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.
How we did:
- Number of IHG stays total = 77 nights
– 17 paid
– 58 award
– 1 IHG Cert
– 1 BOGO
- Money spent at IHG = $2,129
- Points earned from paid stays = 199,943
- Points earned from all three Big Wins = 206,000
– 106,000 on my account
– 50,000 on Carrie’s
– 50,000 on Mom’s
- Total Earned – 405,943
- Points spent before 10% back = 457,500
- Points spent when factoring in that 10% back = 411,750
It’s incredibly interesting that we earned about as much as we spent. So there could be a couple of ways to look at the numbers.
$2,129 for 77 nights = $27.64 a night.
For Europe, that ain’t bad. In my opinion. If it was Asia… then I’m guessing that I could have cut that in half.
$2,129 for 405,943 points = .52 cents per point or = $26.22 for 5,000 points
With the 10% back it’s really more like $23 per 5,000 points. So if I did all IHG PointBreaks my average redemption would have been a lot lower.
On the other hand my average redemption was 7,887 points/night. I’m actually surprised it’s that low but given PointBreaks and sales in Paris, Edinburgh, Kiev, Athens and Bucharest… the few 35,000 point to 50,000 redemptions we had were averaged down.
If you haven’t rocked IHG, click here for Earning IHG Rewards Points on Steroids
Am I happy with it?
I mean… it’s fine. Over budget but it was mostly in Europe and a few weeks of those were spent with my mom, thus covering three people.
We really didn’t need to spend two nights in the IC San Fran and all that stuff… So going forward I probably should be a little more frugal. It’s easy to justify however, when even after paying for the IC San Fran and Vienna I’m averaged down to $23/night.
However, I think there are so many point options and often so many on the PointBreaks list that there’s no reason for me to redeem one night at the IC Paris (even though my mom loved it) when I could use it for 10 nights on PointBreaks.
Either way 17 paid nights to 58 award nights is great return on investment. I can’t imagine doing better for the number of stays we do.
We could have done way better
1) We didn’t have to stay at the InterContinental Vienna. We would have completed the Big Win without it, but I thought it would be nice. We didn’t have to stay at the InterContinental Guadalaraja on our layover there, but we did. So there were plenty of “extra” stays that were more or less, just because we wanted to.
2) We didn’t have to stay at InterContinental hotels. We could have stayed at the Holiday Inn in San Fran, but instead we stayed at the Mark Hopkins.
Grant it, as a Royal Ambassador we get free minibar, a club room (often a suite), and lounge access. And the lounge was pretty awesome. So in some ways it’s maximizing… but let’s be honest, we could have saved money by eating somewhere else.
And as I said, I’m going to try to use most of the remaining points on PointBreaks. Also, since we only have one more two week trip planned to Europe (Italy), we don’t really need to justify the high dollars and points spent. Even in the nicest places in Asia, even New Zealand, it’s just not that expensive.
What’s funny is that I heard a lot of people complaining about their Big Win only giving 50,000 points after like 4 or 5 stays. *blinks* Yea, that’s after the promo bonuses. And please, stop and do the math.
$25 per 5,000 points is how much we earned via staying. Think about it, people pay $35-$40 to buy 5,000 points to use on stays. I stay at nice hotels and earn 5,000 points for $25.
My friend Christian was blessed with the monster Big Win of a possible 183,800 for 4 stays. What a lucky fool! While I don’t expect all of us to have that kind of IHG luck, at least check! But even the most basic ones can still have high value.
Check your Big Win here.
Unfortunately the default that new accounts get is 31,000 in 3 nights this time (instead of 50,000).
Mine is 67,800 in 7 nights, but I’ll probably still do it. Caroline’s is 105,600 in 5 nights, which we’ll for sure do! Mom’s is 106,300 in 4 nights, which she may or may not be able to complete.
While we may have spent way more than normal ~$2,100 for 77 nights in luxury hotels in Europe is not all that bad. Next we’ll rock way more with a little more self control and prices in Asia.