IHG Is Offering A Bonus Of Up To 75% On Purchased Points


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IHG Rewards has announced its first points sale of the year and the sale comes exactly one day before the hotelier increases the cost of awards at over 570 properties worldwide.

This is exactly the same sale as IHG launched this time last year and, thanks to IHG behaving exactly the same way this year as it did in 2018, I’m about to write pretty much the same thing as I wrote last year.

I’m becoming less and less of a fan of IHG Rewards as the elite benefits show no real signs of improvement and the only thing we can really rely on is that IHG will bump up the cost of awards at least once a year.

Also, not only is IHG about to increase the cost of awards at a significant number of its properties for the third year running but, for at least the second year running, the hotelier has failed to notify IHG Rewards members about the changes it’s about to make….and that’s unforgivable.

With that background in mind I was never really likely to take positively to an IHG points sale at this moment in time and the fact that the bonus is limited to 75% in this sale hasn’t made me warm to the sale any more.

IHG Rewards Points Sale – Headline T&Cs

  • Offer available for purchases made between 12:00 AM ET January 24, 2019 and 11:59 PM ET February 28, 2019 inclusive.
  • 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 limit.
  • 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 bonus.
  • Price includes all applicable fees.
  • Purchased Points are not refundable and are applicable toward all IHG® Rewards Club awards.
  • Please allow 72 hours for points to post and appear in the recipient’s account.

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

IHG Rewards Points Sale – The Offer

The individual detail may vary slightly from member to member but I doubt the differences will be significant. Here’s what I see in the accounts I control:

  • Buy 5,000 – 19,000 points and get a 50% bonus
  • Buy 20,000 – 100,000 points and get a 75% bonus

If you’ve been targeted for a different offer let me know in the comments and I’ll update this post.

The Math

Because of the way IHG plays around with the pricing within the bands (it’s very strange) you have to buy at least 26,000 points to get the lowest cost/point….and then that cost/point remains the same irrespective of how many more points you buy.

Buying 26,000 points in this sale would see you net 45,500 points (after the bonus) for a total cost of $260:

This works out to ~0.57 cents/point

If you were to buy the full 100,000 points you’d end up netting 175,000 points at a total cost of $1000:

This also works out to ~0.57 cents/point

Should You Buy Points In This Sale?

Normally, at this point, I would provide a few examples showing why buying points at this rate isn’t a great idea and possibly a few outlying examples of where this sale may save you some money….but I can’t bring myself to do that.

I genuinely cannot recommend that anyone buys points in this sale unless they’re desperate and can see that whatever they’ll use the points for will clearly benefit them.

IHG loves selling points (almost as much as American Airlines loves selling miles) and we frequently see sales in which the bonus on offer is the full 100%.

Yes, sometimes the bonus is targeted but, if IHG sticks to last year’s format (which it’s doing with this sale), we can expect a 100% buns promotion appear in March (possibly as a flash sale).

Bottom Line

TFM will earn a small commission if you buy points in this sale but I would strongly suggest that anyone considering making a purchase really, really thinks things through.

At 0.57 cents per point a night at a top IHG property will effectively cost you $399 while in a sale offering a 100% bonus the same night will cost you no more than $350 – why buy points now unless you really need them?

If, despite my warnings, you decide to buy some points anyway, just be sure to remember that all IHG points transactions are processed by Points.com so you won’t earn a credit card travel/hotel category bonus through this sale.

The best way forward is to use a credit card whose currency you value highly or a credit card on which you’re working your way up to a sign-up bonus.

Will you be buying IGH Rewards Points at this rate? If you are, please let me know what you plan to use them for.