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While it isn’t the most valuable hotel loyalty program currency, travelers can still get plenty of value out of IHG Rewards. TPG’s latest valuations peg IHG points at 0.5 cents each, but you can get a lot more value out of them at a number of hotels and through promotions like PointBreaks.

And now, targeted members can effectively buy IHG points for under 0.5 cents each through a IHG Points & Cash 25% off promotion. But first, let’s explain why you might want to buy IHG points in the first place.

Often, members can buy IHG points through Points.com with up to a 100% bonus. That reduces the cost of points to a rate of exactly 0.5 cents per point. At this purchase rate, you can book PointBreaks hotels for $25 per night or Category 1 hotels at $50 per night. On the high end, IHG’s most-luxurious InterContinental properties currently top out at 70,000 points per night (though a couple of new Macao partner resorts are now 75,000 points). That means you can buy $350 worth of points to stay at an over-water villa in Bora Bora — where rates are often at least double that.

(Photo by Brian Biros / The Points Guy)
Photo of the InterContinental Thalasso in Bora Bora by Brian Biros / The Points Guy

While 0.5 cents per point is already a solid deal, there’s now a way to get IHG points for even cheaper. Currently, targeted members can generate IHG points for as little as 0.466 cents per point using a Points & Cash promotion and the right credit card. Here’s how it works.

IHG Points & Cash bookings are billed as a way to book a hotel stay when you don’t have enough points. Instead of paying for the whole stay with points, you’ll pay for the stay partially with points and partially with cash. However, if you end up needing to cancel the stay, you don’t get the cash portion back. Instead, that cash copay is refunded as points deposited to your IHG Rewards Club account.

This trick effectively lets you buy IHG points for cheap without having to worry about buying at least 26,000 points to get a 100% bonus or the annual cap placed on IHG point promotions through Points.com. The point purchase rate differs from property to property with the (undiscounted) rate falling as low as 0.575 cents per point.

The 0.575 cents per point rate isn’t especially compelling unless you need to top off your account for a specific redemption. But if you’re targeted for the  25% discount on Points & Cash bookings, the potential purchase rate of IHG points now drops as low as 0.431 cents each. That makes it the cheapest way of buying IHG points at the moment.

 

Unfortunately, this promotion is extremely popular, which makes finding availability difficult. If your search pulls up results like this, you’re not seeing the discounted fare:

If the cash prices have a strike-through with a lower price, you have found prices for the promotion:

This initial search is just the beginning. Not all hotels have the same Points & Cash discount rate. If you’re looking for the cheapest rate to buy points, you’ll have to search around to find a hotel with the lowest rate. In my hunting, the best rate that I could find is $98 for a 20,000 point discount — which equates to 0.489 cents per point. One of the properties where this discount is available is at InterContinental New York Times Square:

Even better, by putting this points purchase on your IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you’ll earn an ongoing 10x IHG points from the purchase (however, card is currently offering 25x IHG points on IHG purchases for the first 12 months). If you don’t already have the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you can currently get a sign-up bonus of 125,000 IHG points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. You’ll also enjoy automatic Platinum Elite status (which I’ve used to get numerous suite upgrades in my travels), an automatic fourth night free on all award stays and an free night certificate on your card anniversary (valid at hotels up to 40,000 points per night).

Additional reporting from Carissa Rawson.

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IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

With this card you'll get IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status which more than negates the value of the $89 annual fee.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Earn 40 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel for the first 12 months - after that, 25X points.
  • Earn 4X points on all other purchases for the first 12 months – after that, 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$89
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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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