In the past I’ve written about the little trick that IHG Rewards members can use to purchase points for as little as 0.6 cents each and, if you were targeted for the recent 100% bonus promotion, you were able to buy IHG Rewards points (without any trickery) for as little as 0.578 cents each. Now, for a limited time, IHG Rewards Elite members can apply the aforementioned trick to purchase IHG Rewards points for 0.566 cents each.
As I reminded readers on Friday, IHG is currently running a promotion whereby Spire and Platinum Elites get 15% off the cash element of a Points & Cash bookings….
…and this can be used to great effect if you need to boost your IHG Rewards account.
First a reminder of the principles behind the trick:
When you book an IHG Rewards Points & Cash award you are technically buying the extra points you need to get a “free night”. For example, the Crown Plaza Beijing (seen below) would ordinarily cost 20,000 IHG Rewards points for an award night…….
……but, by using the Points & Cash option, guests can pay $70 and just 20,000 points for the same stay.
IHG Rewards treats this as if the guest has purchased 10,000 points for $70 to add to the 20,000 points to make up the 30,000 points needed for an award night.
The reason why IHG’s treatment of this purchase is important is because, when a guest cancels this reservation, IHG issues the refund in points – the cash is not returned. In this case the guest would receive a rebate of 30,000 points upon cancellation, effectively having purchased 10,000 points at 0.07 cents each.
Buy IHG Rewards Points For 0.55 Cents Each
For bookings made by 26 March 2016 (for stays up to and including 30 April 2016), IHG Rewards Spire and Platinum Elites get 15% off the cash element of a Points & Cash booking.
If you hunt around it’s possible to find IHG properties where you can book a Points & Cash rate where you’re effectively buying 15,000 IHG Rewards points for $85 (after the 15% discount is applied):
At $85 for 15,000 IHG Rewards points you’re buying the points for 0.57 cents each…and that’s one of the best rates I’ve seen. But it’s not the best.
If you search the IHG website very closely you should be able to find a number of IHG properties where the cost is even lower. I got very lucky when searching in the Miami area (I fully admit that it was pure luck that I saw this) when I found a number of properties where, with the 15% discount, the cost of 10,000 IHG Rewards points was just $55.25:
If you book and then cancel this Points & Cash award you would be buying points at just 0.55 cents each.
Is This A Good Deal?
Clearly this will depend on how you use the points.
If all you do is use them to book a hotel, like the one above, for 30,000 points when you could book the room for cash for $153 + tax this isn’t a great idea. But if you put the points towards a more premium hotel then you could find yourself with a bargain.
Not all the great InterContinental hotels took a hit in the recent IHG devaluation and you can still book some of them (like one of my favorites – The InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam) for 50,000 points.
If you purchase points for 0.55 cents each and then spend them at a property like the IC Amstel Amsterdam (50,000 x 0.0055) your room will effectively cost you $275 all-in (there are no taxes to pay on award bookings) – that’s a fantastic price for a property which, in busier times, can cost double that amount.
First and foremost don’t be greedy.
Don’t go trying to buy hundreds of thousands of points using this trick because you’ll only upset the good folks at IHG Rewards and you could get your account shut down. IHG is no doubt fully aware of this loop-hole/trick and they’re clearly choosing to turn a blind eye for the time being so let’s not give them reason to shut it down.
Secondly, don’t buy the points to hoard. I realise I say this every time there’s a points buying opportunity but that doesn’t make it any less important that you take heed. Points will only ever devalue, they’re not an appreciating asset, so you shouldn’t be sitting on large balances. Have a plan as to what you’re going to do with them and only then dive in for a purchase.
Personally, I have a surprisingly low IHG Reward balance right now so I may use this trick to boost my total to an amount where I can redeem for an award night at a nice InterContinental – I don’t desperately need any more points than that right now so I’m not going to buy any more. It’s all about restraint 🙂