22,000 points in one night

40

It’s been a long time since I’ve paid for a night at an IHG property.  For years I’ve read about opportunities to stack promo codes together to earn a huge number of points per stay, but I’ve never had the opportunity to try it.  Finally, last week, purely out of curiosity, I decided to book a night at a nearby IHG hotel.  I wanted to see how many points I could get.

I began by signing up for every promo code I could find.  I first tried the codes listed on this travel.Bart.LA post.  Then I went to the third post on this Flyertalk thread and attempted to register for every code listed.  The IHG online registration form can be found here.  With many of the codes I was told that I was ineligible, but 15 of the codes registered successfully.

After finding a reasonably low rate at Candlewood Suites ($90.99), I found that the uPromise cash back portal was offering 6% cash back.  I clicked through from the portal and booked a night.  Then, I checked in.  I went to my room, took some pictures, used the bathroom, answered a few emails, and then left.  On my way out I pocketed my complimentary bag of popcorn:

Candlewood_Suites_popcorn

I used my IHG Visa to pay for the room.  While this is one of my favorite cards thanks to its annual free night at any IHG property in the world, I don’t usually use it for day to day spend.  I get much more value from other cards.  At an IHG property, though, the IHG Visa card gets 5 points per dollar which makes it a reasonably good option.

Results

It took almost a week for my stay points to post.  The total room charge came to $101 after taxes. And, yesterday, uPromise sent confirmation of $5.46 cash back.  So, my total out of pocket expenses came to $95.54.  In exchange for that, I got a bag of popcorn, 505 points from my credit card, and 21,682 points from my stay.  If we ignore the value of the bag of popcorn, that comes to a total of 22,187 points at a cost of .43 cents per point.  That’s not the most amazing deal ever, but it’s not bad.  Here’s the breakdown of the points earned for my stay:

IHG_points_from_stay_details

Discussion

I don’t recommend checking into an IHG property just for the points like I did.  There are better opportunities out there.  However, if you plan to pay for a stay somewhere anyway, this is a fantastic way to get a huge bonanza of points in return.  Note that your results will differ from mine.  Some will get more points, some will get fewer.  It all depends upon which promotions you qualify for.  And, different promotions have different requirements for fulfillment. 

I’ve thought about using this one stay as a springboard towards trying to maximize earnings in IHG’s Big Win promotion.  My targeted Big Win offer, though, was fairly lackluster.  I would have to complete at least 3 more stays to earn a total of 34,000 “Big Win” points.  I’m not sure it’s worth it.  And, unfortunately, most of the promo codes I used were one time only bonuses.  So, I can’t count on windfalls like this on future stays.

This experiment didn’t break any new ground — many other bloggers have written about these opportunities in the past.  But, ‘m glad I did it.  It was fun and I walked away 22,000 points richer.  And, my family enjoyed the popcorn very much.  Thanks IHG!

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[…] of whether or not you had been targeted to receive them.  Frequent Miler reported earning 22,000 points for ONE night’s stay, and he was far from the only one who did […]

[…] accurate since some portion of the $300 is for taxes (which do not earn points), but she might also qualify for other bonus point promotions, so I think this estimate is good enough.  So, we’ll assume that she’ll earn a total of […]

M

I think this deal got even hotter with the 2014 coupons (referenced in a new FT thread)! This is the breakdown of bonus points I got for one night at a holiday inn express:

NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 3,000 pts.
1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 1,000 pts.
WELCOME BACK BONUS 1,500 pts.
ANNIVERSARY BONUS OFFER 1,000 pts.
New Stay Bonus 1,500 pts.
ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 3,000 pts.
ELITE MEMBER WINBACK BONUS 3,000 pts.
ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 3,000 pts.
ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 3,000 pts.
1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 1,000 pts.
ANNIVERSARY BONUS OFFER 1,000 pts.
WELCOME BACK BONUS 1,500 pts.
NEXT STAY BONUS 1,500 pts.
NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 1,500 pts.

FrequentMiler

Nice!

M

Yup. Over 29k total points for one night! No free popcorn though 😉
Thanks for blogging about this! Keep up the great work!

heavenlyjane

Hopefully this thread is still open for discussion because I have a question. If I register a bunch of promo codes and then book a “cash + points” reservation, would I be eligible or ineligible for those promotions?

