Middle Age Miles

Middle Age Miles News & Notes 9/24/19 – IHG Points Purchase ends today; Free Night from Preferred Hotels & Amex; iPrefer bonuses; AA Vacations Code for Mexico; Book AA Hotels Bonus

middle age miles news notes 9/24/19 ihg points purchase free night preferred hotels amex; iprefer bonuses aa vacations code mexico book aa hotels bonus

Today, we have a collection of somewhat-niche hotel promotions for you, plus an AA Vacations code if you’re interested in traveling to Mexico this fall. Let’s get started:

1. Last Day for IHG Points Purchase Promotion

Today (9/24/19) is the last day for an IHG points purchase flash sale. If you purchase at least 7,000 points, you’ll get a 100% bonus on your purchase.

The sweet spot for this promotion is to purchase at least 26,000 points. When you add in the 100% bonus, you’ll receive a total of 52,000 points at a cost of $260, for a cost of 0.5 cents per IHG point. That’s right on par with our baseline value of 0.5 cents per IHG point (which may, frankly, be slightly high).

You can purchase a maximum of 100,000 IHG points with this promotion, which becomes 200,000 points with the bonus (cost would be $1,000).

Purchases of IHG points are processed by points.com. It looks like the best shopping portal deal at the moment for purchasing IHG points through points.com is 2% through Top Cashback (TCB). (Note that if you get 2% from TCB, your cost will drop to 0.49 cpp.) Points.com doesn’t qualify for bonus categories, so use a credit card where you’re earning a sign-up/upgrade bonus, working toward a big-spend threshold, or maximizing points for everyday purchases. To give an example that keeps the math simple, if you use a 2% cash back card and go through the TCB portal, you’d drop your overall cost down to 0.48 cpp.

As usual with points purchase opportunities, we wouldn’t purchase them speculatively, but if you have a specific redemption in mind where purchasing these points will save you money, it can be a nice deal.

2. Third/Fourth/Fifth Night Free Promotion from Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Amex

It appears that this promotion has been around for a while, but we received a physical mailer recently that reminded us to post about it.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts is a collection of independent luxury and boutique hotels across the world, with more than 700 hotels in 85 countries. It has its own loyalty program, iPrefer. It looks like 285 of the Preferred Hotels are participating in this free-night promotion with Amex.

Terms of the promotion are straightforward:

  • Book at preferredhotels.com/amex, or call 866-990-9491
  • Use promo code MKTAMX
  • Book by November 30, 2019
  • Complete your stay by March 31, 2020

The terms also say that there may be blackout dates, so you’ll just have to go to the promotion website and search around to see if it works for you.

We tested this promotion at the Grand Hotel Palace in Rome. This is a beautiful, historic and mildly quirky hotel that we really enjoyed when we were in Rome this past April. The Grand Hotel Palace deal on this promotion is for a 4th night free. On the nights we tested (October 20-24), the promotional Preferred-Amex rate was far better than any other rate – 228.25 Euros/night, compared to the next-best rate of 263.59 Euros/night (an Advance Purchase rate). And, the Preferred-Amex promotional rate is fully cancelable up to 1 day prior to arrival.

If this promotion happens to fit with your travel plans, it seems that it could be a very useful deal!

3. iPrefer Bonus Points Offers

Sticking with the Preferred Hotels & Resorts iPrefer program for another minute, we have three separate iPrefer bonus points promotions for you.

As a quick reminder, iPrefer base level “Insider” members earn 10 points per dollar, and elite members earn 15 points per dollar. iPrefer points are worth 0.2 cents per point, as you can redeem 12,500 points for a $25 reward certificate. It’s not the most valuable hotel rewards program by a long shot – but we’ll always take *some* rewards over *no* rewards!

We’ll also say at the outset that we’re unsure how these promotions will stack, and that we’re not sure if points multipliers for Elite members apply to their entire 15 points per dollar, or if the multipliers only apply to the base-level 10x earnings.

2x iPrefer Points on All Direct Bookings

First up, iPrefer has a 2x points bonus for all hotel bookings made directly on iPrefer.com. There aren’t many details associated with this promotion, just that the reservation must include an active iPrefer member number. There isn’t even a start or end date listed for this promotion. See the details (such as they are) at the iPrefer home page:

2.5x iPrefer Points on Bookings in Tokyo

This promotion is more niche, offering 2.5x iPrefer points on bookings at hotels in Tokyo. Again, the promotion is light on details. It appears that you’ll need to book direct. iPrefer provides the following link that will show you its 19 hotels in Tokyo:

One thing that’s sure about this promotion is that your reservation must contain a valid iPrefer member number. It’s possible that this promotion may be targeted, although the email suggests that all iPrefer members can earn more points at Tokyo hotels through this promotion. No start or end dates are specified. Beyond that, we’ll leave you with the exact language of the terms & conditions:

2x iPrefer Points at 3 Specific Hotels

Finally, iPrefer has time-limited double-points offers at 3 specific hotels, as follows:

  • Aliz Hotel Times Square – New York, NY
    • Now through 11/30/19
  • Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo – Tokyo, Japan
    • Now through 10/30/19
    • Must use rate code MKTIPD
  • Ja Manafaru – Manafaru, Maldives
    • Now through 12/25/19

Again, the terms and conditions are light. At least we know the dates for these hotel-specific promos. All bookings must be made through an “eligible channel” (presumably direct through iPrefer) and contain a valid iPrefer member number.

Here’s a link to the promotion page:

We wish we could tell you more about how these promotions will work in practice. For instance, will a direct booking at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo by an iPrefer Elite member earn 15x Elite + another 15x for booking direct + another 22.5x as a Tokyo hotel + another 15x for the hotel-specific promo = 67.5 points per dollar total (13.5% points rebate)? That would be quite a stack, although it’s still a relatively modest return compared to the current chainwide promotions from Hilton and Hyatt.

