IHG Rewards club points use to never expire. But that has changed and now the points expire with 12 months of no activity. There are many usual ways to avoid the points expiration and few of them are listed below:
The other two interesting ways to extend the life of your IHG points is to:
So if you are close to points expiration and do not have any upcoming stays but have at-least 5000 points in your account you can easily extend the life of your IHG points.
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IHG PointBreaks hotel are once again here and they are live for your booking. You could book the hotels for just 5k points per night. You could easily buy points from ~0.6 cents/points or less by either going through Daily Getaways IHG Points purchase if you do not have any IHG Points or by booking and cancelling cash + points booking provided you have atleast 5k points in your IHG account. You can refer here on how to purchase IHG points using cash+points booking.
Although there are certain restrictions on how many nights per hotel each member can book, it is rarely enforced in practice. Below is the sample list of hotels in "United States of America" available for booking at 5k points per night and there are smaller lists for other countries. So go ahead and make your reservations NOW!!
One of the best values of IHG points is the "PointBreaks" where you can book hotels in the list for only 5,000 IHG points. The next IHG PointBreaks list is already published and the hotels will become bookable on 27th July 2015. You can book the hotels on the list for stay till October 31st, 2015. As always, you might want browse the list as soon as possible to see which hotels you would be interested in and book them as soon as the list goes live. Lot of hotels drop off the list once their set PointBreak limit is reached.
The best part is you can easily generate IHG points for $7 per 1,000 points after you buy initial 10,000 points for $135. This could help you get enough points even if you do not have sufficient points to book multiple nights to begin with. Also milestomemories has posted a good map which makes it easier to look the hotels for your desired destination.
So, get going and see if there are properties of interest where you can stay for only $35 per night.
I wanted to cover some of the interesting developments in travel arena within last month. Here they come:
The latest "IHG INTO THE NIGHTS" promo is out and most folks can now see there targeted offers. The biggest question everyone has is; Is it worth doing? The short answer is "It depends". If your set of offers include "50K points or more" in total or "2 free nights" for easily attainable stay of 2 or 3 nights then I would say "BIG YES!". But as some other folks have been targeted with "meh..." offers or difficult to achieve goals than I would say "NOT WORTH IT...".
So, lets quickly analyze if it is worth going after the promo based on my personal offer. Here is my personal offer:
Let's breakdown the above set of goals to see what it means in simple words. I need to complete 4 of 5 offers below to get additional bonus of 26,800 IHG points or 2 free nights.
So from above let's say If I only do last 4 offers, which would require me to stay 3 nights and 2 of those nights has to be Holiday Inn, I would earn 14,800 bonus points for the tasks above in addition to 26,800 bonus points or 2 free nights. As you can see from above math I can choose to earn either a total of 41,600 bonus points only OR 14,800 bonus points and 2 free nights. As IHG promo terms does not state where the 2 nights can be used except that it expires 12 months from the date it is earned. Assuming that it can be used for any property worldwide then it could be quite valuable 2 nights.
As IHG points can easily be bought for 0.7 cent/point, let's analyze the value of the offer assuming my average cost for staying on cheap would be ~$70/night. So, If I decide to just go for points I would earn 41,800 bonus points in addition to ~2,100 IHG points ($70 x 3 nights x 10 points/$ for Holiday Inn Stay). So, it would be as good as earning points at 0.47 cent/point (43,900 points for $210), which is a good deal if I have real use for those points at expensive IHG properties. So, I would say check-out your offer and run a quick analysis and may be it might be worth participating in this promo!
In my earlier post on Daily Getaways Return, I mentioned about the offers for the first 2 weeks of this sale. There are still few of those deals available specifically The Diamond Resort Stay, CityPass, IHG Points and Wyndham Rewards points. Although they are not great deals, they might be useful for someone's particular travel or stay scenario. Daily Getaways has announced the remaining deals for next 3 weeks and there are few hotels points and Car rental deals I want to highlight in this post. The deal which most traveler are interested would be the Hyatt Stay Deal. Let me list down these here:
Note - None of the credit card links in the post earns me any revenue. Thanks for reading!