FrequentMiler

I don’t think that would work. With IHG, cash + points nights are (underneath) really just a way to buy points cheaply for an award stay. So, unless these codes work on an award stay, I wouldn’t expect them to work on a cash+points stay.

heavenlyjane

Thanks!

Lyn

Thanks for the great post! Love your blog and gets TONS of tips through it (as well as great credit card offers).
I’m new to the IHG brand. Just signed up for a bunch of codes. I got 12 emails of successful sign-ups, but only four are displaying on My Account on IHG site. Do you know if that means I only will have four when I book a room? Did you check to see which were displayed on your IHG account before booking?
Again, thanks for the advice and keep up the great work!

FrequentMiler

Hmm, no I didn’t check to see which ones showed up on my account. I didn’t even know you could! Anyway, it currently shows 6 offers on my account and shows that four of them are completed. So, clearly I earned more bonuses than were tracked here.

Lyn

Thanks for answering!!! I’m going to give it a try and see how many points I can get.

Gabriel

You would not BELIEVE how cheap hotels are going for in NYC right now. I’m flying out there Friday for the Super Bowl and I found a Holiday Inn in midtown for $90!!! ****$90!!!*** I was able to register for about 11 of the codes listed, so we’ll see how many bonus points end up posting. In my case, I was about to redeem 35k IHG pts for a free night anyway, so my math is that I’m cancelling the free night stay, doing a paid stay, and if all things go well, it’ll be like I had 55k more points than I had originally planned for aprox $115. That’s silly. 0.2 cents/point value if I think of it that way. Plus it leaves me with enough points for a ski weekend in the mtns…

[…] has a great post called Earning IHG Rewards on Steroids, and Frequent Miler recently posted on how one stay of his earned 22,000 IHG points and both of these guys draw a lot from information on […]

u600213

You beat me. I got 18K points for I night at the Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare using a voucher from United Airlines when they cancelled my flight. I paid $0 for the night and sat in the terminal signing up for all the bonus offers I could find before going to the hotel.

I always ask for IHG branded hotels when airlines are paying because many other chains don’t give points on airline vouchers.

FrequentMiler

I think you beat me since you paid $0 per point!

[…] IHG has a ton of promotions, most of which stack. Frequent Miler recently wrote a post in which he described booking a stay at a Candlewood Suites for a final cost […]

heavenlyjane

Do we have to book a room at a non-discounted rate in order to be eligible for these bonus points. I am about to book as a senior citizen and will be most unhappy if that renders the codes unusable. Please advise.

FrequentMiler

You can use a discount rate as long as you book directly with IHG. If you book through an online travel agency (expedia, travelocity, Priceline, etc) you probably won’t get the points

heavenlyjane

I just stayed at a Candlewood Suites in Brentwood, TN 2 nights ago. I am eager to see if any of those promo codes will have worked for me. I reserved at the senior discount rate.

heavenlyjane

So my final tally on an $80 room was 12k points. Unfortunately, my account was set up to auto-transfer to Delta at a 2:1 ratio so I ended up with 0 IHG points and 6,000 Delta points.

Disappointed about that auto-transfer. It’s an indication of how many years it’s been since I tinkered with the personal settings.

Qualifying Nights = 1

=== BONUSES ===
o MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 500Delta Airlines mi.
o 1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 500Delta Airlines mi.
o WELCOME BACK BONUS 500Delta Airlines mi.
o New Stay Bonus 500Delta Airlines mi.
o ELITE MEMBER WINBACK BONUS 1,000Delta Airlines mi.
o ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 1,000Delta Airlines mi.
1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 500Delta Airlines mi.
o WELCOME BACK BONUS 500Delta Airlines mi.
o NEXT STAY BONUS 500Delta Airlines mi.
o NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 500Delta Airlines mi.

Lynn

I also just stayed at a Candlewood and got 34000, including my 1000 big win. I was amazed!

Big Al

You da Man! Thanks for all the wonderful information you post!

levander

Who is Gary?

Nick @ PFDigest

#14, it looks like they got their IHG account closed b/c they had multiple accounts.