IMPORTANT: Detrimental clarification to IHG ‘Into The Nights’ rules

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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.

IHG Rewards Club

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 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.

So ….

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 promotionI 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.)

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  1. I was so keen on completing this offer however I think I will pass and move to the Hilton and Virgin offer. I already booked 2 nights in NYC on points and with the ones I will win from half doing my promotion I will have enough to book the third I need in Times square. Then I will most likely not staying with them again and continue with Hilton and Hyatt. I personally don’t see any value in being plantinum with IHG as there are not some crazy benefits around.

    I wanted to complete the offer for Tokyo stays but knowing how popular Tokyo is it might seem like a dream. Shame! it seemed a good promotion.

  2. Lady London says:

    I’ll take a bet they’ve launched it to grab the higher volume of traffic September-December, and that they are still negotiating with the hotels as to what nights will be provided.

    I gave them a couple of stays this year and it had a slightly negative impact. Without a list of which hotels, I won’t be booking.

    But didn’t I see something that said if you opt for the nights and then don’t use them, you get the points if you haven’t actually booked the nights anyway? so if you are one of the people with an offer of a decent number of points (I’m not), what have you got to lose by opting for nights inititally?

    At least it seems to have provoked a series of rather nice offers from Hilton !

  3. I need 4 nights to get 3 free night or 53,000 points and have already booked my mattress run. Can anyone tell me which are the best intercontinental hotels in Europe so I can start making plans to use my free nights.

    Is the one in Porto a good one?


  4. Have finally got offers through and it seems very low

    “Stay twice and get a free night or 25,000 points or 10,000 miles (1,250 AIR MILES or 160 Airpoints). Must book direct. ”

    “Stay twice again and get a 2nd free night or 25000 bonus points or 10,000 miles. Must book direct.”

    So 4 nights to get 2 free? Presume I can book a 4 night stay as 4 singles?

    Does anyone know what the reference to miles means?

  5. Janeyferr says:

    My stays are all booked up now. Had my IHG membership for a while but never stayed so got the 3 stays/2 saturdays/2 HI deal.

    One night staying at an airport instead of getting a taxi (which would be £47) home from a late flight. (£67 + shuttle cost)
    One night going to stay somewhere near Heathrow after spending the previous night at a gig and a Travelodge in London for my partner’s birthday. (£52 + extra day of oyster travelcard)
    One night somewhere with nice spa bits for my birthday, followed by a visit to see giraffes (I like giraffes) (£53 + £10 of petrol + whatever I pay to see giraffes)

  6. Just logged into my account and my offer has completely changed overnight and is now much harder to complete.

    Jumped from
    3 nights to 11 nights
    2 sats to 3 sats
    2 HI’s to 4 HI’s
    + 3 nights on bonus point packages
    + 2 stays must be minimum 2 night and include a Fri or Sun
    + 1 booking must pay with their c.card

    I was in the position of being able to meet the first set of goals with pre-existing bookings, now quite riled by the goalposts moving part way into the promotion so will now move those pre-existing bookings over to another chain away from IHG..

    • sandgrounder says:

      Similar situation here. Up from three to five nights. Not happy, with the restrictions I don’t think I will bother.

  7. So I have an offer which seems similar to others,

    1) download app
    2) stay 3 nights at any ihg
    3)book 2 stays on website or mobile
    4)stay 2 Saturdays
    5) stay at 2 holiday inns

    So my question if anyone can answer is are they exclusive or inclusive, i.e. if I stay 3 nights at 2 different holiday inns of which 2 are Saturdays and book them online does this mean I have done it…… or do I have to stay 9 nights (3 for the second offer, 2 nights for the 3rd offer, 2 nights for the 4 an 2 nights for the 5th).

  8. I think I might push a few stays their way simply because some of my sub awards for hitting individual targets are reasonably good. If I got all of those I get 51000 points plus a bonus 51000 or 3 nights. If I happen to be within striking distance by the end of the year I might go for it but take the bonus points rather than nights.

  9. I’m about to book a series of dates in the USA in November for myself and a colleague, and we will have separate rooms. This is a simple question that I don’t know the answer to (not entirely unrelated), if I book a hotel room for someone else using my IHG account, will that room booking qualify for (a) points to my account and (b) towards this promotion?

  10. Have anyone’s stays shown up on the intothenights site yet? I had a stay post to my account on Sunday, but no progress shows on intothenights

  11. Lostantipod says:

    I just can’t believe how clueless IHG’s loyalty department is when it comes to execution of these things. A few years back I belonged to a focus group of theirs where we were rewarded with points for giving feedback about upcoming adverts, specials, or other aspects of their activities. It was a nice little earner to be fair. This project has long been disbanded , but their ability to not take on board the feedback of the many members contributing was startling … For example we were all crying “free wifi please for members !” For at least 18 months before they introduced it for status members. I don’t trust them not to mess us about with this ….and deciding against a mattress run without clarity of the prize is a wise move !

  12. I am amazed that I still cannot correctly view my offers online. I have been told to wait 48 hrs and then for 14th Sept, but it still isn’t working. Customer Services asked for my PIN to look into it. I refused as it should not be necessary to provide this information. They said wait another 72 hours… we shall see! I was also given different advice for the use of the “free night” voucher to what has been stated above – so until the terms are officially released I will likely book elsewhere.

    • Pszczolka says:

      Yep, I’m in the same boat. I’ve emailed them from the beginning (4 emails now) with the last one saying they’ll get back to me in 5 working days and ‘not to worry’ as any stays that I do have from the beginning of registration will count so I won’t miss out…umm…how am I supposed to know if I’m booking a qualifying stay?! Ridiculous and poor customer service to boot…

  13. Sigh… Just got my offers:

    Stay 38 nights
    Try 5 Brands
    Stay internationally 3 times (read the fine print….in different countries!)
    Extend weekend 4 stays inc a Friday or sunday (2 day stay min)
    1 stay bonus points package

    … That’s a pretty tough way to earn 2 free nights or 23,000 bonus points.

    As already said the individual points aren’t bad totalling 70k + but I am annoyed like David that someone else gets a much lower hurdle.

    Guess that’s their marketing trick to incentivise people with different ore existing purchase patterns, but personalised offers in a world dominated by sharing on social media can back fire when people learn how differently they’re being treated.

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