No I’m not a Gigolo, but that is not to say that I won’t consider any reasonable offers! (Just don’t tell The Boss!)
On my last trip to HK I indulged in a bit of what people in the travel hacking business call mattress running/hopping. Not as exciting as you would first think but it certainly has it’s rewards.
I am a member of the loyalty program for IHG Hotels Group which includes hotels from the Holiday Inn Express up to the Intercontinental. The Boss and I recently had two free nights in the Intercontinental Bangkok paid for by loyalty points (mentioned here) so I was keen to replenish my account.
Knowing I had at least 4 nights in HK I logged on to the IHG website and looked through their promotional offers.
Normally a stay earns points at the rate of 10 points per USD$1 spent so it takes a bit of spending to get enough points for a free stay in a decent hotel. Traveling for work, I was only given a budget for a cheaper hotel so staying at the Holiday Inn Express for the equivalent of USD$173 per night would only get me around 7000 points. A free night at an Intercontinental starts from 35,000 points so 7000 points is not going to go very far. Another tricky condition that can catch you out is that whether you stay one night or 3 at the same hotel it is considered as 1 stay.
When looking through all the promotional offers I found that there were bonuses available for 3 stays. There are two Holiday Inn Express’ on HK Island so the devious side of my brain kicked in and I booked the first night in one, the second and third nights in another, returning to the first hotel for the final night. Luckily having lived in HK I know the two locations well and HK public transport being excellent knew that transferring between the two locations would be simple.
I also found that there were a number of other bonus point offers I could qualify for so I registered for them all, gleefully anticipating the points haul I would accumulate, but in fact getting a bigger kick out of manipulating the system.
So the second day in HK I checked out of the hotel, jumped in a taxi and was at the 2nd hotel within 15 minutes. Left my bags with the concierge, spent the day in the office and returned in the evening to check in, repeating the process again on the 4th day, returning to the first hotel. the staff welcoming me back with a smile and thanking me for staying with them again.
Two weeks later the points arrived in my account.
The final total?
Enough for 1 free night in the Intercontinental Bangkok with some left over. IHG also have the Points Breaks promotion every couple of months where Hotels around the world are offered for only 5000 points per night. Sometimes there are gems like the Intercontinental Fiji or the Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake.
So for a minor inconvenience of changing rooms every couple of days I now have enough points for 8 free nights in fancy hotel. And the best thing is it didn’t cost me a cent personally!