Buy cheap IHG points if you have status via a new promotion

If you have ever tried to redeem IHG Rewards Club points, you will know that IHG offers ‘cash and points’ alternatives when booking.  If a hotel costs 30,000 points (like the new Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre we reviewed today) you also have the option of paying 25,000 points + $40 or 20,000 points + $70.

What you may not know is what happens if you make such a booking and then cancel it.  You DON’T get your money back.  Instead, you get back the regular points price of the room.

So, in the Manchester example above:

Book a 30,000 point room for 25,000 points + $40, cancel it, and you have ‘bought’ 5,000 points for $40

Book a 30,000 point room for 20,000 points + $70, cancel it and you have ‘bought’ 10,000 points for $70

In a new promotion, IHG Rewards Club is discounting the ‘cash’ part of cash and points:

Gold members receive a 10% discount (see here)

Platinum members receive a 12% discount (see here)

Spire Elite members receive a 15% discount (see here) 

The offer runs until 18th September for bookings until 30th November.  The Spire link above shows the wrong dates but the price discount is applied correctly when you book.

IHG Rewards Club 350

Let’s take a look at the Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre example again.  As I am a Spire Elite member, I now see the following options:

30,000 points or

25,000 points + $34 or

20,000 points + $59.50

If I choose the last example, I am ‘buying’ 10,000 points for $59.50.  At the current exchange rate, that would be 0.45p each as a Spire Elite.

You can do better though.

Some hotels are trialling an option of a 20,000 points discount for $125.  That comes down to $106.25 under this promotion if you are Spire Elite.

The InterContinental Times Square in New York is doing this if you want to make a redemption there.

At $106.25 for 20,000 points, you are paying just 0.406p per point as a Spire Elite.

A couple of warnings

There are a couple of things to note:

Even 0.406p is not necessarily a bargain price for IHG Rewards Club points.  It IS a steal at certain properties but not at others – Anika’s Manchester stay would still have been cheaper for cash.  The Holiday Inn Sheffield, on the other hand, is only 15,000 points which would be £60 this way – and you can often pay far more than that.

You are not meant to use this method to earn cheap points.  If you book a couple of nights and cancel them in a fortnight then you’ll be OK.  Book 20 nights now and cancel them immediately and you shouldn’t be surprised to find your account closed and points forfeited.

If you don’t want to take the risk but DO want to buy some IHG Rewards Club points, there is a general ‘buy points’ promotion at the moment – click here.

The bonus is targetted but I was offered the maximum 80%.  Buying 50,000 points with a 40,000 bonus would be $575 which works out at 0.49p per point.  This isn’t a lot more than using the ‘cash and points and cancel’ method – especially if you are not Spire Elite and getting 15% off – and you have no risk of your account being closed.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

My review of the Virgin Trains First Class lounge at Manchester Piccadilly
Bits: 777 Manchester-Munich, Qatar & Vueling codeshare, £1660 London-Melbourne business
About Head for Points

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  1. Raffles – “At $106.25 for 20,000 points, you are paying just 4.06p per point as a Spire Elite.” Shouldn’t it be 0.406p?

  2. OT. There’s a new sleeker Creation IHG website which now tells you how much you need to spend to get the free night.

    • Link?

      • Erm. Just login to your online account.
        Google ‘Creation login’

        • Just got accepted for IHG Premium card last week, yet to receive card.

          What is your verdict on this card, Is it worth spending more than £10k on this?
          This is my first paid card.

          • It’s one of the best non-Amex cards currently available to new customers (apart from perhaps the HSBC premier card with strict acceptance criteria). I think spending £10k to get a £250 IC night along with the circa 20k IHG points for £99 is decent.

          • Anyone know how long it takes to get the card? Over 3 weeks now… IHG account platinum so they have processed it all.

    • I got the IHG Platinum card as soon as it was released. It arrived quickly but I’ve still not had my status updated. Have spent ages on phone and email to Creation and IHG, both of whom deny all knowledge. Really really annoying. No bonus points either even though I hit my spend threshold with the first transaction. They have a lot of improving to do.

