The combination of a MasterCard IHG promotional rate with IHG Rewards Club Accelerate summer 2018 promotion has me thinking about a ‘hotel hunters international’ virtual episode comparing options for 6 paid nights in London for as close to $600 as I can find.
Or will I go over-budget spending more for hotels better suited to my London itinerary travel desires?
This post is a follow-up to my hotel article a few days ago comparing weekday and weekend IHG hotel rates in London. Weekend nights tend to be less.
London Hotels-points or cash? Depends-weekend or weekday!
MasterCard IHG hotel discount rate in Europe can be significant
A reader left a comment about the MasterCard promotion nonrefundable discount rate requiring 21 days advance booking. This offer provides significant discounts close to 30% off regular advance purchase rates for some London hotels. Rates offered through this partner discount make hotels in central London’s tourist area far more affordable.
For example, Holiday Inn London Kensington High Street $124.31
- MasterCard 21 day advance purchase rate = $124.31
- Regular 3-day advance purchase IHG Rewards Club member rate = $172.25 USD.
- MasterCard rate saves $48 per night, nearly 28% off regular advance purchase rate.
$600 total net cost for 6 hotel nights in London in July 2018 with InterContinental Hotels Group using the MasterCard nonrefundable discount rate.
Is $100 per night in central London actually achievable in July 2018?
The basic idea is a case study for July 20-30 to see how close to $100 per night can be booked in London, while maximizing stays at IHG city center tourist area hotels.
This sample plan outlines the potential to stay 10 nights in London hotels in July 2018 for around $600 to $700 to pay for 6 nights and book 4 nights using points. This IHG itinerary plan for 6 paid IHG hotel nights in London would earn 31,500 points with the current IHG Accelerate offers available for my account and 30,000 points for my wife Kelley.
Another additional 5,000 to 7,000 points would be earned as regular stay base and elite points on $600 to $700 in hotel spend. Total points earned are estimated at 68,000 points for $600 to $700 on six hotel nights in London (depends on taxable portion of rate).
Holiday Inn Express London Greenwich is still available as a PointBreaks reward for 15,000 points per night at time of writing. This plan assumes 4 reward nights in London for Monday-Thursday nights July 23-27.
An alternative option for all paid nights is book a 4 night stay at Holiday Inn Kensington High Street for Monday July 23 and checkout Friday July 27 at $124 per night.
$500 for 4 nights in July 2018 staying in central London is a great deal.
My simple travel objective for hotels is I don’t want to spend more than $100 per hotel night for a trip. That can be a hard for a 10-day trip in some expensive tourist destination like London. At least most museums in London are free.
A more likely probability on a typical 10 day trip for me is 3 to 7 or more hotel nights are booked and paid with points. My travel itineraries generally keep hotel spend at $300 to $600 for 10 days and nights in hotels.
Balance points burning with points earning
My budget travel strategy is balance points burning with points earning.
This often means:
- choosing to change hotels to maximize promotion bonus points earned, even when I have a personal preference for the location or benefits of one hotel to the other.
- Sometimes downgrading hotel stay benefits, like complimentary breakfast or lounge) to go from a stay at a hotel chain with elite loyalty benefits to one with fewer loyalty benefits.
Can London for 10 IHG hotel nights be achieved for about $600 in my case study?
- Stay 10 hotel nights for $600 at IHG London locations.
- Stay within London city limits with no more than one airport hotel night before a morning flight.
- Earn 30,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points (my wife’s account IHG Accelerate offer) on 4 hotel nights in London. She needs 3 Holiday Inn stays with a 2-night Fri-Sat or Sat-Sun weekend stay.
- Earn 30,000 bonus points (R-my account) on 2 hotel nights in London any brand, any day.
- Burn 60,000 IHG Rewards Club points – Stay 4 hotel nights at Holiday Inn Express Greenwich. HIX Greenwich was available a few days on current PointBreaks list for 15,000 points per night. Still available at time of writing as a 15,000 PointBreaks reward. The option to buy 60,000 points for $276 was available the week before last during an IHG Points&Cash flash sale offer. Holiday Inn Express Greenwich is an option at 15,000 points per night for some dates.
