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How to combine an IHG credit card & an IHG points sale for great deals


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IHG Rewards runs frequent points sales and the sales in which a 100% bonus is offered can offer an easy path to good savings. If, however, you combine a good points sale with a key benefit offered by the IHG Rewards Premier credit card or the IHG Rewards Traveler credit card, the savings can be fantastic.

The IHG Rewards Premier credit card (review) and the IHG Rewards Traveler credit card can be very useful cards in their own right but they share one particular benefit that can be a fantastic money-saver. Both cards offer cardholders a 4th night free on all award bookings.

IHG’s 4th night free benefit

Here are the key aspects of this benefit:

  • There is no cap on the number of times this benefit may be used
  • The is no cap on the points value of the award booking (this can be used at top-tier IHG properties worldwide)
  • Every 4th night of an award booking is free (so an 8-night stay would see a cardholder get two free nights).
  • This benefit cannot be used in conjunction with Points & Cash bookings

When you consider that on just a single 4-night stay this credit card can save a cardholder well over 70,000 points and that there’s no cap on how often this can be used, the value of this benefit becomes obvious.

IHG’s 100% bonus points sales

IHG’s 100% bonus points sales come around reasonably frequently (you can check if one is running right now via this link) and they always offer IHG Rewards members the opportunity to buy points at just 0.5 cents each.

Generally, IHG will allow members to buy up to 150,000 points/year (excluding bonuses)…

…but that cap is sometimes raised during special promotions (e.g. around Black Friday/Cyber Monday which are just around the corner).

0.5 cents/point is the best rate at which IHG Rewards sells its currency so when a sale like this comes along, it’s worth paying it some attention.

An issue a lot of people face

Two of the bigger complaints that I hear from people who collect miles and points are these:

  1. It’s hard to find award availability
  2. It’s hard to earn enough points to book the awards that they want.

In the case of IHG Rewards and unlike in the cases of a number of airlines that I could mention, finding economical award availability is mostly straightforward. Yes, there are a few select properties at which it’s incredibly hard to find award availability (e.g. The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa) and IHG managed to upset a lot of people when it moved to dynamic award pricing not that long ago but, generally speaking, award availability is pretty good.

However, if you’re not spending a lot of nights at IHG properties every year it can be challenging to earn enough points for a stay that’s longer than one or two nights, and for people for whom this is a very real issue, good points sales can be a savior.

More importantly, a good points sale combined with IHG’s 4th night free benefit (which is only offered by Chase’s credit cards and which isn’t an elite benefit) can be the key to getting some fantastic deals at great properties around the world.

Combine A Points Sale With The 4th Night Free Benefit

Keeping in mind the following:

  • When an IHG points sale is offering a 100% bonus, points can be purchased for 0.5 cents each.
  • Holders of the IHG Rewards Premier credit card (review) and the IHG Rewards Traveler credit card only need enough points for three nights if they want to book a 4-night stay (or enough points for 6 nights if they want to book an 8-night stay).

Now take a look at these example deals that can be booked using points that have been purchased by someone holding a Chase-issued IHG Rewards credit card:

New York City

On a randomly selected night in March, these are three cash options available to IHG Reward members looking to book a 4-night stay in Manhattan

…and this is how many points the same nights would cost at each of these properties:

As all the cash rates displayed include taxes and fees, these are the choices that IHG Rewards members are being given for their 4-night stay:

Assuming that an IHG Rewards member buys all the points needed for these bookings at 0.5 cents each, this is what the price comparison looks like:

The savings on offer range from $493 to $1,229 for these 4-night stays.

London

On a randomly selected night in August (when it should be sunny!), these are three cash options available to IHG Reward members looking to book a 4-night stay in London

…and this is how many points the same nights would cost at each of these properties:

As all the cash rates displayed include taxes and fees, these are the choices that IHG Rewards members are being given for their 4-night stay:

Assuming that an IHG Rewards member buys all the points needed for these bookings at 0.5 cents each, this is what the price comparison looks like:

The savings on offer range from $301 to $892 for these 4-night stays.

Singapore

On a randomly selected night in April, these are three cash options available to IHG Reward members looking to book a 4-night stay in Singapore

…and this is how many points the same nights would cost at each of these properties:

As all the cash rates displayed include taxes and fees, these are the choices that IHG Rewards members are being given for their 4-night stay:

Assuming that an IHG Rewards member buys all the points needed for these bookings at 0.5 cents each, this is what the price comparison looks like:

The savings on offer range from $134 to $202 for these 4-night stays.

Note: These are not outlying examples. While I deliberately picked one major city from the US, Europe, and Asia, and while I deliberately filtered my results to only show the higher-end properties in each city, the dates I picked were the first dates that I chose. I did not need to go hunting for these deals.

A note on free night certificates

Holders of the IHG Rewards Premier credit card and the legacy IHG Rewards Club Select card (no longer open to new applicants) are given free night certificates valid for single-night bookings costing up to 40,000 points. The certificates cannot be combined with points bookings into a single reservation to trigger the 4th-night free benefit.

You can book three nights with points to trigger the 4th-night free benefit and then add a 5th night to your stay by using an IHG Rewards free night certificate, but a certificate cannot be added to a 2-night points booking to trigger the 4th-night free.

One thing to consider

When you pay for a stay with IHG points rather than cash you forgo the points that you would have earned from that stay and you will forgo the points that your IHG Reward credit card would have earned you too.

If you’re a big fan of IHG Rewards, you may need to take into account the value of those points that you’ll be missing out on when it comes to calculating the real savings that are on offer.

For most people, however, the very real savings that can be made by combining a good IHG Rewards points sale with the 4th-night free benefit offered by the IHG Rewards Premier credit card (review) and the IHG Rewards Traveler credit card will far outweigh any value assigned to the points that have been given up.

It’s also possible to argue that as any points earned by paying a cash rate would, at some point, have to be redeemed, their value is irrelevant in this instance.

Bottom Line

I often make it very clear that I think that IHG Rewards is a very poor loyalty program, but there’s no doubt that combining an IHG Rewards credit card with one of the good points sales that IHG frequently runs can be an excellent way to save a lot of money.

If you’re someone who manages to earn hundreds of thousands of IHG Rewards points organically, you probably don’t need to participate in any of the points sales as you have more than enough points already. For those of us who enjoy staying at nice IHG properties but who don’t earn many points day-to-day, an IHG sale that offers points at just 0.5 cents each combined with a Chase-issued IHG Rewards credit card, can offer a fantastic way to enjoy a great trip at a much-reduced cost.

Featured image: Kimpton Fitzroy London courtesy of IHG

A Favorite Card

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 points (after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months). With the annual fee of $89 waived in the first year and with an impressive list of benefits and strong earnings at IHG properties worldwide, this is a must-have card for any serious IHG Rewards fan.

Our Favorite Benefits:

  • IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status
  • Get every 4th night free when you make a points booking of 4 or more nights
  • Receive a free night at a property worth up to 40,000/night every year
  • Earn 25 points/dollar on spending at IHG properties*
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit of up to $100 every four years

Click for more details on the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

*Includes points earned from being a member of IHG Rewards Club and for having Platinum elite status.

Regarding Comments

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