IHG Accelerate Promo–Targeted Bonus Award
Often times companies will offer promotions whereby you receive bonus miles or points if you meet a certain goal. Each year Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) offers a promotion called “Accelerate.” After registering for the promotion, if you complete the challenges, you get the extra points. Simple enough. In case you are not familiar, IHG is the company that owns Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and several other brands.
When I first received the emails detailing the promotion I decided not to enroll because I didn’t think that I had any need to stay at IHG properties within the designated timeframe of the promotion, which runs between Jan 1 and April 15. However, I recently decided to enroll in this first IHG Accelerate Bonus of 2017 because after a second look I thought I could accomplish the goals and get some easy points.
What is the promotion?
IHG Accelerate is a targeted bonus, meaning that everyone’s bonus will be slightly different. Also, everyone’s “challenges” may differ. Most people seem to receive bonus offers in the 50k to 80k range–but I have seen up to 100k points offered.
If you are an IHG member and want to see if you were targeted click here: https://www.ihg.com/content/gb/en/offers/q1accelerate2017
Remember, it costs nothing to sign up for hotel and airline award programs. If you aren’t a member, you won’t get targeted for lucrative bonuses. My recommendation–sign up for all the major programs and create a new free-email account to send all the promo emails to, so you won’t get a bunch of unwanted spam in your primary email folder. Then, track all of your accounts via the free awardwallet.com.
My targeted offer was for a total of 77,100 IHG points broken down as follows:
I value IHG points at about .05 cents per point, meaning that a 77,100 point bonus would have an approximate value of $385.50–not bad as long as I can meet the milestones without spending money I wouldn’t normally spend and staying in hotels I would have to spend a night in anyway. Basically, I could change some planned hotel nights to IHG and have a good chance at completing the bonus.
Looking at the bonus categories, and what finally got me motivated to play, was that I realized that I could complete 3.5 of the challenges in one stay. Let me explain. I needed a hotel in Dallas, TX, which is included in the “Big City Bonus” and would also meet the requirement of “booking once.” Dallas also has an Intercontinental, which checks off 1 of the 2 “Authentic Experiences.” Finally, I could book the hotel using “points and cash,” for a total of 3.5 of the challenges complete. Simply from staying one night at the Dallas Intercontinental I earned 10,100 total bonus points, including the 1,000 point March booking bonus. Because I booked the hotel using points and cash, I used 15,000 points and $61.60 for a room I needed anyway. Net loss of 4,900 points, and out of pocket $61.60 so far.
Now I need only one more night at an Intercontinental, and then 3 additional nights at any other IHG property to meet all the requirements to earn my bonus. In the beginning of April I am going to be traveling in the US and will have several opportunities to stay in IHG properties–the 3 additional nights shouldn’t be hard. However, Intercontinental Hotels are not in every city–the closest one to my planned route of travel is Cleveland. I think its about time I checked out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!
Is the IHG Accelerate Promotion worth it for you?
Well, it really depends on several factors. First, what is your personalized offer? Is it compelling enough to change your planned hotel stays to IHG properties? There is certainly an opportunity cost in lost points and night/stay credits if you switch. For example if you are planning on staying at Marriott properties and you are a Marriott Gold member, you will lose out on the points from those stays plus any elite qualifying nights you may need to re-qualify for status next year. Second, it depends on how convenient your personalized offer is for your planned travel. If you are not planning on staying in any hotels between now and the end of the promotion, obviously this promotion is not for you. Similarly, if you are not going to be near an Intercontinental (using my offer as an example), this probably isn’t worthwhile.
My advice is simple. IHG Accelerate offers are interesting but not necessarily compelling. The value of the IHG points that you will earn by completing all the challenges does not make it worth changing your travel plans or going out of your way unnecessarily. In my case I will be driving close to Cleveland (within an hour), and it may make sense for me to drive an hour out of the way to stay in the Intercontinental–depending on the cost of the hotel–since I need to stay in a hotel anyway.
Additionally, for those readers interested in signing up for Award Wallet basic accounts (which are always free), you can use the following link and promo code to get an upgraded premium account for FREE (only 8 free upgrades are available):
use promo code: free-lyzuua
Once you are signed up for the various programs you will be eligible to receive various promotion and bonus offers like IHG Accelerate. Some of the offers may be better than others for your particular situation. Either way, if you don’t sign up you won’t know what offers are out there.
Each time you consider taking advantage of a particular promotion or bonus offers, consider the opportunity costs of that particular stay/flight/etc. The bonus may seem like a good deal–but if you end up missing out on elite status by 5 nights in Hyatt or SPG, for example, because you stayed 5 nights in IHG properties it may not be the best choice.
I decided to participate in this promotion because I think that I will be able to earn the bonus with very minimal changes in my existing plans and I don’t think I will miss out on any other better deals by staying the 5 nights with IHG.