 base points earned from $125 room rate and 625 elite bonus points as an IHG Rewards Club Platinum member. This one night stay earned 15,875 points. And that is not even counting The Big Win bonuses for the main IHG Rewards Club 2013 global promotion.

Hotel Stay 2: Holiday Inn Santa Maria, California (Free Night through Best Price Guarantee claim)

This hotel stay was a free night for another approved Best Price Guarantee when the rate on IHG website was $119 and rate on Travelocity was $79.20.

This Best Price Guarantee room was free at check-out and therefore posted as a non-qualifying hotel stay. The only points earned were from a restaurant breakfast I paid for at the hotel.

I was hoping for another occurrence of paying for the hotel room and getting reimbursed. Alas, that did not happen. I could have paid $80 for the room on a AAA rate and received credit. Instead I had to plan another hotel stay to reach 3 stays and earn The Big Win bonus for 22,000 points after stays in three different IHG brands.

Hotel Stay 3: Candlewood Suites Santa Maria, California = $77 AAA rate.

I sandwiched my 500-mile one-way road trip along the California coast from Monterey to San Diego and back with two hotel stays in Santa Maria. I thought I would be tired after driving 300 miles from San Diego, but record high temperatures in the low 80s around Santa Barbara and the central coast pumped my adrenaline. I arrived at the Candlewood Suites, checked-in and checked out the room for some photos, then got back in my car and drove the remaining 170 miles home to Monterey.

IHG Candlewood points

Candlewood Suites $77 rate earned 6,577 points.

  • 385 base points for $77 x 5 points per $1.
  • 192 Platinum elite 50% bonus points.
  • New Member Bonus = 3,000 points.
  • 2,000 Bonus Points for 60 Days = 2,000 points.
  • Anniversary Bonus = 1,000 points.

This stay earned 6,000 bonus points from the FlyerTalk codes I registered for in October during my first stay for The Big Win promotion.

Stay 4: Holiday Inn San Jose Airport $81 rate.

Since my free night at the Holiday Inn Santa Maria posted as non-qualifying, I had to decide whether or not to book another stay at a third IHG brand to earn a 22,000 points bonus from my Big Win promotion offer. I calculated the bonus points were worth the expense for a hotel stay I really did not need.

IHG HI SJC points

Holiday Inn San Jose Airport earned 5,215 points on an $81 hotel stay.

  • 810 base points for $81 hotel rate.
  • 405 Platinum elite bonus points.
  • New Member Bonus = 3,000 points.
  • Anniversary Bonus = 1,000 points.
  • (If I had paid for the Santa Maria Holiday Inn, I would have been in the timeframe to earn 2,000 bonus points for stays within 60 days).

The Big Win Bonus Points = 23,000 points.

IHG 2013 points summary

My Big Win 2013 tasks offered a total 89,800 points, however, the bulk of those points could only be earned with two hotel stays in Europe. I planned for a trip to Europe, but family emergencies canceled those plans.

My Big Win tasks:

  • One and Done = 1,000 bonus points.
  • Explore Our Brands (3 different IHG brands) = 22,000 bonus points.
  • Three IHG website bookings = 2,800 bonus points (not posted yet).

Summary of IHG Rewards Club Points earnings on 3 paid stays

Four hotel stays at IHG brands between October and December spending a total of $158 + $20 tax + $5 parking charge + $12 breakfast = $195 hotel spend on four hotel nights.

27,667 points earned through IHG promo codes found on FlyerTalk.

23,000 bonus points earned from The Big Win 2013. An additional 2,800 bonus points anticipated.

53,467 points earned with $195 in hotel spend.

This is a purchase rate of $3.65 per 1,000 points.

I have already redeemed 30,000 points for 6 hotel nights on PointBreaks.

My PointBreaks reward nights where average room rates were $120 per night were bought with points costing me $18.25 per night while staying in hotel rooms.

Ten nights for $195 and an additional 23,467 points sitting in my IHG Rewards Club account is why IHG Rewards Club is considered one of the fastest earning hotel loyalty programs for free nights.

Big Win 2014 running from January 1 to April 30, 2014 has far easier tasks for me to reach in five hotel nights with IHG brands to earn 76,400 bonus points.

Add on some additional IHG bonus codes and earning 100,000 IHG Rewards Club points after five nights by April 30 looks like a good bet for my account.


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 or subscribe to a daily email newsletter of Loyalty Traveler blog posts.

What does beer have to do with hotels? InterContinental Hotels Group as a hotel company has a history awash in beer suds.

When discussing InterContinental Hotels Group, beer is the background of this 21st century global corporation. Bass Brewery to be exact. Fast forward from 1777 when Bass Brewery started in Burton-on-Trent in the Midlands, England to 1988-1990 when Bass, one of the largest brewers and pub owners in the UK, purchased an American hotel chain called Holiday Inn.

Why does IHG operate two loyalty programs with IHG Rewards Club and InterContinental Ambassador?

Legislation in the UK forced Bass to liquidate some of its pub holdings in 1989 and the cash rich company poured money into the hotel industry. In 1991 Bass launched the Holiday Inn Express brand. In 1994, Bass launched the Crowne Plaza upscale hotel brand. In 1997 Bass launched Staybridge Suites for the upscale extended stay North America traveler. In 1998 Bass bought InterContinental Hotels, the luxury hotel brand originally launched in 1946 as a global hotel brand of Pan American Airways, the airline giant that folded in 1991.

In 2000, Bass changed its corporate name to Six Continents PLC for the hospitality segment of its businesses. On April 15, 2003 the Six Continents PLC became InterContinental Hotels Group PLC and was listed on UK and US stock markets.

In 2003 IHG acquired Candlewood Suites, incidentally founded in 1995 by Jack Deboer, founder of Residence Inn (Marriott) and Summerfield Suites (now Hyatt House brand). In 2004 Hotel Indigo launched as an IHG boutique brand.

EVEN, a lifestyle fitness focused brand and HuaLuxe, an upscale mainland China brand are two new IHG brands to open in 2014.

The reason for the school history lesson on IHG as a hotel corporation is to assist understanding as to why IHG Rewards Club and InterContinental Ambassador are two different loyalty program entities for one hotel chain. Primarily, two loyalty programs are the remnants of the historical development of acquisition of existing hotel brands and the launch of new hotel brands acquired by one giant beer company in the process of changing from brewery investments to hotel industry investments over the past 25 years.

Many of the changes to the hotel loyalty program for IHG in 2013 were due to a loyalty program reconstruction of Priority Club Rewards for the ten year anniversary of IHG as a corporate entity. IHG Rewards Club is a hotel loyalty program redesigned in a move to evolve for the 21st century hotel customers.

InterContinental Ambassador is a mainstay from the old style program for the luxury brand. Think of it as similar to Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards. Luxury travelers need their own loyalty program just to feel a bit more special. At the end of this post the benefits of InterContinental Ambassador are listed.

InterContinental Hotels Group and IHG Rewards Club in 2014

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