My points bonanza from a one-off Holiday Inn Express stay!

The question ‘Which is the best hotel loyalty programme?’ is a long and complex one.  The answer is usually different for each person.  However, it is generally fair to say that no-one will go wrong by trying to squeeze in one IHG Rewards Club stay per year.

IHG Rewards Club is the loyalty scheme for Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental and some other small brands.   At the moment, IHG Rewards Club has a lot of very generous promotional codes which they are sending out to members.

These are usually targetted at lapsed members, offering 3000 points on your next stay, or 1000 points for every stay in the next 60 days, or 5000 points for a weekend stay.  The key, though, is that these codes can be used by anyone, whether or not that person was originally targetted.

Current IHG Rewards Club bonus points codes are discussed on Head for Points here, for example.  There is a thread on Flyertalk which lists current (and indeed non-current, it is never clear which ones still work!) promotional codes.

IHG Rewards Club

Each promotion has its own promo code.  All you need to do is write down all of the currently active codes from my linked post above and Flyertalk, and then visit this page on the IHG website to activate them on your account.  Note that some of these codes only work for 30, 60 or 90 days from registration, so don’t sign up if you have no stays planned.

New codes appear every few months, so if you push one stay a year towards IHG Rewards Club then you will hoover up a lot of points.  If you travel with your partner, do a stay in your name and your next stay on an account in their name – this way you will get all of the ‘one off’ codes on each account.

Last week, I used my account to book some relatives into the luxury of the Holiday Inn Express in Sheffield.  This cost a grand total of £55, less the little bit of cashback I get via the Head for Points / IHG Rewards Club affiliate link!

And this is what I earned in points from the stay:

Base points  699 pts.

Bonus Points Earned  349 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.

NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION  1,500 pts.

NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION  50 pts.

In total, I earned 12,098 points from the stay.  Given that I value IHG Rewards Club points at £5 per 1,000, I effectively covered the full cost of the hotel!  (There is also another code for 2,000 points per stay which I only found yesterday and will post tomorrow.)

That said, 12,098 is not, in itself, enough to get you far unless you redeem for PointBreaks nights at 5,000 points per night.  However, 15,000 points is enough for a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express free night in many cities and you could buy the additional points required if necessary.

The points can also be transferred to Avios or other airline miles, but the conversion rate of 2,000 miles per 10,000 points is not great.  If you can get 15,000 points, you can also redeem these for a £25 shopping gift voucher.

IHG Rewards Club is certainly not the hotel loyalty programme for everyone, especially given their lack of elite benefits.  However, I would certainly try to put a very occasional stay with them to benefit from these bonuses!

(To see our complete list of all current hotel promotions for the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Garreth Todd says:

    I took advantage of these too and got 11,602 for a night in the High Wycombe Holiday Inn (which work paid for).

    I was then able to book a rewards night at HI Wembley for 10,000 points – cash value of the stay was around £130.

  2. david flacks says:

    I just managed 14986 for a 2 night stay in Madrid which cost around £65 per night

    Qualifying Nights 2
    Earning Details 1,624 pts.
    Bonus Points Earned 812 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.
    NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 50 pts.

    Followed up by 9000 points for a 2 nighter in Hull
    I’ll be ditching HI next year though when the platinum expires because I’ve no chance of re-qualifying after the recent scheme changes.

    • James67 says:

      Consider picking up black visa if a fee waiver promo comes up.. In reality though the 40k can be worth much more than the fee so I am happy to psyup if I have too.

      • david flacks says:

        yes, if they do another fee waiver I’ll do it. I cancelled my black in Jan when the fee kicked in and switched to the Hilton offer instead. So I’m outside the 6 months and should be a ‘new customer again. Not worth it for me to pay the £99 these days.

  3. I have a stay booked this Saturday (booked a few weeks back) I just applied the codes. Am I likely to still get the bonus points?