Broadly Speaking there are three kinds of Hotel Stays:
Let's assume your intent is to "pay the lowest price". In that case this article would give you various resources which will help you making that decision better and faster (Hopefully!). Below are few websites/tools which will quickly allow you to narrow down your search to few of the hotels in your desired area.
This is a pretty useful tool where you can enter your desired hotel location and it will quickly show up the hotels and the points required to stay there. Since, it uses Google Maps as the backdrop, it is very easy to map the hotels with your desired place of stay. Currently the website supports following Hotel Chains:
All you need to do is to enter your "Destination" in the search box and it will pop up hotel property names and price in award points for them. This makes it very easy to short-list the hotels and gives estimate on price you would have to pay (based on your valuation of the points) if you chose to stay on "award". For e.g. I have searched "Bali, Indonesia" below and as you can see that there are several options to select from based on where I want to stay and price I am looking to pay. Of-course there are certain limitations of this tool, as it does not list the "exact rates" for your dates as well as it does not specify the availability of award for your dates, but you at least get to know available properties and the points required which makes your selection easier.
Wandering Aramean Hotel Tools:
This tool gives specific information about the hotels as well as comparison between the "cost of award stay" and "cost when payed with cash". The comparison does require your "Fair value of points input", but it is pretty neat in that it will only show hotels with availability on your dates. It requires you to create your "login ID" before performing the search and currently supports Rates comparison for following Hotels:
Now you have done your reward stay research it's time to check if there are hotels available (may or may not be brand affiliated hotels) which are better bargain then redeeming your points. HotelsCombined is hotel aggregate site which searches for the hotels in your "desired location" and gives you whole bunch of criteria to narrow down or refine your search. The best part is it will show various "OTA as well as hotel websites" where you can book online along with their price comparison. For e.g. searching for hotels with only "5 stars" gives us prices ranging from $21 for a shared dorm to a price of $2299 for a resort room. You can further filter down on brand name and other bunch of criteria to get best bang for your buck.
Enter TripBam! This is a useful tool once you have done the search through HotelsCombined and have booked a "refundable room" for your stay. You can use this "TripBam" to send you alert if the price of your reserved hotel goes up or down on your desired dates of stay. You can also set the criteria if there are other hotels of your interest where you can possibly stay if the price is within the desired range of the price you paid for the current reservation. TripBam can send you an email alert about the price changes for your set of desired hotels so you do not need to keep searching for lower price once you have booked your reservation. For e.g. you can select the set of hotels you are interested in as shown below and you are on your way to savings if the price drops below your price paid or desired price.
Although there are numerous other sites which can help you search Hotels such as Kayak, but the above are just a few gem of tools which would help you make your hotel search better and faster.
Well, the next IHG Point breaks is already out as you would have seen all over the place. In short, the Point Breaks let you stay for 5k IHG points/night. You can find the list here. This list is valid from 03/24/2014 to 05/31/2014. So, if you see any property listed where you would potentially want to stay you might want to get going right in the morning at 7 a.m. PST of 03/24/2014. Usually the number of such awards in each participating hotels are limited, so they dry up pretty soon. The best way is to book speculatively for dates where you possibly think you will be staying on those properties.
The important thing is if you are looking for points there are tricks to buy them for 0.6 cent/points. But if you are not in a rush and have few future planned stays or can find a cheap IHG property to stay at; you could easily get 10k to 20k points with just 1 stay. Just register for whichever possible codes you could by looking up lists here, here and here. Ohh and yes, do not forget to register for current IHG BIG WIN to pocket some additional bonus points. Enjoy!!
Note - HT to bart.la, loyaltylobby and of-course flyertalk.
