Jan092017

IHG Bonus Points Packages Price Gouge

IHG Bonus Points Packages Price Gouge

Analyzing IHG Bonus Points Packages reveals many hotels seriously price gouge these bonus points package rates by charging as much as $30 to $40 more than the otherwise lowest available rate to get a package rate offering as few as 1,000 bonus points.

It has been a while since I had a bonus points package task for my IHG promotions. I remember a few years back I paid something like $25 to $30 at a Denver hotel and received 5,000 bonus points.

Holiday Inn London Camden Lock

This hotel is smack dab in the center of rock music entertainment area of London. Food vendors, music clubs, concert halls and theaters and a vibrant lifestyle neighborhood make Camden Lock an enjoyable place to be in London. They say London is a bargain right now. I will be there next month. I have to admit that hotel rates are lower this winter than I recall seeing in several years.

Camden canal partiers

Holiday Inn Camden Lock room view on a sunny July Saturday.

Holiday Inn Camden Lock rate1

Holiday Inn Camden lock rate 2

Holiday Inn London Camden Lock Advance Purchase Rates Sun Jan 22-23, 2017

  • IHG Rewards Club member Advance Purchase nonrefundable rate = 81.48 GBP / $100.01 USD
  • IHG Rewards Club member Advance Purchase with breakfast nonrefundable rate = 91.18 GBP / $111.91 USD

Holiday Inn London Camden Lock Best Flexible Rates Sun Jan 22-23, 2017

  • IHG Rewards Club free night = 40,000 points.
  • IHG Rewards Club member = 92.15 GBP / $113.10 USD (no penalty for cancellation to 4pm Jan 22)
  • IHG Rewards Club member 1,000 bonus points rate = 97.00 GBP / $119.06 USD. Paying $19.05 USD more than lowest advance purchase rate.
  • IHG Rewards Club member with breakfast = 101.85 GBP / $125.01.

In this example, the cost for a 1,000 bonus points rate is $19.05 more than the advance purchase rate. That is a high premium to pay for 1,000 points, but not too out of line with the $113.10 best flexible rate. The rate is only $6 per 1,000 points. The primary question for me is why are there are no bonus points options for advance purchase rates?

 

Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum

Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum

A $100 per night rate at this hotel is quite the winter season bargain. But I don’t see the same good deal if I want to book a bonus point package rate to complete my IHG Accelerate task.

Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum Advance Purchase Rates Sun Jan 22-23, 2017

  • IHG Rewards Club member Advance Purchase nonrefundable rate = 81.48 GBP / $100.01 USD
  • IHG Rewards Club member Advance Purchase with breakfast nonrefundable rate = 89.24 GBP / $109.53 USD

Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum Best Flexible Rates Sun Jan 22-23, 2017

  • IHG Rewards Club free night = 40,000 points.
  • IHG Rewards Club member = 101.85 GBP / $125.01 USD (no penalty for cancellation to 4pm Jan 22)
  • IHG Rewards Club member 1,000 bonus points rate = 106.70 GBP / $130.96 USD. Paying $30.95 USD more than lowest advance purchase rate.
  • IHG Rewards Club member with breakfast = 116.40 GBP / $142.87 USD.

In these two hotel examples the lowest advance purchase rates are identical at 81.48 GBP, yet the best flexible rate with 1,000 bonus points is priced 15.52 GBP/$19.05 USD higher at Holiday Inn Camden Lock, while Holiday Inn Kensington Forum is charging $30.95 USD more for a 1,000 bonus points room rate.

What a rip-off!

IHG Rewards Club Accelerate Jan 1 – April 15, 2017

Accelerate 2017 has given me a targeted task to stay on an IHG Bonus Points Package Rate. I am astounded how far IHG Rewards Club goes to really gouge members with added value fees of $20 to $40 for 1,000 bonus points at many hotels.

Staying on an IHG Bonus Points Package is one of my six tasks for Accelerate. I must complete 5 of 6 tasks to earn 13,000 bonus points. A Bonus Points Package Rate earns 3,600 bonus points. Paying $32 more to earn 1,000 bonus points on a hotel stay, plus 3,600 bonus points through the Accelerate 2017 promotion is a decent deal for me. $32 for 4,600 IHG points is paying $6.96 per 1,000 points. That is about the same as booking Points + Cash nights.

As an IHG Platinum member paying with my IHG credit card, I come out with a cool 5,000 points on the extra $32 in spend. $6.40 per 1,000 points is a decent buy for IHG Rewards Club points, but I can buy 15,000 points instantly for $99 booking a Points & Money reward and then canceling the reservation. That is a much better value proposition than paying $40 to buy 5,000 points.

