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For as long as I can remember there has been a loophole which allows IHG Rewards members to manufacture points for less than IHG often sells them for – with prices as they are points can be manufactured for 0.66 cents each.
Now, for a limited time, IHG Rewards Elite members can apply the aforementioned method to manufacture IHG Rewards points for just 0.572 cents each.
First a reminder of the principles behind the trick
The key is to select a hotel that allows you to use cash in lieu of 15,000 points. In the example below an award night at the property costs 50,000 points but I can also book the room for 35,000 points + $99.
In effect the Cash & Points option is allowing me to purchase the additional 15,000 IHG Reward points (to reach 50,000) for $99 – which means that I’m buying the points at just 0.66 cents each.
The “trick” here is that, thanks to the way IHG process refunds, if I were to cancel such a reservation, rather than refunding me 15,000 points and $99 in cash, IHG will refund me 45,000 points.
I would have have effectively just purchased 15,000 points at 0.66 cents each.
This method of purchasing cheap IHG points is scalable so, if you have more IHG Rewards points in your account, you could book a stay of 2+ nights (at 15,000 points + $99 per night) and then, upon canceling the reservation, you would receive the refund in the form of cheap IHG Rewards points.
Buy IHG Rewards Points For 0.58 Cents Each
For bookings made by 18 September 2016 (for stays up to and including 30 November 2016), IHG Rewards Spire and Platinum Elites get 12% off the cash element of a Points & Cash booking. Non-Elites are being offered a 5% discount.
If you hunt around it’s very easy to find IHG properties where you can book a Points & Cash rate where you’re effectively buying 15,000 IHG Rewards points for $87.12 (after the 12% discount is applied):
At $87.12 for 15,000 IHG Rewards points you’re buying the points for 0.58 cents each…and that’s one of the better rates I’ve seen. But it’s not the best.
Last time this kind of offer came around I found a few properties in the Miami area that were offering Cash & Points rates at a slightly lower price than elsewhere….and the same thing is happening this time.
For some reason some of the Miami properties are offering 10,000 IHG Rewards points for just $57.20:
If you book and then cancel this Points & Cash award you would be buying points at just 0.572 cents each.
Is This A Good Deal?
This method allows IHG members to manufacture points for less than the 0.64 cents/point that’s being charged in the current points sale and it’s marginally cheaper than the cheapest rate we’ve seen IHG sell points at.
The best price we’ve seen IHG sell points for is 0.575 cents each and, to get that price, you often have to be targeted for it. Here there’s no need to be targeted – you just have to have some IHG points in your account and have Platinum status or higher.
How good a deal this is will depend on how good a deal you make it.
If all you do is use the points to book a hotel, like the one above, for 35,000 points when you could book the room for $102.90 + tax you’re not going to do too well. But if you use the points to buy nights at a more premium hotel then you could find yourself with a great deal.
Not all the great InterContinental hotels took a hit in the last 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 0.572 cents each and then spend them at a great property like the IC Amstel Amsterdam (50,000 x 0.00572) your room will effectively cost you $286 (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.
Please don’t go out there and try to manufacture tens of thousands of points using this loophole because you’ll just draw attention to yourself and you risk having your account shut down.
I have no doubt that IHG is aware of this loophole and, for some reason, they’re clearly choosing to turn a blind eye….for the moment. Let’s not give them a reason to close this down.
It’s also important that you don’t simply use this loophole to stockpile points.
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.