As you keep collecting hotel program points for reward stays it's worth understanding the value you are getting out of your investment. Everyone has a different value on points they hold and in which program the points are available. But knowing what value you can get of those points is of importance. The intend of this post is to highlight different program "sweet spots" so you know your choices and where to look before deciding to use your points for hotel award night stay. The loyalty programs we will be looking at are listed below:
This article will focus on Hyatt Gold Passport and Hilton Honors. For IHG (Priority Club) refer to my post on IHG Big Win. The value proposition for IHG (Priority Club) comes from Point Savers Award. For details on Marriott, Club Carlson and SPG do check my next article in this series.
Hyatt Gold Passport
Most hotels in Hyatt brand represent high tier and luxury class hotels. Hyatt award night starts from mere 5k points for category 1 hotels and the highest category 6 hotels cost 22k points for standard room. The reward chart representing the hotels in different categories can be found here. The category 6 hotels include Park Hyatt Tokyo, Park Hyatt Maldives and Park Hyatt Sydney that retails upwards of $900+. Thus redeeming 22k points for standard room at this hotels is extremely awesome value proposition if you are looking for Style and grand experience. On the lower end of it you could redeem 5k points for hotels such as Bali Hyatt which goes for ~$120+. So if you are looking to stay at decent to good brand hotel, I would suggest looking at Category 1 & 2 hotels to see if any hotels exits for the destination you are planning to visit which provides great redemption value for award nights rather than paying cash.
Although Hilton has massively devalued their program in recent time by increasing award night redemption cost's almost 2x and introducing variable points reward rate based on seasonality; there are still quite a few value hotels for budget conscious travelers who want to experience Hilton brand. You should use this useful tool here to determine how many points are required for standard room stay at the location you plan to visit. Once you know the points, you can visit the brand hotel website and scroll all the way to the bottom to see the award night rate for your stay. Look at the example below for Double Tree Hilton Goa. The Hotel's average night cost is INR 11,000 which would roughly equate to ~$180 but the points cost is only 5k points. That's awesome value proposition for Hilton Honors points.
As you can see from above it is still a good value proposition redeeming Hilton Honor points for lower category hotels and thus maximizing value of your points for free award night stays.
So in short if you are looking for value from above programs look for lower or mid category hotels in Hyatt and lower category hotels in Hilton Honors program
You would have seen the mention of "IHG BIG WIN PROMO" all around the web. IHG Club is basically re-branding of Priority Club which includes brands such Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites etc ( the full list of brands under IHG can be found here). The promo is open to all the members and is tailored to each individual member having a slightly different version of the promo. But if you are NOT a member of IHG club you can create a new account and then register for this promo you would see a standard 50k points offer as shown below.
As you can see "Only 4 separate stays or nights" could earn you potential 50k points assuming 2 out of those 4 stays are on Saturdays and 3 of them are at different IHG brand hotels.
Back to the question.. Is it Worth?
Well, the answer depends on how are you going to use the points. You can convert IHG points to the partner airlines at the ratio of "10k points = 2k miles" and the various airline partner list can be found here. Thus converting 50k points would give you 10k miles which depending on my valuation could be worth $100 to $150. If I had to spend an average of $60/night on each of the stay that would mean spend of $240 in total and assuming I am just staying for the sake of getting the points I personally would not do it. You could also buy 10k points for $70. The way this works is as long as you have 5k points in your account you could book any hotel that requires 15k points by using so called "points+cash" option which is essentially "5k points + $70 for remaining 10k points". Once you make the booking and later cancel it you do not get the "cash" portion refunded rather will have 10k points deposited to your account in lieu for it. So if you are doing it for the sake of points (also known as mattress run) do it only if your total cost would be less than $350 ($70x 5 for 50k points).
On the other hand you could redeem the points for the "PointBreaks" which has changing list of hotels each quarter that can be booked for only 5k points/night. This option would mean I could potentially get to stay for 10 nights and assuming the average cost of $60/night could be an awesome value proposition. The other option would be to redeem the points for high value properties such as Holiday Inn Maldives for 35k points/night which otherwise goes for ~$250 in peak season.
As you can see from above the only good reason to go for this promotion would be to use the points to make actual stays at Holiday Inn rather than converting to "miles". Hope this helps you to make the decision to go for this promotion or no.
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