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While IHG will officially sell you its Rewards Club Points at a cost starting at of 1.0 cent per point (most of the time) and while it often sells points at a cost as low as 0.5 cents each in its frequent points sales, there’s also occasionally a way of “buying” points for even less….and right now there’s an opportunity to do just that.
I’ve put the word “buying” in quotes because this isn’t in any way an official way to purchase IHG Reward points – it’s a workaround and one which I’m sure IHG isn’t keen on seeing exploited. Nevertheless, this loophole has been around for a while and IHG has chosen not to close it….so they can’t be too bothered about it.
How It Works:
There are three main ways you can buy a room at IHG properties:
- Using cash/credit card
- Using IHG Rewards Points
- Using a combination of IHG Rewards Points & cash/credit card
It’s this last category that’s the important one for the purposes of this post.
Right now IHG is offering targeted Rewards Club members a 20% discount on the cash portion of a Points & Cash redemption and, if used wisely, this can be used to generate points at just 0.46 cents each.
Here are the headline terms & conditions of this sale:
- IHG Rewards Club members must be logged in to receive 20% savings.
- Must book by 5/10/2019
- Stay dates include 5/6/2019 – 7/1/2019
- 20% discount is offered at time of booking and only pertains to the cash cost of bookings.
- Bookings for The Venetian® and The Palazzo® hotels are excluded from discounts.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the promotion page.
Note: To be able to take advantage of the loophole I’m about to discuss you need to have some IHG Rewards Points already in your account. In the example I’ve found (and illustrated below) you’ll need to have at least 40,000 points in your account….but there may be instances where a lot fewer points are required
Under the current IHG Rewards promotion you can book a property like the InterContinental Miami for 60,000 Rewards Points per night….
…or you can choose to part pay with cash and book the same night for 40,000 points & $92 in cash:
In effect the IHG Rewards Points & Cash option is allowing you to purchase the additional 20,000 IHG Reward points (to reach 60,000) for $92 – which means that the points you’re “buying” are costing just 0.46 cents each.
The trick here is that thanks to the way IHG process refunds if you were to cancel the Points & Cash reservation IHG would refund you 60,000 points rather than 40,000 points and $92.
In this instance you would have effectively just purchased 20,000 points at 0.46 cents each.
This method of purchasing cheap IHG points is scalable (and available at multiple properties) so, if you have more IHG Rewards points in your account, you could book a stay of multiple nights at 40,000 points + $92 per night (or multiple one-night stays at that price) and then, upon canceling the reservation(s), you would receive the refund in the form of cheap IHG Rewards points.
I strongly advise against abusing this method of manufacturing IHG Rewards points on the cheap.
There’s no doubt that IHG is aware of this loophole and, for whatever reason, they have so far chosen not to close it. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t clamp down strongly on people mass booking and mass canceling reservations in an attempt to create cheap IHG Rewards points.
Using this method to top up an account to the next reward should be ok but excessive use could see IHG closing down people’s accounts and confiscating points….and I wouldn’t want that to happen to you.
Also, never forget the ever-looming possibility of a devaluation.
IHG loves a good devaluation so what points are worth today may not be what they’re worth tomorrow….and that’s why points should never be stockpiled.
You only have a couple of days left to manufacture some IHG Rewards points this way but do not buy/manufacture points speculatively.
Have a plan for what you’re going to do with the points and only then should you consider purchasing enough to get you to your award…and then only if it makes financial sense.
[HT: Loyalty Lobby for flagging up the promotion]