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How I Earned 31,000 IHG Points From a One-Night Stay!



Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) is one of the loyalty programs that I have been maximizing for years. From their generous quarterly Accelerate promotions, to the (now paused/discontinued) Point Breaks promotion, to a solid co-branded credit card, IHG has been a favorite hotel program of mine. I’ve even written a complete guide to IHG Rewards Club.

What I often look for with IHG is the opportunity to earn a large number of points from a single stay, which is sometimes possible with the promotions they throw at you. But I may have outdone myself with my most recent stay, as I earned the most points on a single night out of all my stays. Ever.

Discovering the 10K Bonus Points Package

I’ve long been aware that IHG offers bonus points packages when booking stays. These vary depending on the hotel property, but I find that higher-end hotel brands such as Intercontinental will offer up to 5,000 bonus points. Sometimes these are worth adding, sometimes not. It depends on the rate. The big benefit is that bonus point package points count toward elite status.

What I didn’t realize is that there are 10,000-point packages offered at some IHG hotels. I stumbled across this by accident when booking a recent stay at the Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast. The hotel is pretty dilapidated for a Crowne Plaza, but the rooms are decent. I’d stayed there once before, and rates are often good, which is why I was considering it again.

The cost of my stay went up substantially, though. I could have booked a night for just $87 before taxes. Instead, I chose to pay the following:

  • Pre-tax rate: $169.00
  • After tax rate: $194.77

Yes, it’s an expensive stay. But I was guaranteed to earn enough points that the cash cost would be offset entirely.

Stacking Up the Promotions

In addition to the bonus point package, I’d also be able to take advantage of more IHG offers. IHG has been running an unlimited 2X points promotion which will conclude at the end of the year. They also are offering 10,000 bonus points for IHG credit cardholders on your first stay if you pay with your co-branded credit card. This alone is already excellent.

But then IHG sent me another “Just for You” offer for 5,000 points for my first stay. All together, this is some serious points earning from one night. Here’s how the earnings broke down, all said and done:

  • Base points: 1,690 (+1,690 elite qualifying)
  • Platinum elite bonus points: 845
  • Welcome bonus: 600
  • 2X Promotion: 1,690
  • 10K More When You Use Your Credit Card: 10,000
  • 10K Bonus Package: 10,000 (+10,000 elite qualifying)
  • Just for you: stay one night: 5,000
  • IHG Premier Card 10X: 1,948 (+1,948 elite qualifying)

Total: 31,773 points. Elite qualifying total: 13,638 points. Even though I value IHG points at just 0.6 cent each, this is still an amazing haul. I essentially earned the cost of my stay back in points.

But Wait, There’s More!

The earnings from this stay are already awesome. But this stay would actually be the $20,000 plus 1 additional transaction that I needed for the IHG Premier spending bonus. This is another 10,000 points. It even shows up as such in my Chase card online account.

Truth be told, the bonus point package was part of a larger strategy to earn IHG Spire Elite status. This is something I mulled over several weeks ago. Qualifying for Spire Elite gives you a choice benefit, one of which is 25,000 bonus IHG points.

The original stay that would carry me to the Spire finish line fell through, but this Crowne Plaza one ended up being a far better option. The points earning alone is excellent. But the additional 25K and 10K gains are even better with a little more spend on the IHG Premier card. It required some Simon Visa Gift Card and other manufactured spending to get me to where I needed to be in terms of elite points. I won’t go into all the details, but I would like to be transparent with the final cost and value:

Total cost for earning IHG Spire Elite:

  • Hotel stay: $194.77
  • Grocery store MS: (-$4.50)
  • Simon Mall MS: $78.31

Out of pocket cost: $268.58. One could argue that I need to include some opportunity cost for MSing on an IHG card, but I’ve not tried to include that.

Final rewards tally: 92,908 IHG Rewards Club points (worth ~$557). This includes the points earned from MS and my one night at the Crowne Plaza.


This is one of the best points hauls I’ve pulled in quite a while. All said and done, I’ve earned over 250,000 IHG points this year, starting with a massive bonus when I picked up the IHG Premier card. While I’m a Hyatt loyalist first, I’ve often found IHG to be a great backup option, especially in the U.S. and it has been nice to keep a healthy stash of points. Who knows…maybe we’ll be able to repeat our excellent beach vacation at the Holiday Inn Express Daytona Beach next year!

By: Family Flys Free
Title: How I Earned 31,000 IHG Points From a One-Night Stay!
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Published Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2020 14:07:56 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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