IHG Rewards Club – My Big Loss.

I’m trying to remain calm, but I’m feeling very upset right now. The source of my frustration? IHG Rewards Club!!!

As you may know, I booked two stays at Seattle area Holiday Inns, specifically so that I could rack up a bunch of points for the IHG Big Win promo. These were the offers I was working with:

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  • Stay a total of 4 nights and earn 8,000 points
  • Stay at 2 different IHG brands and earn 16,000 points
  • Book 1 stay through the Best Flexible Rate with Breakfast and earn 2,000 points.
  • Complete a simple survey and earn 100 points
  • Book 2 separate stays through our IHG® app and earn 8,000 points.
  • Stay at 2 Holiday Inn® hotels and earn 8,000 points
  • Stay at 2 InterContinental® Hotels and Resorts and earn 16,000 points.
  • Complete 6 of your offers and earn 25,000 points

To earn maximum points, here is what I did:

  • I booked both stays through the mobile app (8,000 points)
  • One stay was a Best Flexible Rate with Breakfast (2,000 points)
  • One night was at a Holiday Inn, and the other night was at a Holiday Inn Express (which I mistakenly thought would both count at Holiday Inns – 8,000 points)

You can read my reviews here, here, and here if you are interested, but to be clear, I didn’t really want to stay at either hotel. I was doing it for the points. So imagine my annoyance when only 2,000 points posted. WTH? I sent a couple of emails to IHG.


Hi! I booked two stays through the mobile app – the one listed above, and one at the Holiday Inn Express Sea Tac the next night (April 26-27). Apparently one one was counted. I needed them both for the Big Win promo; can you help? Thanks!

Dear Pixie Points,

Thank you for contacting IHG Rewards Club regarding your account. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

In order to receive the bonus points for the challenge IHG mobile app booking, as stated on the Big Win 2014 tracker, you must book 2 separate stays through our IHG® application. Also, it must be booked on any IHG website between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2014.Our records show that you booked the reservation on 19 December 2013. As such, it is not counted towards the promotion.


Really? Yes, really.


Hi! I booked this stay in order to complete one of my “Big Win” items – the one titled “Change Your View” for two stays at two Holiday Inn hotels. I had actually called to confirm that this stay would count towards the bonus, so I was surprised to see that it did not get added. Can you help? Thank you!

Dear Pixie Points,

Thank you for contacting IHG Rewards Club regarding your Platinum Elite account. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

We would like to advise you that the ‘Change your view’ offer on The Big Win 2014 promotion requires 2 stays at 2 Holiday Inn® hotels to earn 8,000 points. The stay in question is at a Holiday Inn Express® hotel (Holiday Inn Express – Seattle-sea-tac Airport). Please note that Holiday Inn® is a different brand from Holiday Inn Express®. We hope this clarifies your concern.


Okay. Fine. But if the stay in question is a different brand from the Holiday Inn, then wouldn’t it count towards the 16,000-point “stay at 2 different IHG brands” challenge? Because those points didn’t appear either.

I’m so confused. And apparently, I’m out of luck.

How did you do with the 2014 Big Win promotion?



  1. @ Kendra — Sadly, they are correct on both points. Next time, well, you know…

  2. I stayed away from this one for that very reason–I like the IHG award program, but there was way too much vaguery in this promotion for me to feel like I could be confident in getting the bonus points

  3. @Kendra – I thought I was the ONLY person who got snagged by their fine print; very annoying and happened to me as well (the 2 holiday inn stay piece). Wish they understood how to word things in PLAIN ENGLISH

    • Points Pixie says

      JDDTx – Well, your comment makes me feel better. Thanks for telling me that I wasn’t the only one 😉

  4. I also stayed at two Holiday Inns in Seattle that weekend (Holiday Inn Seattle Airport and Holiday Inn Seattle-Kent), and I booked them in December as well. They worked for me. It does seem that you should at least get the 2 different IHG Brands. Either they are the same brand or they aren’t!

  5. The Big Win tracking has been a disaster.

    Push for the 16,000-point “stay at 2 different IHG brands” challenge. The HI & HIE should satisfy that – would be better than the 8,000 for 2 HI anyways!

  6. I needed 4 stays total
    2 seperate holiday inns and 2 IHG brands

    I was booked into a last minute business trip and was able to complete the last 2 stays, one holiday inn and 1 holiday inn express.

    Got my 81000 points with 1 day to spare.

    The fine print was confusing but lucky by reading this blog and other BOARDING AREA blogs I was able to make sure that I met the requirements.

  7. I agree with Rachel. Either they are the same brand or they aren’t.

  8. I (mostly) gave up on IHG when they had their devaluation 3 or 4 years ago. Now nearing lifetime gold with another loyalty program.

    • Points Pixie says

      Holiday Baker Man – Right on. This was so frustrating that it makes me not like IHG very much right now. 🙁

  9. If it makes you feel any better, I ran into the mobile booking problem also (booking to early)….unfortunately they got us on the ToC. 🙁 I was bitter, but unfortuantely, it was my fault for getting a little over-excited about the promotion!

  10. I got mine but there were some bumps along the road. I did not receive credit for my first mobile booking (maybe because I called the reservations center to add something after I booked it on the mobile app?) so I did that 3 times to meet the requirement of 2. Believe it or not, booking on their website does not count as a mobile booking either. I also was very uncertain whether my first early January stay would count if I booked it in December, so I held back booking until January and after reading what happened to you I am relieved I did. I got an idea of these things from reading the blogs, such as that Holiday Inn and Express are different brands, which is certainly not obvious.
    I got the Big Win but my last stay, a Holiday Inn in Europe, didn’t post as a hotel stay and I only got 1x points instead of 5x on their credit card. I’m trying now to get those points. It’s always something.

    • Points Pixie says

      Claire – ARGH. You’re right, especially after reading all of these comments, it seems like it’s always something!

  11. My “book with us” stays weren’t crediting properly. Maybe one of the four or five stays required actually posted by itself. My “Big Win” was being held up by that or one other activity (four or fine total nights?) so I called and a rep opened a ticket… The rep could see the activities and said it would take four to six weeks, but everything posted the next day.

    • Points Pixie says

      Hua – I am going to call them as soon as I can gather my strength. Hopefully someone can help me.

  12. As I recall there was confusion on the “change your view” from the start and they made changes in the T&C.

    Two Saturday stays just wasn’t worth it for me. I did some other parts. I was thinking also that since I didn’t finish it, and haven’t stayed much since, they may not ratchet up the difficulty again in BW3 (?).

    • Points Pixie says

      Carl P – You’re right, I remember the confusion. In hindsight it wasn’t worth it for me, either, if I don’t get all the anticipated points. Oh well – live and learn.

  13. Was able to complete everything and had my last night checkout on 30th Apr. After reading all the reports for stays not posting, I proactively called up IHG couple of days after each of my stay asking them that points have not posted. They were nice to manually add the stay and points to my IHG profile and then within 2 days those stays and bookings appeared on BigWin. I think it has got something to do with rep manually crediting. (But I may be wrong). All in all in the end I am about 1,20,000 points richer post big win.

  14. mohamed says

    Well dont complaint when my offer required 32 nights,9 different Intercontinentals,6 brands,8 saturday nights,a credit card application and spending and 4 different locations in 4 different countries .

    • Points Pixie says

      mohamed – NO WAY!! That is just crazy! Seriously, really???

      • Hey, mine was 22 nights, 10 Saturday nights, 10 different ICs, 4 brands, 2 Holiday Inns, and 1 best flex w/ breakfast rate, and I completed it! Piece of cake,…well, not really, but well worth it. I didn’t even bother last time since I also had that stupid requirement to stay in specific countries. Do they really think I am going to go to Japan and Australia JUST to earn some points? Not!

  15. I had to write to IHG about 15 times as the system didn’t record my completing the survey portion for 100 points. In the end – after a threat – i prevailed and was finally awarded the 40,000 points for completing all of the challenges. Although i’ve got over a million IHG points, i have moved on to SPG and Hyatt.

  16. JustSaying says

    We all get better by the sharing of these experiences………my big goof recently was paying my Hystt Place mattress run bill with my AMEX Open card thinking I was getting 5% back…….Instead I got 1% and lost out on the opportunity to use my Hyatt card for more bonus miles………….
    Takeaway: Never a stupid question to ask the blog space if the plan is wired tight “prior” to execution………….everyone can pitch in and help……..that’s why we’re here right?

  17. JustSaying says

    Excuse me 1.25%

  18. Totally ignored IHG after the devaluation and the unreasonable Big Win promo that I got. So took my business to Hyatt. So far this year, managed to snag 80,000+ points from Hyatt based from promo and hotel stays (which was lucky coz used most of my last year points for a couple nights stay in Tokyo and Paris later on this year. Looking forward on staying at Park Hyatt hotel again). Sorry IHG, it’s your loss.

  19. I have to say that it was not as clear as it could have been. On the other hand I stayed 4 nights, at three properties for 97500. To me Ihg has some decent value. With two credit cards you get two nights at any property. No with this promo another two nights for $300 spent. I did even buy some points to get me over 350k. Now I have over a week at any of their properties stored up. There are some nice ones out there.

    I did read in advance and still messed up in the breakfast as I booked it with advance not the refundable. I realized before promo ended and booked the other HI. I did read that hi and hix are not the same. Also it seems your booking was before and I know I read not valid for previous bookings. Sadly with most of these promos you have to read all the fine print and contact if others don’t first. Sorry to hear urs did not work out.

  20. I had a similar experience with the IHG Big Win promo. The last 2 offers I had to complete were: stay at 2 different IHG brands and book a stay with Best Flexible with Breakfast rate. So I booked a stay at Staybridge Suites with Best Flexible rate, which listed as one its bullet points that it included breakfast. I assumed since it included breakfast that this was the rate I needed to complete the offer so I booked. There was no other Best Flexible rate with Breakfast listed. After the points did not show up in my account, I emailed IHG Rewards and we went back and forth a few times with screen shots, etc., finally figuring out there was some confusion in the rate. In the end, they would not budge and said I booked under the wrong rate and there was nothing they could do. Missing out on 37k points. Frustrating.

  21. Kendra, my advice it to call them and ask to talk to a supervisor. See, if they can make an exception. I messed up my mother-in-law’s Big Win promotion, but they gave me the points as a courtesy. I would call, twice even, if the first one gets you nowhere. What do you have to lose?

  22. I earned a total of 93 800 points. My challenges were:
    – stay 6 nights for 13 200 points
    – stay at 2 different brands for 14 400 points
    – book two separate stays for 4 800 points
    – stay 2 Saturday nights for 7 200 points
    – stay at 2 different Holiday Inn hotels for 7 200 points
    – complete all 5 offers for 47 000 points.

    Points posted automatically after each challenge was completed.

  23. Aaron K says

    Both my wife and I each won our 2014 Big Win challenges. It really helped load up our accounts.

  24. My problem is that I received no points so I complained to IHG rewards club. Their reply confirmed that I had stayed in 2 different brand hotels namely the Holiday Inn and the Holiday Inn Express. The problem is that they said that I needed to stay in 3 different brands to qualify for 16,000 points. Do these people have a clue what they are doing?


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