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.
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.
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.