Spend $46 and Earn at Least 47,000 IHG Points!


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Just a few minutes ago I wrote a blog post advertising a new IHG “surprise” promotion. This is an offer where you’ll earn a surprise offer after every stay starting with your second stay. While this is a great offer for those staying at IHG hotels often, there is actually a way to participate if you have zero intentions of staying with them!

I read the entire terms and conditions for the promotion, and you actually DO NOT HAVE TO STAY at an IHG hotel to be eligible for this offer! There is a Mail in Alternate Method of Entry! Here is a copy and paste directly from the terms:

Mail in Alternate Method of Entry: From November 15, 2015 to February 15, 2016: You can enter the Instant Win Game without completing a Qualifying Stay. However to be eligible for the chance to win prizes in section 9 below you are required to have an IHG Rewards Club account. If you do not have one, you can sign up for free by visiting http://www.ihg.com/rewardsclub/us/en/home and following the instructions. To enter without completing the minimum two Qualifying Stays, hand print your full name, complete mailing address, day and evening phone numbers, valid email address, member number, the first six (6) digits of your MasterCard and date of birth on a 3″ x 5″ piece of paper and mail it in an envelope with proper postage to “IHG and MasterCard® Priceless Surprises® Promotion,” c/o HelloWorld, Inc., P.O. Box 5996, Kalamazoo, MI 49003-5996. Once your mail-in request is received, you will receive an email within five (5) business days from the Administrator inviting you to play the Game and you will receive one (1) Game play for each mail-in request. Limit: One (1) request per envelope. Once you receive an email inviting you to participate in the Game, click on the link found within the email and follow the links and instructions to play the Game. The Game results will be instantly displayed. Potential winners of the Game will be provided directions for validation. All potential winners are subject to verification before any prize will be awarded. Administrator is responsible for the functionality of the Instant Win Game. All mail-in entries must be handwritten and must be postmarked by February 15, 2016 and received by February 22, 2016. All entries become the exclusive property of Sponsor and none will be acknowledged or returned. Proof of sending or submission will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by Sponsor. Sponsor is not responsible for 308468.1 lost, late, incomplete, invalid, unintelligible, illegible, misdirected or postage-due entries, which will be disqualified. All Game plays must be completed by March 15, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET.”

This means, all you have to do is send in 94 mailings and you are eligible for 94 prizes. While this might be quite annoying, it can really pay off well! To send in the 94 mailings (that is the maximum each individual is eligible for), it will cost you $46.06 for postage. The terms state that you are only allowed one entry per mailing, that is why you must do it 94 times. Even if you win the lowest prize value every single time (500 points per entry), that will still net you 47,000 points! And there is a definitely a chance that a few of those entries might earn you a bigger prize. I expect hand-writing 94 note cards and envelopes to take about an hour at most. Thanks to a reader for pointing out that each individual is only eligible to win at most 1 prize from the top giveaways and 5 prizes from the 2nd tier giveaway (free night, $50 Mastercard, 5,200, 2,000, or 1,000 points). It does not state a limit to the 500 points. 

In my opinion, this is definitely worth it and something to do while watching TV tonight. I value 47,000 IHG points at around $235. So this is the minimum you’ll gain, but you could always potentially win one of the big prizes! Make sure to read this prior post to see all the prizes!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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ALEX
ALEX
5 years ago

There is NO GUARANTEE that you can win 500 points for each letter.

Jim
Jim
5 years ago

Are you capped at 94 entries?

Jim
Jim
5 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Nvm. Probably best to wait until the promo actually starts?

Bob
Bob
5 years ago

What are your thoughts on doing it for yourself and a spouse from the same mailing address?

Ryan
Ryan
5 years ago

I’m missing something…where does the 94 entries come from?

Travel Griz
5 years ago
Reply to  Ryan

Read terms

“Limit: Each entrant is eligible to receive up to ninety-four (94) Game plays during the Promotion
Period, regardless of method of entry. Multiple entrants are not permitted to share the same
email address.”

