Flash sale extended: Buy IHG points for just 0.5 cents each through March 21

Mar 13, 2021

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It’s not a stretch to say IHG Rewards points are my favorite hotel points. After all, I recently depleted my IHG account to make eight redemptions with a redemption rate of 1.24 cents per IHG point. This redemption rate is 2.48 times TPG’s valuation of IHG Rewards points (0.5 cents per point) — and also 2.48 times the rate at which you can currently buy IHG Rewards points.

That’s right: IHG is currently offering a buy points flash sale. From now through March 21, 2021, IHG Rewards is selling points with a 100% bonus. This cuts the cost of IHG Rewards points to 0.5 cents per point, which can be an excellent way to subsidize the cost of future IHG hotel stays.

Today, I’ll take a closer look at this promotion and discuss whether or not this IHG buy points promotion is a good deal.

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In This Post

Should I buy IHG Rewards points now?

InterContinental Phu Quoc
InterContinental Phu Quoc (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

I typically buy the maximum number of IHG Rewards points each year during a 100% bonus buy points promotion. After all, IHG Rewards buy points promotions don’t get better than 0.5 cents per point.

Even pre-pandemic and before IHG introduced dynamic award pricing, I easily got more than 0.5 cents per IHG Rewards point when I tried to maximize my IHG Rewards redemptions. However, as my current IHG Rewards award bookings show, it’s easy to get substantially more than 0.5 cents per point now.

It’s typically best to only buy points if you have a specific redemption in mind. Luckily, most IHG Rewards award bookings are flexible until shortly before your arrival date. So, it can be a good idea to buy IHG Rewards points now and book future trips.

Of course, one crucial aspect to remember is that IHG Rewards uses dynamic award pricing. So, although we’re seeing the positive side of dynamic award pricing now with low award night rates, prices and award rates will likely rise as travel demand increases. And IHG could decide at any time to change its award pricing algorithm to provide lower redemption value.

Related: Rollover nights, bonus points and extensions: Here’s what IHG Rewards Club is doing for its members in 2021

IHG buy points flash sale details

IHG Rewards extended flash sale for buying points
(Screenshot courtesy of IHG Rewards)

IHG’s current buy points flash sale offers 100% bonus points on IHG Rewards point purchases of 11,000 points or more. So if you buy 30,000 points for $300, you’ll wind up with 60,000 points in your account.

You’ll get the best rate when you purchase at least 26,000 IHG Rewards points (equal to 52,000 points with this promotion). At this level, the price per point drops to 0.5 cents when you factor in the bonus; lower points purchases have a higher cost per point.

You can only purchase a maximum of 150,000 points per calendar year. Although some past IHG Rewards buy points promotions have raised the number of points you can buy in a year, this promotion doesn’t increase the limit. Additionally, note that points purchases are non-refundable, may take up to 72 hours to post to your account and don’t count towards earning IHG Rewards elite status.

Finally, note that this flash sale may only be available to select members. After all, the offer terms note it is an “exclusive, non-transferable offer for intended recipients only.” You can check whether you’re targeted by going to IHG’s buy points page and logging in.

Related: 6 ways IHG Rewards should improve its loyalty program

Are IHG points worth it?

This IHG buy points deal is a solid way to scoop up points for cheap. And, as I mentioned above, it’s currently easy to get much more than 0.5 cents per point in value from your IHG Rewards points.

For example, consider a weekend stay at the Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown-University in Austin, TX. For a sample stay in August, you could pay $147 or 22,500 points per night. And, during this sale, you could get 46,000 IHG points for $265 and then redeem these points for a two-night stay. By doing so, you’d get your two-night stay for $29 less than if you’d booked a paid rate.

IHG pricing example in Austin, TX
(Screenshot courtesy of IHG Rewards)

The scale of your savings may be greater on some stays, though. For example, consider if you wanted to stay at the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort. The dates you can book with points at this resort are limited. But, there are some dates currently available.

For example, I could book a three-night stay in October for 100,000 points per night or $1,453 per night. If you maxed out this buy points promotion and got 300,000 points for $1,500, you’d effectively get three award nights for the price of one paid night.

IHG pricing example in the Maldives
(Screenshot courtesy of IHG Rewards)

And, even with dynamic pricing, you can still get solid value when you book high-cost rooms during special events and holidays. For example, a night at the Holiday Inn New York City – Times Square costs $475 after taxes for a one-night stay on New Year’s Eve. Alternatively, you can use 46,000 IHG Rewards points to book the same night, giving you 1.03 cents per point in value. You’d save $210 off the paid rate by purchasing these points for $265 during this 100% bonus buy points flash sale.

IHG pricing example in New York City
(Screenshot courtesy of IHG Rewards)

So, I recommend looking at your upcoming travel plans to see if you can save money by purchasing IHG Rewards points instead of paying cash for your stays. If you can, buying points and booking your rooms now may be worth it.

Related: Why I often choose IHG and Choice hotels, despite limited elite perks

Frequently asked questions about buying IHG Rewards points

You may have questions about buying IHG Rewards points. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

How else can I earn IHG Rewards points?

This buy points promotion isn’t the only way to earn IHG Rewards points, though. For example, you could sign-up for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card or IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. In addition to sizable sign-up bonus offers, these cards offer other IHG-specific perks, including a valuable fourth-night reward perk. This perk will help you stretch your IHG Rewards points further when you book award stays of four nights or longer.

You can also transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to IHG Rewards. But I don’t usually recommend doing this since TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents per point, which is a whole 1.5 cents per point more than IHG Rewards points. As such, you’ll only want to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to IHG if you have a high-value redemption in mind.

Check out our guide to earning IHG Rewards points for more ideas. For example, you can earn IHG Rewards points by enrolling in IHG Rewards Club Dining or purchasing Apple products through the program’s Apple Store portal.

Related: Why I’m happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Premier Card

How much does it cost to buy IHG Rewards points?

Currently, you can buy IHG Rewards points for as low as 0.5 cents per point. However, when there isn’t a buy points promotion, you’ll need to pay between 1 cent and 1.35 cents per IHG Rewards point.

Which credit card should I use to buy IHG Rewards points?

When you buy IHG Rewards points, Points.com processes the transaction instead of IHG. As such, your purchase won’t code as travel and you won’t earn a travel category bonus if you use one of the top travel rewards credit cards. So, you’ll want to use one of the best cards for everyday spending such as The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express or the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Related: The best credit cards for buying points and miles

Bottom line

When IHG Rewards offers a 100% buy points promotion, it’s time to seriously consider whether you need to stock up on IHG Rewards points. I’m strongly considering buying points during this promotion since my IHG Rewards balance is currently depleted. But, since IHG Rewards uses dynamic pricing, there’s always a risk in buying points if you aren’t 100% sure you’ll go on the award trip you book with the points you’ve purchased.

Featured photo of the InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso by JT Genter/The Points Guy.

Additional reporting by JT Genter, Joseph Hostetler and Andrew Kunesh.

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