That’s my potential haul from the Big Win promo this fall and so I started looking at what it would take to net that many points. Keeping in mind that lately my only IHG stays have been the BRG type, I think it would take quite a value proposition to make me actually shift some stays in that direction, but the 145,900 number is pretty big so I actually am sortof considering my options. Here’s how I get to 145,900:
- Try one and done: Stay 1 night – 1000 points
- Stay more & earn more: Stay 5 nights – 10,100 points
- Explore our brands: 3 Brands – 33,000 points
- Book with us: Book 2 stays online – 3,600 points
- Live the city life: Stay in 2 different big cities – 18,000 points
- Win in a weekend: Stay 2 Saturday nights – 7.200 points
- Win big: Complete all 6 – 73,000 points
At a minimum I’m looking at three different stays, each in a different brand totaling five nights and two of them must be on a Saturday. Plus two of them must be in different major cities (New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Vancouver, Montreal, Mexico City and San Paolo; Chicago has hotels listed as participating but isn’t on the T&Cs as a valid city – UPDATE: Chicago is supposedly being added back in to the T&Cs). Among other things, I don’t actually have any plans to be in any of those cities over the next few months, though at least I live in NYC so that’s one I could book on a Saturday night somewhere in the area and check one off. I’m also going to be passing through LA in September but not staying there. I could possibly get a phantom stay in but I’m not sure I’ll have enough time to get from the airport to the hotel and back during the layover to make that work.
Even assuming that I could hit all the targets, I’m still not completely convinced it is a smart move. The cheapest NYC and LA stays I’m seeing are ~$150/night all-in. I have a couple others potentially where I might actually need a stay coming in at an incremental $20-40/night over the other options in the area so I’ll only count the incremental cost there. Still, I’m looking at roughly a $500 investment to get at the points. That’s definitely less than it would cost to buy them via IHG/points.com or the refund trick and also way more than I could buy per the T&Cs (IHG says 40k annually but seems to be willing to sell me 60K). So I should absolutely do it, right??
Except I’m still not convinced. Using the $7/1000 points rate from the “trick” I come up with the following stay values based on the IHG categories:
- 5,000 points (PointBreaks) = $35 per hotel night.
- 10,000 points (category 1) = $70
- 15,000 points (category 2) = $105
- 20,000 points (category 3) = $140
- 25,000 points (category 4) = $175
- 30,000 points (category 5) = $210
- 35,000 points (category 6) = $245
- 40,000 points (category 7) = $280
- 45,000 points (category 8) = $315
- 50,000 points (category 9) = $350
If I knew I’d have a bunch of PointsBreaks redemptions in the near term then the value would be hard to beat; I’d get enough points for nearly a month in IHG hotels with this promo at that redemption level. Even at three Category 9 nights it would seem that I’m roughly doubling my “investment” to try for the promo. But that only really works if I want to spend that much on the hotels anyways. And I rarely do, especially at the upper level. With the $20-40 premium I noted above for comparable nights – a number which I find to be the case relatively consistently with my trips – the value of the points is actually diminished for me from those peak levels.
So instead of realizing ~$1000 in points I’d feel like this would really only be ~$750 at most for me. That’s still a sizable “profit” but I’m having trouble convincing myself it is worth the effort in time and incidental expenses to hit the numbers. And if I’m not going to get it all then I’m really only looking at ~40,000 points and that’s really not worth it to me.
So, how’s my math? Did I miss anything? Should I do it anyways? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think.
Also, a quick warning to everyone looking to cash in on this yourselves: Read the fine print. ALL of it. There are rules specifically for some of the individual “tiles” which are different than commonly accepted ideas, like resort “stays” only counting if they are three nights. Or Chicago hotels listed as participating in the “Live the city life” category even though Chicago isn’t a valid city in the T&Cs (UPDATE: Chicago is supposedly being added back in to the T&Cs). Be VERY careful on this one.
Finally, of marginal note is that IHG has included a “badges” aspect to this promo. For stays at the different brands, logging on to their website or sharing the promo via Facebook/Twitter one can earn badges in the promo microsite. I’m not entirely clear on why they’re doing that, but it seems they are. Not nearly the same level of execution as JetBlue has in their Badges promo.