IHG Big Win: My fun Tuesday in Croydon!

Two Tuesdays ago, I found myself in the Holiday Inn Express in Croydon city centre. Not somewhere I would usually spend time, to be honest, but I needed one IHG hotel night in London to complete The Big Win promotion.

And, at just £55 for a Tuesday night, it was cheapest convenient hotel I could find.

I didn’t actually stay, I just checked in, did some work (internet is free for IHG Rewards Club elite members) and left!

(I should say, in all fairness, that this is a decent hotel. The room was bigger than you usually get at a Holiday Inn Express, and the location could not be more central. The receptionist was also very friendly and worked hard to find me an empty room when I turned up well in advance of the advertised check-in time.)

Holiday Inn Express Croydon

I thought it would be interesting to look at what I have earned from The Big Win and to justify the expenditure I ran up.

My wifes account only required five nights to trigger the full The Big Win bonus. One of these nights had already been booked before the promotion was announced, so I haven’t included that in my calculations as we would have done that night regardless.

Nights 2, 3, 4 – Holiday Inn Express Alcorcon, Madrid (report here!)

Total cost £125

Points earned from stay: 27,207 points

Night 5 – Holiday Inn Express Croydon

Total cost £55

Points earned from stay: 8,408 points

The Big Win bonus: 70,700 points (technically it was 71,800 but 1,100 of those triggered with the first night which was already booked, so I would have received those regardless)

Total points earned: 106,315

Total expenditure: £180 + £10 travel cost to Croydon = £190

So, at the end of the day, 106,000 points for ‘mattress run’ expenditure of £190.

I will – almost certainly – end up using those points for InterContinental properties where I will get £5 per 1,000. That would value the bonus points at £530.  As I do, on a regular basis, pay for InterContinental-type hotels, I can consider this a real saving.

That is not a bad result. Some people had more generous targets than this one and, of course, some people had targets which they could hit entirely with business travel. Those people got an even better deal. My original post on The Big Win is here if you want to find out more.

Ironically, people with fairly regular IHG hotel stays got a raw deal, with stiff targets to hit. That is why I was using my wifes account, as her targets were very low given her average of one stay per year!

(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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  1. I am in Birmingham right now at the CP, watching our dismal display in the cricket. Moving to Hotel Indigo tomorrow and this trip should tick off the Saturday stay, the two city, the total nights and the multiple brands requirements. That should be my Big Win done 🙂

    • And the HIX Croydon was my London qualifier as well – but I did stay the night.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I’ve got the brand new Birmingham Staybridge Suites in a couple weeks.

      • mitpat447 says:

        oh so it is open before end of year then…! I kept telling others on FT but they kept thinking its Feb! Doh

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          I think they are opening ahead of schedule. Might even be next week.

        • DontLikeFruit says:

          I booked in for 2nd weekend in December, to hit my 4 brands challenge, and can now cancel my booking at the Indigo! There is now also a 10% weekend discount for Plats. Watch out for those Staybridge ex-VAT prices though.

          Have completed my 7 Saturday nights challenge earlier than i expected, but still don’t expect to get my required 32 nights completed until right at the end of December.

        • pazza2000 says:

          How do I locate the 10% weekend discount for Plats?

        • Apparently it is automatic for Gold and Platinum members when logged in (assuming it has already started, this is a new promo).

  2. Yes, did the HIX Croydon last weekend but didn’t stay. Did stop off at a great Malaysian cafe place inside the whitgift shopping centre though! Incidentally, booked the 241 rate and both nights earned points.
    As Raffles says, very central location and for those on a budget as it is just 15 minutes into Central London it could be a good option compared to a pokey b&b in Victoria!

  3. Can someone kindly remind me about the %discount your rate can’t go under to ensure I get the bonus points please?! All the advance saver rates near me seem to be 35% or more below to flex rate. I don’t want to do a mattress run for no reward? Many thanks 🙂

    • Never had a problem with 241 or 35% off at HI or HIX. I find CP and IC more hit and miss though. YMMV but at the latter 2 I would only do advance saver or best available just to be sure…

      • Ok great, thank you!

        • Beware – some people are struggling to get the 2-4-1 rates to post. Some hotels are OK with it, some aren’t. Any rate sold ‘cleanly’ on their website, ie Advanced Purchase is 100% OK.

        • erico1875 says:

          2 4 1 at HI Manchester West posted ok towards my Big Win, and also got me 25K points.

