My review of the Holiday Inn Express Alcorcon hotel in Madrid

This is my review of the Holiday Inn Express Alcorcon in Madrid.

Regular readers will know that I was in Madrid last week, taking advantage of my Amex Platinum free night at the Grand Melia Fenix.

Whilst I was there, I decided to do something towards my wifes ‘The Big Win’ targets.

As I outlined here, ‘The Big Win’ is a potentially lucrative promotion organised by IHG Rewards Club, the Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental etc group.

As a fairly regular stayer, my personal targets for this promotion were too tough.  My wife, however, does one stay a year in her name.  She was therefore given a very easy set of targets – effectively five nights (one of which we’d already booked before the promo launched) for 71,000 bonus points.

The biggest issue is that she had to stay in two different cities from a list provided by IHG.  Luckily, whilst the list of cities is short, London and Madrid were on it.  Spanish hotel rates are also pretty low at the moment, given the economy and time of year.

I booked her in to the Holiday Inn Express Alcorcon Madrid for three nights:

Holiday Inn Express Alcorcon Madrid review

This is a typical ‘edge of city’ Holiday Inn Express.  There is a metro station 6-7 minutes walk away, but it is a trot from the city centre and the walk to the hotel crosses some big roads.

I booked in for three nights at €49 per night.  However, I nearly came unstuck – and there is a lesson here.

Normally, it is not a problem to book a hotel room for 2 people and for someone other than the first named guest to turn up.  This is especially true when the 2nd guest is listed in the booking, as IHG allows you to do.

However, Spain has tough ID rules for hotel stays.  The HIX Alcorcon was not happy that my wife was not there.  They also wanted a signature on a credit card slip for the pre-paid hotel room.

Luckily, I had paid for the room with a credit card in my name, so I was able to sign that.  At the same time (as the slip was stapled to the registration card), I signed the registration card in her name.  The hotel then seemed OK.  After all, I told them she was arriving later ….

I then nipped up to the room, had a drink, ruffled the bed, ran the shower and used the free internet for half an hour before leaving.  I had to hope that they wouldn’t notice the lack of luggage or be bothered that the room would not be slept in for nights 2 and 3.

(The hotel itself is perfectly fine.  A bog-standard Holiday Inn Express room very similar to those in the UK, albeit a bit bigger.  The hotel is clearly fairly new.  There was a light and airy bar and breakfast room on the ground floor and the staff were friendly.  There is also a third-party restaurant next door.

As a Platinum member, I was given two vouchers for the bar.  I traded these for a diet Coke and a Kit-Kat (full size!))

As it happens, there was no problem.  (And there never has been a problem, on the numerous times I have done this.)  My stay posted perfectly to her IHG Rewards Club account five days after check-out.

And, frankly, a lucrative stay it was!  Using some of the new bonus codes I highlighted here, she earned 27,000 IHG Rewards Club points!  I would value those at £135 if used for free hotel stays.

The logic of this mattress run, for me, was simple.  My wife will earn around 120,000 IHG Rewards Club points from this promotion.  That is good for two nights at, say, the InterContinental Paris, worth £500, with £100 of points left over.  The cost of the four ‘mattress run’ nights will be under £200, even with travel costs.

I have a marginal regret about choosing Alcorcon.  From leaving the city centre to getting back (stripping out the internet time I spent in the room) took two hours.

It is also in Zone B on the metro, which requires you to buy an extension to your travel card.  I could have paid a few Euros more per night and picked a more central Holiday Inn Express, although at best I would have saved 40 minutes.  And on a three night stay, those extra Euros accumulate.

You can find out more about the hotel, and book, on this page of the IHG website.

(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.)

40% discount when you buy SAS EuroBonus miles
Another IHG Rewards Club 24-hour "flash sale" on Monday - some VERY good deals!
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  1. Raffles, I’m sure I’m being a bit dense: a while ago you put up a whole load of extra point codes an said to add them to your ihg account. I cannot for the life of me work out how to do this, I tried yesterday! Could you talk me through it please?

  2. Mitpat474 says:

    Raffles, maybe you could go for the indigo instead, pay less than £50 to upgrade – then it should post as a qualifying night. I have been doing this with my Ic brg stays and however small the upsell it still qualifies, so perhaps food for thought.

    • if you book a reward night, then pay to upgrade – you are saying this will post as a qualifying night?

      • Mitpat474 says:

        Its possible, certainly has worked at both london ics, but they post points per stay and not £ spent which may have something to do with it

  3. Did you call them later to “check out”, or simply just disappear, having already prepaid the room?

    Alcorcon! Why didn’t you just use the HI Express not far from the airport? (with a convenient Crowne Plaza next door)

    • I assumed the total travel time would be greater as Alcorcon is near the metro. May have been wrong …

      In the UK I often ring up to say I’ve left but didn’t this time as already back in the UK and I knew the staff were not great English speakers anyway.