  3. Do the points you get as a refund count towards your status?

  4. OT

    Amex showing up an offer of £200 off £1000 spend at Trailfinder.
    Has anyone used them (TF)?
    I am considering to use them for hotel+car (OR package holiday sans flights) for NZ trip next year (courtesy for less than £325 pp Y ticket to LHR-AKL on Thai Air).

    Only shows up on main account holder and not on supplementary cardholder, like many other offers do.

    • Re AmEx Trailfinders (and others?) promo:
      ‘There are currently no new offers available for this Card.’ – not even the boring unexpired ones.

      Oo er!

    • Wally1976 says:

      I haven’t used Trailfinders for a few years but used them several times prior (including a round the world trip and my honeymoon) and found them excellent.

    • TF are brilliant. No CC fees, have used them for years since TF consistently came up with great prices compared to other agents for exactly same deals.

      • Is this still the case in internet age?

      • Do you know if hotels booked via TF are likely to honour hotel status?

        • would like to know this too

        • If they are negotiated TF deals, probably not. If they book it at rack rate and stick in their ATOL number for commission then should be ok.

        • Beware they very often do not – have had a few bookings with them, often at identical prices to the hotel website (despite TF saying it was a special deal) – didn’t get any points for them as they were apparently at travel agent rates, which makes me thing TF pocketed the difference.

    • There are a couple of threads on FT advising caution when using travel agents (including Trailfinders) when booking flights. Apparently some people tell their TA that they want to book a flight then upgrade using air miles, but the TA books them into a fare bucket which cannot be upgraded using miles. There’s no consensus as to whether this is a deliberate act by the TA or whether it’s just the TA not knowing the minutiae of frequent flyer programme upgrade rules. But be aware that if you want to book a flight and upgrade using miles, you may be better off booking direct with the airline.

    • Trickster says:

      Used them several years ago to arrange accommodation for our honeymoon in SA and Mauritius – very knowledgable and helpful, and arranged lots of upgrades. Not had the opportunity to use them since, but would of that arose.

    • Used them a few times – in the old days we booked a lot of family holidays with them and they seemed OK. However my folks used them twice last year and both times they made major mistakes! The first time they booked the return flight for a week later than it should have been(!!) – the outbound dates moved back a week and they forgot to change the return too. Thankfully my folks are retired so just had an extended holiday! The second time they booked us onto the Ghan train in Oz, unfortunately for totally the wrong week. The only became apparent when trying to board the transfer bus at our hotel. Thankfully there were a couple of cabins spare so at the last minute the train company managed to transfer our booking but if it had been full then a major part of the holiday would have been scuppered. Sure we should always double-check things but with a TA you are relying on them too to make sure everything fits together. Hotel and car hire all was also ineligible for points earning.

  5. OT

    I received my Amex PRGC at weekend (still about 45 hours since receipt of card) and already made half a dozen transactions.
    Was asked to setup another online account, separate from my other Amex credit cards.

    Does anyone know, how long does it take to show up offers online in My Account?
    So far nothing showing up on my account yet.

    • You can just login to your existing Amex account and add a new card. Don’t need another login

      • It appears that way, but I have often had to set up a new account because the system does not allow the new card to be added to an existing account. You can usually move them across later.

      • I’m a bit of a churner and have to create a new account for every main card and supp now. It won’t let me add to existing account. Not too sure why.

        • What about offers do you have to wait for few days after opening new online account for the offers to start showing up?

          • I check every few days but I think it takes about a week for things to start appearing. However, it seems that you are only offered a couple of things on a new account.

          • Hello from The Other/Another Roger, who posted above. We’re not the same. I see there’s also a ‘roger’. That’s three of us!

            Trying to think of a change of name that won’t confuse Raffles …

        • Wally1976 says:

          Have you tried removing old cards from your online account (Card Management -> Remove a card from online services) before adding the new one? Worked for me! I don’t think the system will show more than one of the same type of card with the same main cardholder.

          • Can you have more than one of the same type of card with same cardholder?
            I just tried to add first ever Platinum to account with my BAPP and supplementary to wife’s blue and Plat was disallowed.