  4. olybeast says:

    I thought the person on the card had to be there at check in? I.e. Your wife

    • You need to present the card, not the person! I use our MBNA BMI card, because she has a supplementary card on it and the card number is the same.

      If you are using an Amex, Amex does not do name checks when processing cards. So, if booking via your wifes account, use an Amex of yours, it will still go through. Then present that.

      • Ibteresting; have you or anybody else here experienced any problem at hotels if you were not able to present the card used for booking? Just curious as I have frequently booked advanced purchase rates overseas and not taken payment card with me. Also have made bookings for others by adding their bame to the additional guest field. They too have never experienced any problems despite not having my card. I dont think the hotels care as long as rate has been prepaid and you present a valid card to cover additional expenses. Today I checked out on my first IHG stay of the year only to learn that my card had been declined at time of booking. Despite this room had been held for me and they charged me at check-out, again they were happy to accept a different card.

        • Yes. I would have had trouble in both Madrid and Croydon if I hadn’t had the card. IHG has an odd system – whilst you are charged in advance, they still insist that you sign a credit card slip for the payment at check-in. They will only allow the person holding the card to sign the slip.

          Note, though, that Amex cards are NOT same sensitive. Even if IHG’s website doesn’t let you change the name of the payer from the IHG account holder, it doesn’t matter. You can still input your card number and the payment will clear even though you have given the wrong name.

        • erico1875 says:

          Strange, my wife prepaid for our Sons stay with 3 x 3v’s combined, registered in her name. He secured any extras with his Amex on arrival.

        • Thanks Rob, I guess I have just been lucky to datr as I udually travel overseas with my fee/load free cards while I make reservations at home withcreward cards. Henceforth, I will carry card used for reservations as a safeguard. Have always done so for flights but not bothered for hotels.

  5. I need one more night for my big win to complete, but it has to be a crowne plaza, intercontinental or staybridge, need assistance on finding a cheap rate for a mattress run to complete.


    • Where do you live? A few Staybridge now in the UK and fairly cheap at weekends, same with CP’s. Alternatively, why not do a weekend break to a Christmas Market in Europe and stay in an IC? Dusseldorf is cheap at weekends, Warsaw is VERY cheap at weekends (and a great hotel).

      • I am based in Hampshire

        • Crowne Plaza Marlow is the obvious one, often cheap at weekends. Given how nice Marlow is, I’d even be tempted to stay the night.

        • I will try,

        • No go with Marlow they do not have a family room

        • They do have connecting rooms, though – I’ve had them myself. And if you’ve only got 1 kid, they should be able to get an extra bed into the suites.

          Its a nice hotel for families, good indoor pool with a separate kids pool, and lots of toys in a corner of the bar. I did a review last year if you do a search.

    • erico1875 says:

      Crowne Plaza Glasgow can be as low as £60 per night

      • …. plus the airfare from Hampshire!

        • erico1875 says:

          If you are an Avios millionaire, that shouldn’t be a problem 🙂

        • Booked cp nec 21 Dec for £36,
          Also on estandby to upgrade to a suite for a further £22

        • If you need something a bit closer to Hampshire then you could try Crowne Plaza Reading – I’m booked there on Dec 28th for £47 – more pricey than the NEC but cheaper than the travel cost to Birmingham!

        • Will investigate, thanks

      • pazza2000 says:

        I need a CP, I have had my eye on here although never seen it under £90, and that tends to be on an inconvenient Sunday night. Nice lounge which you would likely gain access to as a Plat

  6. Completed mine last week. Saturday night, crowne plaza, madrid airport. Ticked three boxes. The rest I did on business. It was only 40 pounds for the night and I needed it anyway, I was catching a 160 pound flight to Buenos Aires the next day booked with just 30000 avios on Iberia. Almost felt cheeky. Looking forward to the 160,000 IHG point windfall!

  7. I also done Croydon but a week after Raffles and stayed the night.

    Checkin was a little slow however the MOS was wearing a trainee badge so it’s only to be expected. I wasn’t the best HIEX I’ve stayed at but it definitely wasn’t the worst.

    After reading the tripadvisor reports it appears to have had a very rough ride, although a lot of the moaning there has been about the parking.

    Definitely very handy for central London. Incidentally I was looking at using some points for visiting London in March and noticed that HI Wembley is only 10k points a night has anyone stayed there? I’d be interested in hearing what it’s like as that is a snip for the location.

