47,000 Points for $136 and Very Little Work

About 3 weeks ago I mentioned an offer where you can get 47,000 IHG Rewards Club points for $47.

Buying 94 notecards, envelopes, and stamps you can register for the IHG Rewards Club Priceless promotion. Then handwrite the following on each card:

  • Full Name
  • Complete Mailing Address
  • Day Phone Number
  • Evening Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • IHG Number
  • First 6 Digits of MasterCard
  • Date of Birth

Then mail each card separately (ideally handwriting the address) to: IHG and MasterCard® Priceless Surprises® Promotion, c/o HelloWorld, Inc., P.O. Box 5996, Kalamazoo, MI 49003-5996

Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur

At a minimum you should receive 500 points per entry. And a very cramped hand.

Reader Edward Uken decided to offer a service to do the work for you. He initially suggested an all-in price of $156 ($100 for labor, 56 for materials/stamps) and offered $20 to me for each person that signed up. He agreed to just reduce the price by $20 instead.

So for $136 he’ll do the work that should yield 47,000 IHG Rewards Club points ($0.0029 cents per point). I consider the points worth $0.006 apiece, the cheapest I’ve seen IHG sell points for is just below that. That makes a PointBreaks night cost $14.47 and a 40,000 point redemption $116.

Intercontinental Boston

If you’re interested, here are his instructions:

    It’s easy, register at IHG to make sure they get credit for the mailed entries

    Pay via PayPal for the Mailing Service ($136)

    Fill out the form so we have the information to hand write and send out 94 envelopes w/ entries to IHG

    Once we’ve fulfilled the order, we’ll send an e-mail out with a photo of all the envelopes we hand filled and as long as IHG processes the entries their points should show up in a few weeks.

    We’re not affiliated in any way with IHG, just handling the laborious task of filling out entries by hand and mailing them off. The rest is up to IHG for making sure points are applied, etc. We can’t guarantee any part of that process, only that we’ve mailed out 94 entries to IHG.

For avoidance of doubt I don’t benefit in any way if you choose to take advantage of this offer. You’re giving them personal information, though for what it’s worth I’ve found both the reader and other members of his family and consider them reputable enough that I’ve gone ahead and done this myself.

Intercontinental Singapore

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I sent out 54 envelopes and received only 4 email replies. I’m still waiting for those 2000 points, to be posted onto my account.

  2. I’ve just re-read the terms and conditions and this appears to be 100% kosher. Everything has to be handwritten, one entry per envelope, it doesn’t say you have to write the cards yourself (that the accountholder has to personally write out each one).

  3. T&Cs say one must be a US resident using a US address (on your IHG account) and the first six digits of a US-bank issued MasterCard. All contests in North American jurisdictions must permit this form or alternate participation where you don’t have to actually purchase the product. Whether sub-contracting is legal is questionable. Whether having this plastered on dozens of blogs will sabotage the contest we’ll soon see. This could be the “pudding guy” of hotel programs.

  4. Currently you can buy IHG points at 0.0057. So it will cost $267 to buy 47k points. Is it worth the hassle and risk to save $131 by using this service? I guess that depends on your own perspective.

  5. I mailed 34 letters per instructions on 11/16/15 and have yet to hear anything.I have my other 60 letters ready to mail but am waiting on confirmation of some points. I’ve seen people report on other blogs they received emails and points for their entries.

  6. It would be tough to catch, but technically it could be a violation of the T&C (along with anybody not doing it themselves). It says to “hand print your full name, complete mailing address, day and evening phone numbers. Note the word YOUR (not somebody else’s).

    Picky., Picky.

  7. Shame on you, Gleff. Really? There can’t be one promotion that isn’t gamed out? It’s one thing to take the time and get the 47k, it’s another to work the promo like this. You’ve probably already written the blog about how to go about suing IHG because they “cheated” you by not giving you all 47k. What’s happening to all you bloggers?

  8. @Al, the reason we are doing this is that IHG guaratee is 500 points per entry.. but there are chances to win free nights, and other prizes including 1 million IHG points. So at the least you will get 500 points but you may get more..

  9. I tend to agree with the critics that offering this service is not a good idea. It’s a well known fact that manufactured spending deals (which is kind of what this is) that are too easy don’t last. If there’s some work required to get the reward, fewer people participate, and the deal has a shot of working for those willing to be in the effort.

    In this instance, it is obvious that IHG is already struggling with fulfillment. This is undoubtedly because several frequent flyer blogs published instructions on how to participate without actually staying in the hotels. I don’t think there was anything wrong with offering these instructions, as it was obviously beneficial to their readership. But actually doing the work for the readers? Um, I don’t think that’s going to be beneficial for anyone (except, perhaps, Mr. Uken).

    FWIW, my wife and I each mailed in 20 letters 3 weeks ago (getting cramped hands in the process). So far, she’s received no response and I’ve gotten one code — even though the official rules promise a response within a week. Do you really think more entries are going to be helpful to anyone?

