Holiday Inn / Crowne Plaza etc to offer free internet to NON-GUESTS from January

It has been publicised for a while that IHG Rewards Club will be offering free internet to all of its members – even those at the basic level who have just signed up – from January.  (Gold and Platinum members already receive free internet.)

Ric Garrido of Loyalty Traveler recently interviewed Don Berg, who heads up IHG Rewards Club.  The key thing which slipped out during this conversation is this:

IHG will offer free internet to all IHG Rewards Club members in all of its hotels from January – even if they are not a guest.

InterContinental Park Lane

This is a pretty radical departure, albeit something that Radisson tried a few years ago for Elite members (and then dropped).  Fundamentally, as of January 1st, you have a choice.  You can either take your laptop down to Starbucks, or you can take it to the lobby of your nearest Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Indigo or InterContinental hotel!

(As the InterContinental Park Lane – pictured above – is two tube stops from me, this could work out nicely!)

There is a lot of other interesting stuff in the interview.  Importantly, it seems that IHG’s IT is powerless to stop people registering for multiple promotional codes, and that IHG is happy for them to continue to be stacked (or, alternatively, finds it cheaper than the IT cost of fixing it).  I signed up a friend recently and he got 35,000 points on his first stay ….

On a separate note ….

I have predicted a few times on Head for Points that IHG’s new way of counting points for status (ie no longer counting bonus points) would leave to a massive drop in Platinum members next year.

I assumed that this was the plan ….. slash the numbers and then improve the benefits.  However, no improved benefits have been forthcoming – Platinum will now be very hard to earn and still won’t get you much!

Someone at IHG is now panicking a little.  A lot of Platinum members who will not requalify have been targeted by IHG, offering them another year of Platinum if they do three stays between now and the year end.  One person I know had only 9 nights this year, well short of the 50 nights required, and still got it.

I still feel that this is very unfair on non-UK and non-US IHG members.  You can, after all, get Platinum for free in the UK by paying £99 for the IHG Rewards Club Black Visa card.  Outside the UK, you now need to spend a crazy $6,000 in IHG hotels …..

(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.)

Confirmed: Last sign-up date for free BA Silver (ie Cathay Gold) via Amex Platinum is 31 March
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Comments

  1. I received a targeted email stating stay 3 more nights by 20th December to maintain platinum status. Only had 26 nights this year

  2. At 2 of 3 IHG hotels I stayed in so far, I got several extra benefits for just being a IHGRC member, non-elite – free snacks, late checkout, wifi.

    Certain IHG hotels even have free wifi for everyone who happens to be standing outside (or even inside, since it’s cold).

  3. I got my Plat status renewed for 2014 after only making 2 stays with them this last year. No qualifications applied.

    • How do you know if your status has been renewed?
      I’m on 40 nights and 4 brands which I am hoping will renew my platinum status via the fast Track thing. Does the fast track work on renewals?

  4. It’s amazing how easy it is to game the system with IHG – almost as many holes in as Clubcard. Something tells me this won’t last forever. I do wonder if there are alternative theories why some companies leave loopholes in their reward programs – they certainly get tongues wagging and create a lot of buzz online.

  5. I’m not so sure they are happy for promotional codes to be stacked.
    I received an email the other day saying an “audit had been carried out and that your account is registered to multiple promotions wherein it is not eligible to be registered in. If in the future there is a recurrence of such concern involving your account, we will immediately forefeit your earnings and permanently deactiveate your PCR membership”
    Should I be worried as I have 2 bookings to go for genuine big win promotion stays?

    • How many points do you have and how many codes did you stack (and since when)?

      • You can get about 20 codes to stack on a new account. My balance is low these days, I think my wife and I have about 400k between us, which is only 8 IC nights.

      • I only have 20,000 points and 10 codes and not all of them worked ! All registered since mid Oct.

    • That’s interesting to know, I noticed a couple of weeks ago that some of the status bars for promo codes had changed from 0% to becoming a solid bar with no percentage on it (not to be confused with 100% or completing an offer), for example the Autumn Fall promo (US only) and Weekend Stay (US only, although Raffles has given a tip in the past to trigger this) is now a solid bar. Perhaps it’s their polite way of saying it’s not applicable.

      From text i think you will be ok.

    • You’ll be fine with codes already on your account. There won’t be another rush of one off codes until next year anyway, so nothing to worry about.

