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.

InterContinental Hotels Group offers upsells on hotels I have been searching for rate checks this week in the southeast USA. Breakfast for two at a Holiday Inn for $8. 1,000 bonus points for $5. These are good add-on deals in some instances.

Holiday Inn Riverview, Charleston, South Carolina

This Charleston hotel catches my eye with its cylindrical tower shape. There were two similarly shaped Holiday Inn hotels in Los Angeles County with one near the Getty Museum. That hotel rebranded a few years back. The other hotel off I-405 was still a Holiday Inn when I last passed by the building.

HI Charleston-WELCM_EXTR_1_E

Holiday Inn Riverview, Charleston, SC (photo credit: Holiday Inn).

Upsell #1: Breakfast for two at discount rate

HI Charleston breakfast

Breakfast for two = $8.00 on $146 advance purchase, prepaid rate for King room with View.

Breakfast for two = $10.00 on Best Flexible Rate.

Upsell #2 Best Flexible Rate offers discount rate for bonus points purchase.

HI Charleston bonus points

  • Buy 1,000 bonus points for $5.00 at time of reservation booking.
  • Buy 5,000 bonus points for $30 at time of reservation booking. Note this is higher rate at $6 per 1,000 points.

I think this is a brilliant move by IHG Rewards Club to sell points at time of booking a hotel stay and offering a lower purchase rate than members can buy points through a Points and Cash booking and award cancellation for 10,000 points at $70. Paying $5 for 1,000 points or $30 for 5,000 points is a better rate.

Upsell #3 is even cheaper points price

Holiday Inn Express Hardeeville-Hilton Head has an even lower points purchase rate at $24 for 5,000 points.

HIX Hilton Head

Holiday Inn Express Hardeeville-Hilton Head has upsell offer of 5,000 bonus points for $24. Paying $4.80 per 1,000 points is a great deal.

Booking a 5,000 points PointsBreak for points that only cost $24 is one strategy to cheap rooms.

These bonus points upsell offers look like they are only available with a Best Flexible Rate. I did not see bonus points offers for Advance Purchase or group rates like AAA.

I’ve noticed Hilton HHonors also offers bonus points upsell options on many of their rates, however, the cost at $10 to $12 per 1,000 points is not as appealing as these IHG points offers.

*****

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 Rewards Club will offer 50% off award nights for participating hotels in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America for reservations booked April 20 to May 3 for stays from May 1 –June 12, 2014.

This offer will go live on Sunday, April 20 at http://www.ihg.com/lacsale.

  • InterContinental® Presidente Ixtapa Resort, Mexico            
  • InterContinental® Playa Bonita Resort & Spa, Panama
  • InterContinental® Presidente Cozumel Resort Spa, Mexico
  • Crowne Plaza® hotel Acapulco, Mexico
  • Holiday Inn Resort® Aruba
  • Holiday Inn Resort® Grand Cayman                                    
  • Holiday Inn Resort® Acapulco, Mexico
  • Holiday Inn Resort® Los Cabos All Inclusive, Mexico          
  • Holiday Inn Resort® Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • Holiday Inn® hotel Cancun Arenas, Mexico                                                 
  • Holiday Inn Express® hotel Playa del Carmen, Mexico
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On April 15, 2014 there will be a 5,000 points reduction in the cost of reward nights at more than 100 hotels in the IHG Rewards Club program. The word from IHG Corporate Communications is there will be no hotels rising in reward cost with the changes coming next week. Some good news is welcome after the American Airlines announcement yesterday eliminating North America gateway stopovers and OneWorld distance-based rewards.

Sample hotels dropping reward category April 15, 2014.

  • InterContinental Hotel Shanghai-Puxi, China – 35,000 to 30,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
  • Crowne Plaza Geneva, Switzerland – 35,000 to 30,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
  • Hotel Indigo Fort Myers Downtown River District, Florida, U.S. –  30,000 to 25,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
  • Holiday Inn Resort PhuketMai Khao Beach Resort, Phuket, Thailand – 20,000 to 15,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
  • Holiday Inn Ciudad De Mexico- Trade Center, Mexico – 15,000 to 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
  • Holiday Inn Express Frankfurt-Messe, Germany –  25,000 to 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
  • Staybridge Suites – San Antonio-Stone Oak, Texas, U.S. – 20,000 to 15,000 IHG Rewards Club points .
  • Candlewood Suites Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. –  25,000 to 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points.

The hotels listed here were provided in the IHG corporate email I received. There was no word if there will be a complete published list of the 100+ hotels changing category on April 15. That would certainly help IHG Rewards Club members, however, IHG Rewards Club, like Best Western Rewards does not publish lists of hotels in each reward category on their websites. In fact, I noticed today that I could not access the reward chart without member login.

IHG Rewards Club restructured their hotel loyalty program reward nights last year when the hotels were changed from brand level reward rates to a category tiered system with 9 reward categories from 10,000 points to 50,000 points per night. And essentially there are ten reward levels since PointBreaks drop the rate to 5,000 points per night at about 75 to 175 hotels each promotion period for this reward level.

70% of more than 4,500 IHG hotels worldwide are at 20,000 points or less.

IHG Rewards Club

 

 

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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.

http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2013/06/28/ihg-daily-getaway-points-pointbreaks-and-the-trick-in-pictures/#sthash.WaeWM0Ol.dpbs

http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2013/11/05/brg-follow-up-holiday-inn-express-tehachapi-california/
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.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

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