Ryan
Ryan
5 years ago
Reply to  Travel Griz

Yeah, just read the whole thing, not just the post.

Travel Griz
5 years ago

Really nice find!! Looked through the terms further and there is a decent chance you will get more than 500 points. ~2.2% for 5000 pts, ~3.3% for 2000 pts, ~6.5% for 1000 pts.

“Limit: One (1) prize from Group A and five (5) prizes from Group B prize per person.” Group A is all the large prizes (trips), Group B are all the free nights, $50 gift card, and IHG points 1000 and up. Group C is just for 500 pts

Hans
Hans
5 years ago

So it can be any Mastercard? Doesn’t have to be an IHG Mastercard? Thanks!

Ryan
Ryan
5 years ago

Make sure you know what this means…

‘MasterCard customer financial institution’

Miles
Miles
5 years ago
Reply to  Ryan

What does “MasterCard customer financial institution” mean??

Ryan
Ryan
5 years ago
Reply to  Miles

From what I found it is basically a bank issued debit card.

Miles
Miles
5 years ago
Reply to  Ryan

Uh, debit or credit card??

askmrlee
askmrlee
5 years ago

No purchase is necessary to enter most contests in the US. Otherwise it’s considered gambling.

BDMNL
BDMNL
5 years ago

The terms state that the odds of receiving 500 points are 1:1.18 (85%). ((94 x 500) x 85% = 39,950 IGH points (valued at $199.75 using your valuation- $46.06 in postage = $153.69 is still a great deal)). However, do you read this to mean that there is a chance that no prize will be won; or that 15% of the time a larger prize will be awarded? I am missing language in the terms that guarantee a minimum award.

Alex
Alex
5 years ago
Reply to  BDMNL

Points – Odds of winning/Percentage/Average value
500 – 1.18 84% 423.7288136
1000 – 14.29 6% 69.9790063
2000 – 28.57 3% 70.00350018
5000 – 42.86 2% 116.65888

Looks to me like there is a 97.5% chance of winning at least 500, given the odds of the higher awards the average you SHOULD earn would be 680 points. Granted, that is over a large sample size. YMMV, could be higher or lower than that 680 number. However, it does look like there is a small chance that you win nothing (2.5%)

JEM
JEM
5 years ago
Reply to  Alex

Hmm… If I remember my middle school math correctly, Odds and Probability have this relationship: Odds = (# of Favorable Outcomes) : (# of Unfavorable Outcomes) Probability = F / (F + U) So the probability of winning on any single turn is: P(5000) = 1 / (1 + 42.86) = 0.0228 = 2.28% P(2000) = 1 / (1 + 28.57) = 0.0338 = 3.38% P(1000) = 1 / (1 + 14.29) = 0.0654 = 6.54% P(500) = 1 / (1 + 1.18) = 0.4587 = 45.87% In other words, you can expect to win SOMETHING only about 58% of… Read more »

JEM
JEM
5 years ago
Reply to  JEM

FWIW, I modeled 94 turns with the probabilities above and the cap of 5 high-value prizes. Over a couple of million iterations, I got these results:

MIN: 17,500
MAX: 54,000
AVG: 31,657
STD DEV: 4,158

If I’m correct, that would predict that 95% of people who play 94 times will receive between 23,000 and 40,000 points, with less than 0.2% exceeding 44,000.

Chris
Chris
5 years ago
Reply to  JEM

Wow. Thanks for the succinct analysis. I was all set to go through the hassle of actually writing all that info down 94 times. 47,000 points is hardly worth all the time, effort and expense to begin with but especially so for the pitiful 20,000 points my typical luck with such odds would result in. You saved me a lot of time and a few bucks to boot. Thanks.

BDMNL
BDMNL
5 years ago
Reply to  JEM

@ JEM – Thank you very much for the analysis and for reaching a conclusion that a liberal arts major – me – can digest.

