I love IHG’s quarterly “Accelerate” promotions, given how random the challenges are. Hyatt and Hilton may offer you double points on stays for a limited time; IHG instead wants you to dance a jig in the lobby of six different Holidays Inn in order to earn 9000 bonus points. I also like how you can knock out multiple challenges in one stay – I only spent five total nights in IHG hotels last quarter, but I completed 3 of my challenges all at once.
Here’s my list of challenges for this quarter:
Again, some of these are pretty easy. I’ll definitely stay once, and I booked my stay with my IHG card already. That’s 4000 bonus points for a $90 night at a Candlewood Suites, which is nothing to sneeze at. The Ambassador membership incentive is interesting, since I’ve been pretty set on canceling my Ambassador membership this year. I have an offer for 10,000 bonus points to renew my membership, and even with this additional 5000-point bonus, I’d still be paying 1 cent per point, which is way too expensive for IHG points. However, I can probably sell the free night certificate for $75 or so, which would cut the cost per point in half, down to a reasonable 0.5 cents, plus any benefits gained during surprise Intercontinental stays.
(On a tangent, I do have another renewal option that I didn’t see last year: $50 more for an extra 5000 points plus 10% redeemed points back for 12 months. If this stacks with the 10% point redemption I get through my IHG credit card, that could be interesting. My feeling is that it doesn’t, though. Plus, I just cashed out all my IHG points in New York, so I don’t think I’ll earn enough points in the next 12 months to meaningfully benefit from this offer.)
Okay, so back to the point of this post. The 1000 bonus points for any redemption caught my attention, because it includes things like IHG digital downloads (which I didn’t realize were a thing before today). Since I don’t have many points, it was unlikely that I’d redeem for an award night this quarter, but I’m intrigued by these digital downloads. And so I followed my curiosity and found a bunch of Boston songs available for 300 points each. Normally that would be a terrible deal – at a value of 0.5 cents per point (which may even be high for IHG points), that’s $1.50 per song. However, factor in the 700 bonus points that I wouldn’t have earned otherwise, and I’ve got MORE THAN A FEELING that this deal is SMOKIN‘!
This could also come into play down the road if I’m close to hitting my achievement bonus, since it knocks down a challenge for a very minimal investment, which could pay off in a big way if I can nab the 16,400 bonus points. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but while IHG points aren’t very valuable, I like having a stash of them around, because their properties are so ubiquitous. That’s why I’ll go out of my way to pick up IHG points where I can – especially since it’s not a good deal to transfer Chase points to IHG under any circumstances. These Accelerate promotions are great for that, since you can earn a bunch of points for one or two stays if you play your cards right.