Buy IHG points for 0.506 cents each!

IHG Cash and Points trick

We’ve written in the past about the IHG points and cash trick. Essentially, if you book an IHG points and cash reward stay, IHG sells you the points to make up the difference between the full points cost and the number of points you are contributing. If your plans later change and you cancel the stay, you will not receive a refund in cash, but rather in the points you purchased for the award.

Typically, points and cash awards allow you to buy points at the rate of about 0.57 cents per point.  Recently, there has been some fluctuation in the cost of the cash portion. First, there was a specific promotion for IHG Rewards Credit Card holders for 15% off the cash portion of such an award, though that promotion required bookings to be made by February 12th for stays through March 31st. Currently, pricing has gotten even better — there are opportunities to buy IHG points for as little as 0.506 cents each.

Looking at the Holiday Inn Express Union Square, we can see a lot of fluctuation in the cash portion of the points and cash rate depending on the dates of stay:

IHG points and cash trick

October mid-week rates

IHG points and cash trick

Mid-week July

IHG points and cash trick

Mid-week May

But then we see the winner — April 1-2 at this property produced a cash rate of just $101 for 20,000 points — just 0.506 cents per point:

IHG points and cash trick

April 1-2

This phenomenon is not limited to a single property. Here is the Hotel Indigo Chicago Downtown Gold Coast for April 8-9th:

IHG points and cash trick

These rates appear available through April 30th.  I see several Chicago properties at this rate on April 30th, but starting on May 1st the discounted cash portion disappears:

IHG points and cash trick

Judging from how widespread the discounts seem to be, it should be possible to find a number of other properties and dates.  I’m also seeing points for sale at other price points between 0.506-0.55.

Best of luck searching!

HT: Reader Tom

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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  1. Will this extend my IHG points expiration? There’s no shopping portal so am wondering if I could use this instead. Thanks!

  2. might be my status (spire elite – ambassador), not sure. I know I bought 20k for $97.5 * 6 so now my room in Moorea will cost me less than $200 per night with no taxes.

    I’m just not sure how long to wait until I cancel the reservations. Any data points on that?

  3. On my screen the first cost has a red line through it

    IHG® Rewards Club Reward Nights

    35,000 Points
    30,000 Points + $30.00 $25.50 USD
    25,000 Points + $60.00 $51.00 USD
    20,000 Points + $89.00 $75.65 USD
    15,000 Points + $115.00 $97.75 USD

  4. Nick:
    Does the points purchase classify as “Hotel” or “Travel” when purchased with a Chase UR card? I am under the impression that using the IHG card will qualify for 5X, but I am wondering if receiving 2X or 3X UR points might be better. BTW, the charge appears as “IHG Rewards Club.”

  5. Discounts seem to depend on status: Gold will get 10% off, Platinum 12% and Spire 15%.

    0.489 cents per point is not a bad deal if you are Spire

  6. Can you explain how you go,about this better? On your first holiday inn example with reduced rates, normally it is 40k per night. Points + cash is 20k points plus $101.20. So are you saying that you are essentially buying the 20k points to make it 40k points for 101.2? If so, where do you get the .57 cents per point to buy?
    Sorry maybe I’m just a little confused…if you cancel the room and get the 101.2 back in points (the 20k difference) isn’t that essentially buying the points for roughly .005 cents per point…


    • Careful with your decimals:
      1 cent = $0.01
      .5 cents = $0.005 (not the same as .005 cents)
      .57 cents = $0.0057
      .506 cents = $0.00506

      The .57 cents rate is the usual rate. Normally, the cash portion in the example at the top is $115 ($115 / 20,000 = .57 cents per point). You can see that rate crossed out in the picture at the top of the post.

      The reason we posted this deal is because of the $101.20 cash rates. Otherwise, you understood it — you’re buying 20k for $101.20.

      $101.20 / 20,000 = $0.00506 — in other words, just over half a cent a point (.506 cents)

  7. I know this older post, but how to you find these deals to buy the needed points at such a low rate? Is it hit or miss, do you have to just keep searching or ???
    I am trying to get 3 nights @ 50k a night for June 2018.

    I just signed up for 80k bonus credit card and my husband did too. I realized we can’t combine points but thought if I could find a deal like this, I would get the 15k I’ll need to book 2nd night [with 5k UA on acct] at a reasonable price and he can book the 3rd night with his points.

    The nightly room rate is 531€ so it’s a great deal.

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