Brooks
Brooks
5 years ago
Reply to  JEM

Maybe I’m reading the odds wrong, but you are saying that 1:1.18 odds should be read as “1 in 2.18 entries will win”?

I read that as 1 in 1.18 entries will win 500 points. This is different than how I would read a sports betting line.

That changes the EV considerably.

JEM
JEM
5 years ago
Reply to  Brooks

Not sure you’re reading the sporting lines correctly. Perhaps another example would better illustrate:

If someone gives you 2:1 odds on a fair bet, then you should win 2 times for every time you lose – your winning probability is 2/(2 + 1) = 2/3.

Reading it your way would mean that “2 out of every 1 entry will win”, which doesn’t make much sense.

Brooks
Brooks
5 years ago
Reply to  Brooks

JEM, we are just reading the odds differently. You could very well be right, as I don’t have a lot of experience in sweepstakes odds. Did you ever collect baseball cards? Special cards would be inserted in packs at a given rate, described as 1:x. So when cards were 1:2, one in every two packs had that special kind of card. It would be strange to say your odds of getting a card that card are 1:2 and actually mean one in three. Regarding sports bets, if you gave me 2:1 odds on something, meaning I put up $100 and… Read more »

JEM
JEM
5 years ago
Reply to  Brooks

@Brooks – Odds and Payouts are, for fair bets, inverses of each other. If I want to entice you to bet on an event with a 1-in-3 chance of happening (i.e., ODDS of 1:2), then, if you’re rational, I have to offer you a payout that’s at least twice as big as what I’m betting (PAYOUT of 2:1). So, to use your example, if we place 3 simultaneous bets, you’ll put in 3x$100 = $300 and I’ll put in 3*$200 = $600 to make 3x$300 pots. Since you’re ODDS are 1:2 you’ll likely take one pot ($300), and I’ll likely… Read more »

Brooks
Brooks
5 years ago
Reply to  Brooks

Looks like the original interpretation was indeed correct, even though the odds as written were not entirely accurate. Good!

Janet
Janet
5 years ago
Reply to  JEM

You are overthinking this. Sweepstakes and lotteries are simple probability contests with yes/no outcomes. Sweepstakes and lottery odds (as well as baseball card distributions) are generally read as “1 in X odds of winning”, not “odds of winning are 1 to X”. For example, google “New York Lottery odds”. They have the clearest example of the colon notation and how it is supposed to be read in the context of a random contest. Also check out the Odds calculator on lottostrategies dot com. You can even check the math on some of the low prizes (matching only the megaball in… Read more »

Lucas
Lucas
5 years ago

I notice it says you have the hand write the note that goes in the envelope but I wonder if it’s OK to print labels for the address on the envelope.

thegazelle
thegazelle
5 years ago
Reply to  Lucas

Was wondering that myself and started slapping labels on envelopes, but thought to myself that I didn’t want to waste my $ on envelopes and stamps only to be turned down… I’ll try sending some in for my wife’s account that are not handwritten envelopes and we’ll see where it gets me.

Gareth Waugh
Gareth Waugh
4 years ago
Reply to  thegazelle

Any updates on the address sticker?

Conway
Conway
5 years ago

Does 3×5 paper include 3×5 index cards? Not having to cut up paper into 3×5 pieces would be nice.

Giddy for Points
5 years ago
Reply to  Conway

I always use index cards for these promotions and they haven’t been a problem for me

KP
KP
5 years ago

Are 500 points the minimum guaranteed prize?

JEM
JEM
5 years ago
Reply to  KP

There’s no minimum guarantee in the Ts&Cs. According to my maths (see my comment above), you should expect to get nothing at least 42% of the time, and since there’s a max of 5 prizes > 500 points, it’s likely higher than that.

