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IHG was the 2015 dealmaker left at the alter.
IHG Rewards’ big move was addition of a new top tier called Spire, they just forgot to add the benefits. I have not found a diminution of my credit card-granted Platinum status. Many hotels still have Priority Club materials laying around so change comes slow.
Their prior year acquisition, Kimpton, will have its Karma program continue in 2016.
Targeted promotions continue with the return of Accelerate in 2016. On my primary account I had completed the prior year promotions so mine this year were way beyond my ability to reach, especially with a cut in business travel. The way to play these promotions continues to be new accounts.
Then there is the 94-note card IHG Surprises, which I may do for the fun of it. One mailer won 1 million points in the first week.
IHG is my primary chain for business travel with its broad geographic sweep and budget-friendly price points. Chains such as Hyatt are out of my price cap in most international markets.
They helpfully totted up my activity: 15 cities, 12 stays, 35 nights. All were business except two Points Breaks nights in Helsinki.
- When IHG loses a hotel, they stiff you. Dealing with IHG Relocations is terrible. Hard to get any compensation and even need to chase for a refund.
- You earn only 2.5 points/dollar (instead of 10) at The Residence Suites Dubai F.C. or Asiana Reside Saigon Residences. I had a business stay in Saigon where the connected Intercontinental was much more expensive for standard rooms, whereas I got a huge apartment with full kitchen and laundry. I still wanted the points!
- I have not seen the value in buying Intercontinental Ambassador, or chasing Royal Ambassador. With the free night certs from various promotions and the credit card we had unremarkable stays at Intercontinental Seoul Parnas and Intercontinental Hong Kong. No meaningful surprise elite benefits. After much arguing in Hong Kong we are able to get out of construction view to harbor view for a reduced price. Outside the US, Crowne Plazas and Holiday Inns can be quite nice, often generous with elite treatment, and are my normal focus.
Hotel Indigo Shanghai is the first chain boutique hotel I have loved. Hotel Indigo Hong Kong could have been good except for bizarre features such as ALL THE LIGHTS turning on every time the room door is opened, not good when you and partner are jet-lagged and sleeping different schedules. On to 2016!