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Middle Age Miles

IHG Chainwide Bonus Points Promotion Is Underway

ihg chainwide 4x bonus points promotion promo deal points earning stacking stack deals shopping portals strategy

With apologies for being a little behind reporting on this already-underway promotion, we wanted to cover IHG’s interesting new bonus points deal where you can earn up to quadruple points on your IHG stays from now through January 31, 2020. We’ll review the details and then analyze the deal, including stacking opportunities.

Summary of the Deal

This promotion allows you to earn varying amounts of IHG bonus points on each stay at any hotel within the IHG family, from now through 1/31/2020.

  • You must register for the promotion prior to your first stay
  • The registration deadline is 12/15/2019
  • You must book on or before 12/15/2019 in order for your stay to qualify for this promotion
  • Your stay must be completed on or before 1/31/2020

Bonus earning is as follows:

  • First qualifying stay: earn 1,000 IHG bonus points
  • Second qualifying stay: earn 2x base IHG points
  • Third qualifying stay: earn 3x base IHG points
  • Fourth qualifying stay and subsequent stays: earn 4x base IHG points

Each stay has a cap of 200,000 points earned, which seems unlikely to come into play for most everyone.

Relevant Links

Key Details

  • A “stay” is defined as “one night or consecutive nights at the same hotel, regardless of frequency of check-in/out”
  • The following types of stays/rates do not qualify for the promotion:
    • Stays where total spend is less than $30
    • Net wholesale individual and group rate
    • “Certain package rates”
    • Employee discount rate
    • Friends and family rate
    • Crew rate
    • Special discounted contract rates
    • Seasonal worker/crew rate
    • 50% travel club discount rate
    • Travel industry discount rate
    • Distressed passenger rate
    • IHG® Rewards Club Reward Nights
    • Airline Hotel Reward rate
    • Rates booked through third party web sites
    • Complimentary hotel stays
  • Allow up to 2 to 3 weeks for Promotion Offer bonus points to be credited after checkout

Initial Analysis of the Promotion

In our view, this is a well-designed promotion that offers reasonable bonuses and rewards loyalty and spend by ramping up the bonuses as members stay more and tying the amount of rewards to spend with the bonus multipliers. We haven’t seen any promotions like this from IHG in recent years, as it has mostly relied on the individualized “Accelerate” offers as its chainwide promotions.

We give IHG points a baseline value of 0.5 cents per point. Also, to evaluate this promotion, you need to know that stays at IHG hotels earn 10x IHG points per dollar of spend at all brands, except for Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites, where base earning is only 5x IHG points per dollar.

With this in mind, earnings from the promotion will be as follows (setting aside any additional elite status bonuses):

  • First stay: $5 for the bonus, plus regular IHG points
  • Second stay: 10% points rebate (10x points * 2 * 0.5 cpp)
  • Third stay: 15% points rebate (10x points * 3 * 0.5 cpp)
  • Fourth and subsequent stays: 20% points rebate (10x points * 4 * 0.5 cpp)

Members with elite status would earn additional points – an extra 10% points bonus for Gold members; 50% for Platinum members; and 100% for Spire members. The terms of the promotion do not expressly address this, but we would not expect elite bonuses to be multiplied. At 0.5 cpp, these bonuses add an extra 0.5% points rebate for Golds; an extra 2.5% points rebate for Platinums; and an extra 5% points rebate for Spire members.

And, this earning is even before we consider stacking opportunities, which we’ll cover next.

Stacking Opportunities for This Promotion

The “4x Bonus Points” promotion should stack with other ongoing IHG promotions, as well as portals and credit card earnings:

  • Until 12/31/2019, this promotion should stack with current individualized “Accelerate” offers
  • Until 11/30/2019, this promotion should also stack with the ongoing promotion for stays at IHG’s InterContinental hotels

We’ve covered the Accelerate and InterContinental promotions earlier, and you can see the details in this article if you’re interested:

The “4x Bonus Points” promotion should also stack with earnings from shopping portals. Here’s an idea of some of the portal rates that are available today (11/6/19):

We’d offer these other “pro tips” related to shopping portals:

  • Always use Cashback Monitor to check the best rates on many different portals on the day you’re ready to book
  • You might also check the UPromise portal (which is not listed on Cashback Monitor), as it’s a reputable portal that has had some good promotional rates for IHG bookings recently
  • Recently, we’ve seen some days where Holiday Inn Express (HIX) offered even higher portal rates than other IHG-brand hotels
    • It *may* be possible to go through a HIX portal link, then book a different brand of IHG hotel, and still receive the higher portal benefits – we have not personally tested this out
  • Our best guess is that we will see some enhanced portal earning rates for IHG hotels for Veterans Day (we often see 11% promotions on 11/11) and during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period
    • So, you might want to strategize to make your IHG bookings on these days

Finally, the promotion will also stack with your regular credit card points-earning. Of course, use a credit card that earns bonus points for hotel spend or IHG in particular, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel, including hotels) or the Chase IHG Premier or Traveler cards (10x IHG points per dollar for Premier; 5x for Traveler). People who recently got the Chase IHG Premier card with its sign-up bonus of 25x IHG points per dollar at IHG hotels for a year can really stack the point earnings!

Conclusion

In our view, this is a very solid and well-designed promotion by IHG. We’re happy to see IHG branch out from its recent string of “Accelerate” individualized promotions and provide a real value-add chainwide promotion that everyone can use.

Competitively, we’d say that this IHG promotion slots into second place among the big chains. It’s a step behind Hilton’s generous “Power Up” double/triple points promotion, and it’s probably a step ahead of Hyatt’s current “Bonus Journeys” promotion. It’s light years better than Marriott’s current weak “Unlock More” promotion.

There are situations, though, where this IHG promotion may be the best of all, depending on your ability to stack shopping portal returns and potentially earnings from the Accelerate and/or InterContinental promotions. As always, check out your individual situation and offers to determine what’s best for you. It’s good to have options to earn a bunch of extra points!

What do you think of IHG’s “4x Bonus Points” promotion? How will you use it to stack earnings, and how to you think it measures up to the other current big-chain hotel promotions? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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