My recent trip to Europe included 11 hotel nights in Portugal, 9 in Greece, 2 in Spain, 1 in Canada and 1 in California. 20 of those 24 hotel nights were at IHG hotels. 12 of those 20 nights at IHG were booked using IHG points after I arrived in Europe due to necessary changes to our travel plans resulting from airline travel mishaps and testing positive for Covid-19 in Greece. I canceled 13 hotel nights from my original bookings after arriving in Europe in what had been a well-organized trip itinerary altered on the spot as unforeseen circumstances forced us to change our travel plans several times during our trip.
I redeemed 243,000 IHG points for 20 hotel room nights in Portugal and Greece.
243,000 IHG points can be purchased through IHG for $1,215 through July 15 and again through Daily Getaways 2022 on July 18.
When you need a room fast
9 of the 20 IHG hotel room nights we booked occurred within an hour of hotel arrival due to immediate changes to our travel plans. In Greece, after hanging out all afternoon in and around the pools of the Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki drinking Mythos beer and dining on seafood salads, we took a video monitored rapid antigen test required for our return flight to Portugal the following morning. We were shocked to see our test strips turn positive. We had not been feeling ill at all.
After contacting the front desk staff at Hyatt, we were informed that we had to remain in isolation for at least the next 6 nights. We could stay there at the Hyatt resort for a nightly rate of 330 EUR or relocate and isolate in another hotel, as long as we left the Hyatt that evening. The high room rate and the high prices for food at about 100 EUR per day at the isolated Hyatt property helped me make my decision quickly. And I did not have 56,000 Hyatt points to burn on the spot, even if there were rooms available for points.
I opted to move to the Holiday Inn Thessaloniki in the city center for an 8 night stay at a points rate of 9,250 IHG points per night. IHG is selling points at the rate of $5 per 1,000 points for three days over the next week making the price of 9,250 points of $46.25 per night for our stay at the Holiday Inn Thessaloniki.
The other unplanned IHG hotel night was due to Air Canada losing our return flights reservation booking in their computer system. These were two round trip tickets I purchased in October 2021 for $461.07 each through the Air Canada website. After 2.5 hours waiting for a new ticket to be issued to make our flight to Montreal, we were only approved for a ticket reissue 25 minutes before the delayed flight departure time. There was no time to pass through security to catch the flight.
We were rebooked on Air Canada to fly the following day to Toronto, requiring a night in Lisbon (IHG points) and an additional night after landing in Toronto (Choice Privileges points) with our arrival in San Francisco scheduled two days later than our original ticket.
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
– Robert Burns, Scottish poet 1759-1796
Last October I pieced together our three week travel itinerary for a trip to Portugal assuming that staying in one country would be the smart thing to do since Covid restrictions and testing requirements could potentially increase the cost of travel for every country Kelley and I visited. As it turned out, by the time June 2022 rolled around, Portugal was one of the last countries in Europe to still have a negative Covid test requirement in place for vaccinated travelers from the USA arriving by plane.
Also, it turned out Portugal was the country with the highest rate of Covid-19 in Europe and second highest rate in the world for the two weeks prior to the start of our trip to Lisbon. Few people wore masks anywhere around Lisbon during our time there and many places were packed with tourists.
Greece was an addition to our travel plans to allow Kelley and I to retain our Aegean Airlines elite status. After spending more time in airport lounges this year due to flight delays compared to time on planes, maintaining Aegean Gold elite with Star Alliance Gold benefits seemed a wise investment. Four flight segments with 191.76 EUR round trip tickets Lisbon-Athens-Thessaloniki were all we needed to requalify for elite status. After missing our return flights to Lisbon due to Covid-19 isolation in Greece, the most economical way to get back to Lisbon was flying Aegean Airlines Thessaloniki-Athens-Madrid for $224 per ticket since Aegean flights back to Lisbon were running in the $500 one-way price range.
In a pinch, IHG points proved the most useful and economical of my hotel loyalty program options.
IHG points saved us nearly $1,200 off best available room rates at times of booking for the 20 nights I needed during our trip. I planned this trip last October and November 2021 and eight of the 20 IHG hotel nights we used were booked then. Several of the hotels I booked with points were no longer available during our trip or had doubled or even tripled in points cost by the time we were staying in Lisbon, Portugal.