  6. I am amazed that many of these high end-ish hotels still consider free internet as a privilege.

  7. Thunderbirds says:

    Certainly 50 nights (or 40 if you stay in three brands) is quite difficult to get if you are not on the road a lot. However, “..won’t get you very much”..? Well I have to (partly) disagree. If you work the system as most do you can recover quite a lot of value from the codes, purchase points offers and even the standard points. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t upgraded at a Crowne Plaza or Intercontinental and tonight I have a double upgrade at the CP St James in London. Recently I’ve had 6 Free nights in New York (CP Times Square) and I have 6 Free nights in Sydney(HI Old Sydney) booked in February and I’m half way to 6 Free nights at an
    Intercontinental in Tokyo.
    As well as the upgrades being unfair to non-UK and non-USA members it is also unfair to those that do the time in the hotels. I guess I should split my loyalty (75 nights a year) between IHG and A.N. Other chain as I do with BA and Virgin.
    But as far as hotel chains are concerned which other?

    • You need to separate out Plat benefits from the points benefits though.

      Hyatt – top tier members get guaranteed club access and a guaranteed, confirmed at time of booking, suite upgrade on 4 paid stays a year

      Hilton – even mid tier Golds get free breakfast, top tier Diamond get guaranteed club access

      Starwood – standard Platinum members (lets ignore the extra benefits for more nights above the normal threshold) tend to get suite upgrades. Do 50 nights and you get to guarantee suite upgrades on 10 nights a year, albeit only 5 days before arrival

      IHG Plat doesn’t come close to any of this. Even free breakfast would be good.

      • Thunderbirds says:

        But surely you can’t seperate out the points benefits from the Platinum Benefits as they come together. You have to decide do I want to have lower upgrade benefits on a day to day basis but have the opportunity to pile on the points for free nghts OR do I want a free breakfast OR upgrade to suite on a day to day basis and have fewer free nights.

  8. Just got my points posted for stay at CP LHR on Sunday night (part of Big Win) only 24,500 bonus points, I thought I was doing well until I read about getting 35,000 (with Raffles’ aid though!)

    Qualifying Nights 1
    Earning Details X,XXX pts.
    WELCOME BACK BONUS 3,000 pts.
    ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 5,000 pts.
    NEXT STAY BONUS 3,000 pts.
    NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 3,000 pts.
    2,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 2,000 pts.
    HP employees get gold on next stay 0 pts – YAY, Gold!
    ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 3,000 pts.
    1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 1,000 pts.
    WELCOME BACK BONUS 1,500 pts.
    NEXT STAY BONUS 1,500 pts.
    NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 1,500 pt

    I was actually hoping that my Platinum status (through credit card) would have posted in time for my next “stay” to see what a HIX would offer but still waiting for that to show along with the bonus nights.

    Thanks Raffles!

    • If you plug in all the codes from the Flyertalk codes thread, you’ll find a few older ones which also still work – that accounts for the difference. Register for The Big Win as well (google for link) as that gets you another 1000 points on one stay.

      My mate also did a $900 stay so his base points were high as well.

      • I have the Big Win one to add to that so add 1,000, and I also have a couple of weekend codes that this didn’t count (but should do tonight ) as well as a Gold first stay bonus and a few other ones (including a Book Direct, which I did) that haven’t posted. I think I have been through all of the codes so maybe a one-nighter, not counting as a weekend stay would have been the difference. Hoping to have my Big Win complete on Wednesday!

  9. The speed of the free wifi is variable between properties. At some its restricted to 256kbps, which is almost unusable, 3g personal hotspot on phone is faster. At the HI Stratford City they advise Platinum guests can get high speed wifi for free – you need to pay for it first then they refund it, not tested it out to see if indeed it works out that way (the 256kbps wi fi is free). In the UK, its been of little value, perhaps if roaming abroad it would worth trying out, patiently.

    The IHG elite benefits are incredibly inconsistent e.g. the free drink voucher at some hotels is per person whilst at others it is per guest. Although some are trying to be more generous the inconsistency leads to confusion. The benefit of staying with IHG is the points game and the value that can be had.

  10. I have been platinum for a number of years already but despite not having a single paid stay so far this year I gota letter informing me my status would continue next year. It included my new card. There was no requirement for any stays before year end.

  11. Thank you Raffles, I stacked up the codes and I got 35,000 points for my two night stay in HIX. But my Big Win and Book Direct promotion has not been considered. Will it take more time or Do I need to report a point discrepancy ?

    This was my first stay since I did a status match with IHG to become Platinum. I don’t have the membership card, do I have to request oe , or I get it after my first stay ?

    • The Big Win seems to take longer to post than normal points. I read somewhere that they seem to do a big sweep through all the bookings on a Sunday (if I remember correctly) and pick up what has been going on in the last week and update all the details. I am in the same boat as you. Now you have the stay on your account, any adjustments for Big Win should be pretty simple.

    • The card should now come, but may take a month.

    • For me big win points have posted 2 to 3 days later after the normal points. The book direct codes haven’t worked for me.