The IHG Point Break list just came out this afternoon. If you have IHG points this is one of the best ways to maximize their value. Hotels on the list are discounted significantly from their regular point rates. The Point Break list is the main reason I pay attention to the IHG loyalty program. However, it’s always hit or miss whether there will be a hotel on the list that I’d actually like to book. And the best ones run out of availability fast. Here are a few thoughts on the current list and Point Breaks generally.
Click here to see the entire list. You’ll see they fall into three redemption levels – 5000, 10,000 and 15,000 points.
You are allowed to make a maximum of 2 reservations per hotel of any number of nights per stay.
There are 6 Canadian hotels on the list – four in Alberta and two in Ontario. All of them are of the Holiday Inn Express brand that includes a basic breakfast buffet for all guests.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bonnyville (5000)
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Drayton Valley (5000)
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Edmonton South (10,000)
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Medicine Hat Transcanada Hwy 1 (10,000)
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Toronto – Mississauga (10,000)
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ottawa East – Orleans (10,000)
It’s a bit of a disappointment as it would have been nice to have at least one option in Atlantic Canada. But if you have some IHG points and one of these fits into your plans then you could score a deal. If you plan to go to Ottawa, I stayed at the hotel listed above on a Point Break a few years ago. With the walk from the hotel through a shopping centre to the bus stop, and then a 30 minute or so ride into the city, it’s not the most convenient for sightseeing. Still, I found it acceptable and would recommend it despite the distance. I recall the buses came quite frequently.
IHG Rewards Club
If you do not recognize IHG as a hotel chain you will certainly be familiar with many of its brands: Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Indigo, Even, Kimpton and others.
Once upon a time you could call Air Miles to redeem your miles for Priority Club points (as IHG was then called) at a conversion rate of 775 miles for 10,000 points. Sadly that is no longer an option.
Until quite recently, 5000 points would get you a night at any hotel on the Point Break list. Last year the list changed to include rates of 10,000 and 15,000 points as well. However, it’s still a good deal compared to the property’s regular point rate.
On a positive note, the changes now mean that the best hotels on the list (in the higher point levels) could possibly remain longer on the list giving you more time to make your booking. That’s the thing about Point Breaks – availability is limited so you cannot wait too long after the list appears to lock in your dates. I am certain availability at the Crowne Plaza in London disappeared within a few minutes. That was a real outlier and people pounced.
In rare instances a hotel will remain on the list with availability added as time goes on. That was the case with the Staybridge Suites Niagara-on-the-Lake on the previous list. So, it’s always worth going back to see if the hotel you’re considering is still on the list, and if it is, see if availability has improved since your initial search.
When I started paying attention to Point Breaks there was no preview and there was no set time for the list to be updated. Then IHG started releasing a short preview or even a full preview of the list. Now it seems they’ve gone back to the no-preview approach. The list is now typically updated on a Monday at the end of the month at 1 pm Atlantic. This time it’s a Tuesday due to the American Memorial Day holiday.
I have planned quite a few trips around point breaks including Mont Tremblant, Ottawa, Sedona and Anaheim. I’ve also been able to take advantage of the good fortune of having point break hotels line up with pre-existing travel plans in Germany and California.
If you have travel flexibility and you like to stay at brands like Holiday Inn Express, consider collecting some IHG points. There are a variety of ways to do this.
- Book direct when you stay at an IHG hotel so you earn points
- Take advantage of promotions such as the current targeted Accelerate promo
- Consider booking a hotel that includes bonus points for an additional cost (when the cost is reasonable)
- If you do e-Rewards surveys with access to various hotel loyalty programs consider redeeming $100 in e-Rewards for 4000 IHG points
- Watch for promotions to buy IHG points at a discounted rate if you have a clear idea of how much you will save
If you google IHG Point Breaks you will likely come across some complaints that they aren’t as good a deal anymore. There are not enough upscale properties on the list is also a common refrain. As with most loyalty programs, it’s best not to dwell too much on the past. I believe that IHG Point Breaks are still a great opportunity for points and miles collectors.