It’s been a while since I was excited by the IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks promotion. A reminder: IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks used to allow you to book selected properties at 5,000 points a night. I kept away from covering them for exactly one year — here is my last one if anyone’s interested. Read it, and you will know why.
The new and revamped IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks lists now have 3 tiers: 5,000 points, 10,000 points, and 15,000 points. What are these points really worth?
You can actually get them at $.07 per point anytime you want. Just make a booking with points plus cash, cancel, and you get a refund for the cash part in points.
Right now, however, you can have a slightly better deal by buying IHG points outright with a 75% bonus for 20,000 points or more (must be logged on). This is not the best IHG bonus on buying points (the best was 100% IIRC), but this is what you can get right now. Keep in mind, though, that this year IHG has yet again devalued its already overpriced rewards chart, so I wouldn’t buy IHG points speculatively even with the bonus. Try to make sure you have a specific redemption in mind.
If you buy points with the 75% bonus, you can get from 35,000 points for $250 to 105,000 points for $690, or about $0.066 per point.
So, does the revamped IHG PointBreaks structure offer better values? In some ways, yes, in others no. Some old properties that IHG tried to sell for 5,000 points before, now cost 10,000 points. Crowne Plaza West Hanoi Residences wasn’t a good deal at 5,000 and neither were Crowne Plaza Ankara or Holiday Inn Panama Canal (not because they are bad hotels, but because there are better options). Obviously, when IHG priced these hotels at 10,000 points it didn’t make them more valuable. On the other hand, some offers in this latest IHG PointBreaks list are intriguing.
Here is my very humble opinion, and please keep in mind, I’m tilted toward international destinations, so if you find a gem I’ve missed — don’t get mad, get typing. That’s what the comments section is for.
How do you decide if it’s worth it or not?
It’s not enough that the property is great. It also has to be a good deal. If a 10,000-point hotel is priced around $65 a night or less — it’s not a deal. It’s business as usual.
Keep in mind that I grab the “from” cash rate from the hotel website and treat it as a general idea. The real hotel rate for your days can be higher or lower (and much higher or much lower), so do your own research.
Remember that you pay taxes for the cash rate, but you don’t (usually) pay taxes on a points stay.
Notable IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks for 5,000 points or ~$33 per night
If you need to be close to Chicago on a budget, this hotel will do. About 40 minutes by car to downtown Chicago. According to the hotel website, the rates start at $88.
Free wired & wireless high-speed Internet, business center, large indoor pool, whirlpool, business center, premium channels, hairdryers, coin laundry, laundry valet, meeting space, non-smoking and pet friendly. Rooms offer microwaves & refrigerators. Shuttle service is available within a 4-mile radius. On site Bar: Louie Restaurant.
This Holiday Inn puts you between Naples and Pompeii, at a 40-minute drive from each. It seems to be a solid property, and the location might be ideal depending on your travel plans. Would I fly from the U.S. to stay at this hotel? — no, but I would be happy to incorporate it in my hypothetical Italy vacation. The rates start at 120 Eur.
Continental breakfast buffet
On-site parking for a fee, with free outdoor parking beside the mall
Free standard Internet
The Vesevo Lounge Bar and Restaurant
Special Mention: Holiday Inn Panama Canal
I know I’ve berated this hotel for being far away from everything, but if you’re tired of the Panama City hustle and bustle, it’s actually not a bad choice. Very peaceful, and I liked the somewhat resortish feel of the pool when I toured the grounds last year. And besides, it’s close to the Gamboa Rainforest, which is a must-visit, IMHO.
Notable IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks for 10,000 points or ~$66 per night
This tier is where I’ve found the most value. I wonder if you agree or not.
Notable 10,000-Point IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks in the U.S.
Close to Ontario Airport, and looks like it could be a nice base for a family exploration of Disneyland, Universal, Glen Ivy Hot Springs, and the beaches between LA and San Diego. Starts at $128.
