IHG Rewards is offering a bonus of up to 100% on points purchases until 23 August 2019 11:59 pm US ET time.

IHG Rewards points can be leveraged into some cheaper hotel nights than you would pay versus paid rates at InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Indigo and Kimpton Hotels. This guide takes a look at the latest buy IHG Rewards promotions.

At the upper end of the market, InterContinental, Kimpton and Crowne Plaza hotel rooms can often go for fairly hefty nightly rates, so buying points to redeem immediately offers a nifty way to potentially reduce costs.

Is this a good deal?

Potentially, if you think you will use your points and especially for PointBreaks promotions.

An 80% bonus is less than the 100% bonus we’ve seen on a regular basis now, so make sure you’re only purchasing points with a very specific use in mind. See Offer history below.

Sometimes with IHG hotels, certain room rates are far cheaper just to book outright with cash than to book with points, especially if you are buying IHG Points during a promotion specifically for that purpose.

Towards the bottom of this guide, we have an example of a booking where it’s not advisable to use points—read on for some tips.

The current promotion

With the current deal of 80% bonus on points purchases, the cost per point is 0.55 US cents, with a total cost of US$1,000 for the maximum purchase of 180,000 IHG Rewards points including the bonus.

The bonus offer is tiered, with the maximum 80% bonus starting from 30,000 IHG Rewards points.

Note that the bonus and tiers can sometimes be unique for different members.

IHG allows you to purchase 100,000 points (excluding bonus) per calendar year.

Buying IHG Rewards points in a bonus period gives you a much better chance of coming out ahead for cheap redemptions.

Points outside of sales are sold at 1c per point but there is a hack to purchase them at 0.7c per point indefinitely—just book a points+pay room and then cancel, and you’ll be given the cash back as points in your account—but there’s some risk to your account in this approach.

Offer history

Previous promotions have run as follows:

DateBonus offer (%)USD/point (cents)Notes
September 20191000.5lowest price
June 20191000.5lowest price
April 2019800.55
March 20191000.5lowest price
January-February 2019750.57
November 20181000.5lowest price
October 20181000.5lowest price
September 20181000.5lowest price
July-August 20181000.5lowest price
June 20181000.5lowest price
April-May 2018800.55
March 20181000.5lowest price
January-February 2018750.657
October-November 20171000.575
September 20171000.575
August 2017800.64
May 20171000.575
March 2017800.64
February 20171000.575
January 2017750.675
December 20161000.575targeted
November 20161000.575targeted
September 20161000.575
August 2016800.64
June 20161000.575targeted
February 20161000.575
November 20151000.575
October 2015600.7highest price
June 20151000.575
March 2015600.7highest price
September 20141000.58
Average920.572

Under the current promotion if you get the maximum bonus, you’ll be able to buy enough points for a single night at hotels in the following categories/price bands for this cost:

Example hotels in this categoryIHG Rewards points neededCost of points per night (USD) in this promotion
Holiday Inn Rotorua20000$110
Holiday Inn Resort Bali, Auckland Airport, Queenstown

InterContinental Jakarta

Crowne Plaza Christchurch
25000$137.5
InterContinental Sanctuary Cove, Wellington35000$192.5
InterContinental Resort Fiji, Bali, Tahiti, Resort & Spa Moorea

Crowne Plaza Auckland
40000$220
InterContinental Singapore

Crowne Plaza Melbourne, Queenstown
50000$275
InterContinental Melbourne60000$330
InterContinental Sydney, Grand Standford Hong Kong65000$357.5

Clearly, you’ll want to run the numbers for your intended redemptions and compare points purchasing vs a paid stay to ensure you are better off buying and redeeming points than paying outright.

However, like other hotel program redemptions, IHG Rewards redemptions are flexible and can be cancelled at no cost.

This is a big difference compared to the lowest paid rate which is usually non-refundable, so if flexibility of your reservation is important, don’t forget to factor that benefit in.

Example IHG Rewards redemptions

A great resource for points pricing at IHG hotels is from Travel is Free, who has a map of the complete set of properties in the group and their pricing, and embedded here for your convenience.

Another great resource is Award Mapper, which gives points pricing for all the major hotel loyalty chains.

