If you have read my two posts about the Power of Promotions (here and here), as well as the travel I undertook to make these promotions successful (here), you probably want to know how it turned out! After the first promotion was completed successfully (read here), now, finally, after a long wait, some anxiety and follow up, the second promotion, IHG’s “Into the Nights” is wrapped up!
The goals of my IHG “Into the Nights” promotion were not as easy as for some people, but pretty reasonable, allowing me to complete it in an ideal case with a minimum of three nights, including three stays abroad, three Saturday night stays and a bonus package.
IHG’s latest promotions, called the “Big Win” and last quarter “Into the Nights” have caused a whole fountain of digital ink being spilled by angry travelers and bloggers, because of all the issues encountered. For one, because the goals are targeted, frequent guests of IHG end up with much tougher goals than people who have never staid with them, making it somewhat counter productive: I didn’t stay with IHG for a while, because the “Big Win” promotions were plain unattractive to me. This one sounded better, so I signed up and I made an effort to finish it for the great carrot at the end: two free nights at any IHG property world wide!
The other often mentioned issue is that apparently IHG’s IT systems haven’t kept up with the ambitious promotion thought up by their marketing people, resulting in myriad issues with the promotion: From the terms & conditions and even personal goals changing after the promotion already started, to problems getting recognition for stays and people ultimately not getting their rewards, despite spending a lot of money with IHG and meeting their original goals, people had so many issues that many were discouraged and vowed to never stay at IHG again.
While I’m always careful with comments that start with “I will never…”, I was a little anxious about this promotion because of all the problems. It also didn’t help that the terms of one of my goals (Globetrotter – stay at three hotels abroad) changed after I started staying at IHG. Even worse, other travelers reported that the terms actually applied to the Globetrotter goal were even tougher than the final version published! Not only did it require 3 stays at different hotels abroad, it apparently required three stays in different countries!
I didn’t want to take any risks and booked a “mattress run” to stay at a Holiday Inn in Manila. It’s the cheapest IHG hotel I could squeeze in before Christmas, even though it hardly qualifies for a “staycation”.
So, without further ado, here is what I had to do to meet the goals:
– fill out their survey: it took only a few minutes, got me 100 points and registered after a few weeks – check
– book a bonus rate: I booked a bonus rate at the Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa during a road trip down the California coast – check
– stay three Saturdays: the Crowne Plaza was the first Saturday night, No2. was the Holiday Inn Express Sathorn (reviewed here) and the last one was a “mattress run” at the Holiday Inn Hamburg, while visiting my family in Germany – check
– stay 3 nights abroad: this turned out to be a difficult one: I had planned to complete this requirement on my trip to Thailand (read here), but with the added and unpublished change to three countries, I had to change: the stay at the HI Sathorn above and the last-minute mattress runs at the HI Manila and Hamburg were needed to hit this goal – check
So – champagne cork pop – I did manage to achieve 4 out of 5 goals as needed and completed the “Into the Nights” challenge to get 2 free nights worldwide. Unfortunately, the anxiety over the promotion wasn’t over yet. Each of the goal completion took weeks to post on the promo site, even after it had posted to my IHG account. Eventually, it did post on the promo site and I selected my 2-free-night-award, yet those nights again didn’t show up in my IHG account. I had to email IHG and wait for a few days to get a response and the issue resolved. IHG should really fix their IT systems, if they want to continue to run complex promotions like this!
What, other than sweat and anxiety, did it cost me and what points did I earn:
Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa: $138
Holiday Inn Express Sathorn: $59
Holiday Inn Manila: $86
Holiday Inn Hamburg: $67
Total Expense: $350
In return I received the following points:
CP Costa Mesa: 3,360 (including Platinum, 1,000 rate and 500 welcome bonus)
HIE Sathorn: 1,113 (including Platinum bonus)
HI Manila: 1,056 (including Platinum bonus)
HI Hamburg:1,182 (including Platinum bonus and 500 welcome bonus)
“Into the Nights” bonuses: survey 100, rate 2,000, weekender 5,600, globetrotter 11,200)
Value of two free nights: up to 100,000
Total points: 125,611
While the two free nights are not exactly the same as 100,000 as I couldn’t use them for multiple nights at lower category hotels, I will not use them for any hotel less than 50,000 points/night, so to me, they are worth 100,000 points and I will calculate the benefits accordingly!
So, based on this calculation, I received 125,611 points for 350USD spent, or 2.8cts per USD. That’a very good rate, even thought it’s not as good as in my recent Accor promotion you can read about here. I save my free night certificates for very expensive Intercontinental Hotels and value IHG points at 0.7 cents, so I got a value of $879.27 after spending only $350. However you personally value IHG points, this was a very valuable promotion. Despite the trouble with the promotion, the extra effort to make two mattress runs and the anxiety in the process, this promotion was well worth it. I’m looking forward to a 2-night stay at a beautiful Intercontinental somewhere…
Stay tuned to find out, whether I’m signing up for IHG’s next version of this promotion, “Set your Sights”!