Why You Need 5000 IHG Points NOW And How To Get Them

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Earlier this week, Ben provided a preview of the upcoming IHG Points Break list which goes live on Monday.

Given that we’re still welcoming lots of new readers here at One Mile at a Time, I thought it might be useful to provide some context as to what this, why you should care, and how to get those first points — even (or especially) if you live outside the US.

This is a great opportunity to save on hotels — the PointBreaks hotels can be had for the equivalent of $35 if you know what to do.

What are PointBreaks, and why should you care?

If you work or play in the financial sector, your life sort of revolves around earning season. Four times a year, the entire community tunes in as a slew of companies announce how much money they made (or lost) over the last three months. Even if you have little more than passing interest in a company, you usually can’t help but take a peek out of curiosity. Nowadays, however, most companies give plenty of guidance beforehand — during both good times and bad — to prepare investors for what is coming. That can make the actual earnings call a great big yawn.

Well, the announcement of the IHG PointBreaks list has roughly the same impact on the miles-and-points community. Roughly four times per year, IHG makes a random selection of hotels available at the highly discounted rate of 5,000 points per night — literally the equivalent of $35 (more on that in a bit.)

When the PointBreaks sneak preview comes out a few days before, even those who proclaim to have never stayed in a Holiday Inn Express stop what they are doing and take a peak to see if by chance a fancy hotel is on the list.

Like the Intercontinental Bora Bora, which is certainly fancy.

Not on the Points Break list this time.
Not on the PointBreaks list this time

Then, much like the talking heads on CNBC, miles and points pundits analyze the list and pontificate on why there aren’t more high-end properties and how it used to be so much better. A couple days later, the list goes live for booking and those who actually found something useful rush to get one of the rooms before they sell out — after all, they are capacity limited.

In a nutshell, that’s how IHG PointBreaks work.

The PointBreaks List Is Out

This PointBreaks list is sort of what we’ve come to expect lately. It has a couple of interesting properties that a case could be made for planning a trip around, but by and large, it’s just a lot of hotels that offer good, solid value. And that’s the key.

The Intercontinental Mendoza will be 5,000 points on Monday.
The Intercontinental Mendoza will be 5,000 points on Monday

There are 160 properties on the list and I will guarantee you that almost every single one of them regularly goes for more than $35 per night.

That means that if you happen to be in the area, and need a roof over your head, a PointBreaks hotel is going to save you money. Will it be a lot of money? Probably not, but if a hotel goes for $80, and you can get it for the equivalent of $35, why wouldn’t you want to?

Getting Your First 5,000 IHG Points

You obviously need to have 5,000 points in your IHG account in order to book this deal. I know, I know, many of you are saying, well I don’t have 5,000 points, so this deal isn’t for me. But you’ve read this far, so don’t give up yet.

I remember when I was getting started started in this game, I had no idea how to get the initial IHG 5,000 points. Or I was worried that I should get them as cheaply as possible or else Ben would make fun of me. Essentially, I was letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. 

So here is the perfect way to get your first 5,000 IHG points:

  • Apply for the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
  • It comes with a bundle of IHG points as a sign-up bonus, and is worth keeping long-term as it offers an unrestricted free hotel night every year on your account anniversary, after you pay the $49 annual fee.

And the really good way:

  • Transfer 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points to your IHG account.
  • There are better uses for Ultimate Rewards points, but if you’re looking for your first 5,000 IHG points, this will work.

And finally, the good enough way that works for everyone, regardless of which country you live in:

The official way to buy IHG points. Up to 60,000 per year.
The official way to buy IHG points, up to 60,000 per year

For what it’s worth, using $67.50 worth of points on a PointBreaks booking would still save you money. It’s just that you can do better. But you need to have 5,000 points in your account before you can do better. So never let your IHG account balance drop below 5,000. Ever. (Have you got the idea yet?)

What Should You Book?

You should book anything that meets your needs. It’s as simple as that. Just about everything on this PointBreaks list is going to be a good value at 5,000 points, so you can’t go wrong.