Fully equipped kitchens
Heated pool and whirlpool
Closed to Old Town, Olympic sized outdoor swimming pool, free parking. Starts at $96.
These 3 Chicago area hotels are about 40 minutes to downtown Chicago.
8 miles from O’Hare and close to Chicago’s Metra Train Station. Full breakfast included. Indoor pool and whirlpool. Starts at $115.
Free parking, large outdoor pool, close to Northbrook Metra Rail Station. Starts at $125.
Looks like a beautiful hotel in a nice town. Free parking, indoor pool, starts at $144.
Notable 10,000-Point IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks in South America
InterContinental Medellin starts at $142
InterContinental Cali starts at $130
Notable 10,000-Point IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks in Europe
Good central location, although it’s not in the dead center of Moscow. Red Square is 30-40 minutes away. Rates start at $120.
There are two hotels in St. Petersburg, both near the Moscow Triumphal Gate. Good location, just a short metro ride to the heart of the city.
Solid, newish business hotel located in the new Business District on the “wrong” side of the river (about a 10-minute taxi ride from the heart of Belgrade). Indoor swimming pool and a sunbathing garden (whatever that means). Starts at $120 (at the end of April).
There are actually two 10,000-point hotels in London, this one and Holiday Inn Express London – Dartford. The Dartford hotel, though, seems to be far away from central London, while the one in Newbury Park is just a 30-minute tube ride from the namesake station. Has free breakfast, and rates start at $128.
Notable 10,000-Point IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks in Asia
Well, a 5-star hotel for $66 a night — sounds like a winner to me. Rates start at $118.
This hotel looks like a solid choice to me if you’re planning on traveling to Laos. It’s located near the center of the city and has a stunning infinity pool and beautiful grounds. The rates start at $104.
Notable 10,000-Point IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks in Africa and the Middle East
It’s an IC; it’s $66, and it’s located next to the Parliament building — what else is there to add? Starts at $125.
Located between Muscat in the north and Salalah in the south, Duqm, might be a major port in the Sultanate, but is not one of the major Oman attractions. Nevertheless, it’s starting to get some acclaim for its Rock Garden (or Rock Zoo, as they call it sometimes) and peaceful, beautiful beaches on the Arabian Sea. The Crowne Plaza Duqm looks like a very nice beach-side property — perhaps what the doctor ordered for a couple of days of R&R.
Notable IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks for 15,000 points or ~$99 per night
Honestly, I didn’t find any mind-blowing deals in this list, but you will find some respectable savings, and by respectable I mean 20 to 30 percent. And not just judged against what InterContinental charges but also other comparable hotels in the area.
Still, it’s not bad to get a $130-$150 hotel for $99, it’s just that I’m not getting excited about it. There are other ways to get a 20-30 percent hotel discount (if you are Citi Prestige cardholder, you always get 25 percent off).
Maybe I’m too harsh? There are some decent properties here. Here is what caught my eye, anyway.
Crowne Plaza Helsinki (Rates start at $150)
InterContinental Sao Paulo (great location in Jardim Paulista, rates start at $233)
InterContinental Cartagena De Indias (rates start at $187)
InterContinental Miramar Panama (Rates start at $198)
InterContinental Kiev (Rates start at $457) WOW 🙂
So should you all rush to book InterContinental Kiev? Hell no! First, because $457 is more like wishful thinking on their part. And second, because the vacation rental market is so over-saturated in Kiev that $100 a day can buy you an amazingly plush, 2-bedroom super-duper apartment smack dab in the center of the city, with a huge Jacuzzi and all the amenities you could wish for. But that’s just me. I love big places and don’t care for room service. For everyone else, $99 is a great price for a hotel of this caliber in a lovely city, especially in late spring.
OK, let’s wrap it up
Obviously, with its never-ending 2-year devaluation strikes on all fronts including PointBreaks, IHG felt it needed to change something in order to breath in new life in the program. I personally welcome their new 3-tier structure, although we’ll need to wait and see what the upcoming IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks promos will offer. So far — a decent effort, IMHO.