October 24 2015

New PointBreaks List Goes Live on Monday

Every few months, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) releases a new PointBreaks list. I consider PointBreaks one of the best deals in hotel loyalty programs, with award nights offered at the deeply discounted rate of 5,000 points per night.

IHG brands consist of the following:

IHG brands

A new set of PointBreaks properties will be released for booking on Monday (October 26). The list of properties can be found on IHG’s blog (here), and I have also pasted it below.

I value an IHG point at 0.7 cents, so being able to book a room for 5,000 points is like spending $35. Having the co-branded credit card gives you a 10% rebate on redemptions, effectively lowering the cost to 4,500 points per night.

$35 a night is a good deal at just about any decent hotel anywhere. But among the 100+ properties on each PointBreaks list, there is usually a handful of extraordinary deals – InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Hotel Indigo properties that normally require up to 50,000 points for an award night (or several hundred dollars for a paid night).

A few potential gems in this round:

There are also a few properties within a short drive or flight of my home that I’ll consider for weekend getaways

 

Ways to acquire IHG points

If you’re short on points, I previously suggested ways to earn IHG Rewards points. Among the methods described is a way to indirectly buy points for $0.007 each.

 

Booking strategy

These properties are offered at the PointBreaks rate from October 26, 2015 to January 31, 2016, but award nights are capacity controlled and desirable properties only last a few hours (if that). So if you’re interested I’d be poised to book as soon as the booking window opens.

The PointBreaks rate usually loads sometime between 8 to 10 AM Eastern on the day booking opens. However, the official PointBreaks page usually doesn’t display the new properties until the afternoon – by which time many desirable properties are gone. (If you go to that page before the new round is loaded, you’ll just see properties from the prior round still there.)

So here’s my strategy in advance of each new round:

  • Check out the preview list now and identify properties I’m interested in.
  • On the Eastern Time morning of the day booking opens (Monday, October 26 for this round), go to the webpage of each desired property (accessible from the links below) and navigate to the booking page.
  • Find the 5,000­ points-­per-­night ­rate and book it! Again, the exact time the PointBreaks rate loads is unknown, but it’s usually between 8-­10 AM EST. I just periodically refresh the page until it appears (while working on other things in another window).
IC Cairo
The InterContinental Cairo on the banks of the Nile – a steal at $35/night (photo: IHG)

 

Preview list

Below is the full list as of this writing. Once a property sells out of PointBreaks nights it drops off the PointBreaks page and the 5,000-­point rate no longer displays.

Remember each member may make up to two PointBreaks reservations per property. A reservation can be of any duration (availability permitting).

 

ASIA / AFRICA / MIDDLE EAST

 

EUROPE

Belgium

Czech Republic

Finland

France

Germany

Italy

Lithuania

Poland

Russia

Slovakia

Spain

Turkey

United Kingdom

 

THE AMERICAS

Brazil

Canada

Columbia

Costa Rica

Guatemala

Mexico

Nicaragua

Panama

 

THE USA

Alabama

Arkansas

Arizona

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Iowa

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Massachusetts

Maryland

Michigan

Minnesota

Missouri

Mississippi

Montana

North Carolina

North Dakota

Nebraska

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

Nevada

New York

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Vermont

Washington

Wisconsin

West Virginia

 

December 12 2014

IHG Bonus Points Offer – To Buy or Not To Buy?

[If you came here just for the free donuts, the information is at the bottom of this post. 😉 ]

IHG Rewards Club, the loyalty program of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), is currently offering a bonus when you buy points in the program.

IHG Bonus Pts Offer

A few people have asked me if it’s worth it. My answer – as it is to most questions in life – is “it depends.”

The offer

IHG normally sells points for as low as 1.15 cents each. Here’s the price chart:

IHG Bonus Pts Rates

That is not a good deal considering they can be acquired for 0.7 cents by other means (discussed here).

However, this promotion gives you a certain bonus when buying points.

