Are 5K PointBreak nights really a great deal?

As you’ve probably heard from numerous other blogs, the latest IHG Rewards Club’s PointBreaks list looks pretty good.  Every few months, IHG Rewards Club (previously known as Priority Club) releases a new list of hotels that are available for only 5000 points per night.  For the first time in a while, there appear to be quite a few attractive properties on the list. 

I’ve often wondered if this was really as good of a deal as many have claimed.  5K points per night sounds like a great deal, but is it really?  Are these really bargains, or crappy properties that could otherwise be booked for less than $50 per night? 

New Girl in the Air had a nice post in which she gave suggestions for where to go if you’d like to organize a trip around one of these properties (see “IHG PointBreaks for Summer Travel: Destination Suggestions!“).  I looked at each of her suggestions to see if rooms were really available for 5000 points per night, and to see the best available price if I were to pay cash instead.

To get in on this deal, your stay needs to be complete by August 31st, so I  picked a weekend in August to look for availability (August 17th to 19th).  I then looked for the best available refundable rate.  In most cases a non-refundable rate was also available but at only a slight discount over the refundable rate.  I did not try to figure out the quality of these properties. 

Here is what I found:

Intercontinental Bucharest

  • Bookable for 5000 points per night? Yes
  • Usual price in points: 25K
  • Room rate: $104.15 per night
  • Total price for two nights with tax: $227.05
  • Calculated point value (total price / # points): 2.3 cents

 

CROWNE PLAZA KATHMANDU-SOALTEE

  • Bookable for 5000 points per night? Yes
  • Usual price in points: 30K
  • Room rate: $134 per night
  • Total price for two nights with tax: $333.12
  • Calculated point value (total price / # points): 3.3 cents

 

Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront

  • Bookable for 5000 points per night? Yes
  • Usual price in points: 30K
  • Room rate: $139 per night
  • Total price for two nights with tax: $308.58
  • Calculated point value (total price / # points): 3.1 cents

 

Holiday Inn Express Puerto Montt

  • Bookable for 5000 points per night? Yes
  • Usual price in points: 15K
  • Room rate: $106.18 per night
  • Total price for two nights with tax: $252.72
  • Calculated point value (total price / # points): 2.5 cents

 

Candlewood Suites Harrisburg

  • Bookable for 5000 points per night? Yes (but had to pick a different weekend)
  • Usual price in points: 20K
  • Room rate: $135.99 per night
  • Total price for two nights with tax: $301.90
  • Calculated point value (total price / # points): 3 cents

 

Analysis

My estimated Fair Trading Price for IHG points is half a cent per point.  You can think of this as the opportunity cost for collecting IHG points instead of other points or cash back.  In general, when it is possible to get significantly more value from an award redemption than the Fair Trading Price, I call that a good deal.  In all of the above examples, one can get at least 2.3 cents per point value, so these point breaks do indeed qualify as great deals.

Buying Points

IHG sells points directly for 1.15 to 1.35 cents each.  If you were starting from scratch, you could buy 5000 points needed for a PointBreak hotel for only $67.50.  That, by itself, is a really nice discount since all of the properties I looked at cost at least $110 per night (after tax).

Once you have at least 5000 points, you can buy additional points for only .7 cents each through a simple trick:  Search for a 10K award night and choose to pay with a combination of points and cash.  You will be required to pay the cash portion up-front with your credit card.  Then, after the room is fully booked, cancel the award.  Instead of getting your money back, you’ll get back all of the points you spent, plus additional points in exchange for your payment.  Effectively you will have just bought points for .7 cents each.  At this rate, you can effectively buy PointBreak nights for only $35 per night.

Another option is to try to grab one of the Daily Getaways packages that are available today (Monday, July 1st 2013) at 1PM EST.  With the packages available today, if you pay with an American Express credit card (which gives you 10% off each package), you will effectively buy IHG points for about .6 cents each.  Since this is not a huge discount off of the cash & points trick, I would only recommend this if you are 100% sure you will use the points.