  4. Hello Raffles,

    Why did you book 3 nights there? Or was it in order to get the X nights?

    As my gf she has 4 nights, 3 stays and most of the almost not used accounts have this.

    • We need 5 nights for The Big Win target. 1 night was done already and – because of the ‘2 cities’ target, I will need 1 night in London. That left 3 nights and it was easier to get it all done at once, esp as cheap hotels around London are few.

  5. Did you take that picture or was it an old one? Not seen Express by Holiday Inn signage for a while.

    • It is one I found online, the hotel actually has the new sign now. I did take a photo but there was a coach blocking the entrance and it wasn’t great!

  6. Thanks for that useful information Raffles. Did you use a credit card in your name to book the room or one in your wife’s name?

    • I used an MBNA card where my wife is a supp holder. MBNA puts the same number on the main card and the supplementary card, unlike most issuers.

      I can’t remember if the IHG website forces you to use a card in the name of the IHG member. However, if it does, here is what you do. Use an Amex-issued Amex in your name. Amex does NOT do name verification when processing payments so it will still go through OK.

      • The IHG website doesn’t check 1st initial on a visa card

        I used my IHG rewards account to book, my dad used his CC and he went down as the additional guest. No issue with the CC when booking it.

        That’s one of my sat nights and one brand sorted. I’ve got a silly mattress run to the birmingham indigo just before new year to cover the other sat night/brand/city. Thankfully train fare will be covered by a refund due to Cross Country train’s incompetence/lack of driver.

      • What verification DOES Amex use then? Not name, not address, and when it makes me do the additional online verification thing, it accepts the wrong “memorable info”!

        Is their policy just to let all spends through until someone reports a problem?

        • I’ve noticed they don’t seem to check the address, I’ve used my AMEX to sign up for some online trials where my address has already been used and so I’ve entered a different address and it’s gone through fine.

  7. Ok Thanks!

  8. Was just wondering, do day room rates trigger bonus points or is it only overnight stays?

  9. I had a stay on Saturday night at the Holiday Inn Express Bradford that netted me over 21,000 points by using several promotional codes but didn’t count as I’d expected towards the Big Win (first stay in the promotion should have netted me 1,000 points for booking via the IHG website)

    Is this right ?

    “My offer status2 on the IHG website confirms I’m registered for the big win

    • The Big Win points totals take longer to post than the stay points, it will come up eventually but the evidence seems to be that they process The Big Win in batches rather than an ad-hoc basis.
      3 weeks till my first big win stay and then 1 more week until it should be completed!

    • Give it another few days

  10. Can I just check that Advance Saver Rate (I.e. Pay now, no cancellations) do count towards Big Win?
    The booking page says I will earn points.

    I have found a £30 room late in December that will effectively earn me 80,000 points!

    • Yes, you’re fine. Feel free to use our affiliate link on the right if you don’t collect American Airlines miles! (IHG is on the AA e-store, this is the only other place it still appears).

  11. Rich Spencer says:

    Anyone else had any issues with stays not registering for any points then when manually added by IHG not counting towards The Big Win. Ive been trying to sort this out for about 7 weeks and am not getting anywhere- I dont know if they know how to do it but it’s a triole whammy for me as it was a city trigger, different brand and one of the qualifying nights…..
    No offence, but I dont want to go back to Birmingham….

  12. I’ve booked 2 Saturday night stays with 2 different brands to get some Big Win points and I’ve plugged in all codes here

    Your article is much clearer than any of the others I’ve seen, thanks. The 1027 code is listed twice though. Have you put it in twice by accident or is it a copy and paste mistake and there are 2 different codes for 3,000 points per stay?

    • No, only one code, it slipped through twice!

      • Ah thanks, I’ve managed to get 15 offers now showing against my account although foolishly I entered the code for HP Employees to get Gold status on their next stay when I’m already a Gold, hopefully non of the points offers will conflict with that one.

        • It’s OK, I mistakenly signed up for that one too as a Plat and it didn’t seem to have any effect (thankfully!)

          • I saw a comment by an Alan on Loyalty Lobby about this and thought it might be you!

            I’ve already had a mini success on my booking before my first stay as my AMEX Gold gave me quadruple points on my Holiday Inn Bristol booking, I got a first year welcome bonus and 2 lots of travel bonuses for it!

            • Nice result! At first I was worried IHG were going to stop having these extra promo codes so glad they’ve kept them going!

  13. My haul from a £40 stay at Hi Express Dartford! This came to a whopping 32808 points. Thannks for the advice Raffles!

    Earning Details

    539 pts.

    Bonus Points Earned

    269 pts.

    3,000 pts.

    5,000 pts.

    5,000 pts.

    3,000 pts.

    3,000 pts.

    2,000 pts.

    3,000 pts.

    3,000 pts.

    1,000 pts.

    1,000 pts.

    1,500 pts.

    1,500 pts.