In November I wrote about an opportunity to earn tens of thousands of IHG points by filling out and mailing in 3X5 cards to enter the “IHG Priceless Surprises” contest: More than 40,000 IHG points for more than $46 and a cramped hand. Since then, many people have sent in cards. Not surprisingly, it has taken a while to get responses from those mailings. However, those who did receive email responses all “won” 500 points or more.
So far, so good. Until Tuesday morning…
Early Tuesday morning, I and many others received some of the long awaited emails from our contest submissions:
You qualify for a Priceless Surprise®!
Success! You have qualified to play for Priceless Surprises, from IHG® Rewards Club and MasterCard®. Now it’s time to open the elevator doors & see what’s waiting!
Each floor holds a chance for a Priceless Surprise, like:
- a private helicopter tour over NYC
- 1 million IHG® Rewards Club bonus points
- and even more unforgettable surprises
Choose your floor here.
See you soon,
IHG® Rewards Club
For some, the salutation may not have said specifically “Dear GREG”, but I expect that the rest of it was the same. When we clicked on the “Choose your floor here” link, we got this:
All was well and good until we clicked “Play” and selected an elevator button. We then saw that we didn’t win:
We didn’t win anything. But, everyone is supposed to win at least 500 points!
There was a bug in the promotion.
A quick solution
A few hours after people started reporting that they didn’t win anything, the Priceless Surprises website went down for maintenance. The site displayed the following message:
Please check back soon
This promotion is undergoing a short maintenance period.
Once the site was back up, we tried our emails again, but we were told “you do not have any instant win chances to use”:
That was worrisome. Fortunately, later that afternoon, we received emails from IHGRewardsClub@eprizepromotions stating that we actually did win despite being told otherwise:
Big News From the IHG Rewards Club and MasterCard® Priceless Surprises
Thank you for your participation in the IHG and MasterCard® Priceless Surprises® Promotion! It appears that you may have accidentally received a message that you did not win when you played the game today. Please be assured that you have won the following prize:
500 IHG Rewards Club Points
Our system indicates that you should have won this prize 4 times, for a total of 2,000 IHG Rewards Club points.
We apologize for any miscommunication with the promotion and thank you for your continued support of the Priceless Surprises promotion.
Prize Fulfillment Services
Points won through this promotion do take a while to get credited, so I haven’t actually received any of those promised points yet. Still, I’m pretty sure they’ll appear eventually.
Kudos to the team behind this promotion who quickly addressed the Tuesday problem!
There’s still time: Mail by Feb 15
This is a great promotion for those who don’t have the ability to earn points through credit card signups, or who simply don’t mind filling out lots of index cards. The official rules state the following dates for the mail-in entry method: “All mail-in entries must be handwritten and must be postmarked by February 15, 2016 and received by February 22, 2016.”
Personally, I’ve only sent in 20 cards so far out of the 94 allowed. Of those 20, I’ve received 7 emails with links to play the game. For all 7, I won the smallest prize: 500 points. I do expect to get the remaining 13 emails soon.
As a reminder, here’s how to get up to 94 game entries:
- Register for the promotion (Very Important!)
- On a 3 x 5 piece of paper (I used 3X5 lined index cards), hand print:
- Your full name
- Complete mailing address
- Day and evening phone numbers
- Valid email address
- Member number
- First six (6) digits of your MasterCard (Many MasterCards have the same first 6 digits so this is not a security concern)
- Date of birth
- Put each 3×5 card in its own envelope for mailing
- Mail to: “IHG and MasterCard® Priceless Surprises® Promotion,” c/o HelloWorld, Inc., P.O. Box 5996, Kalamazoo, MI 49003-5996
NOTE: It’s OK to print out labels for mailing – I did
- The official rules state: you will receive an email within five (5) business days from the Administrator inviting you to play the Game and you will receive one (1) Game play for each mail-in request. The 5 business day thing is not true. Expect it to take more like 15 to 25 business days.
- Send up to 94 entries. Assuming all 94 go through OK, you should win a minimum of 500 x 94 = 47,000 points.
[…] a bunch of IHG points for mailing in index cards. Read more about Greg’s experience here: IHG Priceless Surprises on track for more than 40K points despite hiccup. This time around, there is considerably less incentive to fill out so many postcards as there will […]
So, I got all my entries after emailing email@example.com and escalating the issue with IHG directly via a Facebook instant message, I had originally only received 53 of the 94 entries I sent, after escalating I received the remaining entries.
Results: 62k points total (I think I did quite well!)
Used the points to book two nights in Paris this June, would’ve cost me upwards of $600 – I got it for 60k points + $80 (I was slightly short of the total needed). So under $140 all-in! That was well worth the time and effort, I could’ve even used the points for one night at one of the VERY fancy $700-800 Intercontinental properties in Paris, but decided against that because I don’t plan to spend much time in my room (and I’m traveling solo, if my girlfriend was coming with me I wouldn’t have a choice!)
