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Today is going to be a bit of an IHG day on Traveling For Miles as I catch up with the latest offers from the chain that brings us the likes of InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Kimpton.
First up is the latest points sale from IHG Rewards which is offering members the chance to buy up to 200,000 points from $0.005 each.
- Offer available for purchases made between 12:00 AM ET November 12, 2018, and 11:59 PM ET November 30, 2018.
- This is an exclusive, non-transferable offer for the intended recipient only and may not be forwarded.
- Bonus points will be awarded upon completion of the transaction.
- Bonus points will be awarded to the recipient of the points purchase.
- Offer is subject to change.
- Offer cannot be combined with any other offer.
- Only purchases made online are eligible for the bonus.
- Price includes all applicable fees.
- Purchased points are not refundable and are applicable toward all IHG Rewards Club awards.
- Members may purchase a maximum of 100,000 points per calendar year and receive as a gift a maximum of 100,000 points per calendar year*
- Please allow 72 hours for points to post and appear in the recipient’s account.
- All other IHG®Rewards Club Terms and Conditions apply.
* The 100,000 point annual limit excludes bonuses
This is the offer I’m seeing in my account and the other accounts I control – you may see a different set of tiers in your account but everyone should have access to the 100% bonus.
- Buy 1,000 – 4,000 IHG Rewards Points and get no bonus
- Buy 5,000+ IHG Rewards Points and get a 100% Bonus
As is often the case with IHG points sales this is a deceptive looking offer – it would be easy to think that as long as you buy 5,000 points you’ll be getting the best deal….but that’s definitely not the case.
There are two variables in this points sale – the bonus and the cost per point and they’re not related.
Just because there’s a 100% bonus on offer doesn’t mean that you should ignore the cost per point…and here’s why:
Someone buying 5,000 points in this sale would pay $67.50 and would net 10,000 points courtesy of the 100% bonus:
10,000 points at a cost of $67.50 works out to a cost per point of 0.675 cents.
Someone buying the maximum number of points permitted by the rules (100,000) would net 200,000 points at a total cost of $1,000:
200,000 points at a cost of $1,000 works out to a cost/point of 0.500 cents.
Same bonus but a very different cost/point.
This is what the points sale’s price banding actually looks like:
- Buy 5,000 – 10,000 points at a cost of 0.675 cents/point
- Buy 11,000 – 25,000 points at a cost of 0.575 cents/point
- Buy 26,000 – 100,000 points at a cost of 0.500 cents/point
The nature of the IHG price banding is such that you get a situation where it’s actually cheaper to buy 28,000 points than it is to buy 25,000 points:
Quite simply, to get the best value out of this promotion you need to buy at least 26,000 IHG Rewards points.
Is There A Good Deal In Here?
Well, it’s all about the math.
- Following the devaluation we saw at the beginning of the year the best IHG properties in the world now cost between 60,000 and 70,000 points.
- Buying points at 0.5 cents each, would see you paying between $300 and $350 per night at these properties (inclusive of all taxes).
That price band can represent a very good deal at some of the more expensive properties and the price looks even more attractive when you consider that IHG Rewards reservations are flexible (i.e. can be cancelled without penalty).
Booking an award night in one of IHG’s regular PointBreaks sales would also probably make buying points in this offer a good deal.
PointBreaks awards range in cost from 5,000 to 15,000 points per night and that would equate to between $25 and $75 per night for someone buying points at 0.005 cents each.
Considering we occasionally see a reasonable InterContinental property make an appearance on the PointBreaks list this can be a great use of points purchased in a sale like this one.
The deals get even better if you have the right credit card
The Chase IHG Rewards Premier credit card offers cardholders a 4th night free on all award bookings so, if you hold this card and buy enough points to book 4 nights (or enough points to top up your account so you can book 4 nights), the value you’d be getting would be even better.
Make Sure You Use The Right Credit Card
Purchases of IHG Rewards Points are processed by Points.com so they’re not eligible for a credit card category bonus.
As bonus points are not an option here you should make sure you use a strong cashback credit card or a credit card with which you will earn points that you value highly.
If you’re currently working your way towards a sign-up bonus on a new credit card this could be a good time to use it.
I always offer the same advice for promotions like this….and nothing is changing today:
- Find out the cost of a night at the properties you would like to visit (at the time of year you would like to travel)
- Compare that cost to the cost of an award night paid for with points purchased in this sale.
Just by doing those two simple things you’ll know just how good a deal buying points in this promotion may be.