On my $69 WOW Air one-way ticket from San Francisco to Copenhagen in late January, I flew from Denmark to Prague, Czechia for $62 on Czech Airlines, then took PolskiBus to Wroclaw, Poland for $15 and another PolskiBus to Krakow for $3.75.
I would have likely stayed in Prague for the week and returned directly to Copenhagen for a WOW flight home to California, if the price of the WOW ticket back to SFO had not increased from $97 to $186 during the two hours it took me to plan a totally unplanned European itinerary after buying the $69 WOW one-way ticket.
I ended up buying a $111 ticket on Norwegian Airlines for Stockholm to Oakland, California to return to to the USA. Getting from Prague to Stockholm was not going to be cheap, while Norwegian Airlines had a Krakow to Stockholm ticket for 17.70 EUR or about $19 USD.
Since I had been in Krakow in December, I used the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Wroclaw, Poland before arriving in Krakow the day before my flight to Stockholm.
Holiday Inn Krakow is the hotel we stayed for five nights in July 2016. The location is convenient for Krakow Old Town and only 15 minutes walk from the train station, Krakow Glowny.
Loyalty Traveler – Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre great location for tourists (Aug 17, 2016).
The Holiday Inn Krakow room rate was 415 PLN, about $103 USD for a King bed with 1,000 bonus points. That was painful to pay in a way since Hotel Indigo Krakow was available that same night for 5,000 points on the first bookable night of the new IHG PointBreaks list.
Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Indigo Krakow review (Jan 19, 2017).
Loyalty Traveler – IHG PointBreaks Hotel List Jan 30-April 30, 2017
The deal for me is the Hotel Indigo Krakow 2-night stay in December was the first of two stays I needed for IHG MasterCard Priceless Surprises promotion. Any IHG brand hotel stay by February 15 earns a $75 MasterCard gift card for me.
Krakow is the only place an IHG hotel fit into my travel plans before February 15. Even better, Holiday Inn Krakow is the hotel brand I need to begin completing IHG 2017 Accelerate tasks for 50,000 bonus points. Also, I was familiar with Holiday Inn Krakow hotel location. No time wasted wandering around krakow looking for my hotel.
Loyalty Traveler – IHG Bonus Points Package Rate Analysis for Accelerate 2017
Double Dip Opportunity at Holiday Inn Krakow
IHG MasterCard Priceless Surprises requires two hotel stays Dec 1 to Feb 15 with at least one of the stays being 2-nights or longer. After 2 stays the IHG member gets a gift card based on the highest level brand. If one of the two stays is at an InterContinental Hotel, then $100 MasterCard gift card. Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza or Even earns $75. Other brands earn $50 rebate.
Holiday Inn Krakow qualified for my second IHG Priceless Surprises stay after my 2-night stay at Hotel Indigo Krakow in December. I am awaiting a $75 MasterCard gift card.
My completed Accelerate 2017 Tasks earned 21,100 bonus points at Holiday Inn Krakow + 2,400 spend points
This one hotel stay at Holiday Inn Krakow met multiple tasks for IHG Rewards Club Accelerate Jan 1-April 15, 2017 promotion to earn 21,100 bonus points.
- 12,000 points for one hotel stay in Europe (or anywhere outside Americas).
- 3,600 points for one bonus points package stay. I paid $20 over lowest available room rate for 1,000 bonus points package.
- 3,000 points for book and stay once at any IHG hotel.
- 1,500 points for IHG MasterCard spend.
- 1,000 points for Accelerate January stay bonus offer.
I need to complete one of two remaining tasks to earn 13,000 Accelerate Achievement Bonus Points.
1. Stay 5 nights at IHG brand hotels and earn 10,000 bonus points. I have one night with HI Krakow and 2 more nights booked in February. I have no additional hotel needs at this time before April 15, but IHG Rewards Club 10,000 bonus points will figure into my value calculations if I end up needing two hotel nights in March-April.
2. Stay at 2 Holiday Inn brand hotels and earn 5,600 bonus points. (50% complete with Holiday Inn Krakow and I have a 2-night Holiday Inn stay booked for February.)
Holiday Inn Krakow earned $75 MasterCard and 21,100 bonus points with Accelerate 2017 on a $103 hotel stay. I paid $214 for December’s 2-night stay at Hotel Indigo Krakow.
My next Holiday Inn stay will earn 18,600 bonus points on a $235 2-night hotel stay.
$550 for 5 hotel nights with a $75 rebate and 39,700 IHG bonus points is a great double dip for hotel nights I needed while traveling around Europe. IHG Rewards Club points and the $75 gift card essentially provide a rebate around 50% on my IHG hotel spend for the 5 hotel nights, meaning I expect to get at least $200 value from the 40,000+ points earned. Potentially a lot more value from those points if the next set of PointBreaks hotels for May to July align with some of my travel destinations for summer 2017.
Last July there was a picture mural in the lobby with a sign stating lobby remodeling. That appeared to be completed, but I did not examine the changes. I was given a second floor room and I chose a free drink voucher at the bar instead of 500 points as a Platinum amenity gift. I should have taken the points instead of the 500ml beer for the better value. I never paid more than 6 zloty, $1.50 for a pint of beer that night in Krakow pubs. I value 500 points more than that amount.
On this particular January day, I felt the need for a refreshing quik pint of beer to slam down my dry throat after walking through a ground smog haze from the train station to Holiday Inn Krakow on an otherwise blue sky day. The air pollution levels were in the very unhealthy range around Krakow with some areas recording air quality index readings AQI > 250. Reminded me of 1970s Los Angeles air quality when I rode my bicycle to high school 30 minutes through severe air pollution and felt lungs pain. Fortunately, my family moved to Monterey after a couple months in Los Angeles. Monterey is recognized for some of the best air quality in the USA.
The room was better furnished than our room we stayed 5 nights last July on Floor 1 and nicknamed the dungeon for its lack of natural light. Unfortunately, the hotel remodeling looked to be even more extensive during this stay than last July. Several floors of the hotel had their elevator button blocked off. The sound of drills on walls rattled the room from one of the other areas of the hotel undergoing renovation.
I snapped a few photos of the room, none of the hotel on this trip.
Did not dare tell my wife that I had a room with a cozy furniture arrangement since our July room did not have these more comfortable seating spaces.
Took advantage of the towel heating rack to catch up on some laundry chores before I headed out to Krakow pubs and dinner.
My laundry was dry by the time I got back to the room.
There were trays of fruit and chocolate on the desk too as an IHG Rewards Club Platinum member amenity. Photo is out of focus, so easier to see in low resolution.
Holiday Inn Krakow recently increased from 15,000 points for a reward night to 20,000 points. Hotel Indigo Krakow is 30,000 points. Both hotels offer good central city locations for Old Town.
Great promotions like IHG Mastercard Priceless Surprises, IHG Accelerate and IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks keep this hotel chain playing a significant part of my annual cheap travel strategies.