[Expired] Buy IHG points under .49 cents per point!

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IHG is offering reduced-price Points & Cash rates to elite members that result in some solid prices for buying IHG points — as low as .488 cents per point — maybe even less.

The Deal

  • Make Points & Cash bookings at a discount of 15% on the cash portion (note that the cash portion has some variance from hotel to hotel)

Key Terms

  • Valid for IHG Elite members, including those with Platinum status courtesy of the IHG Rewards Mastercard
  • Valid for bookings made by November 29, 2017 for stays through January 31, 2017

Quick Thoughts

IHG Points & Cash bookings are basically a chance to buy IHG points on the cheap. When you make a Points & Cash booking, your credit card is charged immediately for the cash portion of the booking. Should you later cancel the reservation, you do not receive a refund to your credit card — you instead receive the points difference between the IHG points you used and those needed for a full award stay. For example, I looked up a random December date at a Holiday Inn Express in San Francisco and saw the following award stay rates:

If you were to make a reservation for 30,000 points + $55.25, you are effectively buying 10,000 points for $55.25. Should you later cancel, you would receive 40,000 points returned to your IHG account (30,000 points you used plus the 10,000 you bought for $55.25). That would be a cost of .55 cents per point. However, you’ll find better rates available at other hotels.  For example, I tried another hotel and found the cash portions a bit cheaper:

But the cheapest I’ve seen is the rate found by Ric Garrido of Loyalty Traveler at the Intercontinental Monterrey The Clement:

At the bottom end, you’re buying 20,000 points for $97.75 — that’s a rate of just .48875 cents per point. That’s a price I like for IHG points. They come in handy now and then — for example, my sister-in-law is running a half marathon tomorrow morning. We’ll be rooting her on, and I was able to book a room within walking distance of the start/finish line at a nice savings over the cash price thanks to opportunities like this to buy points cheaply (and without transferring more valuable points). I don’t generally prefer to buy points over earning them — but if you have a near-future use for the points, you could get much better value than the selling price.

Bottom line

I wouldn’t generally suggest buying points speculatively, but with the right redemption in mind, this can be a good price.

H/T: Loyalty Traveler


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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        • I read this somehwere, too. that Cash and Points are not processed by points dot c. Anybody know how they code? Thanks!

      • No, IHG points and cash bookings are not sold by points.com. I last did this in February 2017 and the charge posted as “IHG Rewards Club” on my IHG card. I received 5 IHG points per dollar, just as I would for an IHG hotel stay. Unfortunately, I cannot see the category code anymore as online activity on Chase only goes back 3 months. I don’t have the CSR, but I’d think you would get the 3X for this.

      • Larry is correct — points + cash bookings aren’t processed from points.com. I don’t know if they code as “travel”. I usually use my IHG credit card to buy them and I have earned 5x in the past doing so.

        • Thanks for the DP, Peter. I was hoping to get it as part of the CSR travel credit, too but now know better. IIHG card it is.

  1. 20,000 points for $97.75 is the rate at every location selling 20K points.

    With the credit card you get a 10% rebate plus there is no sales tax on rooms so that’s usually another 10% off taking net to under $.04.

    A few IHG’s are real bargains on points vs. cash price. IHG is very random. Availability is usually very good.

    That said, IHG has devalued a lot recently. And they are masters at marketing these “tricks” to sell points speculatively.

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