StayVancouver is offering American Express gift cards worth $50-$125 for your first night when booking a stay in Vancouver, along with $50 for each additional night.
This has the potential to be a great deal, but do your research to see if it’ll be more rewarding to book directly.
- Get an American Express gift card worth $50-$125 on hotel bookings made for Vancouver, with an additional $50 for each additional night.
- Direct link to offer.
- Book through StayVancouverHotels.com using promo code “AMEX”.
- Booking subsequent nights as separate reservations will be treated the same as a single reservation for multiple nights.
- The first night qualifies for the full reward amount plus $50 per subsequent night.
- Stay must be between now and April 30, 2019.
- Three bookings maximum.
- Amex card(s) will be delivered at check-in.
- Bookings can be made using VISA, MasterCard, or American Express.
- This offer is limited and may end at any time.
- Non-cancellable promotion.
This promotion has been run several times in the past (e.g. here and here) and offers the potential for some great savings. For example, searching on a random weekend in February displays rooms from just $101 before tax that come with a $75 gift card.
If you’re a little wary of staying at a HoJo or Ramada, there are some reasonably priced mid-range options offering a $100 gift card.
Before booking any of these options though, check their costs when booking directly and take into account portal cashback, points, status benefits, etc. that you’d be forgoing.
Let’s take the Holiday Inn listed above for example. A two night stay from February 8-10 would cost a total of $387.73 including tax. I’m not sure if StayVancouver codes as travel, so we’ll say you pay with a 2% credit card, thereby earning $7.75 cashback. You’d also earn a $150 Amex gift card ($100 for the first night and $50 for the second), making the net cost $229.98.
We’ll now compare that to booking the property with IHG directly. The room rate is cheaper than StayVancouver, so it comes to a total of $334.85, although that’s still ~$105 more than the net cost by booking via StayVancouver. There are some other factors to consider though.
First of all, portal cashback. Ebates and TopCashback are both currently offering 8% on the base rate for IHG bookings, so that would be $22.80 cashback.
Next, there’s the points you’d earn if booking directly. This will vary depending on your situation, but we’ll assume you have the IHG Premier credit card and therefore have Platinum status. You’ll earn 10 base points per dollar, 5 bonus points per dollar for Platinum status and 10 points per dollar by paying for the stay with the IHG Premier card. Assuming you get at least 250 points as a Welcome Amenity, that comes to a total of 7,874 points.
There’s also the points you’d earn from promotions. Here are my tasks for the latest IHG promotion:
I’m planning on completing these, other than the Earn More, Faster task. A February stay at a Holiday Inn would therefore be worth 1/3 of the 28,800 points, 1/2 of the 2,800 points, all of the 3,000 points and 1/3 of the 19,100 achievement bonus. When thought of in those terms (and assuming I did indeed subsequently complete all the tasks), the stay would be worth 20,367 bonus points. When added to the points previously listed above, that’s a total of 28,241 points.
The Reasonable Redemption Value for IHG Rewards Club points is 0.57cpp, making 28,241 points worth $160.97. Taking the $334.85 rate and subtracting both the $22.80 portal cashback and $160.97 points value results in a net cost of $151.08. That’s almost $80 less than booking via StayVancouver, plus you’d be earning elite night credits. This is obviously an extreme example as it’s based on a rewarding promotion. That won’t be the case in many scenarios, but it’s a good example as to why you need to compare options based on your own travel habits to ascertain where the best value lies.
Finally, bear in mind the status benefits you’d be missing out on. In this particular example it’s unlikely you’d be missing anything seeing as IHG doesn’t offer free breakfast as a guaranteed benefit, even to Spire Elite members. If you have status with Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, etc. though, booking via StayVancouver would mean you’d likely miss out on free breakfast, lounge access, etc.
Remember that both the prices displayed on the StayVancouver website and the value of the American Express gift cards are in CAD rather than USD. Canadian-issued Amex gift cards can be used in the US though, so you don’t have to worry about using them up during your Vancouver trip.
This promotion also requires that you book a prepaid, non-cancellable and non-refundable rate, so that will limit its usefulness for some.