New IHG Pay With Points Feature: Is It A Good Deal?

Filed Under: IHG Rewards

I’m all for loyalty programs introducing more ways for members to redeem points, even if at times the added redemption options aren’t great. Well, IHG is currently piloting such a program.

IHG Pay With Points

IHG is rolling out a new program called “Pay with Points,” where users are able to pay for virtually anything at an IHG hotel with points. This includes anything from a meal to a spa treatment to a payment towards the room rate.

Members can test out this new offering either using an in-room TV system (via IHG Studio), or via this website.

Currently this feature is available at the following three properties:

  • Crowne Plaza Atlanta Ravinia (through IHG Studio and online)
  • InterContinental New York Barclay (online only)
  • Hotel Indigo Alexandria (through IHG Studio only)

The plan is for this to be rolled out to more properties in 2020.

How IHG Pay With Points Works

I decided to log in online to test out this new feature. I was first asked to select which of the two hotels I wanted to redeem at.

After that I was presented with a slider where I could select how much of a credit I wanted to redeem for. No matter the amount, it seems you can get 0.4 cents per IHG point using this method. For example, I could redeem 10,000 points for a $40 credit.

There was a “Redeem Now” button, so I hit that, thinking that it would bring me a page going over all the details of how this works. As it turns out, this actually instantly issued me a code to use to redeem, which has to be redeemed within 24 hours.

Fortunately there’s a “Cancel Redemption” button immediately below that, so you can reverse the transaction and immediately be refunded the points if you change your mind.

There are a few more things to note:

  • You need to use the entire voucher amount in one transaction
  • The voucher expires after 24 hours, and if you don’t use it, your points will automatically be returned
  • You can use this even if you’re not actually staying at the hotel, so you could use it at a restaurant or bar at a hotel, for example

Is IHG Pay With Points A Good Deal?

Personally I value IHG Rewards Club points at 0.5 cents each. While this is a little bit less than I value them, it’s actually not a terrible rate at which to redeem, when you consider that this is basically “good as cash” at an eligible property.

So while I’m not sure this is how I’d choose to redeem IHG points, I could see this being a really useful option with wide appeal. For example, if you stay at IHG properties occasionally and have a small balance of points, it could be nice to cash them out this way when you’re staying at an IHG property anyway.

I hope we see this spread to a lot more properties, even if it isn’t how I would choose to redeem my points.

Bottom Line

IHG has a new pilot where you can redeem points for 0.4 cents each towards virtually any expense at an IHG property. At this point this is only valid at a few hotels, though hopefully it’s expanded to a lot more properties in 2020.

What do you make of IHG’s Pay with Points pilot? Would you redeem points this way?

Comments
  1. @Gene Your logic is invalid. This proves it’s worth at least .4 cpp, and not that it’s “not worth .5 cpp”.

  2. @ David — Of course my statement is bs. However, you can be sure that this $40 for 10,000 points offer will look amazing in a couple years. Mark my word, this unfortunately marks the high end, not the low end of the value.

  3. This is actually not that bad to cash out odd number of points you have left. This gives a conservative base line when all hell breaks lose just like DL pay with miles.

    @Gene
    From actual redemption, I do get roughly 0.5 cents.

    @David
    A lot of readers here have broken logic, you just have to point it out and get use to it.

  4. Next comes dynamic pricing and eventually every redemption will be the simple math of a conversion ratio. Nearly every rewards program is headed this way and technology is making it possible for them to wring out all of the inefficiencies in their points program that used to be the out-sized values we all loved.

    Reward charts were almost a necessity when they were first rolled out because technology couldn’t handle dynamic pricing across multiple systems, now there is no such barrier.

    Another reminder to earn and burn and not try and save for years for an aspirational redemption that will likely increase in cost faster than your points will accumulate.

  5. @Gene
    How do you make money here? I need some extra money to qualify for 1K.

    @DLPTATL
    I actually disagree, there is always a market for non fixed value reward. A good example is credit cards, you have cash back cards and you still have points cards. Guess what, both type of card still make money for banks. While the less sophisticated goes for cash back, the more creatives go for points. Another thing of having fixed return is it becomes very easy to compare. Why would you get a 1% cash back card if you can get 2%. For credit cards, you are still bound by approvals and credit reports. Your hands are not tied picking a hotel reward program.
    One thing many people forget about points is they go to waste, they get forgotten, they made a wrong transfer, etc. Banks have to pay up with cash back, no excuses, no waste, no spoilage.

  6. I can see this being helpful if traveling with family. In some regions, it can be very difficult to find a room that allows 4 people when redeeming points.

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