Last June, the Chase IHG Rewards Club credit card (discontinued) was offering 100K IHG points after spending $2K within 3 months with a $0 introductory annual fee, then $49 a year afterwards. Signing up for this card was a no-brainer because of the massive amount of bonus points offered and the annual free-night certificate, which at the time was redeemable at any IHG hotel worldwide. So I immediately signed-up, cleared the spend requirement and put the card in my desk drawer.
When I found out I needed to go to NYC for 5 nights in April 2018 for business meetings and a wedding, I knew it would be a great opportunity to use the 100K IHG points that I earned. I decided to book a room at the Crowne Plaza HY36 Midtown Manhattan because it was the best reviewed IHG hotel in NYC. I purchased the weekday (business) nights with cash, but booked the weekend (personal) nights with my IHG points.
The HY36 costs 50K IHG points per nights with no additional fees for a room that would normally cost about $250-350/night, so I was able to extract about $0.006 of value per point. Not an amazing redemption value, but I normally don’t book +4-star hotels for leisure travel and felt that utilizing the points in NYC was a solid option especially since the city government is really cracking down on Airbnbs.
Issues Throughout My Stay
The HY36 opened in the winter of 2017 and is located a few blocks from MSG, Time Square and K-Town. Everything about the hotel is new, modern and clean, but unfortunately the newness of this hotel also translated into lots of little issues with the front desk and room throughout my stay.
I checked in around 2am on a Friday morning and during the process the night manager charged me $75 for incidentals, but also an additional $301.28 for what she explained was an issue with my Hotels.com booking. I was too tired to dig into it at that hour, but the following morning I confirmed with Hotels.com and my credit card that I was indeed already charged for my stay. So the following day I went back to the front desk and informed the manager about the erroneous charge. They spent 15 minutes digging into the issue, at which point they realized their mistake and apologized and refunded me the $301.28 back to my card.
On a separate occasion as I was heading out of the hotel I stopped by the front desk and asked if they could drop off some additional shampoo by my door. When I returned later in the day, the shampoo was not there, and I had to call the front desk to remind them of my request.
The room itself was as expected (NY small), but there were numerous issues with it. On 3 separate occasions during my 5-night stay, I returned to my room to find that my key would not function. I subsequently would have to go back down to the lobby each time to get new keys made. And although the bathroom and shower were clean and spacious, I was not happy with the water temperature coming out of the shower. It was hot at times, but just barely above luke-warm.
And finally, the air/heating vent in the room is facing the bed and given how cold it was in NYC during my stay I kept the heat on during the evenings, but it was quite bothersome to have the air blasting me while laid in bed.
Would I Stay at the Crowne Plaza HY36 Again?
I loved the fact that the hotel was new, modern and clean, but there were so many little issues during my stay that I would not stay here again. There are plenty of new and up-and-coming hotels in the same price-range as the HY36, so I will consider those for future trips to NYC. The main reason I booked the HY36 was because it was the best reviewed IHG hotel in NYC and I was looking to utilize the IHG points I earned from my Chase IHG Rewards Club credit card.
Will I Keep the Chase IHG Rewards Club Credit Card in My Portfolio?
Up until May 31, 2018 the Chase IHG Rewards Club credit card offered a free night certificate every year for a stay at any IHG hotel worldwide. Unfortunately, IHG has now made this certificate more restrictive by limiting it to IHG hotels that costs up to 40K IHG points/night. This severely limits the available hotels that you can book and excludes most Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza and Kimpton branded hotels. For this reason, I am going to cancel this card prior to my next anniversary date, because the $49 annual fee associated with this card is not worth it for me if the best hotels I can stay at with the free night certificates in the US are Holiday Inns.