The best value I’ve ever received from IHG points (at the Indigo Milan)

In general, I consider IHG points to be worth around a half a cent, although there are times when you can get significantly more than that. So far, the most value I’ve been able to wring was around a full cent at the Intercontinental Amsterdam (50,000 points vs ~$500 in cash), although that’s a pretty high daily rate for that hotel. While I was happy to get a good value for my points, had I been staying on another weekend, it would have been much closer to the 1/2 cent average.

However, as part of planning this trip to Italy next year, I stumbled on a new IHG hotel in Milan – the Indigo Corso Monforte. I don’t have any prior experience with Indigo hotels, but they always look pretty nice from the pictures, if not as luxurious as some Intercontinental properties. Part of me wondered if IHG was going to roll Indigo into Kimpton, since both brands are positioned in the boutique niche, but I guess if IHG is continuing to open Indigos, it means that they’re going to keep them separate for the time being. (I also get the sense that Indigo offers more limited service than Kimpton, although I’ve never stayed at a Kimpton either.)

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Because the Indigo Milan isn’t actually open yet, I don’t know how nice it actually is, but the pictures online look very promising. This immediately jumped out as a great candidate for my annual free night from the IHG credit card, but then I noticed that it’s also a fantastic value on points.

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From the limited searches I did, the cash price is between $300 and $450, depending on the season. However, award nights are available for 30,000 points, which (for IHG), is about as good as it gets outside of an elusive award night at the Intercontinental Bora Bora or something.

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If you’re talking about Milan on a points and miles blog, you pretty much have to mention the Park Hyatt Milan, which is usually described as the absolute best hotel in the world (just like every other Park Hyatt in Europe or Asia). And while it looks pretty damn elegant, the pictures I’ve seen still have that classic “monks chanting in a cloister” aura that I get from a lot of Parks Hyatt (including the two I’ve stayed in). Anyway, my point in bringing it up is that I’d much rather save my Chase points for flights (instead of transferring 60k to Hyatt) and stay at the Indigo using points I got through maximizing IHG’s Accelerate promotions. Especially when the value per point difference between IHG and Hyatt is so small.

This is why I like IHG so much as a program. While Hyatt and SPG are undeniably the best hotel points to hold, unless you’re road warrioring and earning your top-tier status along with a boatload of points through actual stays, it’s tough to build up much of a balance. (Sure Hyatt points are easy to earn via Chase, but I’m presuming that you have other uses for those Chase points besides just transferring them to Hyatt.) In contrast, I earned over 100k IHG points last year just through a couple work trips and one personal trip, thanks to IHG’s generous promotions.

While the points themselves are usually not worth very much, IHG still has some really good opportunities for value if you look hard enough (or if you get lucky like I did and simply find one at a hotel in a city you’re already visiting). How about my loyal reader(s)? Have you found any amazing IHG redemption values? And does anyone have any plans to visit the new Indigo in Milan?

2 thoughts on “The best value I’ve ever received from IHG points (at the Indigo Milan)”

  1. Well, first let me disagree with you slightly, then agree with the topic of the post.

    The disagreement regards the value of Chase UR points. I really like them, but I like them precisely because I use them exclusively for Hyatt points. Or at least I have been using them for Hyatt points. Hyatt (I think) has some really good sweetspots, especially if you were a Diamond which is to say now a Globalist. I miss my Diamond days, and my Globalist days are ending soon. But enough about me. No, wait: More about me, maybe less about changes in the Hyatt program? Anyway, relative to competitive hotel prices, I never use Hyatt (= Chase UR points, at least to me) unless I am getting at least two cents a point. I do like some of the PHs, and there you can get a lot of bang for the buck (Frequent Miler had a link not so long ago to a site that showed that for Category 7 Park Hyatts, Hyatt points really are worth like 2.5 cents each. Anyhow, whether it is at a Category 7 Park Hyatt Paris Vendome or a Category 2 HR (DFW airport, Lexington KY, Princeton NJ), it is not hard to find closer to 3 cents/point in real value when you go for Cash + Points. Since under Hyatt, as a Globalist you can get the breakfasts (actually quite good at DFW and Lexington, where we’re talking biscuits and gravy) and a 4pm checkout, I have found this the best use of my Chase UR points.

    Now, the agreement: Since Hyatt is kicking me to the curb (or at least down from Globalist to Explorist), I have been starting to stay at IHGs, specifically InterContinentals, and I’m amazed how lucrative their program is. For a big trip last summer, I had a spreadsheet where I was monitoring each night’s cost somewhere (call it Bordeaux, France) and I could not believe how much real value I could get from an IHG point. Often well over $0.0075 a point, enough so that I was buying them at as high as $0.0057 a point, and still saving what seemed like real money to me. This was especially true once I plumped down $200 for Ambassador status, and started getting some crazy-good upgrades.

    In fact, if there is a point to all of this, it’s that it’s really hard to value these things (points) linearly, since their true value only comes through when you use them in conjunction with whatever happens to be the sweetspot in the hotel chain’s program. And if Hilton Honors has any sweetspots, I’m yet to discover what they are.

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    1. I agree – Hilton’s new program is pretty much anti-sweet spot (see the other post I wrote yesterday for more grousing about that). However, Hilton also lets you earn an absurd amount of points per stay. Consider: the new Aspire card will offer 14 points per dollar plus Diamond status (15 points per dollar) – almost 30 points, before any bonuses. Earlier this year, I earned over 16,000 points from a two-night stay in Chicago: 5712 base points, 5712 points from a promotion, 2856 points from a different promotion, 1428 points from the gold status bonus, and 500 points from booking on the app. And that doesn’t even count the credit card points I earned (10x using my Citi Hilton to buy gift cards last spring).

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