But not everyone is offered the same bonus. The various offers are 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. You can find out which you received here.

This is the effective cost per point with each offer:

IHG Bonus Pts CPP

Analysis

If you received a 50% offer or below, it does not make sense to buy points this way (since you can acquire them for cheaper, at 0.7 cents each, as mentioned above).

If you got a 75% or 100% offer, then I could see it making sense if both of the following are true:

  • You think IHG points are worth more than these sale prices. I personally value an IHG point at about 0.7 cents, so I think prices are favorable if you received the 75% or the 100% offer.
  • You have a specific, near-term use for them. I would not buy points just to hoard them as (1) loyalty points can be – and often are – devalued at whim by the company, and (2) I think it unwise to convert a liquid asset (cash) to an illiquid one (hotel points with little value outside their loyalty program) without good reason.

Here’s an example where it does make sense to buy points. Below is the price of a room at the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam on a random date this summer.

IC Amstel 2

As you see, for one night the cash rate is €1,460 (about $1,800 at today’s exchange rate).

Instead of paying cash, you can book a night for 40,000 points – which can be purchased for $230 with the 100% bonus offer (40,000 x $0.00575) or $263 with the 75% offer.

I’ve used this example before, and it’s a fairly extreme example, but it’s good for illustration.

But be sure to check award availability at your desired hotel before purchasing points!

Bonus tip

Treat yourself to a free dozen Krispy Kreme donuts (with purchase).

Krispy Kreme Dozen

Coupon is available here and offer is valid only today (December 12). Enjoy!

November 30 2014

2,000 Bonus Points for Enrolling in IHG Rewards Club

IHG Rewards Club, the loyalty program of Intercontinental Hotels Group, is offering 2,000 bonus points for simply signing up. You can do so here.

IHG Signup Bonus

I believe IHG offers one of the best values in hotel loyalty programs: award nights for the heavily discounted rate of 5,000 points (the equivalent of $35) per night with its PointBreaks program.

2,000 points is 40% of the way to a free night through PointBreaks. If you don’t already have an account, it’s definitely worth a few minutes to sign up.

In case you’re unfamiliar with IHG, its brands consist of the following:

IHG Brands

The offer expires December 7, 2014.

 

November 24 2014

Luxury Hotels for $35/Night – New PointBreaks Properties Now Bookable

Every few months, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) releases a new PointBreaks list. I consider PointBreaks one of the best deals in hotel loyalty programs, with award nights offered at the deeply discounted rate of 5,000 points per night.

IHG brands consist of the following: IHG Brands

A new set of PointBreaks properties was released for booking today. The list can be found here, and I have also pasted it below for convenience.

I value an IHG point at $0.007 (seven tenths of one cent), so being able to book a room for 5,000 points is like spending $35.

$35 a night is a good deal for just about any decent hotel property anywhere.

But among the 100+ properties on each PointBreaks list, there is usually a handful of extraordinary deals – InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Hotel Indigo properties that normally require up to 50,000 points for an award night (or several hundred dollars for a paid night).

PalacePortGhalib
The Palace Port Ghalib Resort in Egypt

A few of the gems on the list, in my opinion:

 

Ways to acquire IHG points

If you’re short on points, I previously wrote about how to earn IHG Rewards points. Among the methods described, there is a way to indirectly buy points for $0.007 each.

 

List of participating properties

Below is the full list as of this writing. The offer is valid through February 28, 2015, but award nights are capacity controlled and desirable properties go quickly so if interested I would book as soon as possible.

Once a property sells out of PointBreaks nights it drops off the PointBreaks page and the 5,000-point rate no longer displays for booking.

Each member may make up to two PointBreaks reservations per property. A reservation can be of any duration (availability permitting).

