IHG has just launched its latest sale on purchased points, which is being marketed as a “mystery bonus.” That means not all members may be eligible for the same offer.
Flash sale on purchased IHG points
Through Friday, October 8, 2021, IHG Rewards is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased points. If you’re eligible for this offer, you can unlock the 100% bonus as long as you purchase at least 11,000 points in one transaction, pre-bonus.
If you maxed out the promotion and purchased 250,000 points pre-bonus, you’d receive a total of 300,000 points at a cost of $1,500, which is a rate of 0.5 cents per IHG point.
IHG Rewards sells points quite often, and when the program does, the bonus is typically in the range of 75-100%. So this is as good as offers get. Once again, though, this is a mystery bonus, so not everyone may be eligible for the 100% bonus.
However, one huge benefit of the card is that it offers a fourth night free on award redemptions, so you can book four nights and only pay for three. If you are staying somewhere for four nights, think of it as a further 25% discount.
Which credit card should you buy IHG points with?
IHG Rewards points purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as a hotel purchase for the purposes of credit card spending.
Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach a minimum spending requirement, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spending, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review) or Citi® Double Cash Card (review).
See this post for more on which credit cards are best for buying points.
Is it worth buying IHG points?
Over the years IHG Rewards has devalued its redemption rates quite a few times, though for people buying points, it hasn’t necessarily been bad news. IHG has lowered the cost to purchase points, with many promotions the cap has been increased on how many points you can buy, and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (review) both offer a great fourth night free benefit.
For example, at a rate of 0.5 cents per point, you could acquire 210,000 IHG Rewards points for $1,050.
Many premium IHG hotels retail for somewhere around 70,000 points per night, so if you had the IHG Premier Card, you could get four nights at that rate. That’s like paying ~$263 per night including taxes and fees at some of IHG’s best properties.
This represents significant savings over what many of these hotels usually charge.
IHG has also recently rolled out dynamic award pricing. This is very much a mixed bag, depending on your stay patterns. IHG is also starting to allow members to redeem IHG points at Six Senses properties, which has some exciting potential.
I wouldn’t speculatively buy points, but there’s value to be had under the right circumstances. Sometimes this can be a deal on IHG’s highest-end hotels, and other times there’s value to be had with mid-range properties as well.
An example of when I bought points
A few years ago I purchased IHG points with a 75% bonus. I was going to Beirut, and decided on the InterContinental Phoenicia Beirut. It’s generally regarded as one of the top five hotels in the city, and several people recommended I stay there.
It was a very good use of points. For my three night stay the absolute lowest cost was $868 including taxes and fees.
In reality that was the pre-paid rate, while the flexible rate would have been over $1,000 for the three nights (and that’s likely what I would have otherwise booked).
Meanwhile, this hotel cost just 30,000 IHG Rewards points per night.
I didn’t have a lot of IHG Rewards points, and I also never speculatively bought them in the past.
With the 75% bonus I could buy 91,000 points (more than enough for three nights) for $510, which was about half off the flexible rate.
Sometimes I think it’s useful to share circumstances where I buy points, and explain why. I don’t promote deals on purchased points because I think everyone should always buy them. Rather I think it’s all about buying points with the right use in mind.
IHG Rewards is offering a sale on purchased points. Through October 8, members can receive up to a 100% bonus on purchased points, which is a rate of 0.5 cents per point. This is as good as IHG promotions on purchased points get.
There are definitely circumstances where it could make sense to buy IHG points. I also think there’s value in having a “reserve” of IHG points, given the brand’s global footprint.
You can get even more value out of buying IHG points in conjunction with the IHG Card, which can get you a fourth night for free on award redemptions.
Do you plan on buying IHG points with a 100% bonus?