100% bonus on purchased IHG points. Is it worth it?

Through June 30th, 2015, IHG is offering a 100% bonus on purchased points. You can purchase up to 60,000 points, which will result in 120,000 points after the 100% bonus.  Is it worth it?

IHG usually charges 1.15 cents per point, but with this bonus, as long as you buy at least 26,000 points, the price per point drops to only .575 cents per point.  That’s 18% cheaper than the Cash & Points trick for buying points: When you reserve a Cash & Points room, you are essentially buying points at a rate of .7 cents each.  If you cancel the reservation, you’ll still be out the cash, but you keep the points.  In other words, it is always possible to buy IHG points at .7 cents each as long as you have enough points in your account to book a Cash & Points rate to begin with.

However, the fact that this deal is better than the Cash & Points trick, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good deal.  My current Fair Trading Price estimate for IHG points is .55 cents each, so this deal is right on target.  That said, I never advise buying points unless you know how you’ll use them.  Will you get significantly more than .575 cents per point value from your purchased points?  If so, go for it.  If you’re not sure, I’d recommend holding off.

Use for discount stays

There is no doubt that there are some values to be had.  For example, you could buy 100,000 points for $575.  Those points could get you two nights in a high priced hotel like the InterContinental London Park Lane.  Room rates there usually range from $500 to $800, per night, so this point deal is like a 50%, or better, discount.  Or, even better, use those 100,000 points to stay 20 nights at PointBreaks hotels (found here).  That averages to just $28.75 per night.

IHG_London_Park_Lane

InterContinental London Park Lane

Use for miles?

IHG allows points to be redeemed for airline miles.  The usual conversion rate is: 10,000 IHG points becomes 2,000 airline miles.  With this promotion, you can buy airline miles for .575 x 5 = 2.875 cents each.  That’s not a very good deal.

Recommendation

If you have a specific need for more IHG points, then you may indeed save money by buying points through this promotion.  For everyone else, I don’t recommend tying up money in hotel or airline programs unless the deal is incredibly good.

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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Comments

  1. This deal makes more sense for Ambassadors, who renewed with the $200 option, and who also have the IHG credit card! Having both gives you a 10% + 10% stackable rebate on your points so you’re effectively getting 20,000 points back by redeeming 100,000 points at the Intercontinental London. The $575 could therefore get one (assuming Ambassador with IHG credit card) up to 120,000 points at 4.8c each.

      • The 2x 10% (Chase IHG and Ambassador) rebate has worked for me throughout 2014, I have not completed any award stays in 2015 yet but I don’t recall hearing anything about the rebate being limited to one or the other a la the Citi AAdvantage and Barclays AAviator cards.

        Keep in mind the 10% Ambassador rebate option is only offered at renewal however.

        • Just another data point concurring that the two 10% rebates stack. I’ve been taking advantage of this for at least three years. Not only that, I’ve found the Ambassador rebate is often flaky (in a good way) – the rebates come in a bit erratically and they almost always throw extra points in.

  2. To propaganda and Neil—
    I just renewed my IHG Ambassador membership a couple weeks ago but have an IHG stay coming up in early July (total 105K points). I booked it a few months ago during my first Amb membership year (no 10% rebate). Since the stay is during the renewed year, do you think I’ll get the 10% rebate? Should I just cancel and rebook then? The first year membership expires 6/30, and my stay is from 7/1-7/4. If I cancel-rebook, I could only be guaranteed the rebate by doing it on 7/1 (day of check-in)?

    • I agree with prop – would also rebook to ensure the extra 10%. Having said that, I’d worry that if you try to book the day of the stay (or the day before) the property might not have points availability. I think the most important thing is to make sure you get the free stay and don’t sweat the first 10% opportunity too much (remember, you might get it anyhow, and if not you can always call IHG … so between the two perhaps you already have a good 75% chance of success).

      Good luck.

  3. @DAve, not sure but I’d rebook if you could now and hope that the Ambassador rebate is effective the day of the renewal payment. Good luck!

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