This Is An IHG Rewards Points Promotion You Should Avoid

a building next to a body of water

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IHG Rewards is back with another points sale almost exactly two weeks after the last sale ended. Sadly, while the last sale was a good opportunity for some to top up their IHG Rewards accounts, this is a sale that the overwhelming majority of readers should be giving a wide berth.

a close-up of a deckThe Sale

As usual, the sale offer appears simple…

“Buy 7,000 or more points and earn 80% more in bonus points”

…but, not only is this sale actually quite weak, the offer is a little more complicated than appearances may suggest.

The Terms & Conditions

  • Offer available for purchases made between 12:00 AM ET Oct 1, 2019 and 11:59PM Oct 18, 2019 inclusive.
  • This is an exclusive, non-transferable offer for intended recipient only and may not be forwarded.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Please allow 72 hours for points to post and appear in the recipient’s account.
  • All other IHG® Rewards Club Terms and Conditions apply.

The terms appear to suggest that this may be a targeted offer but as I have yet to hear of anyone who can’t see this offer in their account I suspect that this isn’t actually the case.

a patio with chairs and a view of a city
InterContinental Sydney- Club InterContinental

The Math

I’m going to keep this section brief as it seems a little illogical to dive deep into the math of a promotion that I can quickly demonstrate isn’t very good…so here goes:

In this promotion, the best rate at which points can be purchased is ~0.56 cents each as if you buy the maximum number of points on offer (100,000) you’ll end up with 180,000 points at a cost of $1,000 (or ~0.56 cents/point).

a screenshot of a phone

Firstly, as with the last IHG Rewards points sale, we see IHG sell its points with a 100% bonus on a reasonably frequent basis so unless you’re absolutely desperate for some IHG Rewards points why would you buy in a sale where the bonus on offer is left.

Secondly, we’re probably only 5 – 7 weeks away from seeing the various loyalty programs come out with their Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales and I’d be incredibly surprised if IHG Rewards didn’t launch a 100% bonus offer then.

Thirdly, if we ignore the one or two properties that now charge 100,000 points/night, this is how much you’ll be paying for mid-tier and higher-end properties if you buy points in this sale and then use them to book an award night:

a table with numbers and points

With the exception of a handful of properties, you’ll struggle to find too many examples of nights where award bookings are available and the cost of buying points to book the room is cheaper than paying the going cash rate.

Yes, award bookings are flexible while the cheapest cash rates are not so if that’s important to you then that should be taken into account but mostly the cost to buy points in this sale simply isn’t worth it….especially once you factor in the lost earnings (you don’t earn points on award bookings) and the fact that IHG doesn’t honor all elite benefits on award bookings.

Watch Out

If, regardless of what I’ve said, you’re still set on buying points make sure you’re not caught out by the fact that IHG changes the cost of its points partway through its price chart.

Although you’ll get an 80% bonus for buying 7,000 points or more the cheapest cost per point on offer in this sale doesn’t kick in until you buy at least 26,000 points.

a row of huts on stilts in water

Bottom Line

This is not a good sale by IHG Rewards standards so unless you’re absolutely desperate for a few points to get you to the award you’d like to book you should be staying away – the next sale will almost certainly be the one in which to top up an account.