One of my favorite writers is Chris Guillebeau. He writes with an optimistic and motivating style that always pushes me to work harder and achieve more. He’s also a points and miles enthusiast (he might call himself a Travel Hacker, but I refuse to use that term any longer) and is pretty much the reason this blog exists. His blog is worth a follow and his books are worth purchasing. A few days ago I saw a post of his that sounded a little crazy: how to get free IHG reward nights by addressing a few envelopes!
You should read his post for all of the details, but basically IHG and Mastercard are doing a promotion where you receive a code after every night you stay in an IHG hotel. You redeem that code for a minimum of 500 bonus points and a chance for some pretty amazing prizes (weekends in NYC, Paris, Sony stuff, Gilt gift cards, etc.). Nice incentive, right? It gets better. Like most promotions in the USA, there is a no purchase necessary clause in the terms and conditions (the link to the T&Cs are at Chris’s link).
The play here is similar to any other scheme we do: obeying the rules as they are written, period.
Here are the basics:
- You need to register for this promotion at pricelesssurprises.ihg.com and for the IHG rewards program if you do not already have an account
- You can enter this contest (via hotel stay or the mail-in method) up to 94 times
- If you want to mail in your free entry, you have to hand write the following on a 3″ x 5″ index card: Full name, complete mailing address, daytime and evening phone numbers, valid email address, your IHG Rewards number, the first six digits of any Mastercard you have, and your date of birth
- Each index card must be sent separately in a single envelope (also hand-addressed) sent to the following address: “IHG and MasterCard® Priceless Surprises® Promotion,” c/o HelloWorld, Inc., P.O. Box 5996, Kalamazoo, MI 49003-5996
- Five business days after they receive the entry they will send you a code to play the game
I’ve read through the terms and conditions and it looks like as long as you do exactly as the T&Cs state, you should be golden!
Did I really hand write all those index cards and envelopes?
Yes. Well, kind of. My friend Natalie helped on the envelopes. But, way more importantly, we made it fun. A good buddy of mine who is new to this hobby met up with us at a local watering hole and we had a blast eating a bit and enjoying good drinks amidst all of the good conversation and addressing of envelopes. Make this fun, it’s an excuse to get together with friends for something that sounds crazy!
My total investment was just shy of $50 for this little scheme, I figured that was an acceptable amount of money for a minimum of 47000 IHG points. Pretty much every promotion has these sort of No Purchase Necessary clauses in them, the thought being that if they make the conditions restrictive enough people will not enter (either that or only one entry is allowed for the contest). What makes this unique is the contest gives an award for each hotel stay. There are 94 possible hotel stays during the contest period, therefore the No Purchase Necessary clause must also give you the option to enter 94 times!
Taking all of the IHG stuff out of it, it was a great excuse to get together with friends. If this sounds crazy to you, I understand! If it sounds crazy to you and a few friends, might as well go for it!
…now off for some Tylenol to fix the cramps in my wrist from all that writing!
[Disclaimer: I have read every word of the terms and conditions and believe this to be a legitimate and approved way of entering this contest up to 94 times without staying at a hotel. I’m not a lawyer and there could be something I’m not seeing, so please approach this with a “your mileage may vary” mentality. Similar to everything in the loyalty program world, nothing is ever a sure thing.]