As I pointed out in the About Me page of this blog, I am not a frequent flyer jetting round the world on business, but a Geography teacher who enjoys travel.
As part of my love for my subject, I am going to be giving up some of my own holidays and money to attend the Geographical Association’s annual conference in Manchester during the Easter Holidays. These are great networking events as well as giving me loads of great ideas to take back to school. And it wouldn’t be me if I were not maximising my options whilst travelling.
My preferred hotel chain is IHG – Holiday Inn Express is great for a cheap night somewhere on business, Crowne Plaza can offer great value and comfort, and InterContinental have a touch of luxury. I also like their loyalty scheme and their bonus offers.
I took advantage of their Accelerate 2015 with my first mattress run after Christmas and have worked out how I can complete the Accelerate 2016 challenge.
Everyone has a different offer – this is mine:
As you can see, I need to complete 3 of the 4 items to get the bonus. I am ignoring the Stay 5 Nights, as I don’t have enough travel lined up (at the moment).
I figured that booking a Friday and Saturday night stay for my conference using Points and Cash would qualify for the Stay Once Get 5,000, A Bonus Weekend Stay and Stay for Less and Earn, as well as the Achievement Bonus.
I went ahead and booked the stay at the Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport.
I paid 15,000 points and $70 per night and will get 40,000 points back assuming the promotion tracks as I expect it to. That means that for about £100 spent, I will gain 10,000 points (worth roughly £40, based on 60,000 now getting you a £250ish night at a top InterContinental) and two nights accommodation – so each night will end up costing me £30 hard cash, compared to the £112 per night for the cheapest equivalent rate.
I could have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at the airport, which I have done before, for an outlay of 20,000 and $140 in total, making the nights equivalent to £10 each, but I like luxury and it is a small price to pay in the scheme of things, especially as I will be on my own and the Crowne Plaza has much nicer communal spaces and facilities like a gym.
I have also booked another night for cash on the front of it so that I don’t have to set off so early to make the conference. I have booked into a King Bed Club Room which should give me access to the Club Lounge for drinks, snacks and breakfast. This will earn me 2300 points for the stay, 600 if I take the welcome points and about 500 when I pay on my IHG Black Barclaycard so it all adds up. I have also asked for a note to be put on the system asking, if possible, to stay in the same room so I don’t have to move – thereby hopefully maintaining club access for the three nights. Fingers crossed!