4. AA Vacations $200 off in Mexico

AA Vacations is offering $200 off flight + hotel vacations in Mexico through 5/31/2020, using the promo code Mexico200. Here are the terms:

  • Applicable destinations: All destinations and all hotels in Mexico
  • Minimum stay: 5 nights
  • Booking dates: Now through 10/2/19
  • Travel dates: Now through 5/31/2020
  • Blackout dates: 11/28/19; 12/25/19; 12/31/19; 4/12/20; 5/27/20
  • Package must include round-trip flights
  • Multiple hotel stays are allowed so long as the total nights booked are 5 or more
  • The primary traveler will receive the standard 1,000 AA mile bonus for booking an AA Vacations package

We weren’t entirely clear how the “blackout dates” would be applied. Based on our test searches, it looks like the promo code will not apply to any package that includes or spans any of the blackout dates. For example, an AA Vacations package to Cancun from 12/19 through 12/24/19 will receive the $200 discount, but the same package from 12/22 through 12/27/19 (which spans the 12/25/19 blackout date) will not receive the discount.

5. AA Elite Members Earn 2,000 AA Miles with First Booking at bookaahotels.com

For a limited time, AAdvantage elite members (and perhaps all AAdvantage members) can earn an extra 2,000 bonus AA miles on their first hotel booking through bookaahotels.com. Here are the terms:

  • The reservation must be booked on the Book AA Hotels website (bookaahotels.com) by 11:59 p.m. Central time on October 1, 2019
  • Strictly limited to first-time customers who enter their AAdvantage number at hotel purchase check out
  • It does not appear that any special promotion code is required
  • The bonus points are in addition to your normal miles earning on the booking
  • Cannot be applied to existing bookings
  • Bonus miles should be awarded within 2 weeks after successfully completing their stay in the booked property
  • The email we received suggested that only AA elite members could receive the 2,000-mile bonus, but the Book AA Hotels site suggests that all AAdvantage members can receive the bonus
This screenshot from the Book AA Hotels home page suggests that *all* AAdvantage members can earn the 2,000-mile bonus

At our baseline value of 1.25 cents per AA mile, the bonus miles from this promotion would be worth about $25.

Remember that booking through Book AA Hotels has some plusses and minuses that may impact whether this promotion is useful to you. Potentially relevant factors include:

  • The Book AA Hotels website is powered by Booking.com, so it has a very wide selection of properties
  • As a third-party OTA booking, you won’t earn hotel loyalty program points or elite night credits, and won’t receive elite status benefits unless the hotel gives them to you as a courtesy
  • As with all hotel bookings, be sure to check the rates to make sure they are competitive with what you could otherwise get
  • Be sure you understand whether you’re booking a prepaid, non-cancelable rate, or one that you can cancel. Many OTA bookings require pre-payment, but Booking.com offers both types.

We generally find these types of promotions to have limited value to us, as we have elite status in several hotel chains that help enhance our stays. But sometimes we’ll want to stay at independent hotels where this kind of promotion can be useful as long as the rates are competitive.


We have a few more hotel promotions that we want to cover, but we want to get this article published before it’s too late this afternoon. We hope one or more of these promotions will help you live your travel dreams for less!


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5 thoughts on “Middle Age Miles News & Notes 9/24/19 – IHG Points Purchase ends today; Free Night from Preferred Hotels & Amex; iPrefer bonuses; AA Vacations Code for Mexico; Book AA Hotels Bonus

  1. Brett Hamilton

    Craig,
    When scheduling with preferred hotels and resorts through Amex can I pay with my Amex platinum and use points to cover the payment? This one night free deal may work well for us when we visit Japan in June (if still available). Thanks for the tip.
    Brett

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Brett – That’s a great question, and I don’t know the answer. I don’t think you’d be able to pay with points automatically through the website. But maybe there would be a workaround if you call the Amex Platinum concierge and walk them through what you’re trying to do? I would think there’d be a better chance of it working that way than if you go through Amex Travel. (I’ve found the Amex Travel people to be somewhat limited in what they’ve been able to do when trying something that’s not “down the middle of the fairway”) Interested to hear how it turns out if you try it.

      Japan next June sounds great! You guys take awesome summer trips! ~Craig

  2. Brett Hamilton

    Craig,
    Thanks. I will be sure to let you know the results if/when I schedule. I will need to wait a few months though til the one night free sale extends til June. We are excited for this trip. We are actually spending g a week in Hawaii and eight days in Japan. I wanted to do ANA around the world but I just don’t have thirty days together that I can dedicate to travel. Funny thing is that I dropped 750k Amex points on this trip (all business and first wide bodies for four) when I could have gone around the world on ANA for 440k. I did get very good redemption value but not ANA around the world kind of pricing. Timeframes are often times more important to me than spending the least amount of points. Thanks for your work on the blog!

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      That’s some impressive travel planning to get those flights and seats locked down. And I totally hear you about the timing often being more important than absolutely minimizing the points spend. That’s why we work so hard to maximize our points-earning!

      And you’re most welcome for the work on the blog. We really appreciate your engagement and support. ~Craig

  3. Brett Hamilton

    First class to Hawaii on a wide body was crazy hard. I got LAX to HNL for 80k Delta points. Then HNL to HND on Delta One thru VA for 35k points (that might be the best deal I be planet!). Returning NRT to LAX on Asiana business thru Air Canada for 75k points (this one did have a fair amount of fuel surcharges, maybe $175 per person). I know I could have spent less thru ANA or Avianca (less surcharges on the Asiana flight) but I am super happy with the itinerary!

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