 

UNITED STATES

ALABAMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MONTGOMERY – EAST I-85
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SYLACAUGA

ARIZONA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ORO VALLEY-
TUCSON NORTH

CANDLEWOOD SUITES TUCSON

ARKANSAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MALVERN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MORRILTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VAN BUREN-
FT SMITH AREA

CALIFORNIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES INDIO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES JACKSON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LIVERMORE
HOLIDAY INN PALMDALE-LANCASTER
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES TEHACHAPI
HWY 58/MILL ST.

COLORADO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CO SPRINGS-
AIR FORCE ACADEMY

CONNECTICUT
HOLIDAY INN NEW LONDON – MYSTIC AREA
EVEN HOTEL NORWALK

DELAWARE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES DOVER

FLORIDA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BARTOW
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BROOKSVILLE WEST
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LIVE OAK
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PANAMA CITY-TYNDALL

GEORGIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AUGUSTA EAST
STAYBRIDGE SUITES COLUMBUS – FORT BENNING
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HINESVILLE EAST –
FORT STEWART

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MOULTRIE

IDAHO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SANDPOINT NORTH

ILLINOIS
STAYBRIDGE SUITES AURORA/NAPERVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BOURBONNAIS (KANKAKEE/BRADLEY)
CANDLEWOOD SUITES CHAMPAIGN-URBANA UNIV AREA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MATTOON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MORRIS

INDIANA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES KOKOMO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS WASHINGTON

IOWA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CEDAR RAPIDS-I-380
@ 33RD AVE

CANDLEWOOD SUITES SIOUX CITY – SOUTHERN HILLS

KENTUCKY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HAZARD

LOUISIANA
CROWNE PLAZA EXECUTIVE CENTER BATON ROUGE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS COVINGTON-MADISONVILLE
CANDLEWOOD SUITES DENHAM SPRINGS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MORGAN CITY –
TIGER ISLAND

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES NEW IBERIA-
AVERY ISLAND 

MAINE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BIDDEFORD

MARYLAND
CANDLEWOOD SUITES ABERDEEN-EDGEWOOD-BEL AIR
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BALTIMORE WEST –
CATONSVILLE

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS WASHINGTON DC – BW PARKWAY

MICHIGAN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CANTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HASTINGS
CROWNE PLAZA LANSING WEST
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES DETROIT
NORTH – TROY

MINNESOTA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ROGERS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ST. PAUL NE
(VADNAIS HEIGHTS)

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WILLMAR

MISSISSIPPI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CORINTH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FULTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GRENADA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES JACKSON
DOWNTOWN – COLISEUM

HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES TUPELO NORTH

MISSOURI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MARYVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SIKESTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ST. JOSEPH

MONTANA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GLENDIVE
CANDLEWOOD SUITES SIDNEY

NEBRASKA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES OMAHA AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES YORK

NEVADA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES WINNEMUCCA

NEW JERSEY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CARNEYS POINT
NJ TRNPK EXIT 1

NEW MEXICO
CROWNE PLAZA ALBUQUERQUE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES DEMING
MIMBRES VALLEY

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LOS ALAMOS
ENTRADA PARK

NEW YORK
STAYBRIDGE SUITES BUFFALO-AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PAINTED POST – CORNING AREA

NORTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GOLDSBORO –
BASE AREA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HICKORY-HICKORY MART
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MONROE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ROANOKE RAPIDS SE
STAYBRIDGE SUITES WILMINGTON EAST

OHIO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BOWLING GREEN
HOLIDAY INN DAYTON/FAIRBORN I-675
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MARION
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VAN WERT

OKLAHOMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CHICKASHA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES MIDWEST CITY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GLENPOOL-
TULSA SOUTH

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PRYOR

PENNSYLVANIA
HOLIDAY INN BENSALEM-PHILADELPHIA AREA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PITTSBURGH SW – SOUTHPOINTE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS EXTON-LIONVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GREENSBURG
HOLIDAY INN WILKES BARRE – EAST MOUNTAIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES YORK

SOUTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SUMTER

TENNESSEE
CANDLEWOOD SUITES KNOXVILLE AIRPORT-ALCOA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MORRISTOWN

TEXAS
CROWNE PLAZA DALLAS NEAR GALLERIA-ADDISON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HOUSTON-ALVIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FAIRFIELD-NORTH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FLORESVILLE
HOLIDAY INN DALLAS-FORT WORTH AIRPORT S 
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GRAHAM

UTAH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SPRINGVILLE-
SOUTH PROVO AREA

VIRGINIA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES CHANTILLY – FAIRFAX
CANDLEWOOD SUITES HARRISONBURG
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SUFFOLK
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WINCHESTER

WASHINGTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS VANCOUVER NORTH –
SALMON CREEK

WEST VIRGINIA
HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES BARBOURSVILLE
CANDLEWOOD SUITES LOGAN

WISCONSIN
CANDLEWOOD SUITES LA CROSSE
STAYBRIDGE SUITES MADISON-EAST
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PLEASANT PRAIRIE /
KENOSHA

WYOMING
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BUFFALO

EUROPE

BELGIUM

CROWNE PLAZA LIÈGE

FINLAND
CROWNE PLAZA HELSINKI

FRANCE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS STRASBOURG – SUD
CROWNE PLAZA LYON – CITE INTERNATIONALE

GERMANY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AUGSBURG
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS STUTTGART AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS NEUNKIRCHEN
HOLIDAY INN STUTTGART
CROWNE PLAZA WIESBADEN

IRELAND
CROWNE PLAZA DUNDALK

ITALY
HOLIDAY INN SALERNO – CAVA DE’ TIRRENI
HOLIDAY INN NOLA – NAPLES VULCANO BUONO

RUSSIA
HOLIDAY INN MOSCOW – SOKOLNIKI

SPAIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MADRID – GETAFE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS VALENCIA – BONAIRE

SWITZERLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AFFOLTERN AM ALBIS

TURKEY
CROWNE PLAZA ISTANBUL – ASIA

UNITED KINGDOM
STAYBRIDGE SUITES BIRMINGHAM
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BIRMINGHAM – SNOW HILL
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS EAST MIDLANDS AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN SOLIHULL

ASIA

INDIA
HOLIDAY INN AMRITSAR RANJIT AVENUE
HOLIDAY INN COCHIN
CROWNE PLAZA KOCHI

INDONESIA
HOLIDAY INN JAKARTA KEMAYORAN 

MALAYSIA
HOLIDAY INN KUALA LUMPUR GLENMARIE

THAILAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BANGKOK SATHORN

CHINA-PEOPLES REPUBLIC
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BEIJING YIZHUANG
CROWNE PLAZA BEIJING LIDO 
HOLIDAY INN TEMPLE OF HEAVEN BEIJING
HOLIDAY INN CHENGDU XINDU
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CHENGDU WEST GATE 
HOLIDAY INN HOHHOT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SHANGHAI GONGKANG 

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

EGYPT
INTERCONTINENTAL THE PALACE PORT GHALIB RESORT

JORDAN
HOLIDAY INN AMMAN
HOLIDAY INN RESORT DEAD SEA

MAURITIUS
HOLIDAY INN MAURITIUS AIRPORT

QATAR
CROWNE PLAZA DOHA – THE BUSINESS PARK

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
HOLIDAY INN ABU DHABI

CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

ARGENTINA
HOLIDAY INN ROSARIO

BRAZIL
HOLIDAY INN PORTO ALEGRE

CHILE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS IQUIQUE

ECUADOR
HOLIDAY INN GUAYAQUIL AIRPORT

PANAMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PANAMA DISTRITO FINANCIERO

MEXICO

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CABO SAN LUCAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SALTILLO ZONA AEROPUERTO
CROWNE PLAZA TORREON
HOLIDAY INN CAMPECHE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PUEBLA ANGELOPOLIS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SAN LUIS POTOSI
CROWNE PLAZA XALAPA
INTERCONTINENTAL PRESIDENTE MERIDA

