Last sale of the year: Buy IHG points with up to a best-ever 100% bonus, just 0.5 cents per point

Dec 5, 2019

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IHG Rewards is brought back its best-ever promotion as its last buy points promotion of the year. Now through Dec. 30, 2019, members can purchase points with up to a 100% bonus. Plus, targeted IHG Rewards members can buy up to 250,000 points before the 100% bonus. That means eligible members can buy up to 500,000 IHG Rewards points through this offer at a rate of just 0.5 cents each.

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.

Related: How to redeem points with IHG Rewards Club

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.

(Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)
(Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy.)

Want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square? Surprisingly, 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 Staybridge Suites Times Square. But, you’ll probably want to spend a few more points at the Crowne Plaza Times Square (read our TPG review here) or the InterContinental Times Square:

For instance, a new round of IHG PointBreaks hotels launched Oct. 28. While the list of properties available for 5,000 points per night isn’t impressive, you can score hotel nights at these hotels for just $25 per night.

In addition, there are still 44 hotels discounted to 10,000 points through PointBreaks plus around 366 IHG properties that are priced at 10,000 points. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our roundup of the best domestic and international 10k properties. 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.

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Earlier this year, my wife 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.

Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.
(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.

Sold on buying points to make this happen? Let’s dive into the details of this promotion. Here are the two different versions of the promotion that we’re seeing:

100% bonus starting at 25,000 points with a 250,000-point cap: This offer gives members the chance to get a 100% bonus when buying 25,000 points. But, you’re going to need to buy just a little 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 breakpoint at 11,000 points and another at 26,000 points. 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 26,000-100,000 points + 100% bonus for 0.5 cents per point

The maximum number of points you can buy in a year is increased to 250,000 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 250,000 points and end up with 500,000 points for $2,500:

100% bonus starting at 30,000 points with a 150,000-point cap: This second offer gives members the chance to get a 100% bonus when buying at least 30,000 points. Here’s how the pricing breaks down for this offer:

  • Buy 1,000-10,000 points for 1.35 cents per point
  • Buy 11,000-25,000 points for 1.15 cents per point
  • Buy 26,000-29,000 points for 1 cent per point
  • Buy 30,000-100,000 points + 100% bonus for 0.5 cents per point

For this offer, the maximum number of points that members can buy in a year is increased to 150,000 points before the 100% bonus. That means IHG Rewards members targeted for this offer can purchase 300,000 points at 0.5 cents each.

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 what we found. In summary, since the purchase is processed by, you won’t earn a travel category bonus from this purchase on any card.

So you’ll want to consider everyday spending cards like 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. You’ll 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.

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.

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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