  4. david flacks says:

    Yes as long as you register before check in you should get them

  5. Thunderbirds says:

    Will, yes you should. The system will check what codes you have active after the stay has been completed. That is why you should be careful when you activate the codes as all (?) are time limited.
    I’ve noticed that many people look down on the IHG Priority Club Rewards and they quote the erratic nature of the benefits. However, I have to say that over the last couple of years I’ve been pleased with the results . I accept that staying at a HI or HIE doesn’t give them too much scope for room upgrades (at Sheffield HIE the upgrade is to the top floor!) and the check-in freebies have been limited (ranging from nothing [HIE T5] to a bottle of water, chocolate bar and a free drink at the bar [HIE Rotherham]) but when staying at the Crowne Plaza for the last 6-7 times I’ve always had a one level room upgrade and in many cases 2 level (standard to club). My stays have mainly been at airport hotels so perhaps that skews the results. It could also be that I spend 60+ nights in their hotels each year, though I’m told that an individual hotel’s view of your account is quite limited for privacy reasons. One hotel told me they only see reservations at their hotel and your points balance which I find hard to believe.
    I’ve used Point Breaks 4 nights for 20k saving £240 for example but tend to use my points for set piece holidays, last year 6 nights at CP Times Square and next year 6 nights at HI The Rocks in Sydney. Both of these will have saved me above £1,000 each stay. Given the relative ease of collecting points, as demonstrated by the example above.
    I’ve timed joining the Ambassador program to coincide with my future travel plans so I’ll be interested to see what I can squeeze from the weekend reward night.
    I’d be interested to know if anyone feels another program is fundamentally better. I don’t have first hand experience of other Hotel Programs but from what I read elsewhere they all have their faults.

  6. You got each point for around 45p (plus of course the stay). However, if one could be sure of a 12K-ish points accrual, it may be possible to find a HIX close by for £30 or so a night. A phantom checkin would get you points for 25p a point, which is significantly cheaper than they can be acquired by any other means.

  7. James67 says:

    Have still to do my stay. What rates are you folks booking? Does it need to be best flexible? In past nearly everything I booked came up as nonqualifying stay which is quite disappointing. Thx.

  8. Thunderbirds says:

    Any public rate available on the web-site should work even the super saver rate for booking in advance, I use that quite often. The only rates that MIGHT not work are Friends & Family or corporate rates etc. The only time I see non-qualifying is when I have over-lapping stays i.e. I book two rooms for the same date(s) the one I’m in will qualify (for status nights) the other will not. Both should get you points.

    • James67 says:

      Thx but it seems something odd about my account. All advance purchase rates have posted as nonqualifying. I was going to give the 35% off best flexible rate a try.

      • Thunderbirds says:

        Drop them an e-mail explaining the problem and ask them why, giving a specific example, then wait a week until they eventually get back to you. A phone call would be better but you will need to hang on a while for them to answer. I’m assuming that you have read the explanation of what a non-qualifying stay is but just for completeness it is as follows:

        What is a Non-Qualifying stay? When a stay is Non-Qualifying, the nights do not count towards earning Elite status. Depending on the location and specific situation, it can also mean that no IHG® Rewards Club Points are rewarded for this stay.
        Some reasons why a stay might be Non-Qualifying:
        •It was booked using a discounted rate, such as a group rate or a discounted contract rate.
        •It was paid for using points or miles (Reward night).
        •It was booked through a third-party website.
        •It overlaps another stay. (Only one room will be credited per member per night).

        • James67 says:

          Thanks this is helpful to know. I almost always book advanced purchase rates and it is these that never post. But according to your info above I see know reason why they shouldn’t. In the past I have conacted them as you suggested. When I eventually got replies I get a standard blurb along the lines ‘deeply discounted rates do not qualify for reward points’ and that is why I did not get them. Seems a little ironic when even my London stays at £20.12 did qualify.

          • ‘30% off Best Available Rate’ is the rule which I think is even in the T&C’s. Advanced Purchase rates will always count as they are never 30% off Best Available.

            The ONLY rates that should not count are Friends & Family and deeply discounted corporate deals, plus stuff like airline crew rates.

          • James67 says:

            Thx Raffles. I was close to booking the 35% off rates so I guess I best givrthose s miss now.

          • Most of these codes are one offs, so you only need 1 stay at less than 30 per cent below Best Available to trigger most of them. And often the 35 per cent off rates will post as qualifying.

  9. I am around 1000 points short of redeeming my points for a 2-nighter stay.

    Is there anywhere where I could earn 1000 points without a hotel stay? I know you can buy them, but these are like in increments of 25,000 right?

    I am not really a fan on the HI/HIX brand, but I’ll take somewhere for free.

    • No, you can buy just 1,000 I think.

    • Trickster says:

      Depending on where you are booking you might find a decent points plus cash rate. For example a CP property at say 35k points per night, may be available for £30k plus $40 too.

    • Thunderbirds says:

      Simon
      I don’t know whether this will be valid for you or whether it is still active but if you watch the IHG Visa Card video at priorityclub.com/uk1000 and use code EMAMWDZA24 you might be lucky and get 1000 points…

  10. Something strange going on at IHG rewards ? Stayed 1 reward night two weeks ago, given 2 x Free Breakfast & free parking, total cost £0.00 still got 8,200 points ???????

