Images courtesy of IHG.
One of the hefty costs of travel is the accommodations, and even more so if you have a large family. Fortunately, IHG runs their quarterly PointsBreaks promotion that allows stays at select hotels for just 5,000 points per night. Here is the list of hotels that will be available for booking starting October, 31st.
You may be wondering why I am mentioning points when the title says you can stay for $30 a night. One of the ways to maximize this promotion, assuming you don’t already have IHG points, is to purchase points in bulk. Once you have created an IHG account, head here to see what bonus points you can purchase. (the more points you purchase, the better the deal)
$30 a night
As you can see, I can purchase 52,000 IHG points for $299.00. Since all PointsBreaks hotels run just 5,000 points per night, I would be able to squeeze out 10 hotel nights for $299. Also, you DO NOT pay local taxes when you book with points, so $299 is all you would pay for 10 nights at these hotels.
That comes out to a hair under $30 per night in a hotel. Even a basic hotel at $80 a night will typically end up costing over $90 after taxes. Plus, many of the Holiday Inn Expresses, IHG’s staple hotel, offer free breakfast and WiFi.
If you don’t need to purchase that many points, IHG offered to sell me 15,000 points for $135, making each stay $45. Depending on the PointsBreaks hotels you stay at, that can easily be 50%-75% off the normal cash price.
So here is the kicker, the list of hotels that fall under this 5,000 points-per-night promotion is sporadic. Most of the hotels are going to be Holiday Inn Express or Candlewood Suites, not the Ritz Carlton, sorry. Also, most of the qualifying hotels are going to be in more rural locations, not in the middle of San Francisco or New York City.
Thank you to Points with a Crew for compiling this interactive PointsBreaks map. As you start playing around with the map, you will find that not every hotel is going to make sense for your travel. However, if you can book even a couple of nights at $30-45 a night, you are doing really well.
So here goes a little of the fine print. You can only book TWO nights at the 5,000 point rate per property during this promo. You can book two nights at every PointsBreaks property if you are so inclined, but two nights is the max nights allowable per location. An easy way around this would be to book two nights under your account and have your spouse or partner book another two nights at 5,000 per night using their account.
Another thing to note is that you must stay between October 31st, 2016 and January 31st, 2017. IHG posts a new batch of PointsBreaks hotels every quarter. That means you may want to buy points in bulk and use them over the next year with each new batch of eligible properties.
You do have free cancellation on hotels booked with your IHG points, so don’t hesitate to lock something in. Typically, you just need to cancel 24 hours prior to your stay in order to receive all your points back. The reason I mention this is because many of the popular hotels this quarter will book up very fast. IHG only allocates a select number of rooms per hotel to qualify under the 5,000 points per night promo.
On Monday morning the 31st of October, you will want to be refreshing this page so that you can pounce as soon as the hotels become available. Generally, they become available for booking around ~10AM PST~ on the launch date. I would check every 15-30 minutes (if not more often) if there is a hotel you really want to stay at.
The stand out hotels
Holiday Inn Express – Sedona – Oak Creek. Rates for this hotel hover around $130-170 per night depending on the day of the week and season. Sedona, AZ, which is just 90 miles from my house, is very expensive (and rightfully so). It is a gorgeous area and hotels sell out quite often. Two paid nights in the hotel will easily run you $300 after tax. If you can buy points and snag even two nights for under $100, that is a smoking deal. (oh, and you do get free breakfast and WiFi)
Another cool property, at least for me, is the Crown Plaza outside Portland, OR. This upscale~ish property will normally run about $100 per night or 30,000 points. If you can snag it for $30-$40 or use just 5,000 of your points during PointsBreaks, you’d be getting a great deal on a nice property.
If you have Chase Ultimate Reward points, you can transfer to IHG at a 1:1 ratio (points transfer instantly in my experience). If you book a hotel stay for 5,000 points that would otherwise cost you $100, you are getting a 2 cent per point value. (which is very solid). Last thing, if you are purchasing points from IHG, they can take 24-48 hours to post, so I would act quick if you plan on using these the morning of October, 31.
Good luck (and I may see you in Sedona at the free breakfast line)