CANADA 

BRITISH COLUMBIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS FORT ST JOHN

NEW BRUNSWICK
CROWNE PLAZA FREDERICTON-LORD BEAVERBROOK

 

September 17 2014

Free Coffee, Up to 33% off Hotels, and an IHG Points Purchase Promo

Good afternoon! This will have to be another quick post but there are a few deals today I thought worth sharing…

$100 off a Travelocity hotel booking of $300+ (link)

This deal is valid only through 11:59 PM Pacific today (September 17), but if it fits your plans it’s a nice discount.

Use code BIGDAYHOTEL100 for $100 off a Travelocity hotel stay of $300 or more. Note that “pay later” hotel options are excluded.

Travelocity $100 off $300+

(If you’re a package-deal kind of person, also note code BIGDAYPKG100 saves $100 on a flight + hotel package of $500+.)

Up to 100% bonus on purchased IHG Rewards points (link)

In what is the largest bonus I recall ever seeing on purchased IHG points, you can earn a 100% bonus when buying 50,000 to 60,000 IHG points. The bonus offer expires September 22.

IHG Points Bonus

IHG Rewards is InterContinental Hotels Group’s loyalty program. The group’s brands include Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, and InterContinental Hotels, among others.

If you buy 50,000 points through this promotion, you’d pay $575 and end up with 100,000 points. Your net price would be $0.00575 per point.

Since I value IHG points at $0.007 apiece (and there is also an indirect way to obtain points at that rate), I think this promotion is decent. However, I would only buy points if I had a specific redemption in mind.

I don’t buy points just to hoard them as (1) loyalty points can be – and often are – devalued at whim by the company, and (2) I think it unwise to convert a liquid asset (cash) into an illiquid one (hotel points with little value outside their loyalty program) without good reason.

But if you had a specific use for IHG points, this promotion can be compelling.

Take, for example, the InterContinental Amstel. I pulled up a random date in May 2015 and the nightly rate was from €1,460 (about $1,900).

IC Amstel 2

Since a reward night requires 40,000 points, you can effectively book on points instead for $230 (40,000 x $0.00575). (But be sure to check reward availability before buying points!)

Free coffee at McDonald’s (link)

McDonald's

Finally, if you’re near a McDonald’s during breakfast hours, stop in for a free McCafe coffee through September 29. 🙂

 

September 9 2014

Free Money, $15 Flights, and Fall Hotel Promos

Long time no post – hope everyone is well! I’m in the middle of a crazy month and have a lot of catching up to do on the travel-deals front, but here are some quick tidbits.

 

Free money

American Express has a nice little Sync offer for $15 off a purchase of $100+ at Staples.com. (Note this offer is online only.)

Amex Sync Staples

I don’t need any merchandise from Staples right now so I just bought bought a Visa gift card. The gift card has a $6.95 fee so you come out ahead by about $8. While that’s not a life-changing amount, it’s also not a bad return for 90 seconds of my time to place the order.

For a nice double dip if you are in the market for a computer, combine the Sync promo with Staples’ current offer of $150 off all laptops, desktops, and all-in-one PCs regularly priced $499+. (Use coupon code 62638; expires Sep. 13, 2014.)

Staples $150 Discount

If you find a computer that is on sale for less than $499 the coupon still works as long as the regular price is $499+.

Staples.com also carries third-party gift cards – Starbucks, Gap, Groupon, iTunes, and many others – so even if you don’t need anything from Staples itself this Amex deal can still be useful.

Unfortunately this is a targeted offer so there is no Twitter or Facebook registration that I know of. You’ll have to log on to your Amex account and see if you were targeted.

If you’re unfamiliar, read my primer on Amex Sync offers for details and instructions on how to use these deals.

 

More free money

If you have a Bank of America credit card, there is a BankAmeriDeals promotion offering 10% cash back on a purchase amount up to $125 at Staples.

