Need quick introduction to IHG!

Discussion in 'IHG | Rewards Club/Ambassador' started by LarryInNYC, Oct 18, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    In the process of scheduling a one week business trip to Budapest for which the Intercontinental is the recommended hotel. I'm not currently an IHG member. I have a few questions (mostly very basic) which I figured could most efficiently be answered by an IHG expert here.
    1. The loyalty program is IHG Rewards, correct?
    2. Ambassador is a paid program in addition to the standard rewards program, correct?
    3. What are the benefits of Ambassador (in particular, does it include club access) and is it considered worth it?
    4. It appears that IHG Rewards has different earning structures in and outside the US and outside the US you only get 2000 points per stay, regardless of cost or length of stay?
    5. If #4 is true, isn't that pretty lousy?
    6. What's an approximate valuation of IHG points?
    7. The credit card looks like it has no paid stay benefits other than priority check-in (and increased points earning), correct?
    8. Anything else I should know about the program?
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Numbers 1 & 2 are correct. Dunno about the other benefits and such, though I believe Royal Ambassador lets you clear out the minibar for free (except on award stays); that is not included in regular Ambassador status. Here's one relatively recent blog post about Ambassador: http://boardingarea.com/pointsmiles...ontinental-ambassador-status-kit-has-arrived/.

    For #6 the cash buy price is typically 0.7 cents per point. That's a good place to start.

    For a one-off stay I'd probably credit to an airline. Not the best rate but better than orphaning the points in IHG. If you do choose to go the IHG route make sure to juice your earnings by signing up for all the promo codes out there. Some might hit.
     
  3. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I think the IC hotels don't earn points per dollar, or is that just in the US?
     
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  4. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    1) Yes
    2) Yes...I looked at buying it briefly when I had a few IC stays as it also included a BOGO. Lucky has a decent right up on this a while back. But here is a link on MP on a similar question here.
    Not sure on 3-5
    6) I would say it is even less than the 0.7 cents that you can buy it at...but it can be good depending on the property.
    7) the card, which is 80K points right now, gets your platinum status, club access and some other small stuff on paid stays. You won't get status on award stays, but outside the US, you may.
    8) Don't know...but as Seth says...there are tons of promo codes that may hit...especially for a first timer.
     
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  5. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    As far as I can tell, within the US you earn pretty well (10 points per dollar, or about 7% based on Seth's valuation). But outside the US, you get close to bupkis: 2000 points per stay. The airline earning rates are also lousy.
     
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  6. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Where would I look for these?
     
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  7. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Outside the US (and I realize I'm harping on this, but it's only because I find it so hard to believe) you earn 500 miles per STAY. Hardly worth collecting.
     
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  8. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    There was a thread here with a ton of promos, and you can just sign at your leisure... seriously it's like 30 promos and most of them stack.

    Not only that, but even if they don't make sense, most of the time you qualify regardless... I get stuff like "new member bonus" even though I've been with them for a couple of years. :)

    As I mentioned elsewhere, the stackable promos can be insanely profitable if you have an upcoming stay and you have to stay with them. This was my IC Tampa stay from the other day for $115 AI, earning 32k points -- enough for a couple of nights at a decent IHG hotel. Two stays like that -- assuming you can reproduce the earnings -- is enough for an $800 stay in Paris or Tahiti.

    ic-tampa.png
     
  9. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Are you sure about the club status? I see that platinum gets you a guaranteed room upgrade, but nothing about an upgrade to club status. And it's not clear to me that the platinum status even applies at Intercontinental branded properties if you haven't paid for Ambassador.
     
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  10. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I'm a Platinum and I can tell you the upgrades are still "based on availability" -- although being Platinum is better than being Gold (or no status) when it comes to actually asking / expecting it.

    I think as an Ambassador you have a guaranteed room upgrade, with no restrictions. I'm sure that some properties massage that around though so that you'd get a room on a higher floor or with a different view, rather than a "real" category upgrade.

    And from what I recall of my stay at the IC Doral, Platinum status doesn't grant you access to the club. I think it's similar to Hilton Gold, where you would get access to the club IF you got upgraded to a room on the club floor.
     
  11. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    The platinum status doesn't apply to IC unfortunately. I had 4 stays at other IHG overseas and I received club access, so I guess it is YMMV.
     
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  12. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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  13. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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    You can also look here: http://loyaltylobby.com/2013/10/03/ihg-rewards-club-fall-2013-promotion-guide/;

    and here: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/some-ihg-bonus-codes.63216/;

    You may also want to consider the Chase IHG Visa. 60-80K bonus points after $1g in spend. I suspect a week in Budapest would cover it. No forex fees. 5x per $ spent at IHG. No annual fee first year. If you keep the card for the $ 49 AF you get a free night at any IHG on your card anniversary.

    All of the above and the additional suggestions should help make up for the measly 2000 per stay you are getting.

    Good luck and have fun in Hungary.
     
  14. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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    Regarding Ambassador. It costs $ 200 online. If you do it at the IC Budapest, they will try to sell it to you, you may be able to work out a better cost. I got it at the recommendation of my IHG advisor here on MP RideOn. I have stayed at two ICs this year and did get treated wonderfully.

    You get early check-in, late check-out, mineral water every day, fruit, a free film on the tube, at least one category upgrade from the room you booked, separate check in, 5000 IHG points, a BOGO cert for a weekend. It can be a nice deal.

    Once again good luck.
     
  15. I have been a RA for several years and the upgrades alone are worth the effort of getting it. Last weekend I was upgraded to the biggest suite at an IC and was effectively able to entertain friends out of the free booze you get in the room.
    The lounge access in most IC's is another worth while feature. I have stayed at 15 different IC's this year and really get my money's worth.
     
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  16. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    RA isn't in the cards (alas). I'm just concerned about getting some reasonable return on a 6 or 7 night stay at the IC.
     
  17. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Can you book through a cash-back portal? That might be a better return than anything else, even if you don't get IHG points on the stay. Plus, some portals link direct to the IHG site which will help. I definitely wouldn't buy Ambassador in hopes of getting a decent RoI on one stay.
     
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  18. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Yes, I can book however I want (already checked RocketMiles and they don't have the IC). I'm not seriously considering purchasing Ambassador status for this one stay unless I could be assured that it would get me club access -- the client has already advised me to book a room with club access and that's a much bigger cost than the Ambassador status (although I'm pretty sure that Ambassador itself does not get club access).

    I'm not absolutely required to book the IC, but others on the same trip will be there, so I probably will. What I'm thinking about now is signing up for all the IC promos and then booking two stays at the IC with one night in-between at the Art'Otel, which is Club Carlson and actually looks quite nice. If enough of the promos hit, it should get me a couple of nights somewhere.

    Do you know which portals go via IHG and get the points?
     
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  19. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Although the cash price might be 0.7 cents per point, the value of PC points, on the other hand, is around 0.5 cents per point.

    There is an 80K PC bonus points credit card offer ($400 value plus free night) out there: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/priority-club-visa-80-000-points-just-after-one-use.20750/page-2
     
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  20. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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    [quote="LarryInNYC, post: 2191539, member: 44255"
    Do you know which portals go via IHG and get the points?[/quote]

    Chase ultimate rewards. 3 points per $ spent at IHG properties.

    Big Crumbs. 4.55% rebate.
     

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