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One of the things I love most about being The Points Guy is getting to hear stories from readers about how points and miles have helped them get where they want to go. If you’re interested in sharing your own award travel success story, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. If we publish it, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure!
Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Ming, who used an IHG Rewards promotion to save on a hotel room before an early morning flight. Here’s what she had to say:
Last year I applied for the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card and earned a sign-up bonus of 70,000 points. A few weeks ago I read a TPG post about the winter list of IHG PointBreaks hotels priced at only 5,000 points per night. One of the properties on the list was a Staybridge Suites in a destination I was already planning to visit: Baku, Azerbaijan.
I had already booked a room for two nights at the Hyatt Regency Baku, and my flight was scheduled to depart at 4:00 am the morning after checkout. My original plan was to just store my luggage at the Hyatt and stay up late to avoid paying for a third night, but when I noticed the PointBreaks offer I realized it would be much more comfortable to move to the Staybridge Suites so that I could shower and nap before my flight.
Accordingly, I booked a one-night stay at Staybridge Suites for 5,000 points. In fact, the net cost was only 4,000 points because I received a 10% rebate (500 points) on my redemption through the IHG credit card, and I also received an IHG Platinum Elite welcome gift of another 500 points upon check-in.
I got a great few hours of sleep before my flight, allowing me to arrive at my destination fully rested and ready for my next adventure. And thanks to TPG, I paid nothing out of pocket!
IHG PointBreaks aren’t quite the attraction they used to be, as the number of eligible high-end properties has dwindled steadily over the years. However, these awards remain a great deal for the handful of intriguing destinations that show up on the list, or for lower-tier properties that fit into your existing travel plans. Now that Kimpton Karma Rewards is being folded into the IHG Rewards program, I’ll be interested to see if any Kimpton properties are offered as PointBreaks — I wouldn’t bet on it, but we can hope, right?
I imagine many travelers have faced the dilemma of whether to pay for a hotel before an early flight. If I’m traveling light and confident I can sleep on the plane, then I lean toward skipping the hotel and passing the time somewhere more exciting. Of course there are lots of other factors, like my scheduled flight time, the cost of an extra night and whether I expect to be jet-lagged anyway. I’d love to hear strategies for dealing with early morning departures, so please share your ideas in the comments below.
I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Ming for sharing her experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending her a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you.
Again, if the strategies you’ve learned here have helped you fly in first class, score an amazing suite, reach a far-flung destination or even just save a few dollars, please indulge me and the whole TPG team by emailing us with your own success stories (see instructions at the top of this post). Feel free to also submit stories of your most egregious travel mistakes. In either case, you’ll have our utmost appreciation, along with some extra spending money for your next trip.
Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Featured image by Jane Sweeney via Getty Images.
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