    • Thanks for the tip on Wembley, handy to know. 10,000 points of £90 per night for the date i may need. Bargain.

  8. RogerWilco says:

    “That is why I was using my wifes account, as her targets were very low given her average of one stay per year!”

    My case exactly!

  9. I was unlucky and got the 5 brands!!

    It would cost me about £300 of my own money plus work stays to make my bonus of 140k points…. so still debating whether to push for this.

  10. Blackberryaddict says:

    I’ll be completing mine next weekend with a Christmas market visit to Germany – nice to take the missus. The rest I’ve managed on business travel – including quite a challenging “get out there” target in Canada, USA, Brazil and Mexico.

  11. blindman says:

    I may need a little help with the Mrs B’s Big Win.
    Need a cheap HEX in London-preferably Saturday

    Any takers?

  12. For anyone in the North West who needs a stay Runcorn Holiday Inn is particularly cheap- £30 for some Friday nights- it has a pool and spa too which is pretty good value.
    Only downside is that its in the middle of nowhere. And in Runcorn.

  13. If you collect American Airline miles you can book through the AA shopping page. I booked a £39 HIX and received ~250 AA miles. Also a good way to stop miles expiring.
    I am now at Candlewood Suites Doral (much nicer than I was expecting ) getting ready for our £1.60 MIA-TXL this afternoon. Hoping its still the new A332 with flat bed.

    • pazza2000 says:

      I booked an IHG stays through the AA portal although I haven’t been awarded the miles. I booked via the CP link for a HI (which I could not find) although I understood that should not have been an issue.

      • Yep, that’ll be fine – they’re just really slow to post! I’m up to 1,662 miles so far but they take at least a couple of weeks to post after you complete your stay.

  14. pazza2000 says:

    Been almost 6 weeks since the stay. Do you always go through the CP link also?

    • Hmm, that does seem quite long! I had a booking made in August, stay 10th Nov, posted to a/c 15th Nov (very prompt actually!). I always login to my account, navigate to the CP offer page, click through and then book from there – this one was a Hotel Indigo, I’ve also booked HIX, HI and CP without any issue. Worth chasing up by now I’d say.

  15. For anyone doing the 2xcities I found a cheap HI in bham (m6 j7) and then as I live in Bedfordshire it’s helpful the “London” Luton airport HIEX counts as London for another cheap win 😉

    Also for my wife I found the CP at the NEC (14 min train to bham central) £55 for a Saturday. Think we will stay and hit the Xmas market.

    There are my hours of researching shared for you lot 🙂

    • I “stayed” at the HI M6 J7 this Friday and Saturday night (apparently!).
      There was a Liberal Democrat Association conference going on at the time so I had a nice bath with my book…. and left!
      Called on Sunday morning to check out by phone and they were fine with that.

  16. Think I mentioned this before, but I can highly recommend the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma in the Maldives, its an absolute steal at 15k points per night. They tend to mess up things like charging you for breakfast and transfers too because it’s normally included in standard prices.

    • Discount Mike says:

      Thanks Steve, will keep that in mind for the next big holiday. 15k, what a bargain.

  17. I kind of getting serious with Big Win now, may be it’s late.

    I had 2 nights with HIX already.

    I need 3 brands, 2 nights and 1 weekend nights to complete big win
    1 HI and 1 Crown Plaza with a saturday stay woud be the easy thing. Do you know the cheapest Crown plaza to stay ? I found one in Birmingham NEC to be just £35. Hope, staying there will be counted as a stay in Big Win. Anything around Manchester area or London ?

    • Marlow, although you would need to stay there as its too far out just to check in and check out. Lovely place, though (Marlow, not the hotel, although it is pleasant enough!).

      Heathrow Crowne Plaza is presumably also cheap at weekends.

      No idea about Manchester area ….

  18. Raffles,

    I found an easy way to find IHG Hotels with lowest fare. Here is what I have done.

    In the IHG booking website, select Nottingham as the city and search for a particular date. Under the ‘Distance from Destination’ section. Select 100 and Miles. And search again. Now, when the results page loads, look at the URL on the browser and replace qRad=100 with qRad=200 to search for 200 mile radius. I would not advice to go beyond that, it could crash the servers, eventually them taking a note.

    Since I have selected Nottingham as the centre, I kind of get the length and width of at least England covered. Sort by Rate and here you go!

    May be people are already using it . Just wanted to share.