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Five minute hotel stay is sign of a points traveler

My sister’s flight was ten minutes from landing at SJC San Jose Airport. Instead of making the left lane turn toward the airport cell phone parking lot, I turned right at the SJC freeway exit stoplight and drove into the light industrial section of large tech corporation business parks that make-up much of Silicon Valley.

My mental map recalled a Staybridge Suites somewhere in the vicinity of these multiple lane, tree lined deserted city streets on the afternoon of December 24. Google Maps showed Staybridge Suites San Jose less than one mile away. A three minute drive to bonus points.

I hit the IHG app on my iPhone and booked the Staybridge Suites San Jose on a Points and Cash reward rate for 10,000 points + $70. There are several IHG hotels around San Jose at 20,000 points per night. The nearest IHG hotel at 15,000 points in this part of California is Livermore, more than 100 miles from my Monterey home.

I did not need a hotel room in San Jose. The only reason I was in San Jose was to pick up family members at SJC visiting Monterey for the holidays.

IHG Rewards Club Accelerate Sep 1-Dec 31, 2015

The reason I needed an IHG hotel stay was assurance that I had completed the three tasks for my IHG Rewards Club Accelerate offer for stays from September 1 to December 31, 2015. My Accelerate offer was complete 3 of 4 tasks to earn 33,100 Achievement Bonus points. Two of my three tasks were completed and registered on my IHG Rewards Club Accelerate task board.

One hotel stay payment using my IHG Rewards Club MasterCard was accomplished with an October hotel stay at Holiday Inn Clermont-Ferrand, France on PointBreaks. At check-out I had to pay city tax in the amount of something like one euro per night for my four night stay. That payment earned 1,500 bonus points and completed one of my three IHG Accelerate tasks.

The second Accelerate task was one paid stay to earn 5,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points. That hotel stay was completed with one night at Holiday Inn London Heathrow T5 last month before a flight to Stockholm.

The third Accelerate task required three IHG Rewards Club Points and Cash hotel stays. The task I chose to ignore was five paid hotel nights. I have completed 15 hotel nights with IHG since September, however, they were all reward stays on points. My London Heathrow hotel stay is the only paid hotel night with IHG in the past four months.

Three IHG Points & Cash stays is a task I assumed I had completed, but a careful reading of the promotion rules indicated my stay at InterContinental Geneva in October did not count. The sticky point was my Points and Cash reservation for IC Geneva was made in July, before the IHG Rewards Club Accelerate promotion launched.

Earn 3,600 bonus points when you book 3 stay(s) using Points and Cash. We’ll reward you with more Bonus Points when you use a combination of points and cash.

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 listed above will be awarded after required number of “Points & Cash” Reward Nights have been redeemed/purchased and consumed by the member between 1 September 2015 and 31 December 2015 (both dates inclusive).

IHG Rewards Club Accelerate 2015 terms

I assumed I completed this task with my October Points & Cash stay in Geneva and two Points & Cash stays in London last month. My IHG Rewards Club Accelerate task board still does not show any Points & Cash stays completed.

There was a little bit of anger at myself for not canceling my IC Geneva booking from July and rebooking the IC Geneva Points & Cash stay in September. Generally I read promotion rules carefully and don’t make these kinds of mistakes.

Want retroactive credit for promotion bonuses? Stick with SPG.

When it comes to hotel loyalty program promotion terms, Starwood Preferred Guest is an exemplary program. The aspect of most SPG offers is a date deadline for promotion registration. Generally, SPG applies promotion bonuses retroactively for all qualifying eligible stays as long as the member registers by the promotion deadline. This is not the normal operating procedure for most hotel loyalty program bonus offers.

Stay credit for promotion bonuses in most hotel programs only applies to stays completed after registering for the promotion. The other common hotel loyalty promotion practice is to allow a member to receive credit for stays booked prior to promotion registration as long as the hotel stay is completed during the promotion period. These are important terms to research and understand when planning hotel stays for promotion bonuses. Many times in the past I have canceled all my hotel stays after a good promotion bonus is launched and rebooked the same hotels to earn bonus points.

My IHG Rewards Club Accelerate task for three IHG Points & Cash stays is the most restrictive type of promotion terms. The hotel stay must be booked and completed within the promotion period.

