22,000 points in one night

It’s been a long time since I’ve paid for a night at an IHG property.  For years I’ve read about opportunities to stack promo codes together to earn a huge number of points per stay, but I’ve never had the opportunity to try it.  Finally, last week, purely out of curiosity, I decided to book a night at a nearby IHG hotel.  I wanted to see how many points I could get.

I began by signing up for every promo code I could find.  I first tried the codes listed on this travel.Bart.LA post.  Then I went to the third post on this Flyertalk thread and attempted to register for every code listed.  The IHG online registration form can be found here.  With many of the codes I was told that I was ineligible, but 15 of the codes registered successfully.

After finding a reasonably low rate at Candlewood Suites ($90.99), I found that the uPromise cash back portal was offering 6% cash back.  I clicked through from the portal and booked a night.  Then, I checked in.  I went to my room, took some pictures, used the bathroom, answered a few emails, and then left.  On my way out I pocketed my complimentary bag of popcorn:

Candlewood_Suites_popcorn

I used my IHG Visa to pay for the room.  While this is one of my favorite cards thanks to its annual free night at any IHG property in the world, I don’t usually use it for day to day spend.  I get much more value from other cards.  At an IHG property, though, the IHG Visa card gets 5 points per dollar which makes it a reasonably good option.

Results

It took almost a week for my stay points to post.  The total room charge came to $101 after taxes. And, yesterday, uPromise sent confirmation of $5.46 cash back.  So, my total out of pocket expenses came to $95.54.  In exchange for that, I got a bag of popcorn, 505 points from my credit card, and 21,682 points from my stay.  If we ignore the value of the bag of popcorn, that comes to a total of 22,187 points at a cost of .43 cents per point.  That’s not the most amazing deal ever, but it’s not bad.  Here’s the breakdown of the points earned for my stay:

IHG_points_from_stay_details

Discussion

I don’t recommend checking into an IHG property just for the points like I did.  There are better opportunities out there.  However, if you plan to pay for a stay somewhere anyway, this is a fantastic way to get a huge bonanza of points in return.  Note that your results will differ from mine.  Some will get more points, some will get fewer.  It all depends upon which promotions you qualify for.  And, different promotions have different requirements for fulfillment. 

I’ve thought about using this one stay as a springboard towards trying to maximize earnings in IHG’s Big Win promotion.  My targeted Big Win offer, though, was fairly lackluster.  I would have to complete at least 3 more stays to earn a total of 34,000 “Big Win” points.  I’m not sure it’s worth it.  And, unfortunately, most of the promo codes I used were one time only bonuses.  So, I can’t count on windfalls like this on future stays.

This experiment didn’t break any new ground — many other bloggers have written about these opportunities in the past.  But, ‘m glad I did it.  It was fun and I walked away 22,000 points richer.  And, my family enjoyed the popcorn very much.  Thanks IHG!

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Nice! I’m like you in that I’ve heard about these deals but have never tried one. I tossed around the idea of completing my Big Win (which just requires 3 stays) – I figure with all the promo codes those 3 stays should run about $250 and net somewhere in the range of 70,000 points.

    That’s about 35c a point, which is right in the range that you got and I think my thoughts are the same as yours – it’s okay but not a spectacular deal…

  2. Just stayed at a Candlewood suites and used a few of the codes that in the thread Mel mentions. I wasn’t bold enough to try to add all of them (kicking myself!), but I got an easy additional 4000 points. I, too, have a very lackluster “big win” at the moment. My husband’s is much better, so maybe we will do that one. And then I can try stacking all of the codes for him.

  3. I’m staying at a HIE in Berlin (25 Euros a night) and signed up for a bunch of the codes a few weeks ago when Gary posted 10 or so. Do you need to register for the codes before checking in or before checking out?

  4. I had used most codes before, but got 8 new ones to register. 5 worked for about 11K points. On my next stay I got nothing. If my next stay does the same I guess I’m just waiting for new codes for a while.

    I stay IHG a lot for business so I will be doing my 82K Big Win. 4 stays into that (always one night stays) with six to go. 2 Saturdays will have to be out of my money.

  5. Great Promo codes available- I had to travel for work last week and signed up for as many codes as I could and earned 24,000 promo bonus points. I’ve registered the promo codes before with IHG, but never earned close to that.

  6. My Big Win is 96k points for 4 stays so I plan to get going on it. My question is if the Elite bonus codes only work for real elite level IHG members or should I register for those as well? Thanks!

