I devoted two articles last week (here and here) to discussing ‘Into The Nights’, the Autumn promotion from IHG Rewards Club. This offers, for most people, a relatively easy way to earn two free hotel nights across the IHG (InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn) portfolio.
When the promotion was launched, IHG did not outline the conditions attached to the free nights.
Now they have.
It is partly good news and partly potentially bad news.
Loyalty Lobby has persuaded his contacts at IHG to send him the terms and conditions of the free nights. This is what will be posted online at some point:
Free Nights earned are applicable only to the room nights and privileges specifically provided by this Promotion and supporting Offers, at IHG’s discretion, and are not comparable with IHG® Rewards Club Reward Night (redeemed by points) or any other room nights. Free Nights earned from Stays, as defined in the Into the Nights terms, completed during Registration must be redeemed by 31 December 2015. Free Nights earned must be claimed by 31 January 2015 or members will automatically be awarded applicable points. Free Nights can only be used in participating IHG hotels and may not be transferred. A Free Night is valid only for one standard room night rate and applicable taxes (not including breakfast). Redemption is subject to availability of the rooms of hotels specially provided for this promotion. The hotel rooms hotels specially provided for this promotion shall be determined at IHG’s discretion. Free Nights shall be redeemed on first-come and first-served basis. Redemptions must be made 24 hours in advance by logging in to the member account on www.ihgrewardsclub.com. Cancellation or changes must be made 48 hours prior to 6 P.M. of arrival date. Any changes or cancellation after that will be deemed to be a no show, and the Free Night credit will be removed from member’s IHG Rewards Club account. Free Nights cannot be exchanged for cash and are not transferrable in the system to other members and guests. IHG reserves the right to remove a member’s Free Night reward if fraudulent use of the Offer is detected. IHG Rewards Club reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Promotion/Offer at any time with or without notice. IHG reserves the right of final interpretation of this Offer.
The good news is that your free night vouchers will be valid until December 2015.
The bad news is that the vouchers will NOT be valid at any hotel which is showing reward space. It seems that there will be a separate pool of – presumably more restricted – availability.
IHG did this for a China promotion this year so it is capable of doing it from an IT perspective. The Loyalty Lobby article states, in that scenario, IHG released a limited number of rooms for redemption at every hotel. On that basis, there WILL be rooms available at every IHG hotel – including the flagship InterContinentals – but you would need to be prepared to book as soon as the vouchers hit your account. By December 2015, when the vouchers are close to expiry, you should expect only the dregs of the IHG portfolio to still be available.
I honestly don’t know where this leaves me now in terms of this promotion. I am NOT going to do a mattress run without knowing how difficult it will be to actually use the free nights.
The nature of my travel is that I only have a few occasions each year to use the vouchers. On those trips, I would want to stay in an InterContinental if possible. Should I go to New York for a couple of days, I don’t want to find myself effectively forced into a Holiday Inn Express because the InterContinental Times Square sold out its allocation of free nights by January 2nd and I wasn’t ready to book until Easter.
For me, it is not worth spending money on mattress run nights if I cannot effectively gauge the value I will get back. I am pretty sure that I will NOT be in a position in January to lock in rooms at premium hotels for stays in the Summer.
If you have got a high points alternative, your situation may be different. If you have an offer of 50,000 points or two free nights, your worst case scenario would be taking the points instead of the free nights and you would still come out ahead.
My points alternatives are quite low though. There is no way that it is worth going for this promotion if I end up not taking the free night vouchers.
I don’t think IHG is approaching this promotion ethically. Who knows when they intend to actually publish the above rules online? At the moment, people are moving business to IHG in the belief that they will get two free nights valid anywhere, and that may turn out not to be the case.
(Want to earn more hotel points? To see our complete list of promotions from 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.)