Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. Terms apply to all credit card welcome offers, earning rates and benefits and some credit card benefits will require enrollment. For more details please see the disclosures found at the bottom of every page.
Over the past few days, IHG has been running a points sale in which IHG One Rewards members can buy up to 300,000 points at a cost of just 0.5 cents per point. Today, however, is the last day of the sale so if you still need to top up your account, time is running out.
- This Offer is available for qualifying purchases of IHG One Rewards points made by 11:59 PM ET on February 2nd, 2024 (TODAY).
- Members will receive a bonus of 100% of the points purchased when they purchase a minimum 11,000 points purchase threshold on a per transaction basis.
- The percentage bonus amount will show for eligible members when they log into their IHG One Rewards account.
- Members may purchase a maximum of up to 150,000 points during a calendar year, so the number of points a member can purchase during the Offer Period will depend on how many points the member had already purchased during the same calendar year.
- Members may gift up to a maximum of 150,000 points, or receive as gifts from other members a combined maximum of up to 150,000 points, during the Offer Period, subject to reduction by the number of points that have been already gifted, or received as a gift, in the same calendar year.
- Purchased points, as well as any bonus points awarded under this Offer, do not count towards IHG One Rewards Elite status.
- Purchased Points are not refundable and are applicable toward all IHG One Rewards awards.
- Please allow up to 72 hours for points to post and appear in the recipient’s account.
There are two variables in this 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. Here’s why:
Someone buying the minimum number of points required to trigger the 100% bonus would pay $126.50 for a total of 22,000 points.
This works out to a cost per point of 0.575 cents.
Someone buying the maximum allowable points in this sale would pay $1,500 and would net 300,000 points courtesy of the 100% bonus:
300,000 points at a cost of $1,500 come to a cost per point of 0.500 cents – It matters how many points you choose to buy even though most purchases will trigger a 100% bonus.
Also, be aware that there continues to be an odd anomaly that IHG Rewards likes to throw into all of its points sales whereby you can buy 26,000 points for less than it costs to buy 23,000 points. You can also buy 27,000 points for less than it costs to buy 24,000 points and you can buy 28,000 points for less than it costs to buy 25,000 points.
It looks strange but this comes about because IHG sets a higher cost per point for purchases of 25,000 points or less. The 100% bonus is independent of this cost/point.
To get the best value out of this promotion you need to buy at least 26,000 IHG Rewards points.
Should you buy points?
As usual, my golden rule about miles and points sales comes into play here so no one should be buying points in this sale without a solid plan in place for how they’re going to use them… and use them soon!
Having now said all of that, it’s important to point out that at 0.5 cents/point, this sale can offer great deals at some of the more expensive properties in the IHG portfolio. A room costing 65,000-75,000 points per night will effectively cost you $325-$375 per night (including all taxes and fees) if you use points purchased in this sale, and that can sometimes represent a good saving on the cash rate that’s being offered on the same date(s).
Better yet and despite recent devaluations, it’s still possible to book some high-end properties with a lot fewer points than were needed before IHG introduced dynamic pricing:
Just be sure to check that the cash price for the same night isn’t also very low – that would make an award booking uneconomic.
It can get better
In further good news, the deals can get even better if you have the right credit card.
The card_name (review) 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.
Using the example of the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile from above, a 4-night stay could cost an card_name holder just 75,000 points which, at 0.5 cents per point, is a cash cost of just $375 including taxes – that’s a staggeringly good deal.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that anyone holding an Anniversary Free Night Certificate that comes as one of the benefits of the card_name, can add points to the value of their certificate (currently capped at 40,000 points) to allow them to redeem it at more expensive properties.
For certificate holders without a significant IHG Rewards balance, cheap points purchased in sales such as this one may offer an easy path to getting more value out of their certificates.
I always offer the same advice for promotions like this:
- 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 an idea it may be to buy points in this sale … but don’t procrastinate for too long because this sale ends today.
Featured image: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort