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ihgWe’ve talked about PointBreaks at IHG Hotels before, but the way it works is that every 2 or 3 months, IHG releases a subset of their hotels (usually around 100 or so hotels) to be available as PointBreaks.  No matter the normal pay (or rack) rate, or how many points they normally cost to redeem, while they are on PointBreaks, these hotels only cost 5000 points a night.

This can be a huge savings over what it would normally cost!  Now of course you get your biggest bang for the buck if you redeem your points for the biggest and best and most expensive hotels on the list, but everybody knows this, so those ones tend to sell out first.

If you are interested in an InterContinental (IHG’s luxury brand) or other hotels in exotic locations, you are wise to try to book those as soon as the list comes out (which is today!)

Here is the PointBreaks link – one thing I noticed when I visited the site a few days ago is that there is now some fine print on the matter.

Due to the limited availability, each member may only book two PointBreaks® Reward Nights reservations per hotel during the special offer time period. Offer and participating hotels are subject to change at any time, valid for booking through July 31, 2014. All other Reward Night terms and conditions apply. To view participating properties, simply click one of the regions below.

Please note that Reward Nights booked through PointBreaks® may not be sold or used for commercial gains. Doing so is a program violation and may result in the freezing of your account, the forfeiture of all point transfers, rewards, vouchers, or merchandise issued pursuant to point redemptions and any accrued points or miles in your account, as well as cancellation of the account and your future participation in the Program.

Loyalty Lobby has a good breakdown on this but the skinny is that in the past, there was really no limitation on PointBreaks so what most people would do would be to book, individually, every single possible night that they might think of going on, night by night.  So if they wanted 2 weeks at the InterContinental in Tegucigalpa, they would make 14 separate reservations.  Some people would even make overlapping reservations with the same nights at multiple different hotels, and then just cancel the ones that they didn’t want once their travel plans became more finalized.


Scenery at the Intercontinental Tegucigalpa

It appears that you will no longer be able to do that – instead you can only make 2 reservations.  It appears from my reading (and John from Loyalty Lobby appears to agree with me) that doesn’t mean 2 NIGHTS, but instead 2 RESERVATIONS.  So if you want 2 week long stays, you can make 2 reservations of 7 days each.  You just can’t make more than 2 separate reservations.

What is not clear yet (and probably won’t be clear until someone tries it) is whether you can make another reservation if you cancel one (that is to say, are you limited to 2 ACTIVE reservations, or 2 TOTAL).  That will be a good experiment.

I guess there has also been lots of reselling of PointBreak reservations.  Not something I ever was interested in doing but I can see why some people would do that.  Apparently that is now banned, though it may be tough for IHG to really police that….

 Normal People stays

So the Intercontinental Tegucigalpa looks really nice, doesn’t it?

But again, this isn’t how “normal” people travel!!

As I have said many times before, my goal in starting a(nother) travel blog is to reach out to regular families with kids (especially several kids) who are just looking for ways to get a couple of extra family vacations in, or stretch the vacation budget out a little more.

If my family was at the IC Tegucigalpa, I’d be more worried that they would a) break something and/or b) disturb the other guests! And my kids are for the most part pretty well-behaved – there’s just a lot of them, so just them running around could cause a disturbance for people that aren’t used to it.

PointBreaks brands to look for

Like I said, the InterContinentals are typically the “fanciest” hotels on the list, but there usually aren’t more than a sprinkling of those.  The ones I really look at for domestic family travel are the Staybridge Suites.  This is IHG’s answer to Marriott’s Residence Inn or the Homewood Suites by Hilton.  There are actually 12 Staybridges on the current PointBreaks list which is great.  The Staybridges not only offer suites but also offer complimentary laundry services, full kitchen with stove, fridge, dishes and silverware (great for keeping meal expenses down!)  They also offer hot breakfast buffet and Tues-Thurs they have a “social hour” which I have generally found to be hotel code for “free dinner” 🙂

Generally the Staybridge Suites rooms that are bookable for 5000 points do not include separate bedrooms with doors (instead just having a separate area), but many of the properties do HAVE those rooms available, so depending on your elite status with IHG you may be able to get upgraded.  That’s a trick that I love doing at the Homewood Suites.  I think for our family we’d probably want to get 2 rooms, but even at 10,000 points a night, that’s a pretty good deal for a family our size.

What about you?  Have you ever taken advantage of a PointBreak hotel?  How did it go?

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