IHG Rewards Club has just rolled out a new offer on purchased points. It’s interesting that they just rolled this out today, since today is also the last day to redeem IHG Rewards Club points before their new award pricing kicks in tomorrow. At that point we’ll see the cost of many redemptions increase, and the cost of some redemptions decrease.
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 a 75% bonus on purchased points through February 28, 2019.
The way the offer is structured, you get a 50% bonus if you buy 5,000-19,000 points, while you get a 75% bonus if you buy 20,000+ points in a single transaction.
It’s possible some people may be targeted for a different bonus (perhaps up to 100%), 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 175,000 IHG Rewards Club points. That’s just 0.57 cents per point.
Now, while some bonus is better than none, I’d note that IHG sometimes offers 100% bonuses on purchased points, though it could be several months before we see one of those offers. If you have an immediate use for points in mind, it could still make sense to buy at this price.
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. However, anecdotally points.com purchases earn 3x points on the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, so that would be the card I recommend for these purchases.
If you don’t have that, 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 January 24, 2019 and 11:59 PM ET February 28, 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 a 75% 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, they’ve increased the number of 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 0.57 cents per point, you could acquire 210,000 IHG Rewards Club points for $1,200 (the maximum you can buy is 175,000 with the bonus, but let’s apply the same value to the other 35,000 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 under $300 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.
If you’re thinking of just buying points speculatively, I’d recommend waiting for a 100% bonus before buying points.
However, buying points with a 75% bonus can make a lot of sense with an immediate use in mind. This is especially true if you want to book something before the award pricing changes tomorrow. Actually, I plan on buying points with this promotion, and I’ll explain why in a separate post, but under many circumstances the math really adds up.
That’s especially true 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.