            • Does this mean Amex wants to have separate online account for credit card from charge cards?

          • I have but didn’t appear to work. Will try again next time.

  6. We have also been targeted (probably with all other members) for up to 50% (we both got 50) discount off HHonors points.

  7. On the subject of buying points: I have not seen a club Carlson offer for a while. Used to be he case that you could get 50%-100% free fairly regularly. Any Idea why that has dried up?

  8. OT: Re- Amex Platinum Charge Card

    One of the feature of this card is Airport lounge access.
    Is it correct to assume that if I have 2 cards (one main account holder + 1 supplementary card holder for spouse) then four of us (2 Adults + 2 Children) can have access to Airport lounges?
    I think it says card holder + 1 person for lounge access. So 2 cards should allow lounge access for four people.
    I assume the same would apply for the Amex Preferred Reward Gold card?

    Rob, a suggestion/enhancement for HFP website, I guess regular readers might want to see.
    since some of the questions may be quite repetitive here, I am not sure if it is possible to have a WIKI page for each card followed by Q&A that is open to readers (no expiry date until page is replaced or closed); where questions can be answered and reviewed by other users rather than repeating the same under different posts.
    As much as I value the original content; some of the Q&A from you and other fellow readers here is quite important to me and having such set-up might be more efficient for everyone’s time. My 2 cents for what it is worth!

    • Wally1976 says:

      With the platinum card yes you can get 4 in to the lounge with the Priority Pass. For the gold card it’s just 2 free entries and additional entries are £15 each (I think). Also it’s Lounge Club which gives access to fewer lounges than PP. Like the Wiki idea :-)

    • I am looking at a Q&A page – I have found some software that would integrate with the site. Watch this space.

      • That would be useful.
        Could you incorporate a sin bin at the same time, and send people there for a week if they don’t read the FAQ’s before posting a question where the answer is already available?

        • not too sure about the sin bin idea lol :)

          OK I apologize for past misdemeanours, every day in every way I will get better & better

          or that is the plan

  9. the IHG 10k for free hotel night is an annual thing right? How do I monitor this spend on the barclaycard website?

    • If you find a way let me know. I have resorted to a spreadsheet to keep tabs on it.

    • If you have a Creation £99 fee IHG card, they have improved the landing page to show spend progress to date.

      One problem: transactions from approx 22 July to 12 August are not included (including my payment) so summary details are not correct. The blame a systems upgrade and say all is in hand.

    • Yes, annual.

    • dgsupersonic says:

      – Check when you had your annual fee paid; Or check your annual statement; Or check for first transaction.
      – Use that as your “starting date”.
      – On the website, go to Recent Transactions then View All Transactions;
      – At the next screen look for Filter & Search
      – Use the Period From search option
      – Select the starting date as from and today as to.
      – It should give you a total paid and total spent.

      • dgsupersonic says:

        Two more points:
        – If this is your first year, just click on All available transactions.

        Right at the end of the list, it will show Transactions, VISA and other.
        VISA is your total expenditure.

    • It is a bit painful when get into second year when you do not know where it starts. What I normally do is just raise the question via the barclaycard online account.

  10. Unlike the Gold and Plat pages, the Spire page show a historic offer, that has apparently already expired. “This offer is valid for all stays until 30 April 2016”

  11. OT- Re- MBNA AAdvanatage card

    I still have MBNA AAdvanatage card (Amex / Visa dual pack) back from 2013 when sign-up bonus was 35000 miles. Very old reader here! (Roger->Hobbit).
    Have about 45k miles in my and about 30K in wife’s account; but have not been able to make use of those miles yet.
    Any reason why I should keep that account open? Not worried about account activity as I can always top-up via Amex MR points to keep account active.
    I am considering closing some of old and less frequently used accounts now as newer cards are coming with much higher credit limit than I need.

    We have 2 in household, although my wife never received the second bonus (I think it was 20K + 15K miles bonus with spending threshold and she did spend what was due). Can’t chase MBNA now for those miles.

    • You can’t keep AA a/c open with UK MR points except going via SPG. You can accrue via eRewards surveys though, I find that a relatively easy way to keep the account active.