Conclusion

While I can’t vouch for the quality of the hotels on the list, PointBreak hotels do appear to be a terrific bargain.  I know that for many people this will be a “well, yeah, duh” conclusion, but I felt it was worth checking.  I’m still curious, though, how many of these properties are nice enough to provide an enjoyable stay.  Have you ever made a PointBreak reservation?  If so, how was your stay?

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. I stayed for 5 nights at the Intercontinental Bangkok about 3 years ago on a Point Break stay. I did NOT know about Point Break when I was booking – I kept thinking this was a mistake that it priced at 5,000 instead of 30,000 points. Once I figured it was not a mistake I increased our stay from 3 to 5 nights.

    The hotel rate at that time was about $220 a night and the hotel was WONDERFUL! Great room, great food and great staff.

    Last year we went to Spring Training in Phoenix AZ and as luck would have it – there was a Point Break hotel in Phoenix at that time. It was a Crown Plaza and was not anythin special – but – 5,000 points made it much nicer than paying $150 a night or 30,000 points a night!

  2. We booked two rooms (5000 points each) at the Venice Crowne Plaza for a week last year. Wonderful hotel, with great breakfast buffet (included as a Plat) right next to the train station.

  3. Just had a stay not too long ago at a Point Break hotel. I’m very picky about clean hotels, and this one was pretty good. Free Internet and breakfast-though very busy as they ran out of an item one day. As I think about it, they even gave me a welcome bag with water and a snack for bring gold, and had a game where we won ice cream. So yes, great value.

  4. A few years ago, I used Pointbreaks to book stays at a Holiday Inn in Paris and another in Brussels. The hotel in Brussels was nice. That in Paris was ordinary. Yet, $30 (now $35) per night in Paris – how can you complain??

    I’ve also occasionally redeemed for properties domestically. They’re fine. I know some bloggers obsess over bath products, suite upgrades, welcome amenities, etc., but if you’re only looking for clean and comfortable rooms in often well-located properties, then these are generally great bargains.

  5. My overseas travel has never lined up with any of the international options, but I have used a couple of domestic options for trips I was already going to make. 5K is great even if the hotels were going to be around $150 a night (Staybridge Suites) or $170 a night (Hotel Indigo). Nice standard property (although the Hotel Indigo was a step up from HI standard). It is always hit and miss, but a nice surprise.

  6. But are these hotels are actually worth the rates they normally charge? If you had to spend $139 a night in Melbourne, for example, would you really prefer to book the Crowne Plaza, or would you rather go someplace else?

    If you’d rather go somewhere else, then it would probably take some cheaper rate to get you to stay at the Crowne Plaza, and that’s the number that should be used to value the Points Break list. You haven’t really answered your original question: Are these crappy properties? The fact that these are Points Break hotels indicates that their published rates aren’t low enough to draw in customers.

  7. @Scottrick that is the hotel I looked up from this list and at least based on TripAdvisor reviews it is a good deal. The hotel is on the ocean and has a nice deck. Those with platinum status get good upgrades. There are reports of issues with the property but most were positive. The big downside for Florida is the time of year and hurricane season but the Points Break deal looks good. By the way FM asked others to comment on the quality which is what they have been doing in the comment section. Sounds like the deals are actually pretty good.

  8. I had booked a Points Break hotel in Cologne, Germany but cancelled before I got there. The hotel was not easy to get to by public transportation, far from the airport, and not in a great area. So before you book a hotel based on the number of points, do what Ollie does and check reviews on TripAdvisor, see if it is easy to get to, and see if there are things to do around the hotel.

    .
    I believe I was scheduled to check into the hotel 8 hours before I cancelled the points reservation and the points were back in my account within seconds.

  9. There is zero availability for the 5k points break for the INTERCONTINENTAL ASIANA SAIGON RESIDENCES during the promotional period. Why does IHG post a promotion that is not valid?

  10. @Newlin – I was able to book two nights at the Intercontinental Asiana Saigon Residences. I looked again yesterday and they were showing award availability this Saturday thru Tuesday and next Thursday (7/11). I booked the second they were bookable and did not have any issues with my dates.

