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Sunday, 10 July 2016

The BEST Hotel Points Deal Around, How to Get the Points, And How To Get An Upgrade

Coming later this month, IHG, the Intercontinental Hotel Group, will be releasing, as they do every 3 months, their list of hotels worldwide that they will offer a "point break" on--meaning, whatever the regular number of points you would need to stay at any of the hotels on the list, from 10K and up, many times, over 20K per night, are only 5K per night.
You can stay as many nights as you wish in these hotels, and up to 2 reservations per hotel.  So for example, you could stay for 3 weeks and then a month later, within the 3 months that the deal is valid, stay for a weekend.
Unfortunately, the best way to get IHG points, other than staying at IHG properties and paying for the stays, is with the Capital One Canada IHG Mastercard, which is no longer accepting new applications since September 2015.  As a supervisor explained to me last week, it was due to IHG ending the relationship, and I should be happy that they didn't outright cancel the card as Delta did with Capital One Canada.
BUT, there is still another way of getting IHG points for Canadians.  First, you'll need to have an IHG account.  Sign up here for one.  Then, you'll need points to get points--if you have points, for example, around 20800 Aeroplan points, you can exchange those on for 15028 IHG Points.  Maybe not the best exchange rate, but at least you'll be in the game then.
Once you've made that exchange, log in to your IHG account, find a Toronto hotel, for example, for any night, and you'll see an IHG Rewards Club offer of using points combined with cash--the $70 option, meaning you'll spend $70 for 10K IHG points--that means you're paying $35USD/night for what could be a VERY nice hotel--I always choose either Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites or Candlewood Suites.  While a points night usually involves a regular room, Crowne, Staybridge, and Candlewood suites all have larger suites, including ones with full kitchens.  If they have availability in the larger suites (check first) and you'd like to have one because of the size of your family, send a nice email to the Front Desk Manager asking for an upgrade, that even without status, you may have some success getting.
Here's what the page may look like when you try to do this trick.  This screen shot is for the Holiday Inn Express Downtown Toronto. You'll see below that if you combine points and cash, you'll get refunded fully in points--so the 15K you initially put down, you get back, and the $70USD will be refunded as 10K IHG points extra in your account!

IHG® Rewards Club Reward Nights
  • FREE Cancellation until 6:00 PM local hotel time on January 17, 2017
  • No deposit required
  • Breakfast included
  • Points + Cash bookings are charged immediately, and cancellations are refunded in points only.
* per night

This is how to do an upgrade, for ANY hotel, ANYWHERE:
A good idea is to go on Trip Advisor after seeing which hotel you'd like to stay at.  Find the hotel on there and see the name of the manager who's responding to the reviews.  Call the hotel and ask for that person's email address.  Write the person an email explaining how you're a Trip Advisor reviewer (hopefully you ARE), how you read favourable reviews on the website (you wouldn't be wanting to stay there otherwise), and how you would appreciate an upgrade to a suite that will fit your family.
Many Marriott properties won't give it until the day you check in, as they want to sell out the pricier rooms, not give them away.  Especially true if you would like an upgrade for many days, as opposed to a couple on non-peak dates, but I find IHG is more flexible on upgrades than Marriott is.
Much success to you!

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