Carrie
Carrie
5 years ago

Sounds like 94 potential chances of Identity Theft to me by doing the handwritten entries. If just *one* of those entries get lost in the mail (or stolen out of) anywhere between points A & point B and end up in the wrong hands – some stranger now has your Legal Name, Address, Date of Birth, and first 6 #’s of your MasterCard, as well as the name of the Bank that issued it. Depending on the person, they can sell that info on the BlackMarket, or use it themselves. They are very good at what they do, and can… Read more »

Anne Clifford
Anne Clifford
5 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

Good point – thanks! I will skip this one.

Tonei
Tonei
5 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

For what it’s worth, here’s nothing special about the first six digits of your credit card number – all it tells you is the bank and type of card (for example, the first six digits of every IHG MasterCard are the same). I feel like the odds of a card sent through the mail landing in the hands of a scammer who could do anything useful with it are far lower than those of some website or retailer who has all that info and more being intentionally attacked by people who know exactly what they’re doing.

thegazelle
thegazelle
5 years ago

Eh, plan for at least a few hours doing this. I just timed myself and came up with 1 min 30 second to address an envelope. After 3 my hand was already cramping.

That didn’t even include writing the 3×5 card, stamping, or sealing. Still going to do it, but I think you underestimated the time involved.

Miles
Miles
5 years ago

In my experiments, it took over 1.5 minutes per 3×5 card to clearly, legibly hand-write the needed information…including the “+1” prefix in phone numbers and the “USA” at the end of the mailing address.

I printed mailing address labels for the envelopes, since the rules do not (currently) require that those be handwritten.

My guess is a total of 4 minutes per application, or about 6 hours for the full 94 (per account). Fortunately, we have 3 months to complete the tasks.

Judy Jones
Judy Jones
5 years ago

You could do a few sheets of address label template and tape them to the envelopes to save some time. I have read contest blogs before and they do toss any entries that are not perfect to the rules.

Marcia
Marcia
5 years ago

I used to work in Marketing and ran many contests such as these and you have to follow the directions to a tee…”hand print your full name, complete mailing address, day and evening phone numbers, valid email address, member number, the first six (6) digits of your MasterCard and date of birth on a 3″ x 5″ piece of paper” otherwise your entry will not be valid.

I always do “Mail in Alternate Method of Entry” for contests I am interested in. I will definitely being entering this way.

JHG
JHG
5 years ago

I wonder how long it will take to “play the game” online. If it’s an involved process, doing it 94 times may be unrealistic!

Christine B
Christine B
5 years ago

I plan to put my children to work helping me with this task. Then I will let them pick the place we go with whatever points we may win.

Ellen
Ellen
5 years ago

Do you think you could do the stays and the mail in alternative? Or would one negate the other. I’m not sure if I understand if you couldn’t do the IHG stays within IHG card and also do the millions with the different MasterCard like American?

Ellen
Ellen
5 years ago
Reply to  Ellen

Mail in not millions. Sorry

Ellen
Ellen
5 years ago

I was wondering if you could do the stays at IHG resorts and also the mail ins. I am curious if I could do the IHG rewards with the IHG MasterCard and then do the melons with an American master card. Thanks for your help.

BothofUs2
BothofUs2
5 years ago

Don’t forget to buy your stamps for this with an Ink card at an office supply store, for the 5x points.

caveman
caveman
5 years ago
Reply to  BothofUs2

I am not sure if you get 5x points for buying stamps at office supply stores?

Tonei
Tonei
5 years ago
Reply to  caveman

Why wouldn’t you? It just shows up as a purchase like anything else. Though you’d be better off using Discover + Apple Pay to buy stamps at an office supply store or drugstore, if that’s an option for you.

DavidNJ
DavidNJ
5 years ago
Reply to  Tonei

You are right about Discover & Apple Pay. I’ll be buying 188 forever stamps @ Shoprite today w/ Discover & Apple Pay. Will get 22% cash back.

Judy jones
Judy jones
5 years ago
Reply to  BothofUs2

Even better, buy stamps on EBay at a discount with EBay gift cards from Staples with the 5x points, EBay bucks, and a portal bonus!

