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IHG PointBreaks are quarterly 5,000 points/night award promotions that IHG releases to fanfare and booking frenzy. The new list for travel January 25 – April 30, 2016 will be available for booking sometime the US morning of January, 25, 2016. The IHG Blog has a preview with the booking link to use when it is live.
There are two use cases for PointBreaks:
- Snap up a hotel deal on a trip already planned.
- A deal so good as to plan a trip around it, such as when Intercontinental Bora Bora goes on the list and people wet themselves about flying much father and at greater cash/miles expense than needed to see a beach. Or, closer to home, something that makes for a fun unplanned getaway or staycation.
I don’t subscribe the Intercontinental or bust view of IHG. Unless you pony up for Ambassador status, or better yet, get Royal Ambassador status, your IHG elite status is hardly worth putting on the reservation for most properties. You get a nice, staid hotel to fit your tweed coat and pipe.
In contrast, Crowne Plazas can be quite nice in certain parts of the world and IHG elite treatment, while inconsistent and not guaranteed, can be great. Eastern Europe, Middle East and China are areas I have had great IHG stays as an IHG Platinum. I will pit the Crowne Plaza Belgrade breakfast against all European comers (not a difficult fight).
Even Holiday Inns can be luxurious in some markets. Indigos are wildly inconsistent from awesome Shanghai to Anaheim, a Hampton Inn with bright colors.
That all said, this list is snooze. The recent trend of not a single Intercontinental continues. Many are airport or roadside hotels that are not worth a detour or may only be useful for business travelers.
Here are my picks that might interest leisure travelers:
- China: Crowne Plaza Tianjin Meijiangnan, good location in the city I lived in for 2 years, will be chilly in winter (beware the other China Crowne Plaza in the southern city of Guangzhou, it is far from the center in a city with awful traffic).
- Japan: both Crowne Plaza Toyama and Crowne Plaza Okayama, neither are tourist towns but any town in Japan is good for me and this is a great value to plan a stay.
- Thailand: Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Sukhumvit, with hesitation as there are so many cheap hotels in this great city
- Vietnam: Crowne Plaza West Hanoi, upper-end hotels in Vietnam can be quite pricey so I would jump on this one if heading that way
Central and South America:
- Georgia: Hotel Indigo Atlanta Airport – College Park, I am taking a flyer, this has the dreaded window AC units. It is walkable to the nice restaurants of College Park and its MARTA metro station, which gives it a big advantage over the mostly isolated other ATL airport hotels. Try Pecan or Urban Foodie Cafe which has rebranded from The Feed Store. If you have a car and time, go all in for Buckner’s Family Restaurant, or near to the hotel the Barbecue Kitchen.
- Maryland: Crowne Plaza Annapolis, I have never been to Annapolis and want to go, maybe in April?
Europe (lots of middling-looking hotels in great cities, I am only considering the hotels themselves here):
- Lithuania: Crowne Plaza Vilnius, a PointBreaks regular, great hotel, a little isolated so a car is best, not the prime season to visit the Balts. Here and here are what I did in Lithuania.
Readers, what are your picks?