Argh. This was definitely a rookie mistake. I’m not that familiar with IHG Rewards, and it seemed like a good idea at the time…but this dumb move cost me tens of thousands of points.
Here’s what happened: several months ago, I booked a one-night stay at the Intercontinental Miami. I was super excited to “stack” IHG promotions on my account, and calculated that if all of the points posted, I would earn ~30,000 of them!
The reason is that IHG runs many simultaneous promos. These are supposedly targeted, but the truth is that they usually work for a much wider audience. Also, you can sign up for numerous promos at one time to “stack” your earned points. If you are interested in checking this out, there is a thread on Flyertalk that lists all of the known codes; Bart Lapers also lists many codes on his blog. Here is a sample:
New Stay Bonus – 4040 (1500 points)
Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 4047 (5000 points)
Anniversary Bonus – 8000 (1000 points)
Welcome Back Bonus – 8994 (3000 points)
New Member Bonus – 9944 (3000 points)
2000 Bonus Points for 60 Days – 9990 (2000 points per stay)
Elite Member Winback Bonus – 3007
5000 point Platinum – 4777 (5000 Bonus Points)
New member bonus – 4648 (1500 Bonus Points)
Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 2785 (3000 Bonus Points)
Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 3825 (3000 Bonus Points)
Next Stay Bonus – 7641 (1500 Bonus Points)
Welcome Back Bonus – 2656 (1500 Bonus Points)
1000 Bonus Points for 60 Days – 4709 (1000 Bonus Points per stay)
Anniversary Bonus for 90 Days – 4644 (1000 Bonus Points per stay)
You can register for the bonus codes here or click on the individual promo codes above.
Note that there are reports of IHG Rewards closing people’s accounts for using too many codes that they weren’t targeted for, so definitely do a little research on each code before using it if this concerns you.
Anyway, I applied a handful of codes to my account. My mistake was in the timing: I jumped the gun. The thing about many of these promos is that they are only good for a limited amount of time – usually 60 to 90 days from the time you register to earn the bonus. I thought I was being smart by waiting until three weeks before my trip to register – I set aside a chunk of time and entered all of the codes that I thought would make sense for my account, patted myself on the back once I saw how many points I was going to earn, and felt kinda smug.
But then my plans changed.
All of a sudden my smart move was really dumb – because the codes are only good for one use. I had just wasted 30,000 points worth of codes on a stay I had to reschedule.
The moral of this cautionary tale is to wait until right before your stay to apply any IHG promo codes. As in, several days before. Now, I’ve got a couple of IHG stays booked for later in the month that won’t earn me nearly as many points, because I already used most of the applicable codes.
Have you ever made this mistake?