- $500 for Holiday Inn Kensington High Street for 4 nights is another good buy.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points through 5 IHG hotel brand stays in London with 6 hotel nights. Plan stays for IHG Accelerate tasks completion to earn 60,000 bonus points on same trip I burn 60,000 IHG points on 4 reward nights.
Disclosure: This is only a London travel plan outline to show how it would be possible for us to stay in London for 10 nights. These are not our actual travel plans.
London is a possibility for summer 2018, but so far I have not planned our travel beyond Rome yet. Austria, Germany and Czech Republic are more likely locations to happen. I have some suite ideas in a couple of places.
This IHG London itinerary is simply a hypothetical exercise to see how much it would cost to spend 10 nights in London in July using the MasterCard promotion.
This plan includes 4 nights at HIX London Greenwich booked for 15,000 points per night through PointBreaks.
Kelley and I have Accelerate offer tasks to be completed by July 31, 2018 for 30,000 bonus points each. Holiday Inn Express Greenwich on IHG PointBreaks at 15,000 points per night assumes a 4-night stay Mon-Thu at HIX Greenwich using 60,000 points.
London 10 nights for $600 – $700 July 20-30, 2018
My assumption is a Friday arrival by plane in London on July 20. This arrival allows Fri-Sat-Sun paid IHG hotel nights with Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu reward nights and Fri-Sat-Sun paid nights for 10 nights in London from July 20-30.
Assume a 4-night reward stay for HIX Greenwich spending a total 60,000 IHG Rewards Club points for 4 nights. Otherwise add $500 for a 4-night Holiday Inn Kensington High Street hotel stay during the week.
Friday arrival date could be a really cheap hotel at one of London’s airports for around $70 per night. If a late arrival after 6pm, an airport hotel is a good and cheap option. I assume a flight from the USA likely puts us into LHR or LGW between 8am-2pm.
2-night weekend stay to rest from jet lag.
Since Kelley needs a Fri-Sat or Sat-Sun Holiday Inn 2-night stay for one of her Accelerate tasks, the Friday arrival night is probably the best time to plan 2 nights in a city center London hotel to allow a Saturday night rest without changing hotels.
There are only four date options in two weekends to book a Fri-Sat or Sat-Sun Holiday Inn stay.
First, I check rates on four different weekend date combinations. 2-night combinations are Fri-Sat July 20-21 and Sat-Sun July 21-22 for the first weekend, then Fri-Sat July 27-28 and Sat-Sun July 28-29 for the second weekend.
London IHG Hotel Rates – Weekend 1: Fri July 20, Sat July 21, Sun July 30
Fri, July 20-Sun July 22 ($114-$137)
- Holiday Inn Whitechapel = $114.33 USD
- Holiday Inn Kensington High Street = $136.86 (more central location)
- I would pick WhiteChapel for first 2 nights in London, if paying for a 4-night Mon-Thu stay at Holiday Inn Kensington High Street.
Sat, July 21-Mon, July 23 (lowest rate $129)
- Holiday Inn Whitechapel = Not available
- Holiday Inn Kensington High Street = $129.28 (more central location)
Fri, July 20 (lowest rates $93-$129)
- Holiday Inn Whitechapel = $93.36 USD
- Holiday Inn Kensington High Street = $128.81 (more central location)
Sun July 22 (lowest rates $78-$113)
- Holiday Inn Express London The City $77.93
- Holiday Inn London Camden Lock $112.57
- Holiday Inn London Kensington High Street $113.65
- Holiday Inn Express London Southwark $116.90
- Holiday Inn London Oxford Circus $112.57
- Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury $119.06
- Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park $119.06
The best solution looks like Holiday Inn Kensington High Street for Friday and Saturday to meet Kelley’s 2-night weekend stay IHG Accelerate task.
