IHG Is Now Offering A Bonus Of 80% On Points Purchases

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IHG Rewards seems to be going down the same path as American Airlines in that it’s rare to find a time of year where its loyalty currency isn’t being offered at some kind of discount. Right now a new offer is in progress in which IHG Rewards members are being offered an 80% bonus on purchases of 5,000 points or more.

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Buy IHG Points – Headline Terms

  • Offer available for purchases made between 12:00 AM ET December 10, 2018, and 11:59 PM ET December 28, 2018.
  • 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.
  • Bonus points do not count towards the annual purchase limits
  • Please allow 72 hours for points to post and appear in the recipient’s account. All other IHG Rewards Club Terms and Conditions apply.

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Buy IHG Points – The Math

The latest IHG points sale couldn’t appear to be any simpler – If you buy at least 5,000 points you’ll get an 80% bonus – but the simplicity of the offer belies the truth.

Someone unfamiliar with how a lot of these points sales work could be forgiven for thinking that the cost/point is the same as long as you’re getting an 80% bonus….but that’s not how this sale works.

If you buy just 5,000 points it will cost you $67.50 and you’ll net 9,000 after the 80% bonus has been accounted for:”

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That works out to a cost/point of ~0.75 cents.

Buying 100,000 points (the maximum allowed) will cost $1,000 and, because you’ll still get an 80% bonus, you’ll net a total of 180,000 points:

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That works out to a cost/point of ~0.556 cents.

Towards the middle of the purchasing range you can see just how weird IHG pricing is as you can buy 26,000 points for less than it costs to buy 23,000 points and you can buy 28,000 points for less than it costs to buy 25,000 points….

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….so make sure you’re aware of exactly how much you’re paying per point before you get out your credit card.

Lowering That Cost Even More

Method 1

If you have a old-school Chase IHG Rewards credit card (as I do) you get 10% back on all points spent in the year (up to a maximum rebate of 100,000 points/year) so there’s an argument to be made that this will effectively reduce the cost of the points you buy to 0.500 cents each.

This would equal the cheapest rate we’ve ever seen IHG sell its points (they were available at this rate in November)

Method 2

One of the benefits of the IHG Rewards program is that you get a 4th night free on award bookings so, technically, you could buy enough points in this sale for 4 nights and only end up paying for 3 of those nights.

One could argue that this would drop the cost of any points you buy by 25% but I’m not comfortable putting this forward as a good way to get a discount. Here’s why:

  • You would have to book exactly 4 nights to get the full 25% – the more nights you book the lower that discount gets.
  • A lot of people don’t book stays of over 3 nights

If you’re very likely to book a stay of 4 nights or more by all means include the appropriate discount in your calculations, otherwise ignore it and consider it a bonus if you do end up booking a qualifying stay.

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

Should You Buy Points In This Sale?

There are two scenarios in which I think it would be ok to buy points in this sale:

  1. You need to top up your account to book an award
  2. You need points sooner rather than later and you can’t wait for another sale.

If you fall into one of those two categories here’s a link to by points – everyone else should stay away.

Here’s why.

  • 80% isn’t the best bonus IHG has offered in the past and it’s very likely that we’re going to see a 100% bonus come up again at some point in the future.
  • 0.556 cents/point isn’t the cheapest we’ve seen IHG sell its points so why buy at this rate (if you’re in no particular hurry) when they’re almost certain to be sold at a cheaper rate in a few months time.

I can’t absolutely guarantee that IHG will offer a 100% bonus anytime soon but if history is anything to go by then that’s exactly what will happen within the next few sales….so why buy now if you’re happy to wait?

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa

Bottom Line

I have no interest in jumping 80% bonus when I suspect another 100% bonus will turn up at some point so I won’t be buying points in this sale….but then I don’t need any points right now either.

If you happen to need IHG Rewards Points to urgently top up an account or to make a booking that’s cheaper when paid for with points from this sale than it is if paid for with cash, then it’s fine to buy points in this sale. Those are valid reasons to buy this time around and it’s not a bad deal to do exactly that.

Everyone else should probably sit this one out.