  10. A blog reader is offering a service to do the work for a promotion for you. What in the world is wrong with that?

    How many of you think it would be wrong to have your teenage kid do it for you? What if you gave them something extra in their allowance?

  11. Yea, sure why don’t you just publish your DOB,partial cc number,account number for the world to hack your identity?
    I called Mastercard and IHG (initially IHG never heard of this promotion then finally verified it) and was foolish to enter 4 cards as I needed 2000points, Never got a reply email but started receiving all sorts of spam- last promotion I ever enter! Now I just put my card on fraud alert in case this whole thing is a scam.

  12. How much does this reputable entrepreneur charge to knock out all others who take him up on this service? Will a $10 bump-up suffice?

  13. I was so excited to do this promo that I jumped in, and started to fill out the cards, and excitedly went to the post office. I can imagine my jaw dropping when I found out that the postage alone would cost this Canadian over 100.00 just for the stamps alone. Glad to be Canadian, sad to not have the great points offers that the US has.

  14. As a fallback IHG can technically cancel or modify the promotion if “any other factor impairs the integrity of the Promotion, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion.” (per T&C). That’s pretty wide open and you wouldn’t think they would take an action like that unless the practice became extremely prevalent and publicized.

    But they could. It will be interesting how many other similar service offers pop up. I’ll bet IHG has learned not to allow so many entries next time. I never was sure why they allowed 94.

  15. Kerry – I’m glad you didn’t spend the money. I think this is restricted to US (fifty states and DC). Note “legal permanent residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia” in T&C.

    That would have been a bummer.

  16. What could possibly go wrong by giving some unknown guy my name, address, dob, IHG #, telephone #, email…? Yeah, that will be happening on the 32nd of Never.

  17. I don’t see the difference between this and any other service – there is no deception and no violation of T&Cs

  18. @nowhereman “I’ll bet IHG has learned not to allow so many entries next time. I never was sure why they allowed 94.”

    The design of the promo is to offer one entry for each stay (starting with #2) checking in between November 15, 2015 and February 15, 2016. So the maximum number of stays is 92, giving 91 entries. I think legally they have to allow as many entries with the free method as with the paid (stay) method. Why it’s 94 and not 91, well, math is hard.

  19. swag – I wasn’t sure of that since the math didn’t seem to work out. .Then I saw you could check in from11/15 on and that the 2/15 check-in (2/16 check-out) would also count. That would be 16 (Nov) + 31 (Dec) + 31 (Jan) +15 (Feb) = 93. Then they add one more entry (to hit 94) to make up for the fact that your fist stay gets 1,000 rather than 500.

  20. Get OVER yourselves people.

    If you aren’t interested in Edward’s service, you don’t have to hire him.

    The notion that Gary sharing something readers may want to utilize on HIS BLOG is somehow “low” or that Gary should feel “shame” is laughable.

  21. I come down on the side of “Gee, I wish you hadn’t done this, Gary.” You certainly aren’t the only blogger who has mentioned this promo. But you almost certainly are the most followed. To provide those too lazy or busy with a “service” is fraught with danger to those of us (like me – just today!) who spent the time to comply with the requirements. An additional flurry of letters from those who use the “service” creates a real risk that the promo will be pulled “due to overwhelming response” or whatever the T&Cs provide. And then where does that leave those of us who agreed to do the heavy lifting on our own behalf.? Up a creek, I’d guess. I hope I’m wrong but this really points out the perils of the internet. I, personally, think you should pull this post. It only (potentially) benefits the lazy or the busy who don’t really play the game.

  22. I’ll claim to be the first person to work this out, back when you posted about the promotion on Nov 2-


    I was slammed by stvr for potentially giving my kids “carpal tunnel and cheap disease”. But we filled out and sent in the 94 cards. However, like Zoe, I have only received a few email replies already.

    If you are going to do this promotion, I’d recommend doing the cards yourself. Not even slightly cramped hands for the 24 cards each person (including the wife), stvr! But I think i’d feel ripped off if I paid someone else to fill out my cards, and only got 8 replies, plus you cannot really call the customer service line indignantly if you didn’t do the cards yourself (“But I paid a guy to send in 94 cards!”). Do it for the fun of a $56 lottery instead…

  23. Guys?
    which idiot would buy 47K IHG points for 136 USD?

    Mostly these 5K awards are not available or in locations or hotels you dont want to go.

    i would buy 47K IHG points for 47K, that would be a great deal, but for 136USD i would rather shift some stays in a promo to IHG and earn free points.

    so i dont think that many people will use this offer.


  24. Compared to the number of people who stay in IHG properties on a given night, I think the number who actually go to the trouble of doing all these mail in entries won’t be enough to impact the promotion greatly. Even with a paid service, the number probably won’t bump up all that much – many people won’t want to give out personal information to a stranger, and others won’t want to pay a fee (as already seen in the comments). I took care of my 94 entries the first 10 days or so of the promotion. So far, 19 emails = 14,000 points and two $50 MasterCard gift cards. Nothing actually posted to my account or received yet.

  25. So far nothing coming in over here. This seems to be a real YYMV, probably due to the flood of entries.

  26. I don’t get all the ‘shame on yous’. Not only is this a service if you want it, but Gary is actively rejecting a commission so that people could have a lower price.

    I’m not going to participate, but I don’t understand the rancor here. Pay for the service if you want, write the cards if you want, or don’t. But don’t complain because Gary got it for you and for 20$ cheaper than the guy was originally offering.

  27. I think I am with the majority. This is crossing a line, also possibly (and in my mind, probably) violating the terms and conditions.

    Man, Gary, I know you make a living at this and click throughs and CC apps, but this… No, not EVERYTHING has to be gamed.

    This was, and is, wrong, and against the spirit, if not the letter, of the contest and terms and conditions.

  28. Too far man!

    The “spirit” of most promos is that no one actually does them. I can’t believe that you would actually condone mailing things in… for a promotion where you’re supposed to mail things in.

    And even ff you’re going to do the mail in promo, clearly IHG wants you to go to the post office yourself! How will Jesus let you into heaven when you’ve outsourced your stamp licking?

    When this deal expires – because, ya know, all promotions do – I think we’ll know who to blame for killing it!
    It’s a shame that you’ll kill this deal too… because I wasn’t going to do it because it’s unethical and a lot of work.

    Thanks a lot! Soon we won’t even have the choice not to do it.

  29. @JAX LAX: You’re mad because he stole the Fonz’s job?

    Well, The Fonz is now hawking reverse mortgages. He gave up jumping sharks long ago.

  30. I don’t see anything wrong with this and I don’t think Gary is crossing any line. Do it at your own risk, it’s technically still within the rules. Everyone needs to chill out.

  31. Wow, this is a lot of vitriol for such a minor thing. I’ve hand-written all the entries and most of the envelopes myself. I have yet to do them for my husband, but his account will come next (I’m the points earner in our household, and his writing skills are TERRIBLE). I do them as I’m watching TV with my family – some people crochet, I decided my “settin’ work” would be to enter this contest, at least over the next few weeks.

    But I don’t see any difference between doing it myself, paying my daughter to do it, or paying a stranger to do it. Seriously, so what? If IHG gets more entries than they expect and pull out, then it’s IHG’s fault for poor planning, not people who followed the rules and hand wrote, or arranged for someone else to hand write each entry.

  32. Sent 8 on 11/16, Sent 10 on 11/25, sent 35 on 12/2. I received 8 e-mails on 12/1. 1 Free night, 5000 points, 2000 points, 1000 points, (4) 500 points.
    I was happy, so I will send another 40 next week.

  33. I’ve concluded from reading the angry comments that if I’m ever on trial, all of you should be challenged for cause.
    I don’t know–maybe there are some attorneys who can comment on the “spirit of the law/rules” thing.
    Yeah, I’ve read Wikipedia, so I’m an expert on the subject now.
    As far as I know the only spirit involved is the spirits you’d have to be drinking to sit down and write out all these card and envelope.
    And now, on to easy mileage accual–opening another Citi account with a credit card.

  34. Gary, I say this with sincerity – it is not a good idea to promote this “service.”

    There is too many things that could go wrong – eventually something will go wrong and one of your reader-customers will hold it against you. Why would you want to be caught in the middle of it?

  35. sent out 11/16 11/19 11/23 and got NADA. Called Rewards Club and asked what was going on. got our local call center in the Philippines. On the third hang up. it was apparent that the three of them new NADA about the promotion. I told one of them how to find it on the website before he hung up on me. Next call was to a supervisor who I had the knowledge of the promotion. Her response was ” I have received a number of complaints about no response” She was going to email Helloworld Inc about why they have not responded (yea like they will do anything) But I got a case number now!

  36. Are post cards, at lower cost, prohibited?

    $.35 x 94 = $31.96 for the stamps + $1.25 for card stock = $33.21
    Hand cramps optional 😉

    $33.21/47,000 =$.00071/point

    This would be a minimum, assuming IHG process them and fulfills the program.

  37. I’m another person who has followed all the rules and have received only a tepid response. (4 of 27 sent in so far) I’m not sending anymore in until they respond as they should – it would be a waste of money.

  38. @losingtrader yes It was Rewards club since they had my Member number etc. I did get a response: which is about the same as a hang up!

    Good Morning,

    Thank you for your patience and for reaching out to The IHG Rewards Club Priceless Surprises Promotion. We are currently checking our system for your entries. We will be back in touch with you as soon as we have more information to provide.

    Customer Care


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