Without the IHG Accelerate 3,600 bonus points with a buy bonus points package rate making this a decent deal for me, then any IHG Platinum member spending $32 to buy 1,000 bonus points is either an idiot or gouging someone else who is ultimately paying the inflated room rate. “Corporations are people too.”

The IHG Accelerate task I plan to eliminate in my quest for 5 of 6 completed tasks and 39,700 bonus points is skip for 10,000 bonus points with 5 IHG nights. I have no need for more than 3 hotel nights with IHG. Another aspect against two additional hotel nights with IHG stays by April 15 is there are IHG properties available for $50 to $100 per night in the European cities I am visiting: Amsterdam, Sofia, Warsaw and Gdansk. But mostly not in the main tourism locations for these cities.

Where my Loyalty Beds at Night Winter 2017 mates

Two good value offers keep me happy to invest more hotel spend in chain programs with good promotion bonus opportunities over the next three months. IHG Rewards Club has Accelerate 2017 #1, another in their series of targeted promotions. This is a hit or miss promotion depending on how the IHG Rewards system profiles your membership based on your stay history.

My targeted tasks are a very reasonable offer this time around. I can potentially earn 39,700 bonus points with two itemized hotel nights. I need to stay at two Holiday Inn brand hotels. That is the limiting factor. I need one stay, one bonus points package, one IHG Mastercard paid room and one stay in a hotel outside the Americas. 

The last requirement for an international hotel stay would be a deal breaker for many IHG Rewards Club members. I have had that similar task knock me out of other IHG promotions in the past couple years when the promotion period fell outside my planned international travel periods. This time I happen to be in Europe for 14 nights and I will knock out the IHG stays early in the trip.

The last 2016 offer was a promotion I stopped after one hotel night when I maxed out the best offers I had received with one hotel night. IHG Accelerate is not a good offer for my wife this time around. Her limiting factor is she has to stay at two InterContinental Hotels. She had the same requirement last time around. I think IHG wants some money back from their first iteration of Accelerate fall 2014, when she stayed three IHG hotel nights for $250 and earned two free hotel nights anywhere worldwide. We redeemed her free nights at InterContinental London Park Lane in July 2015. Published room rates were around $700 per night.

Fortunately I don’t have any InterContinental stay requirements in my current Accelerate tasks. I am blessed as a middle of the road Holiday Inn kind of traveler.

Or perhaps no InterContinental hotel tasks is a missed opportunity. I will be in a couple of cities where I could stay at Intercontinental hotels for under $125 per night. We could have completed Kelley’s four tasks in March 2017 with 2 InterContinental hotel nights and 2 other IHG hotel nights in Sophia, Bulgaria; Athens, Greece and Warsaw, Poland for about $340, but that is my solo travel portion of our trip. She will be in London and Amsterdam and InterContinental Hotels in those places rarely drop below $200, and $300+ per night is more common.InterContinental Amstel and London Park lane are where we redeem free nights we earn.

Club Carlson is also a great promotion for me as a convenient opportunity to pick up 50,000 bonus points on 8 hotel nights in Europe in March.

Loyalty Traveler – Club Carlson 5,000 to 100,000 bonus points for 1 to 20 nights Jan 9-Mar 31 works for my travel plans (Jan 9, 2017).

I am focused on the IHG Accelerate tasks, in addition to planning on 8 Club Carlson nights. I will pick up 40,000 bonus points in IHG Rewards Club and I will have my eyes looking out for any good hotel deals when the new IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks hotel list comes out in about two weeks for February-March stays. I already have a 4 or 5 night points stay planned for October 2017 in Ireland. Nice to keep the account balance revolving and refilling.

 

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. The bonus points rates are high and seem higher than in past years however…these points do count to elite status and with business travelers it might not matter if you book an $85 night and tack on $30 for a 5,000 in bonus points to help reach elite status. If you can reach Spire status then you earn 100% bonus on points per stay and this doesn’t even include the welcome points, etc.

  2. I don’t get it. You’re comparing oranges and apples: a non-refundable rate with a flexible refundable rate, which is why there’s a price difference. Advance purchase rates don’t provide the option of purchasing additional points. It’s an option for those wanting flexibility. That’s what you’re paying for. The 1,000 points run about $6 which is still cheaper than purchasing them as a Cash & Points booking where 5K points cost $40 or $8 per 1,000.

  3. @David – why do you need flexibility to buy 1,000 points? I see no reason why the points package rate should only be offered on full fare best flexible rate. You can buy breakfast on advance purchase rate. Why not points?

    @cj – 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 rates have counted for my past Club Carlson promotions.

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