IHG just launched a best-ever 100% bonus on buying points
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available.
IHG Rewards has just launched another best-ever promotion for buying points. Through Nov. 16, 2019, members can purchase points with a 100% bonus. There are at least a couple of different versions of this promotion. Some require just 7,000 points for the 100% bonus while others require a purchase of at least 25,000 points.
Either way, when you buy at least 26,000 points, your effective purchase price drops to just 0.5 cents apiece. At this rate, you can snag PointBreaks hotels for as little as $25 and Category 1 hotels for $50 per night. Even the most expensive hotels — with a couple of exceptions — cost 70,000 points. At 0.5 cents each, you can score an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora for just $350 per night if you can find the availability.
Want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square? There’s still award availability in many of the IHG hotels around the heart of the celebration. Point rates start at just 50,000 points per night, such as at the Holiday Inn Express New York City Times Square. That means you can effectively buy nights for $250 per night versus cash rates of more than $400 per night.
While that’s steep for a Holiday Inn Express — even after factoring in free breakfast — you can stay closer to the action in the luxurious InterContinental Times Square for just a little bit more. Reward nights are still available for just 70,000 points at both NYC InterContinental properties around New Year’s Eve.
Sold on buying points to make this happen? Let’s dive into the details of this promotion.
100% bonus starting at 7,000 with 100,000-point cap: The first offer gives the chance to get a 100% bonus when buying at least 7,000 points. But, you’re going to need to buy more than that to get the optimal rate. While the promotion page doesn’t mention it, it’s important to know that there’s a purchase rate break point at 11,000 points and another at 26,000 points. Here’s how the pricing breaks down:
- Buy 1,000-6,000 points for 1.35 cents per point
- Buy 7,000-10,000 points + 100% bonus for 0.675 cents per point
- Buy 11,000-25,000 points + 100% bonus for 0.575 cents per point
- Buy 26,000-100,000 points + 100% bonus for 0.5 cents per point
The maximum number of points you can buy in a year is limited to 100,000 points, and the good news is that bonus points don’t count toward this limit. If you want to max out this bonus, you can buy 100,000 points and end up with 200,000 points for $1,000:
100% bonus starting at 25,000 with 150,000-point cap: The other offer that we are seeing requires a purchase of at least 25,000 points to get the 100% bonus. But, again, you’re going to want to buy at least 26,000 points to get the optimal rate. Here’s how the pricing breaks down:
- Buy 1,000-10,000 points for 1.35 cents per point
- Buy 11,000-24,000 points for 1.15 cents per point
- Buy 25,000 points + 100% bonus for 0.575 cents per point
- Buy 26,000-150,000 points + 100% bonus for 0.5 cents per point
Members targeted for this offer have had their annual cap raised to 150,000 base points. That means you can buy 150,000 points and end up with 300,000 points for $1,500:
While buying points without a bonus (almost) never makes sense, purchasing points through this promotion could make sense for some IHG Rewards members. The optimal 0.5 cents per point purchase rate exactly matches TPG’s most recent valuations, which peg IHG points at 0.5 cents apiece. That means there’s potential value to be gained for those that know how to use IHG Rewards points.
For instance, a new round of IHG PointBreaks hotels launches at noon on Monday, Oct. 28. While the list of properties available for 5,000 points per night isn’t usually impressive, you can score hotel nights at these hotels for just $25 per night.
In addition, there are typically over 100 hotels discounted to 10,000 points on PointBreaks and there are currently around 366 IHG properties that are priced at 10,000 points. By buying points at 0.5 cents per point, you can effectively buy hotel nights at $50 each at these hotels; just buy points through this promotion and redeem them for a stay.
Earlier this year, Katie and I took advantage of a PointBreaks offer to stay at the InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort for just 15,000 points per night. At 0.5 cents per point, that’s just $75 per night if we bought points through this promotion for this redemption.
Buying points can save a ton of money on your next vacation. However, it’s important to note that you should only consider buying points if you have a specific use in mind for them. Award charts change along with availability and program rules, sometimes without notice. Unfortunately, points and miles are a bad long-term investment.
How to buy points
- Visit IHG’s Buy Points link.
- Enter your name, IHG Rewards Club number, PIN and email address to log in.
- Select the number of points you want to purchase.
- Enter your credit card information and billing address and click Continue.
- Confirm the details, check the box to agree to the Terms and Conditions and click “Pay Now.”
Which credit card should you use?
We put this exact question to the test recently. Here’s our full experience, but in summary, since the purchase is processed by Points.com, you won’t earn a travel category bonus from this purchase on any card. While Points.com purchases on the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card have previously earned 3x points (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary), recent purchases have only earned 1x point per dollar.
Instead, consider The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which earns 2x Membership Rewards points (a 4% return based on TPG’s valuations) on the first $50,000 per year and then 1x thereafter. The Chase Freedom Unlimited, which awards new cardholders $150 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months is a great option too. Note that these points can become fully-transferable Ultimate Rewards points (up to a 6% return based on TPG’s valuations) if you also have an Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
If you don’t have it yet, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is a much cheaper and easier way of scoring IHG points. Sign up today and earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The card also comes with a free anniversary night, fourth-night-free award stays and IHG Platinum Elite status — which got me countless upgrades during my nearly two years living on the road before I earned Spire Elite status.
The information for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Featured photo courtesy of InterContinental Houston Medical Center.
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about IHG’s “buy points” promotions, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for the latest offer. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older deals below.