Buy IHG points for just 0.5 cents each with this 100% bonus: Should you buy now?
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Editor’s note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information needed to make educated decisions about travel and rewards-earning strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, as airlines have cut major parts of their route networks. But we are sharing this information to provide value for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.
This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
From now through June 15, 2020, IHG Rewards Club is selling points with a 100% bonus. This cuts the cost of IHG Rewards points to 0.5 cents per point, which can be a good way to subsidize the cost of future IHG hotel stays.
In addition, the hotel group has raised the number of points a single IHG Rewards Club member can purchase from 150,000 per year to 250,000 per year. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the promotion and discuss whether or not it’s a good deal. But first, let’s discuss the risks of buying hotel points during the coronavirus outbreak.
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Should I buy IHG Rewards Club points now?
At the time of writing this article, the world is in the midst of the global coronavirus outbreak. Buying hotel points of any type is risky right now, so there are a couple of things you should consider before you take advantage of this buy points promotion.
The first is that IHG (and many other hotel groups) is in a tough financial position. The coronavirus outbreak has brought travel to a screeching halt around the globe, plummeting hotel occupancy rates to a historic low. We’re confident that IHG will make it through this downturn, but there’s no way to guarantee this.
In a worst-case scenario if IHG does go under, there’s a chance your points could be rendered worthless. Likewise, you wouldn’t be due a refund for the points you purchased during this promotion.
Further, we only recommend buying points if you have a specific redemption in mind. Given the current state of the virus’ outbreak, this means you’ll likely use the points for trips you’re planning at the end of the year or in early 2021. There’s no guarantee that the spread will have slowed by then though, meaning that you could be forced to cancel your hotel stays booked with these points.
Make sure you’re familiar with IHG’s change and cancellation fees in case your plans change or you’re forced to cancel a trip due to the continued spread of the virus.
Finally, note that IHG Rewards Club is moving to dynamic pricing over the course of 2020. We’re not sure how this will affect the pricing of hotels going forward, so speculatively buying IHG Rewards Club points may open you up to a devaluation in the near future.
IHG buy-points promotion details
IHG’s current buy points promotion is offering 100% bonus points on all IHG Rewards Club point purchases of 3,000 points or more. So if you buy 30,000 points, you’ll wind up with 60,000 points in your account.
You’ll get the best deal with this promotion when you purchase at least 26,000 IHG Rewards Club 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.
Additionally, IHG has raised the number of points you can buy this year from 150,000 points to 250,000 points, and bonus points don’t count. This means you can purchase up to 500,000 points during this promotion for a cool $2,500.
Is the IHG promotion a good deal?
If you’re confident in IHG’s future, this IHG buy-points deal is a solid way to scoop up points for cheap. TPG values IHG Rewards Club points at 0.5 cents per point, so this promotion lets you buy IHG points at the same rate as our valuation.
In many cases, though, you can get much more than 0.5 cents per point in value from your IHG Rewards Club points when you book high-cost rooms during special events and holidays.
For example, a night at the Crowne PlazaTimes Square Manhattan costs $3,447.01 after taxes for a one night stay on New Year’s Eve. Alternatively, you can use 60,000 IHG Rewards Club points to book the same night, giving you 5.47 cents per point in value. Even better, you’d save over $3,100 if you purchased these points for $300 during this 50% promotion.
That said, take a look at your upcoming travel plans and see if you can save money by purchasing IHG Rewards Club points instead of paying cash for your stays. If you can, buying points and booking your rooms now may be worth it.
There’s no rush to buy points right now either — according to the promotion’s terms and conditions, this sale will run through June 15, 2020.
There are other ways to earn IHG points, too
There are other less expensive ways to earn IHG points too — namely, with IHG cobranded credit cards:
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Earn 140,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening (an all-time high)
- IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card – 75,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening (an all-time high)
In addition, you can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to IHG Rewards Club, but we don’t usually recommend doing this. TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2.0 cents per point. This is a full 1.5 cents per point more than IHG Rewards Club points.
With that in mind, only transfer points from Ultimate Rewards to IHG if you have a high-value redemption in mind. Otherwise, you’ll lose value when compared to transferring your Ultimate Rewards to an airline partner and booking a first- or business-class award ticket.
Make sure to check out our guide to earning IHG Rewards Club points for more points earning methods. Some of these include enrolling in IHG Rewards Club Dining and purchasing Apple products through the program’s Apple Store portal.
Which credit card should you use?
When you buy IHG points, the transaction is processed by Points.com, not IHG. Your purchase won’t code as travel, so you won’t earn a travel category bonus from any of the top travel rewards credit cards. You’ll want to choose a card like:
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which earns 2 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar (a 4% return based on TPG’s valuations) on the first $50,000 per year and then 1x thereafter
- Chase Freedom Unlimited, which earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases
The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Note that the Chase Freedom Unlimited cash back can become fully-transferable Ultimate Rewards points (up to a 3% return based on TPG’s valuations) if you also have an Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Featured photo courtesy of IHG.
Joseph Hostetler and JT Genter contributed to this post.
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.