    So there was availability, that either got picked up very quickly or they didnt have very much available.

    Its a great property and a great deal (as regular room rates are $199-$239 for a one bedroom). I hope you have more luck next time.

    • It’s great to hear that people have found (and stayed in) nice properties on the PointsBreak list! Newlin, some of the more popular properties sell out quickly when the list is released. That could be what happened to you.

  11. I just booked six nights at five different hotels to do a round trip vacation through through three different states. All of the hotels were Point Break hotels: one Crowne Plaza (1 night), three Candlewood Suites (4 nights), and one Holiday Inn Express (1 night) for a total of 30,000 points. Interestingly enough, there were three additional Point Break hotels nearby that I could have also used, but I used TripAdvisor to pick the best of the best. Now, all I have to pay for is my car rental, flight, and gas. Total cost for the trip, including a week in hotels, flight, car rental, and gas will be around $400 plus food and incidentals. I’d say Point Breaks helped me out quite a bit for an additional cool week vacation this summer. 😀

  12. I stayed last fall right outside of Newport RH for 6 nights at a Holiday Inn Express. Because it was during leaf peeping season, I think the room was around 159.00 per night. The point break special actually was the only way we could afford the trip. So I think I got a great value and had a great time in Newport.

  13. Just finished 6 PB nights at the Crowne Plaza in Bagotá which is a massive hotel so it’s a good way for them to fill it. My Platinum status got me upgraded to a huge suite and though the building is old the furnishing are so nice. IHG status also gets you all the free booze you can drink in the Executive Club weekdays 5-7pm, free internet & free breakfast in the top floor E.Cub. All in all a wonderful experience. Cost me 30,000 points and my bill at checkout was $0.

  14. Just finished my stay in fairbanks on PB. Booked very early and normal rates are $199/night so used my 15k pts. Not bad, considering Ak in peak summer season. Now I m off to homewood suites in ANC using HH axon awards for 4 nights.

  15. I got lots of point from MyCokerewards to Priority CLub and stayed basically for free in Canada. Super value at a very nice Hotel in Edmonton ( Crown plaza I guess).

    Very valuable in my opinion.

  16. I am currently staying at the Intercontinental Asiana Residences Saigon, which I had previously booked for 25k a night, but switched to 5k a night when the new points break list came out. At $240+ a night it’s almost 5 cents a point! And the apartments are incredibly nice.

  17. Concur with HMT. When I look at booking something in Silicon Valley for example, there are a couple of options on there worth looking at–the Staybridge Suites in Milpitas which is nice enough, but basically can’t be booked for 5,000 points except on an occasional Thursday night and the Crowne Plaza, oops its the wrong one–not the one you’d want to stay at in Milpitas/San Jose but rather the one way the hell out in Fremont with all the other hotels that are available and at lower prices because you’re going to spend 40 minutes in traffic trying to get back to San Jose. Not too impressed with the options here, at least for domestic bookings.

  18. I used a Point Break to stay in the Staybridge Suites, Palmdale, CA over Memorial Day weekend. The room was large enough, had a full kitchen, and a full breakfast and occasionally an evening reception was included. We spent most of our days in the LA area or on the beach, so there was an additional 30 minute drive through the mountains each morning and evening but for 5000 points per night, well worth it.

  19. Following the ‘It can work out well’ angle, I have 7 nights booked at the VERY end at Crowne Plaza Boston-Newton.

    Is it the nicest property in the world, or even within 3mi of my house? No.

    But, for people who are visiting ME in Boston, it is right off the highway so no ‘City Driving’ for family who drive into the city and then are afraid.

    It is on a bus line which goes directly to and from my house, it will be a very reasonable cab fare otherwise.

    If someone was coming to VISIT BOSTON, it might not be the best choice, but again, to visit ME in Boston it is.

    Is it worth $35 per night? Definitely. Its definitely nicer than the cheapest place anywhere in the vicinity of Boston which is a Super 8 for $99.

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