Dan
Dan
5 years ago

I think I’m going to do it slowly rather than all the entries showing up at their front door at the same time. I love JEM’s statistical analysis since its been years since I was in college stats class. He must be a statistician?

Andrew G
Andrew G
5 years ago

Isn’t it just a tad more than $46? Don’t you also have to account for the paper and envelopes? Or do you have a method of acquiring unlimited amounts of these things at no cost?

Miles
Miles
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew G

Some people have said that is what the Supply Room at work is for 🙂

Stvr
Stvr
5 years ago

Read the terms guys. Limit 6 prizes total. Don’t send 94 cards. Send 6.

JEM
JEM
5 years ago
Reply to  Stvr

Having read the terms, I’m not saying your wrong, but if you’re referring to this:

> Limit: One (1) prize from Group A and five (5) prizes from Group B prize per person.

the 500 IHG point prize is Group C. I don’t see anywhere else that the Group C prize is limited.

And if the limit is 6, then sending only 6 would presume 100% winners, which is not guaranteed.

Could you elaborate?

Ike
Ike
5 years ago
Reply to  Stvr

There’s a limit of 6 prizes total between Group A & B, but no stated limit for Gourp C (500 point) prizes.

Charlie
Charlie
5 years ago

Must be a slow night here ’cause you guys are funny (meant as a compliment)! I’m gonna enter at least 1,000,000 times, have my dog help with the 3X5s (which of course I’m getting with food stamps through a double link portal. I might even use SWA airline points to hand deliver the entries since I’ll need at least 4 suitcases (I haven’t figured out how many I’ll need yet, but have 2 companion passes) if that’s cheaper than stampage… This IS a fun hobby!

Charlie
Charlie
5 years ago

help! mathematically challenged, how many suitcases will i need?? i’m platinum, diamond, spire, etc., am on hold with SWA ’cause i think i get to check a semi-trailer for myself and 8 companions…
JEM?? Alex??
ps. using single-ply for my 3x5s
pss. still have plenty of scotch so i’ll just stay up and wait anxiously for precise calcs… i’m already up to 17 entries!

JEM
JEM
5 years ago
Reply to  Charlie

@Charlie – well, that’s not too hard. The maximum US airline carry-on is 22″x14″x9″, or 2,772 cubic inches. Assuming you’re using a #9 envelope (nominally 4″x9″) and that you can approximate the thickness as the same as three sheets of 20# paper: 2″ = 500 sheets or 0.012″ per sheet (note: you may need to sit on the roll-aboard), that’s approximately 6,416 envelopes per carry-on. So your million entries would only require 156 carry-ons.

You could cut that down significantly by using bigger suitcases, but then you’d have to factor in your wait at baggage claim…

Miles
Miles
5 years ago
Reply to  Charlie

Charlie said: “using single-ply for my 3x5s”

That’s pretty economical, and you can write a few while sitting there doing your business.

sweepstakes enterer
sweepstakes enterer
4 years ago
Reply to  Charlie

I’m sitting here LMAO! thanks!

JohnnyAppleSale
JohnnyAppleSale
5 years ago

Wouldn’t the prizes also be subject to taxation? Would really suck if collecting 25%+ income tax on ihg point value of 1cpp. I’m still interested, but awaiting fallout.

Judy Jones
Judy Jones
5 years ago

Did we figure out if we can use 3×5 index cards from the dollar store? They do not specify what thickness of paper needs to be used! I would hate to spend a lot of needless time cutting paper to the right size to have someone like the hanging chad inspector to see if I was a micron off!

dizzy
dizzy
5 years ago

I’m traveling in India right now. Happened to see this, along with a “stationary street” in old Delhi today. Mailing is Rs 20. If supplies are say $5 (probably they’re less) that’s still cheaper than $35. I think I’ll check it out 🙂

Judy Jones
Judy Jones
5 years ago

It finally hit me to just print the address directly on the envelopes from the printer!!!!

Audrey
Audrey
5 years ago

Do you have to wait until November 15 to send them?

