The Novice Perspective: Maximising hotel promotions is a fun game!

Shipra is my fiancée and the first of contributors at the blog. She has worked with one of the largest airline conglomerates in the world, and is now based in Mumbai. Shipra has lived, worked and travelled across 4 continents. We travel often enough, together and separately. These are her perspectives, as she gets used to the world of business and leisure travel and our hobby!

This writing is a sequel from my last week’s post on how I am learning about hotel loyalty programs. Like I mentioned, I have spent the last couple of weeks learning more about these 4 hotel loyalty programs:

1. Hyatt Gold Passport, when Ajay did the Hyatt Diamond Challenge
2. IHG Rewards Club
3. Marriott Rewards
4. Hilton HHonors

Last week, I decided to enrol myself for the IHG Rewards Set your Sights promotion and here’s why I want to complete this promotion. Since I am a new IHG Rewards member, I got the base promotion.


Lesson #4: Maximising hotel promotions is a fun game!

I like to think about some hotel promotions as playing a game. Remember the times we loved playing the board game The Game of Life. The game simulates a person’s travel through his or her life with various tasks and rewards along the way.  Similarly when I glanced at this promotion it immediately reminded me of playing a real-time game.

With 5 tasks different to complete and 50,500 bonus points to earn, I have decided to take up this challenge and play the game for the next 67 days.

Here’s how I plan to complete my tasks

  1. Download the IHG app and get 500 points: This is straight forward. Cost incurred: 0
  2. Stay for 3 nights at IHG properties and earn 5000 bonus points: Now we have been planning a short vacation for a while. This promotion has made my hotel decision easy. Where ever I go, I will stick to an IHG property. Cost estimate to book a 2 night stay: INR 16,000. Cost estimate for a mattress run: INR 8,000.
  3. Book 2 stays directly with IHG web application and earn 5000 bonus points: This is simple again and I am going to club this with the 2nd task. Cost incurred: 0
  4. Stay at 2 IHG brands and get 10,000 bonus points: I have a dearth of hotels to choose from here. Apart from the Intercontinental, there is Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. Like I said ahead, cost estimate for a 1-night stay: INR 8,000
  5. Spend USD 100 on F&B and earn 5000 bonus points: I know the perfect place for this. The Dome at the Intercontinental in Mumbai has a lovely roof top lounge and I wouldn’t mind spending INR 6000 there. Cost estimate: INR 6,000

If I complete all the 5 offers then I earn an additional 25,000 bonus points. So that makes it a total of 50,500 IHG Rewards Club points.

Now, just the way I am, I like to do cost to earning calculation. So if I complete this challenge the expect spending is approximately INR 30,000  and I earn 50,500 points.

Now let’s see what is the monetary value of 50,5000 IHG points. My favourite hotel in Paris is the Intercontinental Paris – Le Grand. Right in the heart of Paris, opposite to the famous Opera, this hotel has rooms with the view of the Eiffel Tower.  1 night stay here in the month of June 2015 is going for 50,000 reward points. Now if I wanted to pay for  this night, how much would it cost me? 691 Euros/ INR 48,900.

I’ve also simultaneously registered for the India Free Nights promotion, so, I can really get 2 free nights at the Le Grand Paris for the spend. That is a sweet INR 100,000 worth of return on spending INR 30,000.

Aren’t these hotel promotions a no brainer?

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  1. @Shipra / Ajay: I completed 9 nights across 2 brands in Mumbai, satisfying all the clauses from the same promo as above (at least that’s what I thought)

    Unfortunately, I am now told that for Item #3 (Book Directly with IHG), apparently the reservations had to be made on the IHG mobile website, *from* a mobile device. Bookings on the IHG App or the regular IHG website are not eligible. That’s their interpretation of “From our website, to your mobile device”

    In case you still have time for your stays, giving you a heads-up to get this fixed before it is too late.

  2. @SMS – I am travelling to Delhi soon and will be staying at the crowne plaza which is much cheaper that the IC Mumbai

  3. Ajay / Shipra – I have registered for the same promo. I have a few upcoming stays at Holiday Inn Mumbai and Holiday Inn Resort Goa, but unfortunately per the T&Cs it looks like the Holiday Inn Resort Goa would also be considered as part of the “Holiday Inn” brand – hence not eligible for Point #4 (and eventually for the 25k kicker bonus)

    Based on your planned Mattress Run and/or the visit to IC Marine Drive – any tips on how to land a good rate for a 1 night Mattress Run at IC Mumbai? Curious about the INR 8k for your MR calculation. Could you please elaborate?

  4. We have switched our Marriott loyalty this year to take advantage of Club Carlson’s promotion. With 4 stays, we’ve accumulated 80k points already. My husband does have quite a few one night stays, then we don’t know which promo would earn us the most points. Seems as if they are all geared to 2+ nights. Ay ideas on one night stays to maximize point earn?

  5. my offer is nothing like this……so I guess everyone’s is different and you have to watch out because the previous one I completed and then they told me I was one day off …..which I don’t believe I was

  6. Only a “no brainer” if you can get cheap stays to meet the promotion requirements. And also if you’re going to Paris and would have been willing to pay the 681 euro for that room without points. Otherwise you’re lying to yourself about the value of the points.

    Look at the average redemption value of IHG points and you’ll get quite a different story. You’re paying 30,000 INR (~$480 USD) for 50,000 points which are worth, on average, about $300-350. Yes, you also get a couple hotel nights in there and a spend at the bar (make sure that the F&B spend counts outside of a stay!!) but looking only at the value of the points I’d say the math does not truly support the plan.

    • @seth, you missed the value of the second free night she is getting as well, a free night certificate anywhere in the world. Additionally, the mattress run is only one night because everything else is something we would have done anyways!

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