How I Earned 17,390 IHG Rewards Points for a $239 Stay
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TPG Special Contributor Eric Rosen spent a night at the Hotel Indigo in New York City earlier this month, earning 17,390 points from a single stay. Here’s how he did it.
For IHG Rewards’ Fall Accelerate Promo, I was offered bonuses up to a potential total of 58,000 points. The first two of those were:
- Stay once in September and earn 5,000 bonus points
- Stay once and earn 5,000 bonus points
All the bonus opportunities after that were predicated on every additional three nights I booked during the promo period. So though my stay in New York City was only going to be a single night, it still counted for the first two 5,000-point bonuses, since those only required a stay but not a certain number of nights.
With that in mind, I decided to book an IHG hotel in New York City for a single night’s stay on Saturday, September 12. Things were busy in the city, and rates seemed rather high – about $492 at the Intercontinental Times Square, and in the mid $300s at most Holiday Inn properties in Manhattan. By contrast, the Hotel Indigo in Chelsea was starting at $219 per night for a King Bed Leisure Room, the base category. Award nights were available for 45,000 points (yielding a value of about 0.49 cents per point – no thank you!).
I like Hotel Indigo, which I kind of picture as the friendlier, more colorful IHG version of Hyatt’s Andaz brand. Everyone gets free high-speed Wi-Fi (not just IHG Rewards Club members), and there’s a friendly vibe to the ones that I’ve visited. The property seemed nice enough from the photos, and was central enough for my plans in the West Village and Times Square areas, so I went ahead and booked it.
On the payment confirmation page, though, I was offered a rate of $20 more ($239 for the night) that would net me 5,000 more points (bonus award points but also elite-qualifying points) per stay. Since my stay was just one night, that worked out to 0.4 cents per point, well below TPG’s valuation of 0.7 cents per point, which is also the rate that you can pretty much buy these points for.
Combining that with the IHG Fall promo bonuses, here’s how my earning worked out:
- $219 room rate – 2,390 base points
- $20 bonus points rate – 5,000 bonus points (which were elite-qualifying points as well)
- $0 September Stay bonus – 5,000 bonus points
- $0 Stay Once bonus – 5,000 bonus points
Total: 17,390 points
To look at it another way, I basically paid $239 for 17,390 points. That makes it a less favorable rate of 1.37 cents per point, about double what TPG values these points at. However, since I had to book the stay anyway, and would ordinarily have just earned 2,390 points, I thought the rate more than justified the bonus 15,000 points I ended up with.
It took just about a day for the base points and the 5,000 bonus points I got for the extra $20 to post, and then two weeks more for the Fall Promo points to post, but they eventually did.
So how was the hotel? Decent. It wasn’t amazing, and it wasn’t bad at all. It just wasn’t terribly memorable.
The lobby was sleek but small. The check-in agent was efficient. I had my room key and was headed up to my floor in the elevator in less than a minute.
The hallways were also short and felt a bit cramped, and there was a huge plastic bin for linens parked outside my door for my whole entire stay.
The room itself was small, but didn’t feel too crowded.
The bathroom was also small, and clearly aimed at single business travelers who just need a quick wash and groom with a single sink and shower stall. It was stocked with Aveda products.
There was a bar and restaurant across from reception in the lobby, and a rooftop bar and event space that was closed for a private function while I was there, so I didn’t get to take a look.
There was also a tiny gym in the basement and two computer work stations.
Other than that, the location was pretty good on 27th St. between 6th and 7th Avenues. It was just around the corner from the 1 train, a quick walk to Penn Station, or down to 23rd street to catch a bunch of other lines.
All in all, I thought the hotel was worth the price for a single night, and I was happy to snag the bonuses.
Have you participated in the IHG Rewards Accelerate promo?