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Review: Intercontinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers
After flying for over 8 hours and having a big mix-up with the Etihad Chauffeur service (which confirmed our Limo but then Avis didn’t send a person – Etihad rectified the sitch) we were ready to get to the Intercontinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers and settle in. We had been advised that Sandton Towers was ‘the spot to be’ in Joburg by our South African tour operator Bianca Johnstone – Icon Expeditions, and we had points to cover it. A little slide show of the Exterior…
- Stay: June 20th – June 22nd
- Room: Corner Deluxe Twin
- Points: 30k ( 10% back with the IHG credit card )
- Upgrade…Deluxe to Corner Deluxe with club access
- Status: Platinum Ambassador ( Platinum from IHG credit card + Ambassador, purchased )
How could you get these points?
- IHG branded Chase Credit Card: Current Public Offer is 60k w/ Plat status and 1 free night annually
- I signed up for a 70k point offer after 1k spend.
- Transfer Points from Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Buy them at $0.007 per point. ( The trick is creating a “Ghost” reservation in excess of your points balance: you’ll then be prompted to buy points to top up your account the balance required. Cancel reservation and keep the points. )
Not gonna lie…people warned us A LOT about safety.
I don’t know if I should be embarrassed or inducted into Mensa, but we did not leave the hotel/shopping complex, HOWEVA we’re still alive and retained all our possessions. SHABOING! From at least half a dozen people we heard real life accounts of multiple muggings… So, really, mission accomplished. The only reason we were here was to recover from a little jet-lag and get ready for our tour. My parents had flown in the night before so they joined up with Dave and I at this point. Part of the attraction of this hotel is that it is directly attached to the Sandton City Mall, which proved to be key. You can find the skywalk on the same floor as the pool and gym.
The staff is incredible. What an introduction to South Africa: SERVICE with a smile!
We were blown away by the staff at the hotel. In fact, we were blown away by South Africa’s attitude towards service in general. It was right up there with Asia, which is saying a lot, because Asia is known for its’ customer service and it is bend-over-backwards excellent. We were warmly welcomed and swiftly checked in. Our first room had a lighting malfunction so we were switched quickly.
Checked in and up to the room!
The one thing I’ve consistently noticed is that whenever you select a twin bedded room in the U.A.E. or in South Africa they are verrrrrry close to one another. Other than being quite snug in separate beds, the room was very good. A little dated and the safe didn’t work in our room (we just used my parents’) but it was very comfortable, had great international plugs, and a much needed separate marble shower.
Was sort of surprised that the club level didn’t provide free breakfast.
Say whaaaaa?!?! The club food selection isn’t free?
The lounge has a great selection of cold foods for the continental breakfast option. Maybe it’s just our group being unfamiliar with local custom, but this was the first time that all those selections weren’t free. It was more like the club provided a convenience option for guests staying on the club floor than a gratis option. I’d been in the lobby earlier in the morning doing some work and the spread in the main restaurant was far better than the club offering. In fact, all of us had discussed whether or not we would do the club vs the main breakfast offering and ultimately decided to just do the club selection cause we assumed it was free. The club attendant was very nice and also gave us a menu with hot selections on it with a price list. After we were all finished with our breakfast we were hit with a bill for the continental spread that was displayed…never had this happen. But, clearly, this was not a free selection for club guests. We didn’t complain, but we certainly learned that this was something to clear up at future stays.
The spread at night was different. The booze and the food was free…I don’t get it. It was a free upgrade to the club floor so who am I to complain really…
The interior of the hotel and grounds:
Big shout out to the food in the restaurant. We ate back to back nights. It was PHENOM!
We ate at this restaurant twice. We had a lot of options but, honestly, it was so fantastic the first night we had to have it again. It wasn’t even that expensive. Roughly $15 bucks for entrees at a 4* hotel in one of the wealthiest areas in Joburg. Not bad at all. Especially cause we were staying for the whopping price of: ON THE HOUSE!
The hotel worked absolutely great for us. We ate, slept, relaxed and got on the right time zone. After the tour was over we stayed at the airport Intercontinental and while that hotel is a great pivot point hotel, I would recommend the Sandton Towers if you’re at all thinking you’d want to see some of Joburg. We obviously didn’t, but there was the opportunity to see Soweto and other city tours. Plus, the Mall being attached to the hotel allows you to get some fresh scenery, different restaurants, coffee, and not get cabin fever.
You can book and check out the hotel website here
This is part of the Around the World 2015 Mega Trip
- Etihad Business and First Class Lounge Washington DC
- Etihad Business Studio – IAD to AUH
- Review: Etihad Arrivals lounge and Etihad Chauffeur experience
- Grand Hyatt Dubai
- Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Business and First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi, AUH
- Etihad Pearl Business Class – AUH to JNB
- Intercontinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers
- Blue Train Johannesburg to Cape Town
- Queen Victoria Cape Town
- Chitwa Chitwa Sabi Sands Luxury Game Reserve Kruger National Park
- Royal Chundu Zambezi River Lodge – Victoria Falls
- Intercontinental Johannesburg Airport
- Review: S(h)ongololo Lounge JNB
- Cathay Pacific Business Class – JNB to HKG to HND
- Ritz Carlton Tokyo
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo, NRT
- American Air Flagship First Class – NRT to LAX
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.