IHG’s “Surprise” Promotion is Working + Answers to YOUR Questions

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If you follow this blog often, you’ve probably already read many posts outlining the IHG “Surprises” Promotion. Essentially, with this promotion, you can earn a minimum of 47,000 points and it will only cost you approximately $50. With this promotion you do NOT need to even stay at an IHG hotel! You simply need to fill out 94 entries (or as many as you want up to that amount) and you’ll win at least 500 points per submission. If you want to quickly get up to speed, read these two posts: IHG “Surprises” Overview + FAQs and Preparing for LOTS of IHG Points.

Earlier this week, many folks received the prize emails only to play the “game” and find out that they didn’t actually win anything. Understandably, many people were quite disappointed and thought the promotion was a shame. Fortunately, within 24 hours it was confirmed that there was actually a glitch in the system. Many people received separate emails with the amount of points actually won and an explanation of the glitch. Others were able to call IHG Customer Service and be told over the phone the number of points they earned. It is still confirmed that the minimum amount of points you’ll earn per entry is 500!

With that being said, many people then assumed that all prizes going forward will only win the minimum amount of 500 points per prize. Fortunately, that is not true. Within the past few days, I’ve received a total of 39 prize emails. While most of them earned the minimum 500 point bonus, one earned $50 MasterCard gift card, and two others earned 1,000 points each. So there is still the possibility that you can earn any of the prizes available! Although, if you are just getting started with this game, go into it assuming you’ll win the minimum amount so you are not disappointed.

My Personal Experience

I submitted all 94 entries throughout November and December. Probably in 4 different batches and thus far have received 51 prizes. From those 51 prizes I’ve earned the following: (1) $50 MasterCard gift card, (2) 1,000 point bonuses, and (48) 500 point bonuses for a grand total of 26,000 points. Assuming I earn the minimum of 500 points on the rest of my entries, that will give me a total of 47,500 points. While this cost me approximately $50 for the stamps, envelopes, and notecards, I also earned a $50 gift card which offsets the cost. So for approximately 3-4 hours of time (done while watching TV) I will earn at least 74,500 points for FREE!

My husband, on the other hand, has not received one prize email! Although all 94 of his entries were submitted at the end of December and beginning of January. I truly believe they are extremely backlogged so am not concerned at all. It seems like the prize emails are coming most often now, so my assumption is within the next week he’ll receive some emails.

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Your Questions Answered!

While my prior posts includes some FAQs, there are a few questions that continuously come up and I wanted to address them here:

  • Do I have to handwrite the notecards? Yes! All 3×5 notecards (or pieces of paper) must be handwritten with the required information.
  • Do I have to handwrite the envelopes? No! Feel free to put the envelopes through your printer or make labels.
  • Can I use any MasterCard number? Yes! You are only including the first 6 digits of your MasterCard and it can be a credit or debit card. They in no way are able to tie the number to you, they just want to confirm you have a MasterCard by the number you have written down. And yes… the 6 digits of many MasterCards are exactly the same number (read between the lines!). 
  • The “game” states that I will receive an email with further instructions on claiming my bonus points. How do I do that? You actually will NOT receive a follow up email for just regular points earned. The company stated that within 6 weeks of earning the prize email, your points will be deposited into your account. In my experience, the points were deposited into my account much quicker (within 2 weeks).
  • The terms state that I’ll receive an email within 5 business days, but I have yet to receive it. What should I do? DO NOT WORRY! They are getting slammed with entries and it probably far exceeded their expectations. They are getting to each and everyone of them, it is just taking a little bit of time. Just give it some time and see what happens.

Remember, get your entries in (postmarked) by February 15, 2016. Assume you will not receive an email for quite some time and that you’ll win the minimum 500 points per entry. This is just to set expectations so there is no disappointment. If you receive more points and in a more timely fashion, then it will exceed your expectations!

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.


  1. I’ve followed all of your articles on this and have sent in cards for my wife and myself. As I commented under one of your other articles, I won 5000 pts, a few 2k pts, a few 1k pts and the rest (mostly) were 500 points. I’m still at a loss as to why you continue to say the minimum you’ll win is 500 points when I’ve actually lost several times across the entries I’ve played. Granted, in 77 tries I only lost twice (and not during the glitch this past week), but I still earned zero points for those losses. So can you please explain why everyone seems to think you’ll ALWAYS win, when that’s not been the case for myself and other users as well?

    • There have been reports of people getting points deposited even for what appear to be losses (i.e., 0 points), and there’s also a theory that if you have already maxed out your five Group B prizes, if you were meant to win a Group B prize it generates a zero point outcome. You seem to indicate you have won more than five Group B prizes, unless “a few” = “two”, which would be a new data point.

