Not many people know that IHG – owner of the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc hotel brands – has a scheme aimed at travel bookers and small businesses, IHG Business Rewards.
I thought it was giving it another push today because, slightly late in the day, I realised that they are offering double points on all rooms booked by 15th April.
IHG Business Rewards was launched a couple of years ago and replaced the old UK IHG Meeting Rewards scheme as well as three other regional schemes used elsewhere in the world.
It is a very simple scheme but operates in a slightly odd way.
The person who makes a hotel or meeting room booking – but who cannot be the traveller themselves (unless as part of a multi-room booking) – earns 3 IHG Rewards Club points per $1 spent.
During the current offer, that is doubled to 6 points per $1.
These are deposited into the personal account of the booker. Accounts cannot be opened in the name of a company. There is a cap of 60,000 points per event but, given that you would need to spend $20,000 to hit this, it is unlikely to be a major problem.
The rules state that points may take up to 45 days to arrive.
So far so simple. If you work for yourself, it should be easy enough to have your partner sign up and make your bookings for you.
However, here is the snag:
You do NOT receive points for booking rooms online. You can only get them by ringing the IHG Business Rewards service centre, by booking directly with the hotel by phone or in person or by using a GDS directly. You cannot earn points by booking via ihg.com.
This seems too painful, to be honest. What is the point of doing this for standard room bookings? Assuming an average spend of £200, your travel booker would be earning 750 IHG points which I value at around £3. Is it really worth ringing up IHG Business Rewards to make the booking for such a token gesture?
This may also fall foul of any booking arrangements you have with a corporate travel agency.
For meeting rooms, of course, it is different. This will always need some personal contact with the property to arrange so it will not require any extra effort to claim your points.
IHG Business Rewards is bolted on to an existing IHG Rewards Club account, so a travel booker does not need to have two separate account numbers. You can sign up via the IHG Business Rewards website here.