Staples BofA Offer

You should find (and register for) this offer in the “Cash Back Deals” tab when logged in to your BofA account if you’re eligible.

 

Frontier $15 flights

Today only, Frontier Airlines has $15 fares from Denver to select destinations on select dates.

Frontier Denver

The applicable markets and dates can be found here, and I’ve also pasted them below for convenience.

Frontier Denver Fares & Dates

Do note that Frontier has fees for carry-on bags, although items fitting under the seat are free.

 

Hotel promotions

It’s the time of year when hotels announce their Fall promotions, so don’t forget to register!

Starwood’s More for You promo:

  • Earn double Starpoints on stays of two or more eligible nights and triple Starpoints if they include a weekend night.
  • Register by October 31, stay between September 15 and December 15, 2014.

IHG’s Into the Nights promo:

  • Has individualized offers, depending on your account history and stay patterns, but promises “at least two” free nights in addition to a number of bonus points.
  • Most offers I’ve seen are pretty compelling; mine specifically has requirements that can be fulfilled with three (cheap) stays (at Holiday Inns). I would gladly pay for three sub-$100 Holiday Inn stays (on days when I’m traveling and need hotel stays anyway) to earn two free nights (which I would use at high-end properties where rates can easily exceed $500/night).
  • Must register. Stays must be completed by December 31, 2014.

And, though it’s been out for a while, don’t forget about Hilton’s Triple Your Trip promotion which runs through October 31.

 

Vancouver hotels – $50 gas card per stay

Finally, beVancouver is offering a $50 gas card for Fall stays at participating hotels in Vancouver. Although not nearly as lucrative as past promotions I’ve seen from them, this is still a decent offer if you happen to need a hotel in Vancouver during the promotion period anyway.

The booking calendar goes through October 31, 2014 so I assume that is the end date of this offer.

There are many sub-$100 rates so a $50 gas card in return isn’t shabby.

 

Enjoy the deals, and as always please read all T&Cs carefully.

 

July 28 2014

New IHG PointBreaks Hotels Bookable for About $35 per Night

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) just released its newest batch of PointBreaks properties.

I consider PointBreaks one of the best deals on hotel stays, with award nights offered at the deeply discounted rate of 5,000 IHG Rewards points per night.

IHG brands include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, and Staybridge Suites, among others.

I value IHG Rewards points at $0.007 each, so using 5,000 points is like spending $35 for a hotel night. A good deal for any IHG property; a fantastic deal for the luxury properties on the list.

As you’ll see in the full list below, there are quite a few upscale properties in this round. In the Central & South America region alone there are four InterContinentals and two Crowne Plazas.

InterContinental Cali pool
The InterContinental Cali – a steal at 5,000 points per night

I pulled up a random date for the InterContinental Cali. The cash rate is $469/night but, as you see below, the PointBreaks rate is only 5,000 points.

InterContinental Cali PB rate

The full list can be found here, and I have pasted it in its entirety below for convenience. These properties are available at the discounted rate through September 30, 2014 (while supplies last).

Ways to acquire IHG points

If you’re short on points, I previously suggested ways to earn IHG Rewards points.

Additionally, IHG is currently running a promotion offering a 60% bonus when you buy points.

IHG Promo - 60 bonus on purchased points
Click to enlarge

If you purchase 11,000 points, you’d pay $138 and receive 17,600 points including the bonus. Your cost would be $0.0078 per point ($138 ÷ 17,600). Buying points this way would enable booking a PointBreaks hotel for about $39/night ($0.0078 x 5,000).

Technically this offer is targeted, but it is widely targeted so if you’re a member just search your inbox for the email (mine came on July 25). If you’re not a member, it doesn’t hurt to sign up and see if you get the email (and if you don’t, call them to request).

With the co-branded credit card (described in this post) you also receive a 10% rebate on award redemptions, meaning your net cost is 4,500 points/night (about $35).