If you haven’t received all of your game play emails yet, it is definitely worth emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. By many accounts, this works.
Yes it definitely works to email . Got the 15 remaining entries within 24 hours of emailing 🙂
I sent in 94 between Feb 5 and Feb 12 and have not gotten an E-Mail yet. Has anyone seen anything in the last couple weeks.
I just now received this message from the prize company HelloWorld:
“Thank you for your patience. We processed the maximum of 94 entries for you. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.”
I replied to them, asking whether I should be expecting to see a bunch of emails to open and play between now and tomorrow. (I had already received 56 emails, last one Feb. 22.) In the worst case, I suppose, they are saying they’ve already sent me 94 and if I only received 56, tough. Not quite sure what it means!
At 11:41 pm — just now — received 37 more emails to play. Close enough! Wonder if I would have gotten those if I hadn’t emailed HelloWorld.
Is anyone still getting the surprise emails? I have received about half of mine, but none since February.
My husband and I each mailed in 94 entries. We each received 94 prizes, for a total of 112,000 points. We had 5 x 1000, 2 x 2,000 and 3 x 5,000. The rest were 500.
I have not verified that all the points have posted, but watching our IHG points balance rise quickly, I know most have. So, all in all, for us it was a successful venture.
Sent in 5 entries in early February. Never got any emails. Checked my junk mail frequently; nothing. No points deposited directly into my account. :/
Data Point: Mailed out 94 entries on 2/12/16. Received 34 game plays on 2/21/16. I played and won:
2 x 1,000 points
1 x 2,000 points
31 x 500 points
Current total @ 18,500 IHG Points. Waiting on the rest…
Did the email address have to be the one you registered with (your login email) or can it be any email address?
Did anyone use a different email than their login one and still receive points?
Sent all 94 handwritten cards in individual envelopes…. and received 4 emails so far. Still waiting for the rest, hopefully.
I sent in 94 entries , received about 50 emails and then the points for the rest of the 44 entries were directly put into my account . No emails were sent . Anyways finally ended up with 50k total….
I accumulated about 65,000 points. I am new to this so how do I redeem the rewards and what is 65,000 points worth?
Here’s a post from the Free-quent Flyer that might help: http://freequentflyerbook.com/blog/2016/2/8/what-to-do-with-ihg-points
Sent in 94 entries over 2 days this past weekend. Today received 44 emails and with great excitement began opening elevator doors to receive twenty 500 points, one 1000 points, and one 2000 points ….. THEN DISASTER …
The following 22 emails when opened to elevator door to play stated the following …
“We love your enthusiasm! However, you do not have any instant win chances to use. Complete a qualified stay before February 15 to earn another chance to win.”
Is this a repeat of the glitch some of you earlier reported … what to do?
Try clicking through the emails again now to see if it was fixed. If not, contact the prize company’s support.
Came across this promotion today and have been reading the comments. I plan on participating, completing and submitting the 94 cards. I have a question regarding the mailing address, does the ® need to be included? Rules state to mail to address IHG and MasterCard® Priceless Surprises® . Is the ® symbol required?
In addition, rules do not state that a return address is required. Can we omit as well? My hand will be grateful if the answer is yes.
Symbol is not required. Also, you can skip the return address and save some pain. I did this and got my plays and won points successfully.
Thanks so much for the quick reply!
Does it matter is you handwrite the notecards in pen or pencil?
No, I don’t think so.
I sent in 94 on the first day due to the fact I would be out of the country most of the time the game was running. I ended up getting 94 entries the first couple batches. Almost all came with some sort of points and one with a free night (in the Americas region *sigh*). I did get one where I didn’t win.
The next batch I got another entry. Assumed it was for the one where I didn’t win. Then I got another and another during the next batches. I ended up with 3 additional entries. Seems like the points are posting too (they were all 500pts).
Something interesting that happened though was with my award stays. I ended up staying at a couple Holiday Inns over the last couple months. All were on points. It seemed I got entries for those stays too. The entries seemed to be independent of my original 94 entries and the additional entries I got. I did buy food at each hotel and paid for it on checkout. Not sure if the hotel bill triggered it or if award nights gave you entries. I assumed award stays wouldn’t trigger an entry though. I never got those bonus 1000 points that you got from a paid stay though.
In the past, the emails from Hello World have been coming in large waves on specific days. Now, I’m seeing them trickle in throughout the week. I suspect they may have added some additional staff after the first of the year to help get caught up.
Received my first 2000 point email, after 70+ played. I was prepared for all 500’s, so anything over that is just a bonus.
