Credit for this article goes to Athen, without whom I wouldn’t have learned about this interesting opportunity for arbitrage. That’s one of the blessings of running this site- I get to learn stuff I wouldn’t otherwise have found out about!
So IHG has introduced its Dining Rewards Program to Singapore. For a US$264 (you can only pay in USD if you enrol online) or S$348 (if you enrol via phone- clearly a better deal at today’s exchange rates) annual fee, you enjoy
- A free night at any of IHG’s 4,800+ hotels
- 25% off dining and beverages
- Status upgrade in IHG® Rewards Club
- 25% off IHG’s Best Flexible rate (single use)
- 10% off IHG’s Best Flexible & Advance Purchase rates
- S$70 pre-loaded into your account
- Premium local offers at individual participating hotel
Now, let’s make one thing clear. We’re not doing this for the dining discount. It’s a paltry 25%, the only participating property in Singapore is the Holiday Inn Orchard, hardly the capital of fine dining, and I’d never join a program that wants me to pay them money in order to get the privilege of spending more money with them (I’m looking at you, FAR)
I’d like to focus on (1), because to me, that’s the main attraction of this offer. Suppose you’re planning a dream vacation or honeymoon and you’ve got your sights set on a really fancy place. So long as the BAR at this property is upwards of S$348, you’re already making money purely by having this membership.
Where can you find such opportunities? Here are 3 ideas
Intercontinental Koh Samui
It’s actually more expensive to fly to Samui from Singapore than to find a hotel, but any savings are always welcome. The rooms at Intercontinental Koh Samui retail upwards of S$600, making the S$348 you pay for this membership a good deal.
Intercontinental Times Square New York
Intercontinental Bora Bora
And of course, the grand daddy of them all, Bora Bora (or Bora Bora Bora, if you’re watching OITNB). Rooms at this all-villa property start north of S$1,400, which makes the S$348 outlay for the IHG Dining Rewards Program seem like a relative pittance.
Of course, the underlying assumption here is that you’re able to afford the remaining nights at the same property (because I don’t imagine you’d fly to Bora Bora or Koh Samui for just one night) or don’t mind the inconvenience of moving to a separate property to finish out your stay. But if you’re determined to experience one of IHG’s premium properties, this is a way to take something off your total bill.
Remember that you also get a S$70 dining credit pre-loaded on your card, and a status upgrade in the IHG Rewards program (to a maximum of Platinum). I’ve not stayed enough at IHG properties to know how they treat elites, but if anyone has please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
So to summarise, this is an interesting opportunity if you have a high value property in mind to burn the free night.