IHG Rewards Club frequently sells points at a discount, and when they do, the lowest cost per purchased point is typically 0.5 cents.
Aside from any IHG promotions on purchased points, there’s often a way to indirectly purchase IHG points at a discount, which could also represent a good deal.
IHG Points & Cash
IHG has a Points & Cash feature that allows you to redeem part points and part cash towards an award stay. Typically you can discount an award by 5,000, 10,000, or 15,000 points in exchange for some cash.
For example, take the below hotel that costs 30,000 points per night:
- You could redeem 25,000 points plus $33 (like buying points for 0.66 cents each)
- You could redeem 20,000 points plus $67 (like buying points for 0.67 cents each)
- You could redeem 15,000 points plus $90 (like buying points for 0.6 cents each)
The thing is, assuming you book outside the cancelation window, this is also a way to generate points. When you book a stay this way you’re essentially buying points at that cost at the time of booking. In the event that you cancel your booking, you’ll be refunded the entire amount in points.
In the above situation if you chose the option of 15,000 points plus $90 and you needed to cancel, you’d be refunded 30,000 points.
Makes sense so far, right?
Buy IHG points for 0.38 cents each
That brings us to a pretty great opportunity. At the moment IHG has a sale on Points & Cash bookings, where they’re offering a 20% discount. The catch is that the rates aren’t the same across the board, and some hotels have much better rates than others.
The Holiday Inn Express Bali Raya Kuta has the best deal I’ve ever seen on a Points & Cash award. This hotel is really cheap if paying cash, and a free night here only costs 10,000 points.
However, with Points & Cash you can choose to pay 5,000 points plus $19.20. In other words, you’re saving 5,000 points for $19.20, which is like buying points for 0.38 cents each.
You could book a seven night stay here for 35,000 points plus $134.40.
Then if you needed to refund that you’d be refunded 70,000 points. That’s like buying 35,000 points for $134.40.
This is the best price I’ve ever seen on an IHG Points & Cash stay, so being able to acquire points for ~0.38 cents each is pretty incredible.
On top of that, these bookings qualify as hotel spend, so if you use the right credit card you could be looking at an additional 5%+ return.
If you do take advantage of this:
- Make sure you book outside the cancelation window
- While I’ve never heard of IHG cracking down on accounts over this, and while I don’t think it directly violates any rules, you never know what a hotel program will do
(Tip of the hat to @roniwalakandou)