I mailed in 94 entries in mid-December.
On Jan 19th, I received 24 emails from IHG. 22 of the emails gave me 500 points, 1 emails gave me 1000 points and another one gave me 5000 points.
On Jan 21th, I received 39 emails. 36 of them gave me 500 points, 1 gave me 1000 points, 2 emails gave me 2000 points.
I’m waiting for them to email me back for the remaining 31 entries. Can’t wait! It feels like I’m playing a slot machine but I win something with every try!
Hate to burst your bubble, but your remaining 31 will all be $500. You’ve already won your 5 bonus prizes.
er 500 points
Some times I got 500 points and got a message to follow instructions that will come in an email and for some I got the message – the points will be deposited in 2-3 weeks . Everyone got this?
Does every entry need to have the different e-mail address?
Can I use the same e-mail addresses to all entries?
Se the same email
I lost about 10% of the time. So it’s more like 43,000 points.
Had a 5k and a 1K win this week. It aint over!
to answer a few questions any mastercard will work as long as it was open before the contest period started back in november and yes i used a non ihg mastercard for my wins as for sending it in yes it takes a long long time to get your emails but every week i have been clicking on one of the old emails and have been able to get some of my plays that way even though i didn’t receive the email as for other prizes i won a free night just the other day so i am sure there are more than just 500 points but since that is the main prize don’t expect anything else i have also had two 1000 point wins i just sent in my last 25 this week and will hope to end up with over 45k by the end of all 94 plays.
We are supposed to get snowed in this weekend. I can see sitting in front of the fire doing this. Thanks!
Is any MasterCard accepted or just IHG?
Has anyone used a mastercard other than IHG and gotten a win?
Any MasterCard should work. I successfully used Non IHG card and won points.
For some data, I sent in about 80 in the middle of December. Last week I got 70 back, and over the last couple days a few more have trickled in.
I won 5000,2000,1000,1000,and 1000 and 500 for the rest.
It’s a bit late now, but I think the optimal strategy is doing about 50 and seeing how they turn out. If i got all 5 of my non500 prizes then, I probably would stop… I’m not sure 500 points is worth the time and stamp if there is no chance of a bigger prize. It took about 60 tries to get my non500s, which looking at the odds seemed about normal.
This probably sounds snobbish, but I honestly can’t believe people did this. Was this really worth the time and effort?
Well for 45-50k points you can book a free night in pretty much any IHG establishment you want. This can sometimes be worth $400 or even more. I haven’t started yet because I was skeptical (and busy) when the original post was published but seeing it again now makes me think about participating
If you’re sitting on a lot of $$, probably not.
I mailed 94 entries in mid-December. A few days ago, I got 94 emails and won 500 points in every play.
Sent in 40 over the last month or so and have heard nothing. Given the hand cramping involved, I’ll likely not send in the remaining 54 unless I receive something from them soon.
I sent all 94 entries on November 15 and no emails. I resent the batch one week ago (this time easier, with printed mailing labels) and still nothing. I sent my husband’s entries at the same time as his and he got all emails in december and won 50k total points.
I sent in 10 entries just before Christmas and then another 80 after Christmas. I received 63 emails two days ago. Won 500 points every time.
what do you know. I got 5 emails, 4 nada, and the 5th one got me 50k. It pays to be a gangster after all 🙂
awesome @Ivan, way to go!
is it worth sending any entries now? I sent ~40 over 2 months and have only received 10 emails!
Surprisingly though there have been 4 occasions when I have re-clicked the old email and was allowed to play the game and won 500 points (3 of those 500 points got credited too). My success rate stinks so far and am wondering if at all it is worthwhile sending the remaining entries as I don’t know what is happening… my wife is yet to mail her entries, so it applies to her as well!
One question … I do not have their MasterCard so I’m assuming I can’t play since it says you need to list the first 6 digits of your card? Just wondering if there is a data point for this? Thanks!
Any MasterCard should work.. You don’t necessarily need to have IHG MasterCard
Is any MasterCard accepted or just IHG?
Has anyone used a mastercard other than IHG and gotten a win?
Yes, any MasterCard will work, I have 63 wins as of today 1/24/2016.
Let me make it clear that I have zero evidence to back this up, but from reports elsewhere and from this post, I get the impression that all that remains of the prize pool are the 500 point prizes. So anyone entering now should probably expect that if they send in the maximum number of entries that is what they are going to win every time.
FlyerTalk evidence from yesterday evening and this morning shows your speculation is incorrect.
Nope….there are not a limited number of “section b” prizes (points, and not just the 500 points). There are a limited number of “section a” prizes, but those are distributed randomly throughout time for the duration of the contest….highly unlikely that all the winning times were used up already.