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IHG Rewards released full details of its first PointBreaks list of 2018 yesterday and, as well as being the first list of the year, it was also the first PointBreaks list to offer properties at three different price points.
Gone is the old list where all properties cost 5,000 points per night and, in its place, is the new list where properties cost 5,000, 10,000 or 15,000 points per night.
On the face of things this may seem like a devaluation but, as I explained yesterday, the old PointBreaks lists were so full of properties no one really wanted to visit that they were almost completely useless.
I’d rather have a PointBreaks list where properties cost a bit more but which also includes properties travelers actually want to stay at….so is that what we’ve been handed?
IHG PointBreaks January – April 2018
As I mentioned when the list was first released, there are 203 properties taking part in this PointBreaks promotion and the split looks like this:
- 33 properties offered at 5,000 points/night
- 116 properties offered at 10,000 points/night
- 54 properties offered at 15,000 points/night
5,000 Points/Night – Thoughts
I’ve done my best to try to find something (anything) exciting in the 5,000 points/night list but I can’t say anything has leapt out at me….although the Holiday Inn Panama Canal doesn’t look too bad and gets decent TripAdvisor ratings:
Holiday Inn panama Canal – Image IHG
Of the 33 properties on offer at 5,000 points/night only one is really in Europe (Ankara isn’t in Europe as far as I’m concerned!) and that one is poorly located on the outskirts of Naples.
The rest are mainly in China, Mexico and the US and none are in any locations I consider to be of major interest to travelers. Put simply, these are the sorts of properties we’re used to seeing on previous PointBreaks lists.
10,000 Points/Night – Thoughts
The list of properties offered at 10,000 points/night is considerably more substantial than the list of 5,000 points/night properties and definitely merits a closer look.
There are still a number of typical PointBreaks properties in this part of the list (i.e properties I can’t imagine anyone staying at unless they had to) like the Staybridge Suites Corona South in California….but there are some interesting options too.
There are a number of airport hotels that could be of use (all are usually 20,000 points/night):
- Candlewood Suites Pittsburg Airport
- Staybridge Suites Chantilly Dulles Airport (Virginia)
- Candlewood Suites Calgary Airport North
- Holiday inn Express & Suites Edmonton International Airport
- Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport (India)
Clearly none of these are exactly great destination properties but airport hotels can be expensive so these may offer a chance for some savings.
There are 3 InterContinental properties offered at 10,000 points/night:
- InterContinental Nairobi (30,000 points/night)
- InterContinental Cali (25,000 points/night)
- InterContinental Medellin (20,000 points/night)
InterContinental Medellin – Image IHG
As you can see from the normal cost of an award night (in brackets next to the hotel name), the PointBreaks promotion is offering a discount of between 50% and 67% – that’s not bad if you happen to want to visit Cali, Medellin or Nairobi.
Outside of the InterContinentals there’s more to keep in mind at the 10,000 point/night level.
The Holiday Inn Resort Baruna in Bali gets great Tripadvisor review and, at 10,000 points/night compared to 25,000 points/night outside of the PointBreaks promotion, looks like very good value.
Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali – Image IHG
Another resort property that could be of interest is the Holiday Inn Resort Penang ( a destination Qatar Airways has just started to serve). This resort doesn’t rate as highly on Tripadvisor as its counterpart in Bali but it sill looks decent value at 50% fewer points/night than normal.
There are actually quite a few properties at the 10,000 point/night level that look interesting but the last one I want to highlight is the Crowne Plaza in Belgrade.
Crowne Plaza Belgrade – Image IHG
At 10,000 points/night this property is offered at a 50% discount and it’s ranked 11 out of 88 properties in Belgrade. I’m particularly interested in this property as a conversation with a Qatar Airways flight attendant (on a recent flight) brought up some nice-sounding places to visit in the Belgrade area.
15,000 Points/Night – Thoughts
There are 54 properties offered at this level and the obvious place to start is with the InterContinental properties.
- InterContinental Cartagena De Indias (35,000 points/night)
- InterContinental Kiev (30,000 points/night)
- InterContinental Le Vendome Beirut (30,000 points/night)
- InterContinental Miramar Panama (30,000 points/night)
- InterContinental Real Santo Domingo (35,000 points/night)
- InterContinental Sao Paulo (35,000 points/night)
- InterContinental Tamanaco Caracas (30,000 points/night)
All the IC properties normally cost between 30,000 and 35,000 points per night (so they’re not the top properties) but the discount being offered is a decent one nonetheless.
Once again I can’t see anything in the United States that strikes me as particularly attractive or interesting (someone may prove me wrong) so, once again, we have to look abroad to find value.
The InterContinental Real Santo Domingo is rated the 2nd best hotel in Santo Domingo (out of 80) by Tripadvisor….so that looks promising…
InterContinental Real Santo Domingo – Image IHG
…and the Holiday Inn Helsinki City Centre (usually 30,000 points/night) is extremely well located right next to the central train station and a walkable distance to the waterside and a number of Helsinki’s attractions.
What To Look Out For
It can be easy to assume that because the points discount is good (in some cases over 60%) that the deal you’re being offered is a good one too – that’s not necessarily true.
It’s important to research the cash rates the various properties are offering for the dates you’re looking to visit as, in a number of cases, the properties are surprisingly cheap and that makes a points redemption poor value.
This is the first PointBreaks promotion that I’ve seen in a while that offers properties I would be interested in staying at in locations I’d like to visit.
The selection of properties in the US looks to be pretty poor but, if you’re prepared to travel abroad, there are definitely a few properties worth considering….and I haven’t said that about a PointBreaks list for quite some time!