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A few days ago I wrote about how IHG Rewards Club is having a flash sale on the purchase of points. They’re offering a 100% bonus on purchased points, and that offer ends today at 11:59PM ET. At first I dismissed this, since IHG increased award pricing at some hotels earlier this year. They’ve offered 100% bonuses on purchased points in the past, and when they devalue their award chart, the value of such a promotion decreases, unless they increase the bonus or decrease the price per purchase point.
What I hadn’t initially realized is that they did in fact decrease the cost per purchased point (before any bonuses) from 1.15 cents each to one cent each, assuming you purchase at least 26,000 points pre-bonus. I suspect this is being done permanently to account for the devaluation.
This means that with the 100% bonus you go from paying 0.575 cents per point to paying 0.5 cents per point. Then it gets even better than that. If you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card (which virtually everyone should have for the anniversary free night certificate and IHG Platinum status, if nothing else), you get a 10% refund on redeemed points, for a refund of up to 100,000 points each year.
After factoring in the 10% refund, which happens after the fact, your real cost per acquired point is 0.45 cents each. I’m surprised to be saying this, but that’s a rate at which I’m personally seriously considering speculatively picking up IHG Rewards Club points. The reason I’m surprised to be saying this is because I only rarely purchase points speculatively.
I feel like for 0.45 cents per point there’s very limited downside to buying points, and quite a bit of upside, given that I never maintain a big balance of IHG Rewards Club points (at the moment I have about 53,000 points). In the past I’ve indirectly bought IHG points through Points + Cash for more than that, though it seems worth picking up 120,000 points at a low cost.
IHG award costs range in price from 5,000 points per night (for PointBreaks hotels) to 70,000 points per night (for their most expensive hotels). Assuming an acquisition cost of 0.45 cents per point, that’s the equivalent of paying:
- $22.50 for a 5,000 point stay
- $45 for a 10,000 point stay
- $67.50 for a 15,000 point say
- $90 for a 20,000 point stay
- $112.50 for a 25,000 point stay
- $135 for a 30,000 point stay
- $180 for a 40,000 point stay
- $225 for a 50,000 point stay
- $270 for a 60,000 point stay
- $315 for a 70,000 point stay
IHG recently made changes to their PointBreaks program, and now stays cost anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 points per night, rather than consistently costing 5,000 points per night. The good news is that they’ve put a lot more hotels on the list, including some InterContinental properties. With an acquisition cost of 0.45 cents per point, we’re talking about $22.50-67.50 per night, which is a solid deal. It’s always worth having enough points in your account to book some of these awards.
The InterContinental Sao Paulo was bookable for 15,000 points during the last PointBreaks promotion
One other area where I’m also finding a significant amount of value is with mid-tier properties. For example, Hotel Indigo is my favorite IHG mid-tier brand, and in many cases they charge 25,000 points per night in major cities (though prices vary based on the city). If you’re paying 0.45 cents per point, that’s like buying a 25,000 point award night for $112.50 per night. Also keep in mind that when you redeem points you don’t have to pay taxes and fees, and in some destinations those would otherwise run you as much as an extra 30%.
There are many cases where this represents a solid deal. For example, take the Hotel Indigo Tel Aviv, where on random nights I’m pulling up the rate is $245 per night including taxes and fees, meaning buying points gets you over half off.
The Hotel Indigo Tel Aviv can be booked for just 25,000 points per night
Or take the Hotel Indigo Edinburgh, for example, which costs 35,000 points per night (the equivalent of $157.50 worth of points), while many dates in summer have rates of $300+ per night including taxes and fees.
The Hotel Indigo Edinburgh can be booked for 35,000 points per night
Rarely do I buy points without a specific use in mind, though I’m tempted to buy IHG points today for 0.5 cents each (before the 10% reimbursement for having the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card). What makes this especially interesting is that I see the most value for mid-tier properties, rather than aspirational ones. Paying ~$112.50 per night including taxes and fees for flexible bookings at many mid-range properties, including many Hotel Indigo properties, is potentially a great deal.
What it comes down to is that I sometimes find myself buying IHG points last minute with specific uses in mind, so I might as well load up now at such a cheap rate. Buying 120,000 points for $600 isn’t that huge of a cash outlay (it’s not like spending $4,000+ on maxing out an American Airlines buy miles promotion), and I know I’ll get value out of this over time.
Anyone else plan to buy IHG Rewards Club points with the promotion ending today?