IHG Rewards Club has just rolled out a new offer on purchased points. You have to log into your IHG Rewards Club account to see what you’re eligible for, though best I can tell, IHG is offering up to an 80% bonus on purchased points through Wednesday, May 1, 2019.
This offer is structured such that there’s a tiered bonus on purchased miles — you get a 40% bonus if you buy 7,000+ points, a 60% bonus if you buy 20,000+ points, and an 80% bonus if you buy 30,000+ points.
It’s possible some people may be targeted for a different bonus, but all the accounts I manage show the same offer.
If you maxed out the promotion and purchased 100,000 points, you’d end up paying $1,000 and would get a total of 180,000 IHG Rewards Club points. That’s ~0.56 cents per point.
An 80% bonus is right around the middle of what IHG offers during promotions. For example, last month we saw a 100% bonus on purchased points, while at the beginning of the year we saw a 75% bonus. I actually bought points during the previous 75% promotion.
Last year IHG changed two things to make buying points more interesting:
- IHG Rewards Club increased the maximum number of points you can buy per year from 60,000 to 100,000 (pre-bonus)
- IHG Rewards Club lowered the cost per purchased point from 1.15 cents to 1.0 cents (pre-bonus)
However, one huge benefit of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is that it offers a fourth night free on award redemptions, so you can book four nights and only pay for three. So if you are staying somewhere for four nights, think of it as a further 25% discount.
IHG Rewards Club points purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as a hotel purchase for the purposes of credit card spend.
Therefore I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach minimum spend, or otherwise a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spend, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Citi® Double Cash Card.
See this post for more on which credit cards are best for buying points.
Here are the full terms of the promotion:
Offer available for purchases made between 12:00 AM ET April 1, 2019 and 11:59 PM ET May 1, 2019 inclusive. This is an exclusive, non-transferable offer for intended recipient only and may not be forwarded. Bonus points will be awarded upon completion of the transaction. Bonus points will be awarded to the recipient of the points purchase. Offer is subject to change. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Only purchases made online are eligible for bonus.
Price includes all applicable fees. Purchased points are not refundable and are applicable toward all IHG® Rewards Club awards. Members may purchase a maximum of 100,000 points per calendar year and receive as a gift a maximum of 100,000 points per calendar year. Please allow 72 hours for points to post and appear in the recipient’s account. All other IHG® Rewards Club Terms and Conditions apply.
Is it worth buying IHG points with an 80% bonus?
Over the years IHG Rewards Club has devalued their 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 they’ve increased the cap on how many points you can buy, and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has a great fourth night free benefit.
For example, at a rate of 0.56 cents per point, you could acquire 210,000 IHG Rewards Club points for $1,167 (the maximum you can buy is 180,000 with the bonus, but let’s apply the same value to the other 30,000 points).
IHG’s most expensive hotels go for 70,000 points per night, so if you had the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you could get four nights at that rate. That’s like paying just ~$290 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.
I wouldn’t speculatively buy points at this rate, 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 their mid-range properties as well.
IHG also has their excellent PointBreaks promotion, where you can redeem 5,000-15,000 points per night at select hotels. That’s like paying ~$25-75 per night at a hotel, which can be a great deal.
While the 100% bonus that IHG offered last month was better, some may still find it worthwhile to buy points with an 80% bonus with an immediate use in mind. It’s the same reason I bought points with a 75% bonus earlier in the year, since I had immediate plans with the points.
This can represent a good deal, especially in conjunction with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which can get you a fourth night for free on award redemptions.
While this isn’t for everyone, with a specific use in mind it could make sense to buy points.