Club Carlson favors restrictive terms too for promotion bonuses to apply only to reservations made during the promotion period. The rationale I heard from Club Carlson managers in past meetings was the purpose of promotions is to drive new bookings, which is why terms of many promotions require the hotel stay reservation to be made within the promotion period.

End-of-Year IHG Gift to Myself

This is the second year in a row that I have closed out the year with an IHG hotel check-in and checkout during the last week of December with my hotel stay lasting about five minutes.

Last year I booked the Holiday Inn Express Monterey Bay for around $110 after tax for the night of December 30. That hotel stay we did not need earned one free night with IHG Rewards Club in my wife’s account through last year’s Into the Nights promotion. We redeemed her free night last month for the InterContinental London Park Lane. That $110 spent for a hotel room we did not need in Monterey last December 2014 was like buying a free night for any IHG hotel worldwide in 2015. Our hotel award night at IC London Park Lane last month was about a $500 room night that I paid $110 for in December 2014.

My Staybridge Suites San Jose hotel night this week was not as lucrative a bonus points offer with this year’s IHG Accelerate promotion compared to last year’s free night bonus on Kelley’s account.

Redeeming 10,000 points + $70 earned 3,600 bonus points for completing 3 Points & Cash stays + 33,100 bonus points for completing three of the four Accelerate tasks.

I redeemed 10,000 points + $70 to earn 36,700 IHG Rewards Club points.

Net gain is 26,700 points for $70. I will also get a 2,000 points rebate as an IHG Rewards Club credit card member for a total bonus of 28,700 points for my $70 hotel night.

28,700 IHG Rewards Club points for $70 is a decent haul to salvage what I could from the 2015 Accelerate offer. The value would have been so much better if I had been prescient enough to rebook my InterContinental Geneva Points & Cash stay in September for a hotel night I really needed. I hate booking hotel rooms I don’t stay in just for the points.

I kind of felt bad that I received an upgrade to a wonderfully furnished two bedroom suite that I was in long enough only to snap room photos and use the toilet, then leave the room empty for the night.

I headed to SJC airport to pick up my sister.

A five minute hotel stay is a sign you are a points traveler.

Staybridge Suites San Jose

Staybridge Suites San Jose, California

Related Posts:

IHG Rewards Club Accelerate Sep 1–Dec 31 targeted offers (Aug 24, 2015)

When to use IHG Rewards Club Points & Cash Rewards (Aug 24, 2015)

InterContinental Geneva has the views (Oct 4, 2015)

Burning and earning in London with IHG Rewards Club Accelerate Sep 1- Dec 31, 2015 (Nov 19, 2015)

Bed time at InterContinental London Park Lane (Dec 2, 2015)

Review of Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park (Dec 4, 2015)

Review: Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury (Dec 5, 2015)

Factor Hoppa in transportation cost at Holiday Inn London Heathrow T5 (Dec 7, 2015)

IHG Accelerate tasks not updating. Time to Worry? (Dec 14, 2015)

Not an IHG Rewards Club member? Earn one free night with two December hotel stays (Dec 17, 2015)

IHG Rewards Club Accelerate 2016 Jan 1-April 30 promotion open for registration (Dec 15, 2015)


  • swag December 27, 2015

    For most of the Accelerate tasks, all that matters is the date of the stay; bookings made before the promo period are fine. I guess the P&C task is different – a good reminder to read T&C carefully.

    On the other hand, I think you got lucky with the credit card task. T&C there say you must use the card to pay for a qualified stay, and reward nights are not normally considered qualifying. That you got the credit for paying 4 Euros tax is not by design but rather due to IHG’s notoriously flawed IT implementation.

  • Ric Garrido December 28, 2015

    @swag – I was surprised to see the IHG Credit Card points after coming back from Europe on award stays.

    Personally, I can’t knock the IHG flawed IT. Last year my tasks completely changed for Into the Nights promotion six weeks after the promotion started.

    I ended up receiving four free nights in my account, which is how I was able to stay at InterContinental Boston, InterContinental London Park Lane and InterContinental Paris Le Grand for free this year using free night credits from 2014’s IHG Into the Nights promotion.

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