IHG recently launched their “Into the Nights” promotion that runs from 9/4/14 to 12/31/14, and it is one of the best hotel promotions I have ever seen. The value that you can derive out of this promotion is huge if you tackle it the right way, which I will explain how to do.
First of all, I’ll note that my blog has always been focused on the more “aspirational” types of properties and less so on the lower-tier hotel properties. This is a personal choice because it’s the way I like redeeming my points, so I will discuss this promotion based on taking the free nights over the points.
The Basics of the IHG Free Nights Promotion
IHG promotions have recently been targeted in the sense that everyone gets an offer, but it’s usually different from most others’ offers. The premise is this: IHG gives you certain booking goals/offers to complete, and with each one you complete you get a predetermined number of points. If you complete all (or a certain grouping) of these goals, then you receive a special bonus. This promotion’s bonus is an additional sum of points OR two free nights at any IHG property worldwide.
Those two free nights at any IHG property have the potential to be EXTREMELY valuable. Essentially, these nights can be used at either of the two InterContinental hotels in Bora Bora, which regularly see prices above $700/night. Or you can use them anywhere else, as long as there is award availability.
At first I thought there must be some restriction on these free nights. I reached out to IHG on Twitter for some clarification and, in typical IHG fashion, received no response. Since then, multiple people I know have reported calling and confirming that the free nights will function the same way as the annual free night you receive from the IHG credit card – which is basically a certificate placed in your online account to redeem as you please, as long as there is standard award availability at the hotel you select.
That’s almost unbelievably huge.
Promotion Offers, and How to Get a Better One if Yours Sucks
I mentioned that almost everyone gets a slightly different offer, and sometimes they are flat out terrible. My offer this time is pretty good in my opinion. I’ll show it to you first and then discuss it.
With my offer, I need to complete 4 of the 5 items listed to get the 2 free nights. Looking at my offers carefully, I can actually complete 4 of these items in just two nights:
- Book 1 night at an InterContinental brand on a Saturday using the IHG website/app.
- Book another 1 night at an InterContinental brand on a Saturday night using the IHG website/app AND the IHG credit card (which I already have).
Done! Doing this will yield 28,700 IHG points (plus points from the actual hotel stays) AND 2 free nights. All I can say is WOW to this deal. Why? Because there are some InterContinental hotels that can be had for just $99/night on Saturday nights. Take the IC Tampa tomorrow 9/6/14 as an example:
With taxes this will come to $111. I would only need to spend $222 f I completed two Saturday nights here, and I’d get 28,700 points (plus more for the actual stays) and 2 free nights anywhere. This is totally worth it to me even as a pure mattress run (meaning to make a booking with no intention to stay at the hotel).
Many other people got really terrible offers – some having to stay 18 nights or some other ridiculous requirement. The solution to that problem is rather simple: create a new IHG Rewards account.
Can you do that? Yes, but don’t call IHG and ask for permission if you know what I mean. People who create new accounts today get a standardized offer:
This offer should make you a bit giddy also. You need to complete all 5 offers to receive the two free nights bonus, but this can be done in just three nights:
- Download the IHG mobile app and book 1 night at a Holiday Inn on a Saturday on it.
- Book another 1 night at a Holiday Inn on a Saturday with the IHG website/app.
- Book another 1 night at any IHG hotel on any day of the week.
Done! Three nights, easy as pie. The great part about this is that Holiday Inn hotels are everywhere and generally cheap. Note that there have been questions as to whether Holiday Inn Express hotels count for this, and my personal opinion is that NO they do not. This is based on the following sentence in their terms:
“Stays at Holiday Inn Resorts and Holiday Inn Club Vacation properties count as Stays at Holiday Inn brand and Stays at InterContinental Alliance Resort properties count as Stays at the InterContinental brand.”
They specifically mentioned Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Club Vacation properties. On the IHG website you can sort by property type and you can check these two options along with other Holiday Inn brands, but only the former two were mentioned. When searching for hotels, do yourself a favor and search specifically for Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Club Vacation properties!
So…I proved it was worth it to mattress run for two nights, but is it worth it to do three? The answer is yes. I live in Orange County, CA, and I was able to find a convenient Holiday Inn for $89/night including tax on Saturday nights. There are other IHG properties I can stay at for $85/night including tax near me. That means my total cost would be $89 + $89 + $85 = $263. For that price, I essentially bought 10,500 points (plus points earned for actual stays) and 2 free nights anywhere.
There are plenty of Holiday Inns around the world that have nights as low as $60-$70 including tax. Look for them! And if you happen to need a night anyway and have a Holiday Inn close by, then it makes it all the more valuable.
Again, I think this is totally worth it even for mattress runs alone.
Game It – Rinse and Repeat
You only get two free nights per account, so how can you get more? Well I just explained how to create a new account, so what’s stopping you from creating another one? Just use a different email address. I’m not saying I recommend this strategy, but…*wink wink*.
When it comes to redeeming these nights, be smart about it. If you have two accounts under your name with two free nights each, don’t stack all four back-to-back. The hotel will know something is up when they see the same person, same name, but different account numbers. IHG has shut down accounts for abuse in the past….but you can always open another ;).
The better way to take advantage of this, in my opinion, is to make use of friends or significant others (I always thought that term sounded funny). Stack your two free nights with your husband/wife/friend/whoever to get 4 free nights at a nice property. You can try pushing it further if you want, but everything is at a risk in this game.
Honeymooners – Take Note!
Seriously, the InterContinental hotels in Bora Bora are really prime targets for American honeymooners. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people tell me that one or both of those hotels is their honeymoon destination. I have a friend that’s honeymooning there right now.
If you want to celebrate your wedding or any special occasion at these hotels, this is a promotion you should most definitely be taking advantage of. You should take your two free nights and stack them with your SO’s for the first hotel, then do the same on each of your second accounts for the other. You’ll get 8 nights in Bora Bora for around $1K out of pocket cost, plus you’ll have points left over.
That is unbelievable value. And that’s why you, and everyone else, should take advantage of this account if top-end, aspirational properties are what you desire!