  7. Just an FYI, as I commented on Gary’s post when I noticed, I actually added a bunch of promos after checking out (within a few hours of check out before boarding my flight) and received all of the promo points. YMMV of course, however great for the procrastinators or people that forget until the last second (like myself)

  8. This is all well and good, but you really messed up with… popcorn! I mean, you failed to even mention the opportunity cost of grabbing that free popcorn. Just think of all the extra points you could have gotten for buying the popcorn yourself! Using your 5x anywhere, Kohls cash, gift card churning techniques and that other thing, you could have severely increased the number of points, especially considering that you received zero of them for grabbing the popcorn from your room. Just sayin’!

  9. Isn’t there a new FT thread about people getting their IHG account closed and points confiscated because of exactly this sort of thing (registering for every conceivable code under the sun)?

  10. Do we have to book a room at a non-discounted rate in order to be eligible for these bonus points. I am about to book as a senior citizen and will be most unhappy if that renders the codes unusable. Please advise.

    • You can use a discount rate as long as you book directly with IHG. If you book through an online travel agency (expedia, travelocity, Priceline, etc) you probably won’t get the points

      • I just stayed at a Candlewood Suites in Brentwood, TN 2 nights ago. I am eager to see if any of those promo codes will have worked for me. I reserved at the senior discount rate.

        • So my final tally on an $80 room was 12k points. Unfortunately, my account was set up to auto-transfer to Delta at a 2:1 ratio so I ended up with 0 IHG points and 6,000 Delta points.

          Disappointed about that auto-transfer. It’s an indication of how many years it’s been since I tinkered with the personal settings.

          Qualifying Nights = 1

          === BONUSES ===
          o MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 500Delta Airlines mi.
          o 1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 500Delta Airlines mi.
          o WELCOME BACK BONUS 500Delta Airlines mi.
          o New Stay Bonus 500Delta Airlines mi.
          o ELITE MEMBER WINBACK BONUS 1,000Delta Airlines mi.
          o ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 1,000Delta Airlines mi.
          1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 500Delta Airlines mi.
          o WELCOME BACK BONUS 500Delta Airlines mi.
          o NEXT STAY BONUS 500Delta Airlines mi.
          o NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 500Delta Airlines mi.

  11. You beat me. I got 18K points for I night at the Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare using a voucher from United Airlines when they cancelled my flight. I paid $0 for the night and sat in the terminal signing up for all the bonus offers I could find before going to the hotel.

    I always ask for IHG branded hotels when airlines are paying because many other chains don’t give points on airline vouchers.

  12. You would not BELIEVE how cheap hotels are going for in NYC right now. I’m flying out there Friday for the Super Bowl and I found a Holiday Inn in midtown for $90!!! ****$90!!!*** I was able to register for about 11 of the codes listed, so we’ll see how many bonus points end up posting. In my case, I was about to redeem 35k IHG pts for a free night anyway, so my math is that I’m cancelling the free night stay, doing a paid stay, and if all things go well, it’ll be like I had 55k more points than I had originally planned for aprox $115. That’s silly. 0.2 cents/point value if I think of it that way. Plus it leaves me with enough points for a ski weekend in the mtns…

  13. Thanks for the great post! Love your blog and gets TONS of tips through it (as well as great credit card offers).
    I’m new to the IHG brand. Just signed up for a bunch of codes. I got 12 emails of successful sign-ups, but only four are displaying on My Account on IHG site. Do you know if that means I only will have four when I book a room? Did you check to see which were displayed on your IHG account before booking?
    Again, thanks for the advice and keep up the great work!

    • Hmm, no I didn’t check to see which ones showed up on my account. I didn’t even know you could! Anyway, it currently shows 6 offers on my account and shows that four of them are completed. So, clearly I earned more bonuses than were tracked here.

  14. Hopefully this thread is still open for discussion because I have a question. If I register a bunch of promo codes and then book a “cash + points” reservation, would I be eligible or ineligible for those promotions?

  15. I think this deal got even hotter with the 2014 coupons (referenced in a new FT thread)! This is the breakdown of bonus points I got for one night at a holiday inn express:

    NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 3,000 pts.
    1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 1,000 pts.
    WELCOME BACK BONUS 1,500 pts.
    ANNIVERSARY BONUS OFFER 1,000 pts.
    New Stay Bonus 1,500 pts.
    ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 3,000 pts.
    ELITE MEMBER WINBACK BONUS 3,000 pts.
    ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 3,000 pts.
    ELITE MEMBER NEXT STAY BONUS 3,000 pts.
    1,000 BONUS POINTS FOR 60 DAYS 1,000 pts.
    ANNIVERSARY BONUS OFFER 1,000 pts.
    WELCOME BACK BONUS 1,500 pts.
    NEXT STAY BONUS 1,500 pts.
    NEW MEMBER BONUS PROMOTION 1,500 pts.

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