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This week I made two IHG expenditures for 2023 savings

This week I made two IHG expenditures for 2023 savings. Firstly, I purchased InterContinental Ambassador membership for $200 and extended IHG Diamond Elite status through 2023. Secondly, I purchased 120,000 IHG points during the 100% bonus points sale ending tomorrow, December 29. I will likely buy another 100,000 points before the sale ends.

InterContinental Amstel Hotel Amsterdam

 

InterContinental Ambassador for IHG Diamond 2023 status

InterContinental Ambassador is an elite membership useful for stays at InterContinental Hotels. This is the first time I have purchased the status. My motivation to purchase IC Ambassador was more out of fear I’d lose IHG Diamond elite status rather than plans for InterContinental Hotel stays in 2023.

An interesting aspect to the IHG Instant Diamond elite offer that went through the blogosphere in early October was reporting by a number of newly minted Diamond elites that buying InterContinental Ambassador membership as an IHG Diamond member triggered an extension of IHG Diamond membership to December 31, 2023.

Based on my reading of the rules for the Instant Diamond membership the member had 90 days from promotion enrollment to stay 10 paid nights to retain IHG Diamond through 2023. This meant I had until January 11, 2023 to meet the 10 paid nights requirement for Diamond elite extension.

I have 5 paid nights from Hotel Indigo Krakow earlier this month and I booked 5 more paid nights for January before January 11, 2023. My concern came in reading posts on View from the Wing and One Mile at a Time stating IHG instant Diamond members needed to complete the 10 paid stays by December 31, 2022. Neither blog offered any documentary evidence for that assertion, but I figured I would be so angry with myself if I missed retaining IHG Diamond elite for 2023 due to having my remaining 5 paid nights in January 2023. 

Paying $200 for InterContinental Ambassador changed my IHG Diamond elite expiration from Dec 31 2022 to Dec 31, 2023 about 90 minutes after my purchase. This was a great investment for me given I have 15 nights at IHG hotels booked over the next two months. As far as I know, the extension of Diamond elite to 2023 only happens if you already have IHG Diamond elite status at the time of buying or renewing InterContinental Ambassador.

IHG Diamond elite 12-31-23

 

With IHG Diamond elite for 2023 secured, I changed my 5 paid nights for $600 at California hotels to reward nights for 76,000 points ($380 in purchased IHG points) and already compensated for the $200 cost for InterContinental Ambassador membership.

The current promotion for InterContinental Ambassador offers 20,000 bonus points if you stay 2 paid nights at InterContinental Hotels by January 31, 2023. My hotel stay pattern does not typically include InterContinental Hotels. Last year the InterContinental Hotels in San Francisco at Christmas were relatively low priced, but not so low this year. It would have been about $250 to book the free weekend night at InterContinental San Francisco last weekend, a hotel I nickname ‘Big Blue’ to distinguish it from InterContinental San Francisco Mark Hopkins on Nob Hill. I stayed at IC Mark Hopkins Christmas 2021.

The free weekend night at an InterContinental Hotel is one I will likely use on a spring 2023 trip to Europe. Athens, Budapest, Malta, Vienna and Warsaw are potential destinations with InterContinental Hotels I can possibly book for under $200 per night for a $100 per night weekend stay using the free weekend night certificate.

IHG 100% Purchased Bonus Points ends December 29, 2022

I never seem to have enough IHG points to take advantage of all the deals I find. My 2022 year-end hotel stay analysis shows I redeemed 362,000 IHG points in 2022 for 35 hotel nights. I have purchased 420,000 points so far in 2022 for $2,100.

Hotel rate savings using IHG points for 35 nights in 2022 I estimate at:

  • 35 nights = $3,525 at Best Flexible Rate for paid stays = $100.72 average nightly rate.
  • 35 nights for 362,000 points = $1,810 cost to buy IHG points.
  • $1,715 saved using IHG points for reward nights compared to paying room rate.
  • $1,810 spend for 35 hotel nights = $51.72 average nightly room rate.

I already have 298,000 IHG points ($1,490 points value) in booked reservations for 15 nights in January and February 2023. Those stays using points save about $1,050 on room rates and that savings does not account for free breakfast, potential room upgrades as a Diamond elite member or IHG lounge access I will have access to for a 4-night stay. Lounge access for one year is my IHG Milestone benefit selection after reaching 40 hotel nights with IHG in 2022 earlier this month.

IHG elite status is certainly affecting my IHG hotel stay choices from Holiday Inn Express stays to upper tier IHG brands. My next trip to Europe is booked using $500 more in points that would likely have been IHG reward stays at Holiday Inn Express hotels, if I did not have IHG Diamond elite status for 2023. This may be the spend-up effect IHG desired by letting members take advantage of instant Diamond in October 2022.

One of the main reasons I need more IHG points is I find it highly useful to be able to make multiple IHG points stay reservations while I am planning and finalizing my trip itineraries. For example, my 18 nights at IHG hotels I completed over the last month in Poland at different points in time included 11 other IHG reservations for hotels in Austria, Germany and Netherlands before I finalized our trip itinerary to only be hotel stays in Gdansk and Krakow, Poland. Having access to 300,000+ IHG points allowed me to lock in low rates as I played around with our Europe itinerary. 

The dynamic pricing of IHG reward nights means I book early and check back often. I paid 84,000 points for 5 nights on December 24 and when I checked rates again on December 27 I rebooked the same hotel nights for 76,000 points. On the flipside, a hotel I booked for 81,000 points in early November for a stay in February is now 135,000 points using the Chase 4th night free reward rate.

IHG One Rewards has been my most highly valued hotel loyalty program for 2022. I think 2023 might even turn out to be more rewarding with IHG. Although, I am also still working my way through 400,000 Choice Privileges points I purchased last July during Daily Getaways promotion with some high value stays planned in a couple of Ascend Collection hotels in Europe burning through half those points. 

 

IHG 100% Bonus Points Purchase Offer Ends Dec 29 

The link above is to the standard buy IHG points page.

IHG has a 100% bonus points offer for many, if not most or all IHG members. You can use the link above to login and see if your offer is 100% bonus points.

IHG 100% Bonus Points Promotion Terms

This Offer is available for qualifying purchases of IHG One Rewards points made between 12:00 AM ET on November 16, 2022 and 11:59 PM ET December 29, 2022 inclusive. A member eligible for this Offer will receive a bonus of 100% of the points purchased when they meet a minimum points purchase threshold on a per transaction basis. The number of points a member may purchase, gift, or receive as a gift during the Offer Period is subject to promotional period limits. Members may purchase a maximum of up to 250,000 points during the promotional period, depending on how many points the member had already purchased during the same calendar year. For example, if a member had previously purchased 50,000 points in 2022, then the member could only purchase up to a maximum of 200,000 points during the Offer Period and would be eligible to receive the applicable percentage of additional bonus points under this Offer based only on the amount of points purchased during the Offer Period. Similar limits apply to gifting points and receiving points as a gift: Members may gift up to a maximum of 250,000 points, or receive as gifts from other members a combined maximum of up to 250,000 points, during the Offer Period, subject to reduction by the number of points that have been already gifted, or received as a gift, in the same calendar year.

 

Purchased points, as well as any bonus points awarded under this Offer, do not count towards IHG One Rewards Elite status.

 

This is an exclusive, non-transferable offer for intended recipients only and may not be forwarded. Offer is subject to change and cannot be combined with any other offer. Price includes all applicable fees. Purchased Points are not refundable and are applicable toward all IHG One Rewards awards. Please allow up to 72 hours for points to post and appear in the recipient’s account.

 

 

 

1 Comment

  • The real beej January 9, 2023

    I procrastinated after reading your post regarding buying intercontinental ambassador but I ultimately purchased it on 12/31. My IHG account now shows diamond status valid through 12/31/24.

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