  12. You can’t transfer UK Amex MR to AA miles, so this is not an option to keep your AA miles active. If you were really stuck, you could do a MR-SPG-AA transfer. Remember that SPG imposes a minimum transfer out of SPG of 1500 SPG points for golds, or 2500 for basic members.

  13. Just going to wade in on Trailfinders – I have found them great for relatively vanilla things (weekend in nyc) but was annoyed by them last year for quoting a comedy price for a trip to the us and Costa Rica. Got a far better deal by putting it together ourselves, presumably because for the Costa Rica part they had to another agency so you have both parties wanting mark up…

    • they’re not in business for the fun of it

      trailfinders did me an amazing wtw trip

      you obviously compare & contrast

  14. Hi community. O/T, but i need to earn 600 BA tier points between now and start of November to keep BA Gold status alive. Limited time available so I’m thinking one trip somewhere that will earn the majority of the needed points. I recall previous material on here about Qatar 560 tier points for certain flights. Can anyone recommend any good flight options / discounted business fares either ex Europe or ex London currently on sale. Are we expecting another Qatar airlines sale shortly? I’ve missed out in the past but would be very keen to snap something up soon. Advice appreciated.

  15. David2910 says:

    OT: any views on the following? I have a weekend in Copenhagen, at start of October. Friday night to Tuesday morning. Travelling with partner plus infant. Want to he in the centre of town for those 4 nights, although happy to top or tail close to airport.

    Half decent hotels generally seem to start at GBP 150+ (absolute minimum!) per night. Happy to pay that or a bit more.

    Open question: how would you play that? What’s the pick of the hotels? I have free reign to open loyalty credit cards and enough time to get through minimum spends for free nights etc, but doesn’t look like eg the IHG or Hilton options are particularly central or interesting though. any ideas or recommendations from those in the know? Open to the forum!

    • It only a short train trip from airport into central station. Cost about 34DKK single. Some nice central hotels 10 mins walking from station….. Axel Guldsmeden, Absalon. Radisson, nearby but much more expensive. There is a Crowne Plaza, but it’s nearer airport and you want to be in town. It’s a great place for a break. Worked there for a couple of years in my youth and have been back several times . Enjoy the trip

      • The connectivity from the Crowne Plaza (which is in a quiet area) via the simple and clean tram system is fantastic – maybe a 10min ride with trams every 5 or 10mins. The same stop serves also as a train station and is the 2nd stop from the airport in the direction of Copenhagen. We really enjoyed the Crowne Plaza – it helped that my wife is Spire and all 5 of us in the family room then got access to the club lounge for breakfast and evening drinks..

        • I had a great stay at the Crowne Plaza too – upgraded and Exec Lounge access, even as Plat! Swimming pool setup is a bit funny though – they give you a pass and you have to walk a few min along the road to a public pool that’s in a gym within the shopping centre!

          Also stayed at the Radisson in town – iconic decor but rooms getting a bit dated. Semi-upgrade as Club Carlson Gold, but very good value on points vs paying cash!

  16. if i wanted to get 2 one tickets on Singapore airlines in first class suite is this possible even possible with the Saver miles Option In Krisflyer .
    How many seats are released for each flight in first ?
    Is it worth joining the waitlist ?

    Any tips for getting a booking for this would be much appreciated , Im thinking of end of 2017 sept/oct once they come onsale but were very flexible date wise

    • Hey Lee – it is indeed possible as I’ve been tracking this for my own potential redemption, and will be having to book two separate one way flights as miles are split across 2 accounts for my wife and I.

      When I’ve been looking, there does seem to be two suites opening up at saver level however I’m looking at a specific route (not London to Singapore!), so it may well vary. Singapore are also updating their suites class in 2017 and there have been comments that the suites class will be dropping from 12 per plane, so this might also have an impact.

      Afraid I can’t help on the waitlist as I have no experience on this, however some people seem to have been lucky and getting waitlist seats cleared fairly soon after booking the waitlist, whilst others haven’t.

  17. When buying points in “cash and points” does it always charge in USD even for UK hotels, or does it get converted to GBP?