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Some hotel loyalty programmes – most consistently IHG One Rewards – allow members to select bonus hotel points as a welcome amenity. Depending on your level of status, other options might include breakfast or a token for a free drink/snack at the bar.
Given that you are usually only going to receive a few £s worth of points (IHG top out at 600, worth ~£2.50), just a free drink would seem the better value option. That said, many business travellers automatically choose the bonus points, because they might have breakfast already included and a per diem for food/drink. Besides, if you travel a lot, those bonus points can add up over a year.
The thing is though, you almost always get the bonus points added to your account even if you choose an alternative welcome amenity. This isn’t a new phenomenon, nor is it limited to IHG One Rewards – though it might well be the best example. I’ve had quite a few stays at IHG hotels recently and every single time, bonus points have been added to my account despite choosing something else.
This led me to take a closer look at my points activity history and receiving bonus points (despite not choosing them) really is remarkably consistent. In fact, on many occasions I’ve even been given the points for multiple rooms on the booking:
As I mentioned, these are small amounts of points. If you happen to do a lot of relatively cheap 1-night stays though, it’s something you might want to bear in mind when deciding which hotel loyalty programme is your best option.
If you are lucky enough to be the sort of business traveller who always has breakfast included and a generous expense account, you might want to stick with choosing bonus points as your welcome amenity (just to be 100% sure you get them).
For everyone else, I would suggest the other options offer better value, and you’ll usually get the points anyway!
Have you noticed receiving these bonus points on your stays before?