Sure, some will tell you that the Intercontinental Mendoza is the only luxury property on the list, and that’s true. But not all of us can stay at a luxury hotel every night — sometimes we just need a roof over our head. And a free breakfast.

This property will be 5,000 points per night on Monday.
This property will be 5,000 points per night on Monday

I’m a value-conscious traveler who has stayed at everything from hostels right up to the Park Hyatt if the price was right. And I’m here to tell you that if you need to stay in any of these 160 cities on the list, then 5,000 points is a great price.

Road Tripping America

Let’s consider my parents who drive from Ohio to Florida each year for the winter. My Dad is definitely not a luxury hotel kind of guy — give him a bed, a free breakfast, and ideally a hot tub, and he’s thrilled. Give him that for 5,000 points and he’s jumping for joy.

Last spring, I booked them at the Holiday Inn Express Pikeville, Kentucky for a night on their way home. You’ve probably never heard of the place. But it was close-enough to being on the way and it was a great value at 5,000 points per night instead of about $90.

This time I’ll probably book them the Holiday Inn Express Harriman, Tennessee. It’ll do for a night, and will let him explore a little bit in that direction. At 5,000 points, it’ll be perfect. 

On the way. Has free breakfast. And will be available for 5,000 points. That's all my dad needs.
It’s on the way, and has free breakfast. That’s all my dad needs.

Bottom Line

Each quarter, IHG puts a random selection of hotels on sale for 5,000 points each. The current list is out and will be bookable starting Monday morning for stays through October 31. Pretty much all of these hotels are a great value at 5,000 points each. It’s easy to get your first 5,000 points, and after that, you can get additional points even cheaper.

Although the sale technically extends throughout the quarter, these are capacity controlled so they do sell out of the 5,000 rooms. Therefore if you want a popular property, you should book it right away on Monday morning. Just don’t all of you go and book the Holiday Inn Express Harriman, Tennessee or my Dad will not be happy.

And don’t ever let your IHG account balance drop below 5,000 points!

What PointBreaks properties are you looking at?

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  1. 7th paragraph – “Like the Intercontinental Bora Bora, which has made the list in the past”

  2. @ alex — My fault! Thought it was the Intercon Bora Bora, but was the Tahiti property that hit the list a few years back.

  3. Maybe you should go back and edit this post and take the picture of the Bora Bora property off before you get a bunch of newbies buying points to stay there.

  4. Excellent article and kudos to you for not bemoaning the fact that there are not many Intercontinental properties on offer. PointBreaks offer great solid value.

    Spent 3 night at the HIX Culpeper, VA this last quarter and it was an excellent base to visit Monticello and Montpelier.

    I won’t go into it more because those who want to lie around a beach won’t be satisfied, nor will those who want to only visit a well know urban environment, but for those who wish to visit the real America and perhaps also learn a bit of American history, they will not be scratching their heads asking themselves what are those places he mentioned.

    I’ll go for a solid value anytime as opposed to a speculative aspirational property that may or may not be available when I can travel.

  5. Four times a year the blog posts pushing the 5,000 point nights and somehow Bora Bora always gets mentioned. I havent seen a Points Break that was worth it in a long time.

  6. @ Dave — I might be missing something, but when did I last mention the IC Bora Bora in relation to PointBreaks?

  7. I agree that a solid value is what to look for. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Merrimack NH in June and couldn’t have gotten a greater value as I went to NH for the Calder Cup finals in Manchester. Hotel property was clean, comfortable and nice. Was very happy with it.

  8. The Bora Bora picture is so misleading. But makes easier sell on the newbies to overstate the possibilities. Hope no one is buying points to stay on a beach in Bora Bora or at a luxury hotel somewhere.

  9. What time do the new Points Break hotels typically go live? Been checking the last hour and it seems like they haven’t been loaded yet….


  10. FYI, IHG is getting stingy on people buying points then instantly booking. Just bought 20,000 points during one of their double point sales…

    … only to get a message saying all purchased points (not just bonus points) now take up 48 hours to post. So now I’m out the point buy, and still have to buy a room.

    Not happy, mostly at IHG for the policy change – article could use an update.

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