Since November, IHG Rewards Club has been running a promotion called "Priceless Surprises." Under the terms of that promotion each time you stay at an IHG Rewards property, starting with your second stay, you are entered into a sweepstakes to earn at least 500 bonus IHG Rewards points, and potentially much more valuable prizes.
Since the promotion is a sweepstakes, there's a way to enter without staying at an IHG Rewards Club property, which many travel hackers have been taking advantage of.
How to enter (1)
In order to enter the Priceless Surprises sweepstakes, you must register your IHG Rewards Club account for the promotion at https://pricelesssurprises.ihg.com/. Go do that now, I'll wait here.
How to enter (2)
Once you've registered, you can enter the sweepstakes by doing the following:
Hand print on a 3" x 5" piece of paper:
- 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
Then mail that piece of paper 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
You don't have to number or label the 7 required pieces of information in any way: you can just list them in the designated order on a 3" x 5" piece of paper. But you must submit each entry in a separate envelope.
You can enter the sweepstakes using this method a total of 94 times.
What happens once you enter
Once you enter the promotion, you wait. Even though the promotion's rules say that "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," that is false.
You will wait, and wait, and wait.
And then one day, a month or so later, you will receive all your contest entries simultaneously:
I mailed my entries in on or about December 14, 2015, and received all my e-mails overnight on January 20, 2016.
Each e-mail has an entry link, which takes you to an animated elevator. You click "play," then a floor button, and you're told whether you won 500 IHG Rewards Club points (almost every time) or some other, higher-value prize.
Incidentally, each e-mail entry doesn't have a unique URL attached — as far as I can tell you can keep clicking the same link in the same e-mail until you run out of free entries (you'll receive an error message when that happens).
What are the prizes
There are a variety of prizes, but every entry receives at least 500 IHG Rewards Club points.
Today I won 39 prizes of 500 IHG Rewards Club points, and one prize of a $1,099 Bose home stereo system. So the prizes vary in value considerably.
How to claim prizes
If you win anything besides 500 IHG Rewards Club points, you'll immediately be sent an e-mail with a "declaration form" for claiming your more valuable prize. You have to list your Social Security number and mailing address so they can send you an IRS 1099 form declaring the value of the prize you won.
Oddly, they claim to need to receive that form within 5 calendar days of notifying you of your prize, or they'll give the prize to someone else. It's unclear to me whether that language is actually enforced, since it's obviously amateur hour at this sweepstakes administrator. To be on the safe side, I mailed my "declaration form" by priority mail, with a tracking number showing it will be delivered on January 22, 2016.
That was my experience mailing in entries to the IHG Rewards Club Priceless Surprises sweepstakes. Let me know if you have any questions or additional datapoints in the comments.