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When we traveled to Costa Rica back in September, we paid for one night of lodging at an airport hotel on an overnight layover. The intent was to use it to cheaply meet my wife’s Accelerate offer, which was conveniently easy to optimize. Or so we thought.

[Also see: Did anyone else’s IHG Accelerate offers change?]

Her IHG Accelerate offer had some typical “Stay Once” and “Spend on your IHG card” offers. It also had an “Earn More, Faster” offer where you are awarded points for booking a bonus points package. Since this was only about $5 more than the flexible rate and it would also trigger the Achievement Bonus, it was well worth a few more bucks for an extra 27,500 IHG points (6,600 for the offer, plus 19,900 for the achievement bonus, plus 1,000 for the package itself).

So we booked. We stayed. I figured everything was fine and dandy. But when the points still hadn’t posted by December 1, I figured something had to be wrong.

Twittering IHG

Ok, I have a confession to make. I’m really not a fan of Twitter. Sure, it’s an important marketing platform, but I also consider it a cesspool. What I have found it useful for is quick support from most travel companies (and 1,000 free points every Sunday).

I know some people like to straight up tweet a company when they have an issue. I prefer to private message them. Which is what I did with IHG. While not as responsive as Alaska and Southwest, who have some of the best Twitter teams in my experience, IHG got back to me within a couple hours. The response was dismaying.

Read those terms!

The rep directed me to the terms and conditions of the bonus offer, and stated that I needed to not only stay within the Accelerate window, but also book within that window.

This caught me off guard. I figured a stay was a stay was a stay. Did it really matter when I booked? This has never been an issue for any other Accelerate offer before, and I’ve managed to maximize mine 2 or 3 different quarters.

Sure enough, when I logged in to confirm for myself, it clearly stated this in the terms and conditions. Cue the sad trombone.

Conclusion

Lesson learned: read the offer terms carefully. If I had seen that, I probably would have waited to book. Or I may have simply booked the cheapest decent hotel I could find at the time rather than trying to maximize an offer. In any case, I’ll be a lot more careful in the future after this experience.

I hate losing out on points. I’ve only ever lost one sign up bonus, which was about the biggest gut punch I’ve ever had in this hobby. Especially since it was an Amex card where I can never get a bonus again.

Have you ever missed out on points due to an oversight like this?

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