Last year, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) dangled a novel incentive to increase weekend stays at its InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites hotels.
Capitalizing on travelers' indignation—both financial and ethical—at the airlines' seemingly insatiable appetite for fees, the hotel company offered to reimburse customers for checked-bag fees incurred while traveling to and from participating hotels.
Clever. And apparently successful, since IHG is extending a slightly revised version of that offer, "Check It Free 2."
Through April 30, travelers who complete a two-night weekend stay charged to a Visa card at any of 4,500 InterContinental family hotels will be reimbursed up to $100 for checked bag fees associated with the airline portion of their trips. (The previous version of this offer, which only rebated $50, expired on December 31, 2010.)
The rebate applies to fees for up to two checked bags, round-trip, and may be earned multiple times for multiple qualifying stays during the promotion period.
Deal or No Deal
According to the IHG website:
Stay any weekend between January 1 - April 30, 2011, at any of our 4,500 hotels and pay with your Visa card. We'll reimburse you for your checked airline bags with an IHG Visa Prepaid Card (up to $100). Book today!
If only it were that easy.
In general, the more restrictions and requirements associated with a promotion, the less valuable that promotion becomes. And this offer comes with loads of requirements over and above the basics of staying at an IHG hotel during the promotion period:
- Stay two nights.
- Stay during the weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).
- Pay for the stay with a Visa card.
- Download and complete the "Check It Free" rebate form.
- Retain a copy of the hotel bill, proving Visa was the method of payment.
- Retain a copy of the baggage fee receipt.
- Submit documents to IHG.
Then there's the form of the rebate. While gift cards may be cash-like, they are less useable, and therefore less valuable, than actual cash.
If you normally check your bags on an airline that charges for the privilege, and you have the time and patience (and a Visa card) to fulfill the promotion's conditions, a $100 savings may be worth pursuing. But that's a lot of "ifs."
Reader Reality Check
How many hoops would you jump through to get a $100 gift card?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.