Hotels IHG Milestone Rewards IHG One Rewards InterContinental Hotels Group

Buying IHG bonus points with Best Flexible rate prevented suite upgrade

a group of tall buildings
InterContinental Warsaw

The IHG Milestone reward I selected after 20 nights this calendar year was the choice of a confirmable suite upgrade. I booked a 5-night stay using the Best Flexible Rate for one hotel in Poland with the intention to use my confirmed suite upgrade for the stay. I booked my hotel reservation early October 2022.

Some of the terms of a confirmable suite upgrade are:

Confirmable Suite Upgrade can be made starting 14 days before arrival up to 24hrs before Check-In 

Confirmable Suite Upgrade can only be applied to stays that are on an eligible rate, e.g., Best Flexible, Member Discount, Government, and select Corporate and package rates

When I called to request the upgrade, after a long hold, I was told the suite upgrade cannot be applied because I booked a package rate and not the best flexible rate for my hotel stay. 

I actually selected the Best Flexible Rate for the hotel stay and at time of booking an overlay came up on the screen to buy bonus points with the stay.

a screenshot of a screen
IHG Bonus Points Offer when booking Best Flexible Rate.


The prices to buy IHG points were a great deal and I booked the +5,000 points per night rate.

In my calls to try and use the confirmable suite upgrade for the stay, I was told that I have a hotel package rate and not the Best Flexible Rate so my suite upgrade cannot be applied on this rate. 

I checked the confoirmable suite upgrade rules:

Confirmable Suite Upgrades cannot be used with the following rate types:

  • Group rates, package tour or convention where charges are being paid by a third party
  • Reward Night/Free Night (eligible at a future date) 
  • Non-Qualified rate like Wholesale, OTA, and Employee rate
  • Prepaid rates if deposit is already applied 
  • Some hotel defined packages

I assume the bonus points addition to the Best Flexible Rate I purchased falls within the “Some hotel defined packages” suite upgrade exclusion. 

a screenshot of a card
IHG Bonus Points Offers overlay when trying to book Best Flexible Rate in Poland.


The simple solution would be cancel my bonus points package rate and rebook Best Flexible Rate and click ‘No Thanks’ to bonus points.

The problem with rebooking the stay now is the rate is $60 per night more than when I booked the hotel stay 7 weeks ago. I had initially booked the hotel using 72,000 IHG points ($360 cost to me), then changed my booking to a $670 paid stay to use my suite upgrade. Turns out the 25,000 bonus points I purchased at a great discount when I originally made the 5-night booking cost me the opportunity to use my suite upgrade for this hotel stay.

I find it funny the IHG customer service representatives emphasized how I still have 10 months remaining to apply my suite upgrade to another hotel stay. It is not my plan to book numerous 5-night best flexible rate hotel stays over the next year. The reason I buy hundreds of thousands of IHG points is for significant rate discounts on the cost for stays at IHG hotels using points.

I learned a lesson with this IHG booking. I will avoid package rates when booking my next IHG best flexible rate hotel stay with the intent of using a confirmable suite upgrade.

1 Comment

  • Dave Hanson November 28, 2022

    Ric, thanks for posting this useful data point!

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