IHG 20% off reward nights and Choice Privileges rates posted for April 16-June 30, 2023 motivated me to change some travel plans and helped me finalize travel plans over the next four months.
Winter 2023 Trip New York City, Milan, Venice, Amsterdam and Oslo
IHG 20% off award nights presented two opportunities for me to change two airport hotel stays to city center stays. A hotel at Newark EWR for a 23 hour layover will now be a New York Manhattan hotel stay. An airport stay at Milan MXP will now be in central Milan.
The 20% off award rate made a good deal for a 22,000 points stay in a Manhattan IHG hotel a great deal for 17,600 points. That is an $88 hotel night (cost to buy 17,6000 IHG points during a 100% bonus points sale) with our breakfast included as an IHG Diamond member benefit. Sure beats spending 23,000 IHG points to stay at Crowne Plaza Newark Airport on a 23 hour layover.
The IHG 20% award rate discount put Milan city in play with an award rate drop from 44,000 points to 36,000 points making my Chase IHG credit card free night certificate, valid for a 40,000 points night, sufficient to book a free night. I had a low 13,000 points award rate at Crowne Plaza Milan Airport booked last month that is now bookable for 13,600 points with the promotional 20% off rate. Since I need to travel from Milan to Venice by train I figured getting the one hour ride from MXP to the city center train station completed upon arrival at the airport is advantageous, making for a shorter train ride to Venice the next day.
I have never visited Milan and I look forward to walking around the city center to get some sites like Duomo Milano committed to my travel memories.
My IHG 4-night stays in February using 4th night free Chase mastercard rates are still lower priced than 20% off reward nights.
Spring 2023 trip Oslo to Tallinn via Greece and Czechia
In October 2022 I purchased an open-jaw ticket on United.com flying San Francisco SFO to Milan MXP with a return from Tallinn, Estonia TLL. That Basic Economy ticket cost $451.58 round trip. I nested another United.com $370 round trip ticket for Oslo-San Francisco for my inbound flights back to California in February and outbound to Oslo in April.
I have waited about 11 weeks to plan out the April-May trip for Oslo to Tallinn, Estonia. This week the pieces came together when I purchased a one way 2-segment Aegean Airlines ticket for Oslo to Rhodes, Greece for $144 and $103 one way 2-segment Aegean Airlines ticket Rhodes to Prague. These flights will meet our requirements for Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite requalification to 2024. LOT Polish one way Prague to Tallinn, Estonia cost $103 for our flight back to San Francisco.
After buying InterContinental Ambassador membership for $200 and buying 240,000 IHG points for $1,200 in December 2022, my trip plans for spring 2023 do not include any IHG stays. InterContinental Ambassador extended my IHG Diamond elite status through Dec 2023 and that allows me to select complimentary breakfast at check-in. I have a stash of IHG points for any other hotel stay needs in 2023.
During Daily Getaways July 2022 I purchased 220,000 Choice Privileges points for $1,140 for a purchase rate of $5.18 per 1,000 points. I had over 400,000 Choice Privileges points when I started redeeming points in October 2022 for February 2023 travel. 226,000 points redeemed for 11 nights is buying over $4,000 in room nights on our first trip.
This past week Choice Privileges posted reward rates for April 16-June 30, 2023. I set my sights on Prague and Czechia as a destination for our spring 2023 travel due to most Choice Hotels in the country dropping their reward night rates to 8,000 points or about $41.50 per night based on my acquisition cost for Choice Privileges points.
My winter and spring 2023 trips to Europe are set to wipe out most of my purchased and accumulated hotel points and free nights certificates. I plan to burn through another 132,000 Choice Privileges points for our second trip, leaving only about 60,000 points in my account.
IHG Diamond elite status has me going more upscale in my IHG hotel choices in 2023, which means raising my average hotel rate from about $65 to $110 for 10 upcoming reward nights.
Hyatt, Marriott, Best Western and Accor Hotels are also in my spring 2023 hotel stay plans for travel in Greece and Estonia.
Hopefully there will be another Daily Getaways sale in late spring or mid-summer for an opportunity to replenish my Choice Privileges points for $5.20 per 1,000 points. Otherwise I will be looking for another promotional sale to buy Choice Privileges points like the current offer for 25% off when you buy 20,000 points or more through February 3, 2023. This offer allows a Choice Privileges member to buy 180,000 points for $1,390.50 or $7.725 per 1,000 points.
Not as good as the Daily Getaways deal, but still a deal at this price considering there are hotels in several countries where it possible to find Choice Privileges reward nights with redemption values greater than $20 per 1,000 points.
You can check the reward rates for Choice Hotels by looking at the hotel website for any specific hotel to find Choice Privileges reward night rates for Feb 1-April 15 and April 16-June 30. Reward nights can be booked within 100 days of your reward stay.