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Yes, you’re reading the headline correctly, IHG Rewards is currently happy to sell you half a million of its points at a cost of just 0.5 cents per point. This is the largest IHG Rewards Club points sale I can remember seeing (by a distance) and the cost per point matches the lowest rate at which we generally see IHG’s currency sold.
- Offer available for purchases made between 12:00 AM ET July 8, 2020 and 11:59 PM ET July 31, 2020 inclusive.
- Members will receive a 100% Bonus when they purchase a minimum of 7,000 points.
- Members may purchase a maximum of 150,000 points per calendar year and receive as a gift a maximum of 150,000 points per calendar year; during the term of this promotion, that limit is raised to 250,000 points.
- 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.
There are two variables in this points sale – the bonus and the cost per point…and they’re not related. Just because there’s a 100% bonus on offer doesn’t mean that you should ignore the cost per point. Here’s why:
Someone buying the minimum number of points required to trigger the 100% bonus would pay $94.50 for a total of 14,000 points.
This works out to a cost per point of 0.675 cents.
Someone buying the maximum allowable points in this sale would pay $2,500 and would net 500,000 points courtesy of the 100% bonus:
500,000 points at a cost of $2,500 come to a cost per point of 0.500 cents – It matters how many points you choose to buy even though most purchases will trigger a 100% bonus.
There’s even a strange anomaly which IHG Rewards likes to throw into all of its points sales – you can buy 26,000 points for less than it costs to buy 23,000 points, you can buy 27,000 points for less than it costs to buy 24,000 points and you can buy 28,000 points for less than it costs to buy 25,000 points.
It’s more than a little odd but this comes about because IHG sets a higher cost per point for purchases of 25,000 points or less. The 100% bonus is independent of this cost/point.
This is what the points sale’s price banding actually looks like:
- Buy 1,000 – 12,000 points at a cost of 1.35 cents/point
- Buy 14,000 – 20,000 points at a cost of 0.675 cents/point
- Buy 22,000 – 50,000 points at a cost of 0.575 cents/point
- Buy 52,000 – 500,000 points at a cost of 0.500 cents/point
To get the best value out of this promotion you need to buy at least 26,000 IHG Rewards points.
Should You Buy Points?
As usual, my golden rule about miles and points sales comes into play here (more than ever before) so no one should be buying points in this sale without a solid plan in place for how they’re going to use them…and use them soon.
Still, at 0.5 cents/point, this sale can offer great deals at some of the more expensive properties in the IHG portfolio as a room costing 60,000 – 70,000 points per night will effectively cost you $300 – $350 per night (including all taxes and fees) if you use points purchased in this sale.
Also, now that variable pricing is up and running within the IHG Rewards program, it’s possible to book some truly high-end properties with a lot fewer points than were needed just a few months ago……just be sure to check that the cash price for the same night isn’t also very low – that would make an award booking uneconomic.
In further good news, the deals can get even better if you have the right credit card.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card offers cardholders a 4th night free on all award bookings so, if you hold this card and buy enough points to book 4 nights (or enough points to top up your account so you can book 4 nights), the value you’d be getting would be even better. Using the examples of the InterContinental Sydney and the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City from above, a 4-night stay at either of those properties could cost an IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card holder as few as 105,000 points which, at 0.5 cents per point, is a cash cost of just $525 including taxes – that’s a fantastic deal.
I always offer the same advice for promotions like this:
- Find out the cost of a night at the properties you would like to visit (at the time of year you would like to travel)
- Compare that cost to the cost of an award night paid for with points purchased in this sale.
Just by doing those two simple things you’ll know just how good a deal buying points in this promotion may be.