Redeem IHG Rewards Club Points For Bora Bora Overwater Villas

Just as Emirates A380 First Class or Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class might be the most aspirational airline award redemptions, using points for an overwater villas seems to be one of the most aspirational hotel award redemptions.

The two most “popular” destinations with overwater villas are the Maldives and Tahiti/Bora Bora. Unfortunately the catch is that most of the resorts at these destinations don’t let you redeem points directly for an overwater bungalow. They usually have a suite on the premises of the property that they let you redeem points for, and then you can pay cash to upgrade to an overwater bungalow if you want. The cost of that can add up quickly, especially when you consider that most of these resorts are remote and require expensive (~$500 per person roundtrip) transport from the airport to the hotel.

Anyway, per this FlyerTalk thread, the InterContinental Thalasso Bora Bora seems to have recently started allowing award redemptions directly into overwater villas.


When you do an award night search you should see availability for an Emerald Overwater Villa.


For the dates I searched, the room would have gone for 104,625 XPF plus tax, which is ~$1,400 per night all-in.


The description of the Emerald Overwater Villa is as follows:

Overwater villa facing the island with beach view 100sqm spacious shaded terrace and big pontoon with sun lounges for sunbathing direct lagoon access freshwater outdoor shower 2 flat screen tvs sep living area internet access max 4 or 3 adults and 2 children at a charge up to 15yrs old

I don’t have any reason to believe this is a mistake, though at the same time I’m guessing availability will book up pretty quickly. IHG Rewards Club points can be purchased in a roundabout way for 0.7 cents each, so this is an opportunity to book an overwater villa in Bora Bora for $350 per night, which is a hell of a deal.


Filed Under: Great Deals, Hotels
  1. To me this actually makes kind of sense,
    everyone going there wants and expects an overwater villa, no exceptions. Those spending the points, well they want the same. So they’ll call in advance, email, use twitter, call again,… In the end, no one wants unhappy customers on ‘their honeymoon’ because they didn’t get the damn overwater (dream)villa..
    I mean, you flew across the world to get there. You just don’t want to get stuck in a Garden Villa. Yesterday when I found out, I started searching other dates, is it perhaps possible that the Garden Villa isn’t there anymore? I tried random dates, but couldn’t find them, cash nor points.

    Anyway, already book my week in paradise yesterday 🙂

  2. Wasn’t this the de facto case anyways? I have stayed at this property on points a few years ago, and they also put me in an overwater villa.

  3. I was just upgraded from a Coral Family Suite to the Emerald Overwater Villa just for asking on an award stay for July 2014.

  4. I emailed the hotel about my award reservation in Bora Bora. From the sounds of it the Coral Family Suite reservations were automatically upgraded to the Emerald OWB.

  5. Posted this yesterday. Guess availability will really book up now because Lucky’s blog is 10X more popular 🙂

  6. Is this in any way related to the IC Koh Samui availability yesterday? Seems like the same kind of thing (being able to book premium rooms on points).

  7. @ ncSam — I would assume not, given that people have emailed the hotel and they’ve offered upgrades to the overwater villas for free.

  8. The overall feeling on FT, at least for the IC KS, was that it was a mistake (as they were offering a 3 bedroom villa for 25k pts). It could just be a marketing ploy at several properties. This makes me think that there are more out there.

  9. Great post Lucky.

    I cancelled two nights at the Singapore Changi Crown Plaza, and by buying up 70k points, have a three night stay in Bora Bora. I was already planning to stay at the Hilton, but this hotel is supposed to be a big step up. And the Hilton points were not pre=devaluation.

    Now to figure out where to stay in Singapore for a single overnight.

  10. And if there is still availability in May when my free anniversay night from the Chase cobranded card kicks in, then it will be even sweeter.

  11. @Beach fan. You “lucked out” and a very good switch on your part. I am not a picky person, but I was very very disappointed with Hilton Bora Bora, it was actually terrible. All the food tasted of fried fish…pizza, meat etc! Weird. Disinterested staff, very sparse and boring grounds… we moved to the IC and that was heaven on earth. Pricey food but all in all worth it. Im going back. Also, we just stayed in the Crowne P at SIN and that was fabulous too, awesome dinner buffet, got a great suite as Plat upgrade, plus the pool is great. Enjoy!

  12. If we are planning to book with points for a May of 2015 stay, when should we book by to be safe on availability?

  13. @lucky…when would that be or how do I follow it? And..if I don’t have all the points I will be using by the time I book, will they readjust come trip time? Sorry, just learning how all of this works! Tx so much 🙂

  14. @ borafan — Unfortunately you need all the points at the time you make the reservation. IHG Rewards Club opens up awards 351 days in advance, so the sooner you can book, the better.

  15. @Andy

    I was there when it was the Bora Bora Nui under Sheraton. Back then, staff was nice but food was awful.

    I’m leaning towards Grand Hyatt Singapore in town now that I don’t have the Priority Club points. I can do cash and points, and I liked it when I stayed there a year ago.

  16. My husband are planning a trip to Bora Bora and Moorea in Oct 2015. We were just planning on using our Amex blue sky (we each for our own with a $400 sign up bonus- statement credit so we don’t have to stay anywhere in particular, etc. plus the rest of what we accumulate until we book) anyway, I just saw your blog about the ihg rewards card and the free night after your first year as a card member and every year after. I’m thinking we may need this card, too! Credit score is over 800 for both of us, so assume we can get it no problem. But, if we get it now, and our free nights won’t be available to use until may, 2015, is that cutting it too close to book an ow bungalow in bora bora at the IC? If booking opens up 351 days prior, well, we won’t have our free night by then. Or, can we just use the 60,000 or 80,000 sign up bonus and get a free night that way? It looks like we’d have those points within a few months. I hope this makes sense. But it would be great to get as much as possible out of our trip by using rewards. Thank you in advance.

  17. @ Katie — You can definitely use the points right away towards a free night as soon as they post. The free night certificates you get annually may be cutting it a bit tight, especially if you’ve already booked your flights to Bora Bora at that point and have limited date flexibility.

  18. Sorry, know this thread is a bit old now.

    I was looking into possibly going here sometime next year (toward the end of the busy season, Oct/Nov). The award space for that time range isn’t available but looking at their calendar it seems there is no rooms available for the entire 351 days. I’m wondering about the state of award space at the hotel. Is it possible that with this change they’re also reducing award space? Or is it more likely that people are grabbing them the instant they become available? Not sure if I should bother getting the points needed to book a room if it ends up that it’s become near impossible to book.

  19. Hi, I was wondering if one can buy a meal plan ath Thalasso when arriving there or in advance if overwater bungalow was reserved with points only. Also, if I buy the Ambasador loyalty program, would that help any? Going there with my graduating daughter in March 2015. Thank you.

  20. @ Rozalia — I don’t think they have a meal plan, unfortunately. If you buy Ambassador they may offer you some sort of an upgrade, though it might make the most sense to buy it on property, as they’re most likely to take care of you then.

  21. Thank you Lucky! One more question if you don’t mind: I haven’t yet booked the flight from PPT to BOB. Should I so much in advance? We land in PPT at 5:05AM. Would I have enough time to catch the 7:30 AM flight out to BOB? I understand that the left side of the plane is a must and that one needs to stay in line early to get a seat on the “good” side. Any suggestions?

  22. hi i know this is an old post do you know when exactly these nights become available. i have been tracking availability with no luck. do you know what time they open up? pacific mountain time etc.? thanks any booking info will help

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