Rocking the New IHG Big Win Promo

What happens when you don’t have hotel points?

You get more.

Seriously. IHG’s Big Win promo is the most underrated promo to date, and is a steady stream for points for us this quarter (and last quarter).

But perhaps one reason this promo doesn’t get the press it deserves is simply because it’s different for everyone. Each person must log in and view their customized promotion. Some people may get 100,000+ points after a few stays and others may get chump change for a ton of nights.

Still, in my opinion, people down play their own Big Win. On last quarter’s Big Win anyone who created a new account could get the default 50,000 point bonus after a few nights. And that’s on top of any other earnings from the IHG on Steroids tactic.

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How We Rocked IHG’s Big Win

The quarter isn’t quite over but we’re with family and friends until our next trip to Italy in early Feb. But since this quarter had such high accommodation costs, I figured I’d focus on that.

Right now I’m on an IHG kick. Period. IHG BRGs are getting tougher but PointBreaks continues to be phenomenal. But I realized a number of areas I could have decreased my spending, and increased the value of redemptions. Ultimately, we earned a total of 406,000 miles this quarter, and this post is about how that happened.

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Explaining IHG’s Status System

DSC_8850IHG Rewards (which was Priority Club) and its kin, Ambassador status, gets all too confusing. The reason they turned into two status programs is because they want Ambassador Status to be something that is good only at InterContinental branded hotels and IHG Rewards to be the rewards and points system for all IHG hotels (which includes InterContinental as well as Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites).

Let me take a minute to explain each status, the easy and the hard way to earn each status, and the real perks.

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What changes to the IHG Best Rate Guarantee policy means for you.

Last month IHG changed their Best Rate Guarantee policy. When I first heard this I was scared but it turned out to be a mild change, yet it definitely cuts out on a lot of abuse.

In case your unfamiliar with IHG’s Best Rate Guarantee (which must make you new to Travel Is Free (welcome!)) the basic concept is this – if you book on IHG and find a lower rate on a competing site, you get your first night free. Even if it’s a 1 night stay, it’s free. Even if it’s an awesome hotel like the InterContinental Budapest during a holiday week, it’s free. Even if it’s a Club Room to the shwank lounge at the InterContinental Dusseldorf, it’s free. (Hotel review coming soon). If you’d like to read more about this policy, check out the post on IHG’s Best Rate Guarantee.

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Why the current IHG promotion is better than buying points.

IHG has come out with the most interesting promotion for this last quarter, Sept 1 – December 31. It’s called “The Big Win” and each person has a different promotion with tasks, if you will. If you complete a goal, like stay two saturdays or book online, you get a bonus. And if you complete all of your tasks, you get a Big Win bonus amount of points.

The Big Win bonus usually matches the combination of small bonuses you get. For example I get 106,000 points for completing all my tasks, but 53,000 (half) of them are from the Big Win bonus, which comes from completing all of the tasks. Click to Read More…

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