There are several choices of hotels on Sunday July 22 night. My choices are based on some knowledge of hotels and locations.
Sample Itinerary for Weekend 1:
Fri-Sat Jul 20-21 (IHG Kelley Holiday Inn stay 1 = $273.72 for 2 nights)
Holiday Inn Kensington High Street $136.86 per night (37% over budget – disadvantage $45 more than Holiday Inn Whitechapel for 2 nights, but better location).
Sun Jul 22
Option 1: Holiday Inn Express London The City – (IHG Ric stay 1 – advantage cheapest rate)
Option 2: Holiday Inn Kensington High Street – (IHG Ric stay 1 – advantage: stay in same hotel after arrival for 3 nights.)
Option 3: Holiday Inn Camden Lock $112.57 – (IHG Kelley stay 2 – advantage: Kelley loves Camden Town shopping and rate is more than 50% off Fri-Sat rates.)
London IHG Hotel Rates Weekend 2: Fri July 27, Sat July 28, Sun July 29
Since I would prefer to stay 2 nights at one hotel upon arrival, the second weekend means changing hotels three nights in a row before leaving London.
Fri-Sat Jul 27-29
- Holiday Inn Whitechapel = $174.88 USD
- Holiday Inn Kensington High Street = $132.59
Sat-Sun Jul 28-30
- Holiday Inn Regent’s Park = $128.81 (This was my least favorite IHG hotel stay in London a few years ago. Nice location, crap room).
- Holiday Inn Kensington High Street = $128.81
- Holiday Inn London West = $80.10. Out of the way, but would be motivated to get into central London on last full day and leave airport next day).
Fri Jul 27
- Holiday Inn Whitechapel = $112.30 USD
- Holiday Inn Express London City = $113.65
- Holiday Inn Kensington High Street = $117.44
- Holiday Inn Regent’s Park = $123.39
- Hotel Indigo Kensington = $142.07 (splurge and earn Accelerate 1,500 additional bonus points)
- Holiday Inn London West = $69.27
Sat Jul 28
- Holiday Inn London West = $69.27
- Holiday Inn Regent’s Park = $147.21
- Holiday Inn Whitechapel = $236.56
Sun Jul 29
- Holiday Inn London Heathrow Ariel $69.27
- Holiday Inn London Heathrow T5 $69.27
- Holiday Inn London Gatwick Airport $69.27
- Holiday Inn London Luton Airport $68.19
- Holiday Inn London West $73.60
- Holiday Inn Express London The City $77.93
- Holiday Inn London Oxford Circus $103.91
- Holiday Inn London Camden Lock $107.16
- Holiday Inn London Kensington High Street $109.66
- Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury $110.41
- Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park $110.41
An airport Holiday Inn could be used for Kelley’s third Holiday Inn stay if departing from Gatwick or Luton. For Heathrow, I would prefer Holiday Inn London West for cheap price and Underground access to avoid Heathrow Hotel Hopper shuttle bus time and expense (about $25 for 2 persons round trip between LHR and hotel). More likely would be staying in city center for Sunday, the final tenth night in London and take Underground or bus to an airport.
Virtual Itinerary for 10 nights in London at IHG Hotels
Holiday Inn London Whitechapel – 2 nights at $228.66 USD.
- $114.33 per night all-in
- Fulfills Kelley Accelerate tasks: 1 of 3 Holiday Inn stays and a 2-night weekend stay.
Fri Jul 20-Sat July 21 Holiday Inn Kensington High Street – 2 nights at $273.72 USD
Sun July 22 Holiday Inn Camden Lock – 1 night $112.57 USD.
- Fulfills Kelley Accelerate task: 2 of 3 Holiday Inn stays.
Mon July 23 – Thu July 26 Holiday Inn Express London Greenwich for 60,000 IHG points.
