Buying IHG Points With a 100% Bonus — Reader Success Story

Aug 5, 2019

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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader David, who got a steep discount on a hotel stay in Boston:

My wife is hoping to be a charity runner for the Boston Marathon next year. She has to apply, be accepted and raise funding for the charity, but we’re hopeful all that will happen. We’re looking at lodging, but hotels where the race shuttles pick up around the Boston Common are extraordinarily expensive for that weekend. There are some Airbnb options farther away, but they’re still expensive, and I think the area around the Common will be better for entertaining our two little kids until my wife finishes.

I saw IHG’s promotion for a 100% bonus on points purchases, and though I know buying points doesn’t often make sense, I realized this could save us money. I paid $1,000 for 100,000 points, which doubled with the current promotion to 200,000 points. Combined with the points I already had, that was enough for four nights at the Kimpton Nine Zero. The cash rate for those four nights was almost $3,200.

I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card (in part because of the reduced PointBreaks offerings lately), so we won’t be getting a fourth night free. But I still have my old Rewards Club Select card, so in addition to a great stay with a nice breakfast in a hotel close to where we want to be (and for a fraction of the cost), we’ll receive 10% of the points we spent back after the stay. This felt like pretty good value to me for the location and the ability to cancel.

David’s story is a textbook example of when buying rewards makes sense. His purchase met all the criteria: he was able to buy IHG points at a substantial discount, he had an immediate plan to redeem them (that is, he wasn’t buying speculatively), and most importantly, the redemption value was well above the purchase price. These might seem like exceptional circumstances induced by a major sporting event, but the same strategy may also be fruitful over a holiday, during peak travel times, or anytime rates are high. One caveat: points purchases generally don’t process right away, so I don’t recommend this approach if you’re booking at the last minute.

Earlier this year, Ethan Steinberg made a compelling case for why you shouldn’t upgrade from the old IHG Select card to the new IHG Premier card. However, I think there’s a case to be made for pairing the Select card with either the Premier card or the lower-tier IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card, both of which offer the Fourth Reward Night. That benefit alone increases the value of your points by as much as one third on stays of four nights or longer, and as David indicated, it stacks with the 10% rebate on the Select card, so you can save even more on an already discounted stay. The combination is an easy win for anyone who books IHG award stays regularly.          

Related: The Best Credit Card for Buying IHG Rewards Points

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending David a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published, we’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured photo courtesy of the Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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