A Look Back At Our Hotel Stays Of 2018

Here we are, at the end of 2018. When looking back at our hotel stays from the past year, I get a sense of how we traveled and how it compared to previous years. I make travel decisions based on how I think we travel but if those trends are changing, I’ll need to adapt the methods I use when looking at the best way to maximize our points usage and out of pocket spending. When I look back at 2018, I’m really happy how everything turned out. Going into the year, due to some work changes, I knew that saving cash on hotel stays would be a priority. I never really focused on earning hotel points before but I’m a quick study and I set a goal to not pay for a hotel room if I could help it.

I did really good in achieving my goal. We stayed in hotels for 37 nights and only paid $1000. When I paid cash for a room there was a specific reason I did so. The rest of our hotel stays were paid for by points or free nights earned by having certain hotel credit cards. Here’s a breakdown of our stays for the year:

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New IHG Promotion Gives Bonus Points, Discounted Rates AND A Discount On Gas

I’m usually not impressed by hotel promotions that tout discounted rates. The savings are often compared to the normal room rate and no one pays that. I mean, if you’re just a member of the hotel loyalty program, you can get a discounted price. I’ve found that AAA member rates are even lower. However, I’ll still check out the prices if I have an upcoming stay planned, just in case. Why throw away potentially free money, right? Well, it looks like this current IHG promotion might actually be worth looking into to.

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Flash Sale! Buy IHG Points For 0.5 Cents Each

IHG, the parent company of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and the Intercontinental hotels, is having a flash sale to buy points for the IHG Rewards Club program. They’re offering a 100% bonus on purchased miles for now until March 22, 2018. I’m not a big fan of purchasing miles without a use in mind but it’s really easy to get at least 0.5 cents per point value out of IHG points. For a while, I found IHG points to be the best value of any hotel program.

I maxed out my IHG point purchase last year when I bought 60,000 points during one of these 100% bonus promotions, ending up with 120,000 IHG points in my account. Unfortunately, those points are still sitting there. I don’t feel that was a bad purchase; I haven’t found a good time to redeem them. I did lose out by holding on to them because the value of my points decreased when IHG increased the points needed to redeem a free night at several hotels we like to stay at.

I’m still going to buy points again during this flash sale. Why?

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IHG’s Rewards Club Devaluation Hits Too Close To Home

Last Tuesday, IHG released a web page that showed changes for 2018 regarding the number of points needed to redeem a free night. As a reminder, IHG is the parent company of Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental and many others. We like to stay at their hotels and I’ve written about how I find their hotel points to be some of the most valuable for our travels.

IHG hotels

IHG has over 5,100 hotel properties worldwide, so it’s understandable they’d need to make adjustments to the point chart. IHG tends to release the changes to the chart for the upcoming year right after Jan 1st, with the new rates taking effect shortly thereafter. Getting a look at this year’s changes, the number of hotels going up in price and the rate of how fast the prices are rising is worrying. IHG is raising the prices at over 500 of their hotels – that’s almost 10% of their properties. Of those, 325 hotels are going up 5,000 points a night and 184 hotels are going up a cringe-worthy 10,000 points a night. They’re also reducing prices at almost 200 hotels, but all of those hotels are going down just 5,000 points and most are located outside of the U.S.  Ouch.

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Hotel Review: Candlewood Suites, New Braunfels, Texas

Every time you choose what hotel to stay at, there’s usually a list of things you want from that hotel. It could be specific amenities, or a particular location or you may be looking for a certain level of service. These things will ultimately lead you to your perfect choice (or the closest thing to perfect you can get).

I’ll admit the list of requirements we had that lead to our first stay at the Candlewood Suites last year, and had us return there this year, were very specific and very, well, “us.” The list included:

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