The 243,000 IHG points I used for our summer trip can be replenished for $1,215 through the IHG points sale ending July 15 with another opportunity through the annual DailyGetaways sale on Monday, July 18. The advantage of the Daily Getaways sale is points purchased via that channel will not count against my annual purchase limit for points purchased through IHG/Points.com.
You can buy up to 500,000 points for $2,500 at $5.00 per 1,000 points during the current IHG points sale ending July 15.
You can buy up to 880,000 points during the Daily Getaways sale on Monday July 18 at $5.00 per 1,000 points.
My plan is to buy around 400,000 IHG points to replenish the points I spent on our summer trip and for other hotel stays during the past year. IHG is taking a prominent place in my hotel plans for 2022 and 2023 travel. I see many hotel deals in England, Netherlands and Poland that will provide significant savings on hotel stays making IHG my primary hotel rate savings program for the upcoming year of travel.
Breakdown of points costs for 20 IHG hotel nights in Europe
Below are the IHG hotels we stayed at on this trip with our cost in points and the room rates at the time we booked. Hotel reviews to come. This post is primarily about the opportunity to buy IHG points and the value I found in having IHG points for our summer 2022 trip.
Holiday Inn Express Lisbon Av. Liberdade – 4 nights at $60 per night.
- 48,000 points with Chase IHG MasterCard 4th night free.
- 2 Single Beds Room booked in October 2021.
- 4-night room rate at time of booking was 631.95 EUR / $667.67 USD.
- 48,000 points = $240.00 to buy this week.
Hotel rate savings using IHG points = $427.67.
*NOTE: all hotel room rates in this post use the exchange rate: 1 EUR = $1.06 USD, which was the prevailing exchange rate during our trip.
Holiday Inn Lisbon – 1 night at $105 per night.
- 21,000 points for one night.
- King Bed Room booked 11 nights before stay.
- 1-night room rate at time of booking was 168 EUR / $178.08 USD.
- 21,000 points = $105.00 to buy points.
Hotel rate savings using IHG points = $73.08.
Holiday Inn Thessaloniki , Greece – 8 nights at $46.25 per night.
- 73,000 points with Chase IHG MasterCard 4th night free rate.
- Queen Bed room booked 1 hour before stay.
- 8-nights room rate at time of booking was 624 EUR / $661.41 USD.
- 73,000 points = $365.00
Hotel rate savings using IHG points = $296.44.
Crowne Plaza Madrid Airport – 1 night at $75.00.
- 15,000 points IHG points rate.
- 2 Queen Beds room booked 4 nights before stay.
- 1-night room rate at time of booking was 92.68 EUR/$98.24.
- 15,000 points = $75.00
Hotel rate savings using IHG points = $23.24.
Hotel Indigo Princesa Madrid – 1 night at $105.00.
- 21,000 points IHG points rate.
- King Bed room booked 5 nights before stay.
- 1-night room rate at time of booking was 142.53 EUR/$151.07.
- 21,000 points = $105.00
Hotel rate savings using IHG points = $46.07.
Holiday Inn Express Plaza Saldanha Lisbon – 4 nights at $52.50 per night.
- 42,000 points IHG points rate.
- 2 Single Beds room booked October 2021, then rebooked in February after price drop.
- 4-nights room rate at time of booking was 458.81 EUR / $486.34
- 42,000 points = $210.00
Hotel rate savings using IHG points = $276.34.
Holiday Inn Lisbon Continental – 1 night at $115.00.
- 23,000 points IHG points rate.
- King Bed room booked one hour before arrival.
- 1-night room rate at time of booking was 156 EUR / $165.36
- 23,000 points = $115.00
Hotel rate savings using IHG points = $50.36.
Total hotel rate savings at IHG hotels for 20 nights with room rates totaling $2408.17 dropped to $1,215.00 using IHG points. The ability to buy IHG points at $5.00 per 1,000 points for points stays compared to lowest available rates for hotels at time of booking saved $1,193.17 on these 20 hotel nights in Europe.
Our nightly hotel rate was only $60.75 for 20 nights with IHG in Portugal, Greece and Spain for June and July 2022 hotel stays.