Forget Marriott Bonvoy winning the best promotion of 2018 at the April 25 Freddie Awards. IHG Rewards Club has been the most lucrative hotel loyalty program for me over the past six months as evidenced by my earning 105,000 points with 6 paid nights in California and Europe in November 2018 and March 2019 spending a little less than $550 during the past two promotions. My IHG bookings for 8 nights of summer 2019 travel redeem 75,000 points for 4 reward nights and spend $444 for 4 paid nights to fulfill IHG Summer 2019 tasks with total projected earning at 54,000 points.
The 159,000 points I earned and will earn from the past three IHG Rewards Club promotions allowed me to book two free nights in Amsterdam for January 2019, and another four reward nights in Europe for summer 2019 spending 115,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
Summing it all up I booked 16 hotel nights since November 2018 for less than $1,000 in spend and still net nearly 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
- Candlewood Suites Santa Maria $72.80 base rate; $81.54 after tax.
- Holiday Inn Santa Ana – Orange County Airport $83.20 base rate; $92.54 after tax.
- Holiday Inn Express Bakersfield $71.99 base rate; $80.63 after tax.
- $254.71 all-in earned 44,326 IHG Rewards Club points.
I redeemed 40,000 points for 2 nights at Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam City Hall in the days after New Year. The room rate was 160 EUR per night at time I booked reward nights, then dropped during the IHG November CyberMonday to 255 EUR for the 2-night stay. My $255 in spend for 3 hotel nights in California during Thanksgiving week earned 44,000 points to cover the cost of the Amsterdam stay. And I received a 10% points rebate for 4,000 points back as an IHG Rewards Club Mastercard member.
Net cost = $255 or $51 per night for 5 hotel nights in California and Amsterdam from IHG’s fall 2018 promotion.
IHG Free Nights Faster (Jan 15-Apr 30, 2019) – IHG Free Nights Faster final tally 60,757 points earned on $291 for 3 nights (March 18, 2019).
- Holiday Inn Warsaw City Centre ($68.04) earned 5,302 points.
- InterContinental Warsaw ($128.50) earned 12,997 points.
- Holiday Inn Express Warsaw Airport ($92.75) earned 25,608 points. Here is a hotel review from 2017 when I earned 35K on a $58 night.
- IHG Free Nights Faster Achievement Bonus 16,850 points.
IHG Accelerate Summer 2019 (May 1 – August 31) – projected 54,000 points earned on $444 in spend for 5 hotel nights in Europe.
- Crowne Plaza Points + Cash night ($42+30,000 points)
- Hotel Indigo 3 paid nights $304
- Holiday Inn 1 paid night $98
In March 2019 I earned 60,757 points from the winter 2019 promotion IHG Free Nights Faster with 3 paid nights in Warsaw. Those 60,000 points with 4,000+ points left over from fall 2018 promotion earning and Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam 10% rebate (4,000 points) just about cover 75,000 points I redeemed for summer stays with 30,000 points spent on Points + Cash reward night and 45,000 points redeemed for a 3-night hotel stay.
$992 in spend for 10 points-earning paid hotel nights, one IHG Points+ Cash reward night and 5 standard reward nights means I booked 16 IHG brand hotel nights for under $1,000. I will still have around 50,000 points remaining with IHG Accelerate summer 2019 promotion bonus points earned from summer travel.
That is an average of $62 per hotel night for 16 hotel nights booked and stayed through IHG Rewards Club. There is potential for booking another 3 or 4 reward nights through IHG Pointbreaks for summer or fall 2019 hotel stays, potentially bringing my average hotel night cost under $50 per night with 20 nights.
I was not one of the millions of voters for the 2019 Freddie Awards.
My personal vote for hotel loyalty promotions of the year goes to IHG Rewards Club.