  11. Olybeast says:

    I have a trip coming up to Rome. Booked into the holiday inn express there and added all these codes to my account. Let’s see what happens lol

  12. courtster says:

    I love IHG still. Just like most, have been Platinum for years.. But they have made me work for it this year!

    Had some cracking upgrades this year too including the Balcony Suite at the Hotel Indigo Birmingham The Cube and the Junior Suite at the new Hotel Indigo Kensington/Earls Court.

    I reckon once they weed out the Plats that will drop down for 2014 they’ll add some more elite benefits.

  13. Andrew says:

    When I read you had a points ‘bonanza’ for one stay I thought to myself ‘ah well, he’s beaten me’ but no. I added all the codes a few weeks ago and for one stay (paid for by the company) received 13,638 points at a Holiday Inn!

    Qualifying Nights 1

    Earning Details 1,611 pts.
    Bonus Points Earned 805 pts.
    Earn Double Points/Miles 1,611 pts.
    Business Stayers Earn More 1,611 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.

    Keep up the great work!

  14. Mark B says:

    I was very pleasantly suprised to get 13,392 for a one night stay at Malaga airport, 2/3 weeks back

  15. Thunderbirds says:

    Unfortunately I have too many one night stays and so burn through these codes too quickly to match your earnings for 1 night..! Interesting though that my best for this year @ 13,918 came for a price of £80.48 on the start of year £20.12 per night promotion. All of my promotional codes active at the time were triggered and the nights qualified for status.

    Qualifying Nights 4
    Earning Details 1,279 pts.
    Bonus Points Earned 639 pts.
    STAY 5 NIGHTS GET 10000 POINTS PROM0TION 10,000 pts.
    1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 1,000 pts.
    ANNIVERSARY BONUS OFFER 1,000 pts

  16. A little off topic I know, but does anyone have any experience (either positive or negative) claiming on the IHG best price guarantee?

    The reason I ask is that I had a stay this week at a HI Express where the price was cheaper on Booking.com – I reported it same day to the IHG Best Price email address, but when I followed up with them by phone c30 hours later they said that the stay was no longer available on Booking.com

    Essentially the problem came about because the booking was made only a day before the stay, but also because IHG did not bother checking it until I chased by phone, and then bizarrely sent a mail saying that the claim was outside the 24 hour claim window, despite the original mail being sent well within the 24 hours.

    Various discussions since have resulted in various excuses such as original mail not being received, despite them replying to it, and also the fact that they are “very busy” at the moment- none of which I believe are my fault.

    Anyone had similar replies and if so did you manage to resolve?

    Thanks
    Rich

    • They are generally good, but you must phone. Using email is a disaster, is the general view. I know people who have had over £20,000 of free stays through judicious use of this policy. I don’t encourage it because it is a difficult one to pull off until you are fully familiar with the rules and you can easily be stuck with a pre-paid IHG hotel room you don’t want.

      Unless you have screenshots from booking.com I’m not sure what you can do, unfortunately. I assume the hotel was in the UK, otherwise it would not have qualified anyway. By default, booking.com prices in £ for UK residents who visit their site, and the ‘best rate guarantee’ is only valid when the competing website prices – by default – in the same currency as the hotel is based. This is why it is difficult to get BRG’s to succeed in a lot of countries, because it needs to be a country with an online hotel booking website which prices in the domestic currency.

      • I do have screenshots which is the annoying part- I have offered to send but they said they were not proof.

        Will see what they come back with and then maybe send a final email complaint.

        What has frustrated me is that they seemed to blame me for emailing despite this being an option on their site- when I did call (on the day of check in) booking.com were still cheaper for the 1st night which was the one I was claiming for anyway, but because the 2nd night was now full they said it wasn’t comparable.

    • The BRG was created to stop hotels leaking cheaper rates into the market by hitting them with a heavy penalty (free stay). A lot of the obvious places to look for cheaper rates have now gone away. You tend to end up looking at niche sites like hotelhippo – and even then, you need to be very careful with wording. King Bed does not equal Double Bed, a cheaper room WITH breakfast will not be matched against a more expensive room on the IHG site WITHOUT breakfast for example.

      The ability of HFP readers to make some very expensive mistakes whilst trying to ‘play’ this guarantee is the reason I have not pushed it. And, for the record, I have never claimed under the guarantee myself so I have no personal stories to share.