IHG Points + Cash Awards Improved

Many hotel loyalty programs offer a “points & cash” option, whereby you can pay for your stay partly in cash and partly in points. However, different programs have different rules for this offer.

For example, Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood all offer points & cash awards, though they’re capacity controlled, since they represent an especially good deal. For example, with Hyatt a Category 6 hotel would cost you 25,000 points for a free night award, or 12,500 points plus $150 for a Points + Cash award.

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That’s basically an opportunity to take 12,500 points off the cost of such an award for $150, which is like picking up Hyatt points for 1.2 cents each. That’s an excellent deal, as Hyatt points are worth considerably more than that.

IHG Rewards Club also offers Points + Cash, though with them it’s actually not capacity controlled, at least not any more than their free night awards (which actually are capacity controlled).

Historically with IHG it works as follows:

  • For $40 you can get a 5,000 point discount on an award (0.8 cents per point)
  • For $70 you can get a 10,000 point discount on an award (0.7 cents per point)

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As you can see, that’s an opportunity to basically buy IHG points for 0.7-0.8 cents each.

That’s actually also how many members indirectly purchase IHG Rewards Club points. In the above example you could make the booking for 25,000 points plus $70, and then if you canceled the booking you’d be refunded 35,000 points rather than 25,000 points plus $70.

That’s because with IHG Rewards Club Points + Cash bookings you’re literally buying points at a discounted rate with the “cash” portion, so it’s not refundable in cash, but rather only in points.

It looks like IHG is now adding a new type of Points + Cash award for select hotels. Specifically, many “premium” hotels seem to have a new Points + Cash option, whereby you can receive a 15,000 point discount for $90. While the current discounts basically allow you to pick up points for 0.7-0.8 cents each, this is an opportunity to pick up IHG points for 0.6 cents each. That’s a really low cost.

Below are a few examples of properties where I see this new option available, per ihg.com:

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IHG-Points-Cash-2

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IHG Rewards Club has been getting especially aggressive with selling points lately, and has frequently offered a 100% bonus on purchased points, which is an opportunity to buy points for 0.575 cents each. So I think them offering a new Points + Cash option reflects their more aggressive approach towards selling points.

Buy-IHG-Points-1

Bottom line

IHG Points + Cash has long been a great way to get IHG points for cheap, even if you’re just making bookings at hotels and then canceling them as a means of getting points. Lately it hasn’t made all that much sense given that IHG has so frequently offered 100% bonuses on purchased points, but this new rate finally puts the Points + Cash rate in line with the rate to purchase points during their best promotions.

This can represent quite a good deal. As of now this seems to only be available at select hotels, though I suspect it will expand to more properties soon.

Would you take 15,000 points off the cost of an award for $90?

(Tip of the hat to LoyaltyLobby)

Comments

  1. Would be nice to use this option for Pointbreaks bookings as well Would pay $90 in cash, get accomodation for one night and 10k points!

  2. Lucky, while your math (15k points for $90 = .6¢ per point) is accurate, I think the more important math is the value of the points.

    For your IC Hong Kong example: $2786 HKD is about $359 USD, so the 50k points redeemed for the hotel makes them only worth .7¢ each… that’s not bad, but it’s also not a great deal (at least how I value IHG points).

    The CP Coogee Beach is worse. $273 AUD is about $199 USD, so the 45k points redeemed makes them only worth .4¢ each… That means you’re LOSING money by buying them at .6¢ only to redeem them at 2/3rds the cost! Or another way to look at it, you’re paying 45% of the hotel cost in cash to reduce the point cost by only 33%.

  3. @jyee: I think you are missing the point with your calculations. You would only book these hotels at the point + cash rates to cancel the reservations later – in order to keep the points bought at 0.6 cents. You would then use those points for _other_ properties where you get a value of more than 0.6 cents / point.

  4. Failed to mention that you would need at least 30-35k points already in your account (in the examples above) in order to take advantage of this vs. only 5k needed in your account to do the “10k points for $70” trick. I think that’s an important thing to call out.

  5. I just noticed while checking availability at a Holiday Inn in Anaheim (for March 1-2) that the 5000 and 10,000 point options were $30 and $60 there. But that’s not true across the board. Most other hotels I checked were $40 and $70, as before, with the new $90 option for 15,000 points. One other way to take advantage of this change if you don’t have 30-35k lying around already.

  6. 0.6c per IHG point tallies with about what I value my points at (I reached a figure of £4 per 1000 points, in UK money)
    It is useful to know of this route for buying IHG points at a pretty fair price – eg to top up my holding if I’m a few points short of what I need for a booking, or perhaps for doing a splurge on point breaks – but I’d call the pricing ‘fair’ rather than ‘bargain’.

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