Mark
Mark
5 years ago
Reply to  dealswelike

I should have read all the comments first. I just dropped 10 in the mail. We’ll see…

Miles
Miles
5 years ago
Reply to  Audrey

I plan to wait…would hate for my hours of handwriting to be disqualified.

Dan
Dan
5 years ago

Do you know if the credit card can be issued by MasterCard international or a licensee? Or does it have to be a MasterCard issued by a US Bank?

Audrey
Audrey
5 years ago

Also, can my husband also do this? I’d assume the 94 entry limit is per household or mailing address, but only see it per email address.
In advance, please forgive me if I’ve missed the obvious. I have looked for the answer but didn’t see it.

Judy Jones
Judy Jones
5 years ago
Reply to  Audrey

The way I read it, the limit is per IHG account. I would use a different email address.

Mary
Mary
5 years ago

Can my husband and I both enter 94 times and use the same MasterCard 6 numbers ?

DavidNJ
DavidNJ
5 years ago

My Daughter has an IHG account but doesn’t have a Mastercard. Do you think I can add her as an AU so she could qualify? Thank you.

DavidNJ
DavidNJ
5 years ago
Reply to  dealswelike

Mail ….

joe
joe
5 years ago

any final thoughts on using address labels?

joe
joe
5 years ago
Reply to  dealswelike

OK. understood, to be certain—is it suggested to use a Mastercard debit card thats bank issued, or any other credit card thats MC?

Ellen
Ellen
5 years ago

Does the envelope have to be a specific size?

John
John
5 years ago

Are people including their middle initial or full middle name for “full name”?

And for day and evening phone, if the same are you just putting it once and noting it is your day and evening phone?

Matt
5 years ago
Reply to  dealswelike

Exactly – if you have just a cell phone, write that number twice as both Day and Evening.

Judy Jones
Judy Jones
5 years ago

If anyone needs an IHG MC number, the first 6 are 5466 04…….

Lindy
Lindy
5 years ago

Took me 85 minutes to do 20 entries.

9 lines of text on each index card.
Return address on envelope.
Destination address on envelope.
Stuffed the envelope.
Sealed the envelopes.
(I haven’t stamped ’em yet.)

I didn’t count the initial 25 minutes is took to purchase supplies, nor the gas for the drive, and haven’t purchased the stamps yet.

The maps adds up to an additional 6 hrs of my time needed to finish this job. I guarantee you this… I won’t be finishing this day nor this week. I’ve done enough for the time being. Good luck all!

Miles
Miles
5 years ago

My entries are in the mail today. I sent a few less than 94, to allow for paid stays during the promotion. Let’s all hope that the online requirements are not too onerous.

Kevin
Kevin
5 years ago

I too am wondering about the “full name”. I would hope first and last is good enough?

karma
karma
5 years ago

I am surprised everyone is blindsided by “free” IHG points but you are giving away enough information potentially in bad hands to use for Identity theft ? No concerns ?

Lauren
Lauren
5 years ago

My IHG account is under my married name. My IHG mastercard is under my maiden name. Will this matter? I do not want to wait until Chase processes a name change to do the promo. I also on’t want all of that handwriting and those stamps to be for nothing.

Linda
Linda
5 years ago

Subscribing for updates.

Len S
Len S
5 years ago

All, are we putting line descriptions, such as “Address:”, “Day:”, “Evening:”, “DOB:”, etc, on the line items on the card?

And….could they have made a longer mailing address???

Thanks.

susan
susan
4 years ago
Reply to  Len S

Yes, i put the email, DOB, member #, day, eve, etc on the 3X5 card. I mailed just 5; I want to make sure that my items qualify and I receive the emails before I spend more money on stamps.

Kris
Kris
5 years ago

Any update? I sent 20 to test the water on Nov 15 and so far nothing.

Linda
Linda
4 years ago

Has anyone heard anything yet?

susan
susan
4 years ago

Has anyone received any responses to their mailed entry?

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