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I almost never write about hotel promotions because they are constant and usually underwhelming except as a few extra points for business travelers who have their rooms paid for. The IHG Big Win is an exception.

IHG Rewards has announced a repeat of its current Big Win promotion for January 1 to April 30, 2014. The current Big Win has been running since September 1, 2013, and I’ve already earned 153,700 bonus IHG Rewards points for participating in it.

You can register for The New Big Win today to see your offers, which vary by person. Here is a FlyerTalk thread discussing various offers people have gotten.

I got a decent offer–not nearly as good as this year’s. I have to make five stays at four different hotels to earn 81,800 bonus IHG Rewards points.

What was my offer? How will I take advantage? What are IHG Rewards Club points worth? Should you go all in with The Big Win?

My targeted offer is:

  • Stay more and earn. 8,400 points for five nights.
  • Explore our brands. 17,600 points for staying at three different IHG brands.
  • Start the day off right. 2,000 points for booking one stay at the Best Flexible Rate with Breakfast rate.
  • IHG mobile booking app. 4,800 points for booking two stays through the IHG mobile app.
  • Stay Smart. 8,000 points for staying at two different Holiday Inns.
  • Win big. 41,000 more points for completing all five of my offers.

A lot of these targets overlap, so in total, I can earn 81,800 points for

  • 5 hotel nights
  • at 4 different hotels
  • encompassing 3 different IHG brands
  • and 2 Holiday Inns

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Is The Promotion Worth Participating In?

For me, it’s a close call that I am leaning towards skipping. For everyone, the answer is a pretty simple math problem comparing the value of the bonus points earned and the cost of the stays needed.

The only trick is to think on the margin. If the stays you do for the promotion are pure mattress runs, their cost is:

  • the cost of the room
  • + the cost of transportation there
  • + the cost of your time.

But if you need a hotel night anyway, and this promotion just causes you to choose a different hotel than you otherwise would have, then the cost of participating is:

  • the cost of the room
  • + the cost of transportation there
  • + the cost of your time
  • – the cost of your other option (including room, transportation, time)

So for instance if the total cost of a night at an SPG hotel is $100 and that’s where you were planning an upcoming stay, but this promotion causes you to switch that night to an IHG hotel that costs $140, the cost of the promotion is $40 for that night, not $140.

Once you have the cost side of the equation down, you have to compare it to the benefits of racking up however many IHG Rewards points you’ll get. Here you have to have a value in mind for IHG Rewards points.

There is no minimum value for your valuation–you could value them at zero if you hate IHG–but there is a maximum value of 0.7 cents because you can freely buy IHG Rewards points for 0.7.

How do you choose your valuation between 0 and 0.7 cents per point? You should see what kind of value you’ll get for redeeming the points.

The award chart reads:

And of course, there are always some PointBreaks hotels for 5,000 points.

I’d put the value of my IHG Rewards points at about 0.5 cents. Certainly they’re worth far more when used for PointBreaks hotels, so I’m sure many people will value them higher than me.

So I can earn 81,800 points worth 0.5 cents ($414) on this promotion. I’ll have to look at my upcoming travel plans for January – April to see if there are any cheap IHG Rewards hotels in my path. I would like to earn the 81,800 points, but I already have over 170,000 in my account, so I will only go for this promo if the math is right.

Are you going to go all in for The Big Win? What was your offer? Share it in the comments.

Fine Print

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