- HIX London Greenwich at 15,000 points per night from PointBreaks this week for 4 nights at 60,000 points. There were plenty of dates available for 4 night weekday stays. IHG Rewards Club provided an opportunity last week to book Points & Cash stays at 20% off the cash portion during a flash sale making it possible to buy 60,000 points for $276 and save $231 compared to paid hotel nights at Holiday Inn Kensington High St.
Mon July 23 – Thu July 26 Holiday Inn Kensington High Street 4 nights – $497.24 USD
- $124.31 per night all-in
- Fulfills Ric 4 of 5 nights offer for 10,000 bonus points and 1 of 2 hotel stays to earn another 30,000 points.
Fri July 27 Hotel Indigo Kensington 1 night at $142.07.
- Ric earns 31,500 bonus points if Holiday Inn Kensington High Street stay replaced with HIX Greenwich reward stay for 60,000 points.
- Completes Ric’s Accelerate optional task for 5 nights for 10,000 bonus points and 2 of 2 hotel stays and paid with IHG Mastercard to earn 41,500 bonus points in Accelerate.
Sat July 28
Holiday Inn London West 1 night at $69.27 USD
Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park at $147.21 for better central London location.
- Completes Kelley’s Holiday Inn tasks for stay 3 of 3 with $69 at Holiday Inn London West or $147 for Holiday Inn Regent’s Park. Kelley earns 30,000 bonus points.
Sun July 29 Holiday Inn Express London The City $77.93
- Complete Ric’s second IHG stay and earns total 31,500 bonus points.
10 Nights in London for $1,000
Holiday Inn London Whitechapel – 2 nights at $228.66 USD or Holiday Inn Kensington High Street 2 nights at $273.72.
Holiday Inn London Camden Lock – 1 night at $112.57
Holiday Inn Express Greenwich – 4 reward nights for 60,000 points ($276 to buy points).
Hotel Indigo Kensington – 1 night at $142.07.
Holiday Inn London West 1 night at $69.27 USD or Holiday Inn Regent’s park for $147.21. Kelley earns 30,000 IHG bonus points.
Holiday Inn Express London The City 1 night at $77.93. Ric earns 31,500 bonus points.
London IHG Hotels 10-Night Price Points with Different Hotel Itineraries
$906 for 10 nights ($91 per hotel night) = $630.50 for 6 nights in London ($105 per paid night) choosing Holiday Inn London West on a Saturday night + $276 for 4 reward nights at 60,000 IHG points.
$985 for 10 nights ($98.50 per hotel night) = $708 for 6 paid nights staying at Holiday Inn Regent’s Park instead of remote Holiday Inn London West = $118 for each paid London hotel night.
$1,030 for 10 nights ($103 per London hotel night) = $756 for 6 paid nights staying at Holiday Inn Kensington High Street Fri-Sat for first two nights in London and Holiday Inn Regent’s Park during second weekend = $126 for each paid London hotel night.
$1,253 for 10 nights ($125 per London hotel night) = $756 with 6 paid nights above, plus another 4 paid nights at HI Kensington High St. for $497 with 1 night Hotel Indigo, HI Camden Lock, HI Regent’s Park and HIX London City. Itinerary with no reward nights.
London on $100 per night is certainly achievable. The option for me to spend 10 nights in London with Kelley for only about $750 in hotel spend makes a potential London 10-night trip possible for $75 per hotel night, earning 67,000 points, while redeeming 60,000 points for 4 reward nights.
I valued 60,000 points at $276 in cost for this trip based on the cost last week to buy 60,000 points during the IHG Points&Cash flash sale. Personally I do not count 60,000 points redeemed as a $276 expense. I paid for my 60,000 points in prior years through hotel stays, so points redeemed and replaced with paid stays does not incur any additional expense for my trip.
All 60,000 IHG points burned for 4 nights reward nights in London are earned back with our 6 paid nights. This itinerary results in no net loss of points in our accounts after 10 nights in London.
This certainly meets my hotel rate objective of less than $100 per night.
About $100 per night to book a 10-night London trip using the IHG and MasterCard partner rate discount for IHG hotels in London in July 2018 is a good travel opportunity.
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