Are 5K PointBreak nights really a great deal?

21

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?

Email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

21 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments