Nutmeg Avios

How I maximised the value of an IHG reward night, including free lounge access

I have just finished three nights at InterContinental Le Grand in Paris, a hotel which I rate highly for its frankly epic public areas – including the most astounding ballroom you will ever visit – and great location.

I successfully pulled off one of the best tricks you can do to maximise the value of a reward night – stacking it behind a paid night and assuming that the hotel will continue to honour your existing room and benefits.

In actual fact, this is what I did:

Friday night – paid for a Club InterContinental room

Saturday night – used my InterContinental Ambassador free weekend night certificate

Sunday night – redeemed my IHG Premium Visa free night voucher for a standard room

I spent my 4th night, in case anyone is wondering, at a non-descript place near Gare du Nord.  With a 4pm check-out from the InterContinental and an early train, it wasn’t worth splashing out.

The InterContinental did not blink an eyelid about letting me keep my Club level room.  More importantly, they didn’t blink an eyelid about me continuing to use the Club lounge on my reward night.  They could have done, because Le Grand sells lounge access as an add-on for €120 per room per night for Ambassador members (€140 for non-members).

InterContinental Paris Le Grand

The club lounge is a big deal here.  The staff are excellent, especially Gilles.  There is food available pretty much all day, as well as free flow champagne at breakfast and in the evenings.  The food is of high quality, although does not vary much so got a little repetitive by my third night.  Because the hotel is so central, it is easy to pop back in during the day for a top up!

This technique is one solution to the problem of how to book ‘premium’ rooms for IHG points.  It is also a solution if you want to bring children with you but a standard room cannot sleep more than two people.  Book yourself a larger room for cash for the first night and then book redemption nights behind it.

It is not 100% foolproof.  I hear the odd story about people who are asked to change rooms.   In general, you WILL get away with it.  Of course if you book a suite for one night and then book a standard room on points for seven nights then you should expect trouble!  In my case, I had booked two cash nights – although the Ambassador voucher made one of them free – so extending the benefits for one reward night was not asking much.  I could almost certainly have added at least one more reward night without fear of being moved.

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

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  1. Simmo says:

    Worked along the same lines with Hilton Phuket for me.

    Diamond Status

    Night 1-3 booked a Suite for cash
    Night 4-7 used points and cash
    Night 8-9 booked the lowest rate std room

    All 3 reservations have been upgraded to a Deluxe Suite! Result!

  2. I’m contemplating using an AMB award weekend +3 paid nights, along with 4 nights (free night vouchers/points at Pool View). With the AMB award weekend + 3 paid nights (5 “paid” in total) I have booked one level above the standard reward night (Ocean View). This is for a stay at the IC Presidente Cozumel.
    Is it likely, I will retain the AMB upgrade (Ocean Front?) for all 9 nights? Or would I be given Ocean Front (?) for the first 5 paid nights, and a Pool View for the remaining 4 nights on points/free nights?

    • Sididdly says:

      I have a two night stay in Kuala Lumpur coming up in a couple of weeks. Thinking of doing a paid club room followed by a reward night. Do you think I’m likely to get club both nights? I know that sometimes they are rigidly ‘by the book’