Nov262018

Thanksgiving road trip earned 44,000 IHG points for $255

Last week I drove over 800 miles from Monterey, California to Disneyland using three InterContinental Hotels Group hotels in three different brands to fulfill the one task I had to complete to earn 38,400 bonus points during the current IHG Double Points Plus More Sep 16-Dec 31, 2018 promotion.

IHG Double Points Plus More promotion earned 38,400 bonus points for stays at three IHG brands.

IHG Rewards Club is currently selling points for $5.00 per 1,000 points during their 100% bonus buy points promotion through November 30.

One way to look at this deal is I earned $221.63 worth of points for $254.71 in hotel spend. In other words, after points rebate, I spent an equivalent of $11.03 per room night.

However, that is not the primary way I view points earned since points do not actually have value until they are redeemed.

Another way I can look at this deal is I redeemed 40,000 points recently for two nights at Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam City Hall on dates where the advance purchase rate priced out at 333.14 EUR = $377.89 USD.

$255 in IHG hotel spend over my Thanksgiving road trip to Disneyland for three hotel nights purchased $633 in room value based on the lowest rates available at these four hotels for five nights on my dates of travel.

In other words, I paid $255 for 3 room nights and redeemed points earned from those three paid nights for $378 in value for two IHG reward nights. Three hotel nights for a road trip in California and two nights in Amsterdam cost an average of $51 per night.

Plus, I came out 4,326 points ahead from my $255 in spend.

Candlewood Suites Santa Maria provided a kitchen and complimentary bag of popcorn.

Candlewood Suites Santa Maria is a hotel where I have previously earned big IHG bonuses a couple of times. This hotel is a good mid-point stop for me when driving U.S. 101 between Orange County and Monterey. Candlewood Suites was only $72 on Sunday night before Thanksgiving, but $130 on Black Friday when we needed a hotel stay for our drive back to Monterey. Candlewood Suites was the lowest priced IHG hotel along the California 101 coastal route on Black Friday.

Holiday Inn Santa Ana-Orange County Airport lobby

Thanksgiving day with my sisters and parents in Orange County made Holiday Inn Santa Ana-Orange County Airport a good location for getting to a hotel within 20 minutes after leaving my family Thursday night. And we were close enough to get back together for breakfast before Kelley and I headed off to Bakersfield on Friday afternoon.

Holiday Inn Express Bakersfield lobby

Bakersfield is an oil town and smells. The highlight of arriving at Holiday Inn Express Bakersfield at dusk were dozens of parrots flying between and roosting in the fronds of palm trees in the hotel parking lot.

Bakersfield is a place I tend to only find myself hanging around when there is a good hotel promotion or when I am driving between Las Vegas and Monterey. Bakersfield is near the half-way point of the 500-mile drive between Monterey and Vegas. Although, I prefer staying at a hotel in the mountain air of Tehachapi when driving to Las Vegas.

The distance between Monterey and Disneyland in Orange County is about the same whether driving coastal U.S. 101 (357 miles) or Interstate 5 through the valley (346 miles). The coastal route offers far more scenic ocean views. I usually drive Highway 1 through Malibu to Santa Monica, but that road was still closed last week on Monday due to the Woolsey Fire. We passed burned hills beside U.S. 101 and even the stone Thousand Oaks city sign beside the freeway was blackened from the fire.

Woolsey Fire burned hills beside U.S. 101 in San Fernando Valley.

The promise of two free nights in Amsterdam provided a sufficient excuse to Kelley for driving her home to Monterey via Bakersfield.

How to get better IHG Rewards Club targeted promotions

IHG Rewards Club for the past five years has focused their promotions on specific targeted tasks for individual members.

Each promotion I analyze reveals IHG Rewards Club members who do not stay at IHG hotels generally have weak bonus points earning tasks and offers. Members who stay frequently at IHG hotels often have hard to achieve or expensive to complete tasks for bonus points.

Nearly all my paid stays with IHG each year are the minimum number of hotel nights I need to stay to earn the most points with my targeted promotion tasks. This is usually between 1 and 5 paid nights per promotion. Each year I tend to earn 50,000+ points from IHG promotions with these selective paid stays.

IHG Rewards Club is the Goldilocks hotel loyalty program. Don’t stay too infrequently and don’t stay too often for the best value promotion offers to reach your IHG Rewards Club member account.

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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