IHG clamping down on PointBreaks ‘abuse’?

IHG’s PointBreaks, which let you book over 100 different hotels every two months for just 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night, is possibly the most generous deal in the hotel loyalty game.

Whilst most hotels are Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express properties, you do get the odd InterContinental on the list – at what would be a 95% discount to the usual 50,000 points.

This is my post on the last list of PointBreaks.

(Don’t get too carried away by how wonderful the deal is.  There has never ever been a Central London hotel on the list in all the years it has been running, for example.)

IHG Rewards Club

IHG now seems to be clamping down on some elements of ‘abuse’.  I put ‘abuse’ in commas because you are not necessarily ‘abusing’ a scheme if you act fully within the rules.

This wording has appeared on the PointBreaks website:

Due to the limited availability, each member may only book two PointBreaks® Reward Nights reservations per hotel during the special offer time period. Offer and participating hotels are subject to change at any time, valid for booking through May 31, 2014. All other Reward Night terms and conditions apply. To view participating properties, simply click one of the regions below.

Please note that Reward Nights booked through PointBreaks® may not be sold or used for commercial gains. Doing so is a program violation and may result in the freezing of your account, the forfeiture of all point transfers, rewards, vouchers, or merchandise issued pursuant to point redemptions and any accrued points or miles in your account, as well as cancellation of the account and your future participation in the Program.

It is not entirely clear what they mean by this.

Are they restricting you to two NIGHTS per hotel?

…. or to two STAYS per hotel?

One of the common problems with PointBreaks is that the offer automatically falls away when x nights have been booked at a hotel.  However, because you need to book quickly at the best hotels – literally within 2-3 hours of the deal opening up – people were booking 5, 10 or 20 nights as separate one-night bookings.

They would then try to find flights to fit around the bookings, cancelling the rooms they ended up not needing.  However, the cancelled rooms do NOT go back into PointBreaks availability.

This kind of activity would be blocked under the new rules.

The other kind of ‘abuse’ is people who literally move in to a cheap property for one or two months.  After all, 5000 points per night is cheaper than paying rent.

This is probably still OK, assuming that the stay is booked as one stay and not as lots of individual nights.

I am fine with these changes, to be honest – especially if the alternative would have been to make PointBreaks redemptions non-refundable ….

(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. James67 says:

    IIRC CP St James once appeared on the list but that was a long time ago when real peaches were more common. I think this is a welcome change; IMO they can tighten it further as it favours more people. I have found booking more problematic since they started their previews though.

    • I reckon the previews were actually IHG’s way of trying to give people time to think about redemptions over the weekend and then potentially book fewer of them, because they could research flights beforehand.

      • James67 says:

        Yes, I guess so and at face value was a good idea. In practice it just focussed attentio on the launch resulting in system overload and possibly some of IT issues on recent lists.

        • All the previews did was give advance notice to the resellers of the hotels which were going to be offered , now I’m not going to say that is easier to run scripts when you are only looking at one hotel, but given the issues around China point breaks and the India IC last time there is a high correlation …. And as for implementation of this policy, well ICHG and technology are almost as bad as hertz and technology

      • Remember Cyprus !!!

  2. I have no problem with this as long as its stays and not nights. Should help more people benefit from the promotion.

    • Question is what happens when there is a gap between available point break nights.

      So you have:
      5k night
      other rate night same hotel
      5k night

      Is that one stay (as any loyalty awarding system would see it), or is it 3 – as the booking system would see it.

  3. trickster says:

    Slightly related: I noticed on the Doctor of Credit site you linked to in thew Marriott article yesterday, that there are some old IHG ‘Prioity Club’ surveys that can still get you 500 points instantly. These worked for me last night. The link is below and even gives you the answers!

    http://www.doctorofcredit.com/500-free-ihg-points-for-completing-three-extremely-short-surveys/

    There is also a link to getting 1000 points for watching a video, but after watching it I got a message that the code has been used.

