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IHG Rewards Club isn’t my favorite hotel loyalty program, though I do think the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is the most widely useful hotel credit card, given that it offers an annual free night certificate without category caps, and has among the lowest annual fees of any hotel card.
IHG frequently sells points with a 100% bonus, which is essentially an opportunity to pick them up for as little as 0.575 cents each. Even during Daily Getaways promotions the deals don’t get any better. Daily Getaways offered a promotion on the purchase of IHG points last week, and the lowest cost was ~0.6 cents per point.
However, at the moment it looks like there’s an even cheaper opportunity to pick up IHG points, for just 0.5 cents each. As I’ve written about in the past, one indirect way to buy IHG points is to make a Points + Cash booking and then refund it.
IHG Points + Cash bookings aren’t capacity controlled (at least not beyond normal award availability), and essentially you can pay a certain amount to reduce the number of points required by 5,000 to 20,000 per night. Running With Miles notes that at the moment IHG seems to be offering a 20% discount on the cash component of IHG Points + Cash bookings.
In looking at a bunch of hotels, you’ll see the option to reduce the number of points needed by 20,000 in exchange for $100. For example, the InterContinental Le Grand Paris is 60,000 points per night, or otherwise you can pay 40,000 points plus $100.
Do note that when I search I see a message saying “as a Platinum Elite member, you are eligible for a 20% discount on Points & Cash.” I have Platinum status just because I have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, but even many who aren’t Platinum report receiving this offer. I even saw it before I logged into my account. However, it’s possible that this won’t work for everyone.
The terms & conditions clarify what happens when you make this booking:
- I authorize a charge of $100.00 per night for a total of $100.00 charged to my specified payment method for the immediate purchase of 20000 total IHG® Rewards Club points to be applied towards this Reward Night booking.
- This point purchase fee is non-refundable, even if the reservation is cancelled. In the event of reservation cancellation, you will keep all points associated with the transaction.
As you can see, you’d have 40,000 points debited and you’d be charged $100, but then if you canceled, you’d receive 60,000 points back. That’s a rate of 0.5 cents per point, which is the lowest cost I’ve ever seen to acquire IHG points.
Also keep in mind that if you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, you’ll get a 10% refund on all redeemed points, for a total refund of up to 100,000 points per year. In reality that reduces your cost per redeemed point to ~0.45 cents each for the future reservations you make with the points you acquire this way.
That’s pretty compelling…