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IHG is offering U.S. residents who join the program by September 30 and complete two qualifying stays by January 31, 2021 a free night worth up to 40,000 points that must be redeemed by April 30, 2021.
Similarly, joining their Intercontinental brand’s Ambassador program by November 15 (which is a paid program) and staying just once at an one of their premium brands (Intercontinental, Kimpton, Regent but not Fairmont) by January 31, 2021 earns a free night worth up to 40,000 points that must be redeemed by April 30, 2021.
Ambassador members can use their free weekend night certificate (used in conjunction with a paid stay) not just at Intercontinental hotels but also Kimpton and Regent properties – and use them for weekday stays – through December 31, 2021 (excludes redemptions in China, Hong Kong, or anywhere IHG isn’t permitted to call anything other than China by Chinese authorities). Through the end of 2021 Ambassador on-property benefits will be honored at Regent properties outside of The China.
Double Down On IHG
For getting started with IHG the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card makes a lot of sense. Up from you can earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. And for your stays you’ll have IHG’s Platinum status for as long as you remain a cardmember.
You’ll receive a free night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. And one of the best features of this $89 annual fee card is that cardholders receive a free reward night each time they redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights. So that’s better than the ‘5th night free’ from Hilton, and amounts to a 25% discount on four night award stays. There’s a Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit (up to $100 every 4 years) as well.
Why Incentives For Non-Current Members Make Sense Now
In normal times this promotion would seem to be exactly backwards. While there’s value in spending money to acquire new customers, the people most likely (and easily) incentivized to stay with the chain are people already predisposed to stay with the chain. In other words, it’s better to run promotions for existing members since they’ve self-identified as likely customers.
These aren’t normal times of course. Business travel isn’t returning soon to any large degree. Several airlines have reported that there’s a lower percentage of program members flying than usual, though the share of members has risen somewhat. Assuming the same holds for hotels generally, or at least IHG, encouraging those who are actually traveling now to be a part of the program makes some sense.
Unfortunately the short timeframe in which to use the free night earned, along with the value cap on the free night, limits its value.