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The beauty of InterContinental Hotel’s Group Priority Club is the continuous and numerous promotions that they are running year-round. You can count on the fact that the number of points that you earn from various promotions, especially if you are mainly having short stays at the InterContinental hotels, far outweighs the number of basic points earned.

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Here is an example based on my six IHG stays of this year. Two of the stays were at the Crowne Plaza hotels (one night each) and the four at InterContinental’s. Two of my four IC stays were for two nights.

The number of base points earned is 9684 and points from Platinum/Royal Ambassador and other bonuses 40194. I would also need to factor in the prorated Ambassador Accelerator bonus of 20000 points for 15 IC nights. That would be additional 8000 bonus points. So, 9684 base points and 48194 bonus points and average of 7234 points per night. This is rather typical for Priority Club.

Of course the points are then best used for Point Breaks.  If you play the game right, it is basically pay for one & get one for free.

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InterContinental Hotels Group’s Priority Club is selling points by offering up to 50% bonus on purchased points until April 30th, 2012. The good news about buying points from Priority Club is that they count towards the Priority Club Gold or Platinum status. You can get instants Platinum status by buying 40K points +20K bonus points for a total of 60K Priority Club points for $460.

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There are cheaper ways to buy the points. During the Discover America sale you can buy Priority Club points at 10Kpoints for $60, if paid using American Express branded credit card.

You can buy Priority Club points for $60 per 10K year-round by doing Points & Cash redemptions and canceling the reservation afterwards. Priority Club doesn’t reverse the points transaction. What they are doing, is selling you the points and depositing them to your account, and then charging the full number of points required for the award. I have an example of this on my review of the InterContinental Fiji hotel. If you go overboard with this, they might have a look at your account, however.

I probably wouldn’t be buying these, but then I do have a Platinum/Royal Ambassador status with InterContinental Hotels Group/Priority Club. If you don’t have any points to start with and would like to get the Platinum status, this is the fastest way to do it. You can then play around with the Points & Cash redemptions to get more points if needed.

The best way to use Priority Club points are the Point Breaks hotels. I did write about the current offers last week, when the latest list was announced. These are only 5000 Priority Club points per night.

The Terms and Conditions of this offer:

Offer available for purchases made between March 30 and April 30, 2012 inclusive. Bonus points will be awarded upon completion of the transaction. Bonus points will be awarded to the recipient of the points purchase. Offer is subject to change. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Only purchases made online are eligible for the bonus.

Price includes all applicable fees. GST/HST will be applied to purchases by Canadian residents. Purchased Points are not refundable and are applicable toward all Priority Club® Rewards awards. Members may purchase a maximum of 50,000 points per calendar year and receive as a gift a maximum of 50,000 points per year. Please allow 24-48 hours for miles to post to appear in the recipient’s account. All other Priority Club® Rewards Terms and Conditions apply.

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IHG just released a list of last minute rewards nights for this coming weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) and you need to book them by Thursday night. These last minute rewards nights are offered at 50% discount of the usual number of points needed. This time they have 103 hotels on the list of which only one is InterContinental.

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The latest Point Breaks list is out as well. There are quite a few nice hotels that you can book at 5000 Priority Club points per night.

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We now have the details of the deals for the first two weeks of the Discover America. These are brought by the US Travel Association and American Express. You can use any credit card to pay, but you will receive 10% discount if paid using American Express branded card.

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Having a quick look there really aren’t any “deals” that I would need to participate in the first two weeks.

Here are three deals that are worth having a look:

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1. Priority Club point packages on April 8th

InterContinental Group is selling 10K points for $67, 40K points for $267 & 25K points for $167. You can buy Priority Club points any day by doing cash + money redemption for $60 per 10K Priority Club points. Canceling the reservation doesn’t reverse the point transaction, however.

The benefit of buying Priority Club points through Discover America is that these points will count toward the elite qualification. You can make a Priority Club Platinum by buying 60K points.

2. Avis Chairman’s Club Membership for $1115

This can come handy if you are doing lot of airport rentals. This membership includes an airport drop off and delivery. This could truly be a timesaver. I was actually contemplating buying this membership the other year as I used to rent a lot from Avis.

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3. Marriott Travel Cards at 20% Discount When Paid Using Amex

Marriott tends to run promotions for buying Marriott gift cards with number of airlines. You usually get a 10% discount or 10% premium and airline miles. When bought directly from Marriott, you do get the bonus points for buying the card using Marriott branded credit cards. If you buy it from Discover America, the purchase is not coded as Marriott and you lose the bonus points for Marriott purchases.

Marriott has sometimes run promotions that are tied to a type of credit card the bill is used to settle. Marriott Gift cards used to be Visa’s, but no longer. Just a thing to keep in mind.

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Here’s the monthly hotel promotions wrap up.

Best Western Rewards

Best Western’s promotion for a $50 travel card won’t start before April 15th. You can also earn Air Canada AeroPlan bonus miles + bonus points for booking online and paying using Best Western MasterCard.

Best Western Rewards Spring Bonus Offer JUMP12 – $50 Travel Card for 3 Stays + Bonus Points & Miles

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Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

No promotions as of now.

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

You will earn 8000 Choice Privilege points for every two stays. Note that in lower quality Choice brand a stay is defined as two or more nights for this promotion. This promotion that started on March 8th runs until May 8th.

Choice Hotels Promotion – Stay Two Separate Times & Earn One Free Night

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Hilton HHonors

You should sign up for the two promos below. Even if you are Diamond with Hilton, you can still get 40K HH for four Hilton stays.

Register Your Visa and Get 1000 Hilton HHonors Points + 4000 Bonus for Spending $100

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders + 40K HHonors Points After Four Stays (For All?

Hilton’s second quarter promotion is for double points or miles. You need to choose one or the other, and you cannot change your selection.

Hilton HHnors 2nd Quarter 2012 Double Your Honors Promotion – Double Points or Miles

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The following promotion expires at the end of this month. You can get a free night certificate after five night resort stay or two after ten. You can also do two give night resort stays.

 ‘Resort Escapes’ Promotion – Free Night Certificate After Five Nights and Two After Ten Nights

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt’s promo that expires at the end of April is for up to 44000 extra Hyatt Gold Passport points after 16 nights.

Spring 2012 Promo – Earn up to 44000 Bonus Points

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InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

As always, Priority Club has number of promotions that you should sign for.

Double points or miles end on April 30th.

Double Points or Miles – 2X More

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Priority Club 2nd Quarter Stay/Night Bonuses

This time Priority Club has two parallel promotions. One is based on nights and the other is based on stays. You can earn 5000, 10000, or 15000 depending how many nights/stays you have during the promotional period until June 30th, and to which promotion you sign up for.

Three Priority Club Points Promotions That You Should Sign Up For

One is for 1000 bonus points per stay for 90 days after registering (this is the most lucrative if you have number of paid stays), another one is for 3000 bonus points after a stay, and the third one is for 1500 welcome back bonus.

There is a forth one that I have yet written about. It is 1500 Priority Club points after a stay. The promotional code for that one is 5109. I tested it last week when I was staying at an IHG property. It posted without a problem.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott has two promotions running until the end of April. MegaMiles and MegaBonus.

Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer.

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MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles

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Ritz-Carlton Rewards

You can get two free night certs after four stays. This promotion expires on April 15th.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards – Earn Free Night Certificate After Two Stays Promotion

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Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood promotion Better by the night is expiring on April 8th. We don’t have information about their next move.

Starwood Preferred Guest 1st Quarter 2012 “Better by the Night”–promotion

There is a promotion of 1000 extra Starpoints for booking a Club accommodation at Sheraton hotels and paying using an American Express card.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Sheraton Club Floor Bookings

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Some renovated Sheraton hotels are also offering 1000 bonus Starpoints.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Staying at a Newly Renovated Sheraton Hotels

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Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham has two promotions. One is for North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) and the other one is for rest of the world. In my opinion the rest of the world is better.

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion – Stay 2 Get 2 – Double Points or Miles + Up To 4 Movie Tickets

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Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion (non-North America) 10000 Bonus Points Every Two Stays – Max 30000 Bonus Points

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The new Priority Club Point Breaks list is finally out. These were all available for booking several hours ago, but International Hotels Group’s Priority Club took their time to update the list. These are valid until May 31st, 2012. But, some of the more popular properties will drop off the list far sooner.

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This is a great way to save on redemptions. I just made a week along bookings for both the InterContinental  Asiana in Saigon and InterContinental Manila properties. I think that these good represent a very good value using points.

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I really cannot get too excited about most of these Point Break hotels, but I might book the CP in Prague for few days later next month as well as the HIX in Cape Town. The Holiday Inn Ploenchit  is an excellent property, but I find it hard to use points in Bangkok considering how inexpensive the better properties are.

My tips for booking Point Breaks:

1. The popular properties will drop off the list in a day or two. You need to act fast.

2. Book Point Breaks one day at a time. This way you have more flexibility to cancel/shorten your stay if needed. It might also show better availability this way, when some room types are sold out.

Things to consider

Most of the Royal Ambassador benefits do not officially apply when you redeem points for free nights. I would say that it is often fifty-fifty if you get them though. More unlikely if the property is on the Point Breaks list due to rise in free night redemptions. [click to continue…]

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InterContinental Hotels Group’s Priority Club is about to launch their second quarter 2012 Points Break list. Point Beaks are great way to use Priority Club points at deep discount as all these hotels are only 5000 Priority Club Points per night. The list is not available yet, but the hotels are bookable at the lower 5000 Priority Club points per night rate.

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I will do another post when I have access to the complete list.

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There are few of jewels on this list. The Holiday Inn Bangkok that is next to the InterContinental hotel is excellent value at 5000 Priority Club points per night. This is one of the better Holiday Inn hotels in the system, and I have stayed there number of times. Of course hotels in Bangkok aren’t really that expensive.

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Another good one, which I will book for few days, is the InterContinental Hotel Asiana in Saigon. When I was in Ho Chi Minh City last time, they were about the open this hotel in few weeks’ time.  This one is a good value as the price of western hotels has really gone up in Vietnam recently.

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Manila is not for everyone. It is one of the most chaotic cities to get around. I thought that I was going to miss the flight just sitting on the traffic jam. Anyway, the InterContinental there is also an excellent value for 5000 points per night. I have not stayed at this property before as I was staying at Mandaring and Hyatt when I visited there few years ago.

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Apparently IHG’s Priority Club has two different promotions running for stays/nights that are mutually exclusive. The other one is based on the number of nights stayed and the other one is based on number of stays.

These are the lowest nights/stays to earn the maximum number of points. There are other variations of this offer as well. The best offer is the 10 stays for 15K Priority Club points if most of your stays are no more than a night. Alternatively, you can sign up for the nights based promotion.

You can register for these promotions at priorityclub.com/register. Please note that you can only choose one of these offers and it cannot be changed later. This promotion starts on April 1st and is valid until June 30th, 2012.

Nights Based

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Stay 3 Nights Get 5000 Bonus Points – Code 1385

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Stay 7 Nights Get 10000 Bonus Points – Code 1387

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Stay 15 nights Get 15000 Bonus Points – Code 1391

Stay Based

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Stay 3 Times Get 5000 Bonus Points – Code 1393

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Stay 6 Times Get 10000 Bonus Points – Code 1395

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Stay 10 Times Get 15000 Bonus Points – Code 1397

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Hualuxe. Hua + luxe. Aimed at somewhere between an InterContinental hotel and a Crowne Plaza. Apparently the InterContinental Hotels Group is trying to come up with a brand that would be better suited to the Chinese market than their current ones.

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Here’s how IHG describes the brand:

Tradition – Long-celebrated traditions are reflected in every aspect of the physical hotel design and are brought to life through a refined welcome experience, deep-rooted tea culture and signature food & beverage throughout the hotel from our Fu Lin restaurant to late night noodle bar

Rejuvenation – Natural surroundings from the green arrival, to the lobby garden and resort inspired bathroom helps our guests break away from the pressures of their busy lives and be reinvigorated for the challenges ahead

Status – Recognition and respect are fundamental in Chinese society.  A seamless VIP arrival, a unique Club Lounge experience and specialty food and beverage ‘hosts’ throughout the hotel serve to underpin the importance of our guests and ensure the hospitality they receive and in return give to their business partners is flawless

Familiar Spaces – A range of public/private spaces are thoughtfully set out across the hotel.  From multi-function suites, rejuvenation centre and tea house we’ve created a unique set of facilities for a wide range of social interactions and business meetings

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They also made a nice rendition what a property might look like and posted it on YouTube

Not sure what to think of this. Of course the Chinese market is becoming more important by the year for the hoteliers, and the current Western brands may not be tailored closely enough for the target Chinese audience. Building a hotel brand from a scratch is always a long process, however. Eagerly awaiting for these to appear on the Points Breaks sometime in 2013.

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Back in October, I wrote about if it makes sense to buy an Ambassador membership for InterContinental hotels. One of the things that you get, when joining, is this Ambassador free weekend night certificate.

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In the past you could book any rate (corporate/suites/discounted) for two nights. You would just hand the certificate at check in and they would only charge for the first night. This was changed two years ago, however. You need to use the intercontinental.com/AMBWeekend website to make the booking. If you cannot get the website to work, you can call the reservations and reference the rate code IBAMB.

This certificate can be used for Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday night stays. In the Middle East this is Thursday and Friday or Friday and Saturday nights.

The Ambassador Free Weekend rate is basically the best flexible rate. Most of the time you can save significantly by booking this rate and using the certificate, but sometimes a hotel can have sale rates that are far less than the best flexible rate.

At the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong the Ambassador Free Weekend Night certificate prices are exactly the Best Flexible rates. At the same time the hotel is having an advance purchase rates that are 10% less that the best flexible.

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Ambassador Free weekend Night certificate rates

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Last week, I had couple of InterContinental Hotels Group stays in Kuala Lumpur. I signed up for few new promos that I hadn’t done previously to see how/if they work. You can sign up for these promos using the following link and plugging in your Priority Club number and the four number promotion code.

These three promotions should work for all. The Elite member next stay bonus probably requires a Gold or higher status with Priority Club, however.

Anniversary Bonus Offer – 6102

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This is most lucrative of the offers. You will get additional 1000 Priority Club points per stay for 90 days after your sign up.  Just enroll just before your first stay to maximize the earnings.

Elite Member Next Stay Bonus – 5221

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This works for sure if you are a Platinum member, but could work for Gold’s as well. Doesn’t hurt to sign up, right? You will get 3000 bonus Priority Club points for your next stay. You will need to have the stay within 90 days after signing up. You can only earn this once.

Welcome Back Bonus – 2120

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You will get 1500 Priority Club bonus points for one stay after signing up. You need do stay within 90 days.

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The new Priority Club One Say sale is on again. These discounted rates are bookable until 11.59PM EST on 15th of March, 2012.

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They have again 12 properties on the sale list that includes one InterContinental hotel as well. This Cleveland property is not really that expensive in the first place. You should always consider if it makes sense to use points even at a lowered rate.

The Crowne Plaza hotels in Okinawa and Curitiba are good value using points. Brazil especially has become very expensive country in the past few years. Indigo Liverpool at 12.5K and Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Pudong at 7.5K are not that shabby offers either.

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You can access this sale at http://www.priorityclub.com/onedaysale.

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UPDATE: Please note that some of these are actually based on STAYS rather than on NIGHTS. I will update this in the next few days to clarify which are based on STAYS and which are based on NIGHTS. There is NO rush to register as this one won’t start before April 1st, 2012. 

IHG’s Priority Club just launched their stay/nights based bonus points promotion for the 2nd quarter of 2012. This offer is valid from April 1st until June 30th, 2012.

Normally Priority Club member is targeted to one of these based on their stay history, but that doesn’t prevent registering to one of the other offers if they decide to do so.

Please note that you can only register for ONE of these, and once you have registered you cannot change it.

Stay 3 get 5000 points Code 1385
Stay 4 get 5000 points Code 1386
Stay 7 get 10000 points Code 1387
Stay 8 get 10000 points Code 1388
Stay 10 get 10000 points Code 1389
Stay 12 get 10000 points Code 1390
Stay 15 get 15000 points Code 1391
Stay 18 get 15000 points Code 1392

Depending how many nights you expect to stay during the second quarter, you should choose 3, 7, or 15 nights version of this promotion.

You can then use the following link for registering:  https://secure.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/pc/1/en/ep

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On January 3rd InterContinental Hotels Group’s Priority Club announced that some hotel categories were changing on January 18th resulting 25% going up, 20% going down, and the rest was staying the same.

Priority Club didn’t want to provide a list of hotels changing categories due to “competitive” reasons. Both Marriott and Starwood moved some hotels, but didn’t have a problem providing a list of properties. I manually went through all the InterContinental’s and made a list of the new points requirements compared to old ones.

At the same time Priority Club announced that they would honor the old redemptions levels until March 18th. You can book the hotel using the new points rate and call Priority Club to have them to give you goodwill points for the difference.  These goodwill points will count towards your Priority Club Gold/Status.

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I took advantage this couple of weeks ago when I was staying at a Holiday Inn Suva (Fij). Made the booking using Priority Club points and later called the customer service. Rep posted the 5000 points as a goodwill one.