List of participating properties

Below is the full list. Award nights are capacity controlled and desirable properties go quickly so if you would like to snag one I would not dawdle.

Each member is limited to two PointBreaks reservations (of unlimited duration) per property. Once a property sells out of PointBreaks nights the 5,000-point rate will no longer display on the booking page.

 

UNITED STATES

ALABAMA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GADSDEN
W-NEAR ATTALLA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PELHAM – OAK MTN PK AREA

ARKANSAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BENTONVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MOUNTAIN HOME

ARIZONA
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July 1 2014

Hotel Review: Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam-Schiphol

Trip report index:

 

I had an early flight the next morning that required waking up at the butt crack of dawn. Since I didn’t fancy complicating the ordeal with a city-to-airport commute (and waking up even earlier to allow buffer time for mishaps) I stayed at an airport hotel my final night of this trip.

To me, airport hotels are mostly utilitarian – all I need is for them to be clean, safe, comfortable, and easily accessible to/from the airport.

By that standard, the Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam-Schiphol easily beat expectations and I would definitely consider this property again in the future.

The location

Google Maps says the hotel is 8.2 km from the airport, and that’s more or less how far it felt.

The surroundings looked semi-industrial, but I was told there are a few restaurants in walking distance. I didn’t venture out as I’d already had dinner in the city and just wanted to pass out early at that point.

HIE AMS view

The hotel operates a complimentary shuttle, which I used twice. The first time was on arrival – I took the train from the city to Schiphol Airport, then took the hotel shuttle from the airport to the property. It did take a while, but I cannot complain as the hotel says the shuttle comes every 30 minutes and that’s basically how long I waited. My timing was impeccable as always.

(If you’d rather go directly between the hotel and the city, without using the airport shuttle, there is a train stop about ten minutes from the hotel on foot. I didn’t check it out so I can’t comment on whether the walk is safe or pleasant, however.)

I took the shuttle again the next morning to the airport. The shuttle starts running at 5:45 AM (I’m not sure what time it stops at night) and I had a 7:30 flight so I felt I was cutting it close for an international flight, but it worked out fine.

I went downstairs at 5:35 to allow time to check out, and the driver was already waiting in the lobby. We left at 5:45 on the dot.

The room

It was clean and comfortable, which again is basically all I expect from a budget airport hotel.

HIE AMS beds

The interior had a modern but minimalist look.

HIE AMS desk

The shower was roomy.

HIE AMS Shower

The bathroom had no individual toiletries; just a liquid soap dispenser by the sink and a shampoo/bath gel dispenser in the shower.

HIE AMS sink

There was no closet per se; only an exposed bar with a few hangers. I liked that setup as it was easy to get to my stuff without needing to open and close a closet door.

HIE AMS closet

The service & amenities

The hotel restaurant only serves breakfast (included in the room rate). If you get hungry outside of breakfast hours, there is a small selection of drinks and snacks (including a few hot snacks) available for purchase in the lobby and from a vending machine. Also, as mentioned above, I was told there are a few restaurants in walking distance.

Since breakfast service doesn’t start until 6:30 and I had to leave earlier, during check-in I asked if there would at least be a few bagels I could grab in the morning. They said they would pack a breakfast bag for me instead.

When I showed up to check out in the morning, the agent automatically handed me the bag. I’ve had to-go breakfasts from all kinds of hotels – including 5-star properties where the bag itself was like embossed in gold or something – and none were as substantial in content as this.

There were two varieties of bread, a croissant, several types of cold cuts (individually sealed), cheese, jam, yogurt, and fresh fruit. I was a happy camper.

Summary

Solid choice for an airport-close, budget hotel.

Pros:

  • Clean and modern.
  • Great service – see my comment about breakfast. 🙂

Cons:

  • No on-site restaurant aside from breakfast service.

Cost:

  • I redeemed 20,000 IHG Rewards points for one night. Received a 10% rebate from my co-branded credit card for a net cost of 18,000 points.

Link to hotel website.