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A detrimental clarification to IHG ‘Into The Nights’ rules

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UPDATE – OCTOBER 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.  We produce a monthly summary of the top hotel bonus point offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ menu above.

You can earn up to triple IHG Rewards base points with IHG’s new Autumn promotion. It runs from 1st October to 31st December 2021. You can register here and our full article on the offer is here.

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.

IHG Rewards Club

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 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 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.

IHG Rewards update – October 2021:

Get bonus points: You can earn up to triple IHG Rewards base points with IHG’s new Autumn promotion. It runs from 1st October to 31st December. You can register here and our full article on the offer is here.

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

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

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 (51)

  • pauldb says:

    I hope I haven’t missed an obvious explanation but: Do you get the free nights as soon as you hit the targets, or only at the end of the promotion? i.e. is there are benefit of completing it sooner. If so, can the stays be this year, or only in 2015?

  • Antonio says:

    So, have IHG provided a way of letting us find out if a certain hotel is available for our Free Nights *before* we make the qualifying stays? I was planning to mattress run mine for a couple nights at the InterContinental Times Square when I’m in New York in November, but now I’m not sure it’s worth the risk.

    • Rob says:

      I would guess that all hotels will initially be available or they will be in trouble with the advertising people. Popular ones will go quickly, just like PointBreaks.

  • Johnny5a says:

    I’m happy to give it a go – for 60,100 points

  • whiskerxx says:

    mmmm…… the correspondence with Loyalty Lobby is open to interpretation and still suitably vague.
    I read the “Free Nights earned must be claimed by 31 January 2015 or members will automatically be awarded applicable points” as having to manually opt in for the free nights rather than the points. This enables IHG to tidy up loose ends, rather than having an administrative nightmare throughout the remainder of 2015. I do not see it as having to book your rooms by that date.
    There clearly needs to be some restriction on the number of rooms made available, and dates at all hotels, not just the most desirable (expensive). Panic ye not.

  • matt says:

    Signed my wife up to ÌHG and her requirements are costing us £150 in mattress runs that we’ve already booked…will now have to ensure we get our money’s worth and plan well ahead!

  • RogerWilco says:

    IHG won’t let you down! When I saw (or rather – didn’t see) the details for the 2 free nights when the promo first came out, I thought “there’s a catch here” and so there is.

  • Andrew S says:

    Will it influence my hotels stays? – Yes, as i value the 50,000 points and I have some stays at low end hotels to book (so arbitrage on points alone makes it worthwhile for me)

    Then come January, or whenever i get the vouchers if i manage to find availability at an Intercontinental for future stays then this will be an even bigger bonus (i might shift some leisure stays in this case)

  • Elena says:

    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.

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