      • For my 80 tries, most were 500, two were 1000, two were 2000, and one was 5000. Two of the 80 tries were losses.

        For my wife’s 57 tries so far, every single one was for 500, except for FOUR losses.

        The theory of the losses being because I’ve already won the max of 5 group B prizes kind of went out the window when my wife lost four times without ever winning a single group B prize.

        Not complaining – anything is better than nothing. Just interesting from a statistical perspective, and a little puzzling.

    • John, I would call IHG Customer Service and explain that getting 0 points is a statistical impossibly based on the official rules. This should help you.

  2. Played today and won 1 x 1,000 pts, 1 x 2,000 pts, the rest were 500 pts. Several days ago played and received no points, but later got the e-mail saying sorry, you’ve won 500 pts for each play.

  3. I think you have a typo there. You’ve currently won 26,000 points and have 43 more plays to go. Assuming you only get 500 points for the rest, you would get 21,500 points so your minimum total is 47,500 + $50 GC.

  4. While both my wife and I missed the memo on “register first,” her entries have been garnering win emails (one with 5000pts) but none of mine have come through. Now I have to decide if I’ll resend my entries. (We both registered – after we sent in the 3x5s)
    Any advice?

  5. Do you think it matters WHEN you open the emails? I entered the end of December and just got some emails. All 500’s. Which is great, but bonuses would be nice too. 🙂 I can’t tell if our entries have a pre-chosen amount associated with the win, or if you open/enter at a certain time (or pick various elevator #’s..), if that can increase your likelihood for winning bigger prizes…thoughts?

  6. After you played the elevator button game you get the message-“You’ll receive 5,000 IHG® Rewards Club bonus points!
    Check your email for more details on how to redeem your Priceless Surprise.” My question is-how long after you played the game until you get the email telling you how to redeem?

  7. Well it’s been over a month and a half and still no response from the first batch much less second batch in January so probably giving up. Is it really possible they would throw it out for only having one phone number?

  8. sent in 40 envelopes and got 40 zero points saying “sorry, try again” or that the e-mails would not open correctly. Epic failure. So this promotion IS NOT working for everyone.

    • @Mike – My assumption is you’ll see points post within the next 2-3 weeks. You can always call IHG to find out the amount you won as well.

    • I saw on another forum this happened to some people… the website seemed to be down at that time and they were able to play and get their points later. One said that they got an email from IHG acknowledging the error and were given the points.

  9. Hello. 🙂 If I’m entering for my wife, can we use the same address and phone numbers as I did on my entries — as long as our e-mail address and IHG numbers are different? Thank you.

  10. I have noticed that some awards are not posting at all! I have been keeping track of awards and emails and have noticed that I am missing some in between.

  11. Mailed my 94 envelopes January 2-5, 2016. Just received 60 emails to play (1/24/16). Won 2x 2,000, 3x 1,000, the rest were 500 points. Interesting to note that the link on each email is the same. They must have a counter for my account (and everyone else’s). Hopefully the other 34 will come soon. Thanks for the post

  12. I sent my 94 envelopes on December. They sent me Emails in three batches. I got two 5000 points, three 2000 points and the rest were 500 except four.
    I got
    “We love your enthusiasm!
    However, you do not have any instant win chances to use.
    Complete a qualified stay before February 15 to earn another chance to win.”
    message four times and I couldn’t play the game.
    I thought I would get at least 500 points for every entry:(

  13. -90 of 94 received so far
    -some were printed envelops, some hand written
    -1×2,000, 3×1,000, all the rest 500 points
    -3 said No winner, received an email later giving me 500 for each of them.
    -23,000 popints already in my IHG account.

    Great promo!

  14. I sent 25 the 1st week(Nov) , 10 in Dec & 10 in Jan.. I have not gotten ONE email reply yet!!!!
    I followed the instructions to the letter. The 1st 25 had typed envelopes but all the rest were handwritten.
    I don’t understand …..NOT ONE?!?!?!?!?!?

  15. The terms and conditions state that the odds of winning 500 points are 1:1.18
    This means that the odds of winning 500 points are close to 85% (you get this by dividing 1/1.18).
    Where does it state that the odds are 1:1?

  16. I sent in about 80 submissions and have received only 56 back. Even more puzzling is that I earned more than 500 miles on a few of them and yet when I look at my account activity, it shows me only earning 500 points. I can’t figure out how to go back and look at what I “won” in the emails I’ve already played. It just says “we admire your enthusiasm, you’ve already played this one,” basically. I emailed the support email to let them know I’m missing some emails, but I just figured out I’m also missing some of the higher points. Any idea how I can look at what I won in each email?

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