    • Yes, those surveys still work – they have been around forever (I think I did them 3 years ago!) which is why everyone forgets about them. I might add a link to them to the ‘Hotel Promos’ page.

  4. Turbulent times for IHG. This comes at a time when they aren’t accepting any new credit card applications and IHG has stopped status matching (more info http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/intercontinental-hotels-ihg-rewards-club-intercontinental-ambassador/1566751-ihg-rewards-no-longer-status-matching.html).

    They are obviously giving the scheme a big shake up. I’m very interested to see how it looks in a few months time. The optimist in me likes to think it will continue to be the most generous hotel scheme but we’ll see. I must say I’m. Very fond of IHG.

    • The card returns June 23rd! I admit not status matching is odd but then you can simply get the credit card anyway.

      I have a love / hate relationship with IHG. Lovely high end hotels to redeem, lots of cheap places for mattress runs to earn, good promos and special redemptions deals. Traded off against minimal status benefits and a painful service centre when things go wrong.

      Hilton points are fairly useless but my Gold gets me free breakfast and a guaranteed upgrade of some sort (plus free net, but IHG does that too). Just booked 3 nights in the Conrad New York again for July to work through my Hilton stash.

      • Do you get an upgrade even when using points? We’re staying at a Waldorf Astoria in December. Wondering if it’s worth trying to get a status match.

        • Hilton give all benefits on award stays. I wouldn’t have booked into the Conrad in NYC again if they didn’t!

          W-A is a bit of a mess, by the way. It is amazing piece of history, without a doubt, but you can experience that by visiting the lobby. Hilton – in fact no-one – has the money to keep such a ludicrously huge hotel up to date.

          I do recommend the ‘behind the scenes’ tours which they run a couple of times a week if you do stay there, which will let you see the ballroom and other parts normally not available to the public. Sadly you don’t get to see the private railway station which was built under the hotel and designed to ferry VIPs to and from Grand Central!

          • Cheers Raffles. I should have said, it’s the Edinburgh WA we’re staying at. Might try a status match then.

          • That should be better then!

          • There are people selling HH Gold to March 2017 on eBay for £22. It works because I know someone did it. I don’t know HOW it works or how dodgy it may be.

            PS. Don’t forget my eBay link if you risk it :-)

            PPS. I am not recommending this, just to be clear!

  5. Regarding the question, ” Are they restricting you to two NIGHTS per hotel? …. or to two STAYS per hotel?, my take would definitely be the latter, since the promotion is for their “Reward Nights” (with a capital “N”). If they had not used the capital “N”, I would be more concerned. Of course I coule be wrong, but I think that the law would be on my side in this one.

  6. Well I don’t fall out with what they have done and I really do think they should have gone much further. Perhaps not to the point of being non refundable but definitely I think that a cap on nights is required. I’m not suggesting two nights but I definitely think that a week tops is more than reasonable.

    From what’s been posted elsewhere there were major issues in china with scripts being run to automatically book the entire inventory and it was then sold on so this clearly needed addressed.

    Another option I would favour is to limit everyone to say three nights booking and then after the reservations have been open for 72 hours and everyone has had an opportunity to book the restrictions are lifted and people can book what’s left.

    Whatever IHG do with this there are going to be winners and losers. In the UK it probably won’t cause too many issues due to the locations that are normally listed.

    • Erico1875 says:

      Me too. It would be better all round if these Point Breaks were non refundable. That would stop “point rich” people from block booking several hotels while they decide where and when to go. Availability would then be much better spread for the majority.

  7. My earning preference is currently set to miles as I rarely stay in hotels, I don’t travel for business and much prefer apartments on holiday but I’ve got 3 IHG stays coming up for visiting university open days. I registered for several bonuses: weekend stay, new guest and stay 3 nights. Will I still earn these bonuses if I leave my preference as miles or do I need to switch to points?

    • Needs to be points…

    • Good question. I think you will get both but don’t quote me on that.

      In any event, some of the bonuses are not posting for people who registered (fair enough, they weren’t targeted) so if you would normally take miles I would stick with it.