Welcome to Helsinki (photo by Winnie Tseng)

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A year ago we accumulated ~140,000 IHG points thanks to 2 different quarters worth of IHG Accelerate promotions and a credit card signup bonus.

Finally I get to put some of those points to use, and then replace them all again.

IHG Accelerate Q2 2018

Every quarter the IHG Rewards Club has an Accelerate promotion, whereby it is possible to get a ton of bonus points. The requirements and rewards are somewhat unique per Rewards Club member, and vary in difficulty and value. Sometimes just a single stay can earn large rewards.

This is my personal offer for Q2 2018 (May 1 – July 31, 2018) with potential earnings of 43,500 points.

ihg accelerate


It’s been a year since we last attempted to complete an IHG Accelerate promotion. I’m not going to go out of my way to earn some bonus points, but if our travel plans naturally allow for it then why not?

This time around we can get 31,500 points by staying 2 times for a total of 3 nights, including a weekend. With 2 more nights we could earn another 10,000 points, but this doesn’t fit into our travel plans.

  • Stay Once Get 2,000 Bonus Points: 2,000
  • Stay More, Earn More: 10,000
  • Travel with new IHG App: 3,200
  • A Bonus Weekend Stay: 4,000
  • Spend on your IHG Rewards Club credit card: 1,500
  • Your Achievement Bonus: 19,300
  • Exclusive Brand Bonus: 1,500
  • Total: 31,500

We’ll also earn points for the stays as well as points via paying with the IHG credit card.

3 Paid nights in Helsinki

It turns out we were just in Helsinki for 3 nights, Saturday through Tuesday. We love Airbnb but availability for our dates was either closet sized or more than $150/night. I’m not sure if this was related to the recent #TrumpPutinSummit or not, although that did mess up traffic for a day. Alternatively, hotels with breakfast were less.

We paid $304.03 for 2 nights at Hotel Indigo with a nice buffet breakfast (and really good coffee) and another $139.39 for 1 night at the Holiday Inn City Centre, without breakfast.

The Bonus Points and the points for our 2 stays posted immediately. The remaining 12,200 points should post within a couple weeks.

Total points: 52,409
Total out of pocket expense: $443.42


A common estimate for IHG point value is about $0.07, and is the minimum I normally aim for when redeeming points. Therefore 52,409 points would be worth about $367. If that is the case, then our 3 night stay in Helsinki actually cost less than $100. Had we paid cash for breakfast at the Hotel Indigo (25 Euro/person) we would have paid more than this, so it seems fair.

However, I think IHG point value can now be much higher thanks to a new credit card benefit. The IHG Rewards Club Premier card was launched back in April 2018, and offers a Forth Reward Night Free: Get a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights. That is a pretty solid 33% boost.

If you like getting free and discounted hotel stays, check out this and other hotel cards here.

Alternatively it opens up the opportunity to get a respectable point redemption value in more situations. For example, we recently stayed 4 nights at the Holiday Inn Warsaw with a retail price of $388.73.

A 1 night stay could also be booked with 20,000 IHG points, which is a redemption value of only 0.5 cents. Normally in this situation I would just pay cash, reserving points for future use with better value. But with the 4th night free, I was able to get 0.65 cent redemption value. Close enough, as they say.


Since this quarter’s IHG Accelerate promotion was easy/convenient, with just 3 nights in 2 hotels, we decided to go for it. Thus our 3 night stay in Helsinki was spent in 2 hotels. This allowed us to replenish most of the points we had used for our 4 night stay in Warsaw.

While I like the Accelerate promotions, and think they add a little bit of fun to travel planning, I wouldn’t go to extraordinary effort to complete the requirements. However I am really excited about the Forth Reward Night Free improvement to the IHG Premier credit card. Some people will very rationally use this to get even better valuation redemptions. It is a game changer.

I’m looking forward to learning what next quarter’s Accelerate promotion looks like. We’ll be back in Asia and are looking at returning to Vietnam, which has a really nice Intercontinental in Da Nang…

If you are into getting bonus points for hotels, be sure to check out the IHG Premier card.

Compare this and other hotel rewards cards here.

HOT! 80,000 Hotel Points

Are you working on an Accelerate Bonus?