Updated on September 4, 2016
Updated on September 4, 2016
With some miles/points smarts, it’s possible to turn 3 paid nights into something like 10 award nights. Or imagine you could pay for 3 crappy Holiday Inns or 3 hotels you’d need anyways and get 2 free nights at any hotel in the world with points left over. Like the $1,000 a night InterContinental Bora Bora or one of my favorites is the InterContinental Hong Kong, or my Mom’s favorite (and where we stayed on the same floor as the president of South Korea) the InterContinental Paris. This promotion has so much potential.
But, this promo has had a bit of confusion around it for all kinds of reasons. 1) It’s not intuitive and 2) the website has been buggy and lacking clear terms and conditions
To understand this deal you need to know that there are small prizes and 1 big prize.
The small prizes are given for achieving small goals. You have multiple small goals that typically look like, “stay 2 Saturdays – 1,000 points”, “stay at 2 Holiday Inns – 1,000 points”. Again, when you complete a small goal like “stay 2 Saturdays” you’ll get something like 1,000 points. (It will vary.)
Each “Into the Nights” promo gives a big prize for either completing all the promotions or all but one. It says “get xx,000 points or two free nights… for completing X of X goals” or sometimes it just says once you complete all X goals”. The promotion is different from person to person.
But what’s consistent from person to person is that you win small prizes for the pieces of the promotion, and a big price for completion (or near completion in some cases) of all your small goals. Thus you get both the points of the small prizes AND the big prize (which is another set of bonus points OR 2 free nights).
Understand that your goals overlap. If you have “two Saturdays” and “two Holiday Inns”, it’s simple- just stay at a Holiday Inn hotel on two different saturdays. So the question is, what is the shortest number of nights to complete your goals? I actually wrote out (in a spreadsheet) how we could complete our promotions in the shortest number of nights possible.
For example, the basic promo is:
Two stays I book direct, and the third I book on the App. But for the actual stays…
I have two options: A) stays 1 & 2 are at a Holiday Inn on a Saturday, and stay 3 is a freebie. Or B) stay 1 is on a saturday, stay 2 is at a Holiday Inn, and stay 3 is at a Holiday Inn on a Saturday.
As I said, sometimes you don’t need to complete all your goals, but only a set number of them. Usually you get the bonus for completing all of your goals except one. It will say 4 out of 5, or 6 out of 7, for instance.
The easiest way of choosing which goal not to do is pick the one that requires the most number of nights.
If it says:
Just don’t do the one that requires 7 nights and do two HIs on Saturdays. Simply, don’t do the goal that requires the most amount of nights. Skip that one.
However, you may want to consider the bonus for that specific goal you’re skipping. The “7 nights” goal may come with a 10,000 points bonus. So find the difference between points earned for skipping this goal and also the difference between nights required.
Because if the goal you’re skipping is 5 nights, and it would get you 10,000 points… if you would only need 1 or 2 more nights to complete that goal as well, it may be worth it. But that’s up to you. Depends on how many paid stays you have coming up.
This is entirely dependent upon your future travel and your bonus.
If you need nights at hotels that are top tier hotels, like in major cities, such as Hong Kong, Sydney, London, Paris, New York, etc… In these expensive cities, and in fancy hotels in general, the hotel will be closer to 50,000 points a night. If you plan on doing a stay like this, choose the two free nights, as it’s a great opportunity to get those expensive stays you’ve had in mind anyway, but for free with your big bonus.
If you tend to catch deals like IHG PointBreaks, or if you look at the Complete Map of IHG Hotels and find lower level redemptions that meet your needs, take the points instead. 50,000 points could get 5 nights at a category 1 hotel, or 10 nights on the PointBreaks sale! These hotels are not always in the most convenient locations but there are a few gems. See the post on Best IHG Category 1 & 2 Hotels.
However, many people’s promotions (remember, it’s specialized from person to person) don’t offer a choice between 50,000 points and 2 free nights, but more like 15,000 points and 2 free nights. If this is the case you must take the 2 free nights. Our average redemption is close to 10,000 points a night, and therefore 15,000 points or 2 free nights is a no-brainer.
If it’s 35,000 points or 2 free nights, you’re valuing each free night at 17,500 points… which is tough. I might still lean towards the 2 free nights if I’ll be visiting a major city soon… which I know we will.
Also, don’t freak out about it, just baby step your way thought it. It looks like you choose your 2 free nights or xx,000 points after you’re done with the promo.
“Registration must be redeemed by 31 December 2015. Free Nights earned must be claimed by 31 January 2015 or members will automatically be awarded applicable points.”
The free nights have a limit of their own.
I was pointed to the new terms and conditions via Loyalty Lobby who said that there will be a restriction on free night redemptions for this promo. What this likely means is that each hotel only has to give so many rooms per night to this promotion. That’s not a good sign, and it means that you should make your booking as soon as you can. Don’t hold onto these nights!
This is also interesting because I called and verified that the availability would be the same as award nights. But IHG and the agents are so clueless that no one knows how this will go down exactly until it happens.
If you’re looking to really maximize this promo, you need to learn more about earning IHG points. We have a “Complete Guide to IHG Rewards Points” and it has a section on earning. I would invest the time to read that if you really want to maximize. Plus it has a section on redemptions.
Basically, I plan on earning close to 90,000 points for 3 paid nights. And we just redeemed 24 nights in 5 star InterContinental hotels for 5,000 points a night. And we just used an average of 5,000 points a night for 24 nights straight at 5 star hotels in Central America (4,500 after the 10% rebate).