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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Comments

  1. 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

    • Scallder says:

      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.

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