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My wasted trip to Wandsworth for IHG’s Big Win

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We all get it wrong sometimes.  Just to show that we can all make mistakes, let me tell you the story of Monday afternoon and my wasted trip to the Holiday Inn Express in Wandsworth.

When IHG Rewards Club relaunched ‘The Big Win’ promotion this Spring, I ignored it.  I had no revenue stays planned and it was not worth doing a mattress run (ie checking in but not staying) to trigger the bonus.

I did have a night at InterContinental LeGrand in Paris.  This was booked on points, though.  A week before the stay, I switched it to cash and claimed a Best Rate Guarantee.  This should have also made the room free and non-points earning.  However, as I explained here, it did end up being treated as a Qualifying Stay.

This changed my Big Win dynamics.  If I did one night in London, anywhere, it would trigger 9,600 bonus points as I would have completed two ‘big city’ stays.

9,600 points is not enough for a mattress run, though.  However, I was also offered 20,000 points for using the IHG Rewards Club Black Visa to pay for a stay.  I decided to apply for the Visa card (again) and trigger both bonuses with one stay.

I booked the cheapest midweek London room I could find.  A £58 Advance Purchase rate at the Holiday Inn Express Wandsworth, a depressing location opposite a massive recycling dump and surrounded by a McDonalds, a B&Q and a massive road.

Whilst on holiday over Easter, a mix up led to the PIN on my IHG Rewards Club Visa being locked.  A new PIN was on the way in the post, but would not arrive before my Wandsworth trip.

Not to worry, though, because it is an Advance Purchase rate and the hotel will have charged me IN ADVANCE …. surely …..

No!  Disaster struck when I arrived in Wandsworth.  Out of the goodness of their heart, the hotel had decided not to bother charging my card in advance!  Perhaps it was hotel policy, perhaps it was because of my Platinum status or perhaps they just forgot.

On arrival, though, they asked me to pay for the stay.  And, of course, without the new PIN I couldn’t use my IHG Rewards Club Visa.  Goodbye to 20,000 bonus points.

To add insult to injury, the hotel forget to offer me my Platinum welcome bonus of 300 points and – more worryingly – I forgot to ask for it!

The stay is a not a complete disaster, of course.  I will earn about 13,000 points from it as the ‘two big city stays’ bonus of 9,600 points will trigger.  This means that I will just about break even given the £58 room rate and the cost of getting to Wandsworth.  I won’t be getting that afternoon of my life back though ….

IHG One Rewards update – February 2024:

Get bonus points: IHG One Rewards is not running a global promotion at the moment, but some members were sent targeted offers for their stays in February and March

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One Rewards points, you can buy them here.

IHG One Rewards is offering an 80% bonus when you buy points by 7th March 2024. Click here to buy.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (44)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • andy stock says:

    Been past it many a time on the train from Waterloo to Richmond /Twickenham, looks a poor location.

  • Trevor says:

    I missed using my card on my first stay because it arrived so late, but was able to use on 2nd stay, yet big win points still not posted, while 40k signup bonus has (probably one of the last to get this). That and big win book online outstanding, hence full big win bonus too. Alternatively, while not going for big win on this occasion, based on feedback here regarding the inability to apply for the credit card, sent complaint msg for my OH’s account and that has now been credited with 20k points, despite still not showing on her big win page. So, result there!

    Regarding not being charged in advance, I have had this happen for 2 pay in advance bookings in Belgium which has caused a slight but not huge issue. Bit annoying when you expect/rely on it and they break their own rules which has put you out of pocket!

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