How to score a hotel in Times Square on New Year’s Eve for $280, and other uses of the new IHG buy points promo

Oct 1, 2019

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IHG recently ended its best-ever promotion for buying points. If you missed your chance to stock up on IHG points, the good news is that there’s a new offer: Now through Oct. 18, IHG Rewards members can purchase points with a 80% bonus.

When you buy at least 26,000 points, your effective purchase price drops to just 0.56 cents apiece. At this rate, you can snag PointBreaks hotels for as little as $28 and Category 1 hotels for $56 per night. Even the most expensive hotels — with a couple of exceptions — cost 70,000 points. At 0.56 cents each, you can score an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora for just $389 per night.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

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.

While cash rates start at $430 per night, you can buy 50,000 IHG points at 0.56 cents each to drop your price to $280 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 how this promotion works.

To get the 80% bonus, you’re going to have to buy 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 + 80% bonus for 0.75 cents per point
  • Buy 11,000-25,000 points + 80% bonus for 0.64 cents per point
  • Buy 26,000-100,000 points + 80% bonus for 0.56 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 180,000 points for $1,000:

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 0.56 cents per point purchase rate is only a little bit more than TPG’s most recent valuations, which peg IHG points at 0.5 cents apiece. Despite that, there’s potential value to be gained for those that know how to use IHG Rewards points.

Related: How to redeem points with IHG Rewards Club

For instance, at a 0.56 cent purchase rate and with IHG PointBreaks hotels available starting at 5,000 points per night, you can score hotel nights for just $28 per night.

While the list of 5,000-point properties on the PointBreaks list has been ever shrinking, there are typically over 100 hotels discounted to 10,000 points. In addition, there are currently around 366 IHG properties that are priced at 10,000 points. By buying points at 0.56 cents per point, you can effectively buy hotel nights at $56 each at these hotels; just buy points through this promotion and redeem them for a stay.

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.)

 

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

  1. Visit IHG’s Buy Points link.
  2. Enter your name, IHG Rewards Club number, PIN and email address to log in.
  3. Select the number of points you want to purchase.
  4. Enter your credit card information and billing address and click Continue.
  5. 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 3 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 has gotten me countless upgrades during my nearly two years living on the road.

Featured photo of the InterContinental Houston Medical Center courtesy of the hotel


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.

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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