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Obviously for most people this isn’t the time to buy points speculatively. However, I’m continuing to cover good loyalty program promotions on purchasing points, because some people do find this valuable when planning travel way in advance.
IHG has just rolled out their latest major promotion on purchased points, after quite a hiatus.
Buy IHG Points With 100% Bonus
Through Monday, June 15, 2020, IHG Rewards Club is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased points. With this promotion, you earn a 100% bonus as long as you purchase at least 3,000 points in one transaction.
One other potentially positive aspect of this promotion is that the usual 150,000 point per year cap has been increased to 250,000 points, so you can buy more points than ever before.
If you maxed out the promotion and purchased 250,000 points, you’d end up paying $2,500 and would get a total of 500,000 IHG Rewards Club points. That’s 0.5 cents per point.
For what it’s worth, the 100% bonus is as good as IHG promotions on purchased points get, and this is the first time we’ve seen the limit lifted to 250,000 points pre-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. So 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 Club 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 minimum spend, or otherwise, a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spend, 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 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 Premier Card has a great fourth night free benefit.
For example, at a rate of 0.5 cents per point, you could acquire 210,000 IHG Rewards Club points for $1,050.
With a few exceptions, IHG’s most expensive hotels typically retail for 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 just $262.50 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, 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.
An Example Of When I Bought Points
Last year I purchased IHG points with a 75% bonus (that’s the promotion that was available around the time that I needed them).
I was going to Beirut, and one of the best points hotels in the city is the InterContinental Phoenicia Beirut. It’s generally regarded as one of the top five hotels in the city, and several people recommended I stay here.
It’s a very good use of points. For my three night stay the absolute lowest cost was $868 including taxes and fees.
Though in reality that’s 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 Club points per night.
I didn’t have a lot of IHG Rewards Club points, and I also never speculatively bought them in the past.
So with the 75% bonus I could buy 91,000 points (more than enough for three nights) for $510, which is 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 Buy Points Summary
Buying IHG points with a 100% bonus can ordinarily represent a good value, and the increased cap is the icing on the cake. In general I do think there’s value in having a “reserve” of IHG points, given their global footprint.
You can get even more value out of the promotion in conjunction with the IHG Premier Card, which can get you a fourth night for free on award redemptions.
However, given the current pandemic and uncertainty surrounding future travel, I’d only buy points if you have a specific use in mind for travel down the road.
Do you plan on buying IHG points with a 100% bonus?