Personally, I’ve redeemed points (a mixture of purchased and earned) at a range of properties, including:

InterContinental Singapore

Club Premier Room - InterContinental Singapore

Club Premier Room (not booked using points) at the InterContinental Singapore – review here

InterContinental Resort Fiji

3-InterContinental-Fiji-Garden-View-Room.jpg

Garden View room at the InterContinental Fiji, booked using points – review here

InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto

InterContinental Melbourne Standard Room

InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto Standard Room booked using points – review here

InterContinental Sydney

Sydney InterContinental Harbour Bridge View Bedroom

InterContinental Sydney Harbour Bridge View room (not booked using points) – review here

In addition, some of the best value to be had from IHG Rewards is the PointsBreaks promotions, where rooms are available for 5,000-15,000 points per night.

These are released on a limited basis from a limited set of hotels once every three months. You can read more in our guide to PointBreaks.

Notable terms around buying and redeeming IHG Rewards Points

The terms of purchase for IHG Rewards points state that you can buy a maximum of 100,000 IHG Rewards points per calendar year and receive as a gift a maximum of 100,000 points per calendar year.

You’ll also need to allow 24-48 hours for points to post and appear in your account.

There’s no requirement I know of around the age of an account that’s eligible to buy points, so you should be able to sign up and purchase immediately if it makes sense to do so.

Rooms available with IHG Rewards points, and benefits on offer with IHG Rewards redemptions

You’ll find that the rooms on offer using IHG Rewards points in each hotel are usually the base room type. If you’re after a premium or larger room, bear this in mind.

I have had some success in contacting the hotel in advance to try and pay my way up to a better room—it’s worth a shot.

You also may not be eligible for any IHG Rewards status benefits, or IHG Ambassador benefits, on points stays—that’s up to the individual hotel. Not that IHG Rewards status gets you much but the IHG Ambassador confirmed room upgrade can’t be used, which is a bummer.

Important: Check the room’s cash rate and compare it to using points

Buying IHG Points can be useful if you’re just topping up your existing balance, or using it for a PointsBreak property where the nightly rates are heavily discounted.

However, there is a quirk of the IHG program where sometimes using points for a base-level room can be terrible value compared to just paying for it outright with cash.

For example, take the newly opened Even Hotel in Miami Airport. 

For their basic Wellness King Room, the ‘Global Sale’ rate is $123.72 AUD a night. The IHG ‘Reward Nights’ rate starts from 20,000 points + $136 AUD.

Yes, you read that right. The co-payment for using 20,000 IHG Points is more expensive than the cash room rate itself! Of course, there are other considerations such as the better flexibility of ‘Reward Nights’ booking compared to a sale booking, but that still doesn’t justify the difference in prices.

IHG booking - Even Hotel Miami Airport

It would also cost you at least $135 USD (currently $195 AUD) to buy the 20,000 points outright during a 100% bonus points sale—once again ridiculously higher than the cash room rate itself, and that’s not even taking into account the extra $136 AUD co-payment.

To buy the whole 35,000 points needed for a full reward redemption without co-payment, you’d be looking at $207 USD (currently $300 AUD) during a 100% bonus points sale.

In comparison, the best available ‘Flexible’ rate for the same dates comes in under $150 AUD, or half the cost of buying the equivalent amount of points.

IHG Booking

So the important lesson here is research your desired hotel’s room rates before committing to buying IHG points. For lower-end hotels with a sale rate, chances are you won’t be able to beat that value unless you already have IHG Points earned from other means.

Summing up

As with any points purchase promotion, you need to run the maths for your own intended redemption and personal circumstances to see if this will yield some good value for you.

I’d argue that the best places to look for value are the resorts that are priced in the mid-range of the points category prices, such as the InterContinental Bali and Fiji resorts.

It will be harder to get great value out of the top-category points redemptions if buying points outright to redeem, but it’s worth keeping it in your back pocket in case you need to stay at a city hotel at a super expensive time of year.

Points redemption rooms are often available when you wouldn’t expect it and you may be able to save then too.

Buy IHG Rewards points with an up to 100% bonus was last modified: August 13th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt