Is the IHG Rewards Club ‘100% buy points bonus’ worth it?

On Monday, IHG Rewards Club sent the following email to a lot of its elite members (except, erm, me, for some reason!):

As a token of our appreciation, we’d like to extend a very special offer to our [Gold / Ambassador / Platinum] IHG® Rewards Club members. Purchase IHG Rewards Club points between 12 August and 26 August and you’ll get 100% more in bonus points. That’s right—double the points to use on Reward Nights, car rentals and much more.

Now, however you cut it, a 100% bonus is big. Here are the standard purchase rates:

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points

So, adding in the 100% bonus and converting to £, you could get – for the sake of easy maths – 100,000 points for £372. IC New York Times Square

At the top end of the IHG Rewards Club portfolio, you have InterContinental properties which top out at 50,000 points per night.  That’s what I paid in New York last month, whilst Boston was just 45,000 points.  InterContinental London / Paris / Sydney etc will come out at 50,000 points. IHG is effectively selling you a night at these properties for £185 all-in.

There is no doubt that this could be a great deal – taking a random night in September (18th), IC London is £302, IC Paris LeGrand is €540 and IC New York Times Square, pictured above, is $518 + tax.  All three had reward nights available. Of course, I could run a different list of low season dates at the same properties – or other hotels in the group – where this would not look like such a great deal. You also run the risk of IHG changing their reward scheme before you spend the points.

I bought some Hilton HHonors points last year and was caught out when they massively devalued their programme earlier in 2013, going from 50,000 to 80-90,000 per night at the top end. However, this is also the cheapest I can ever remember seeing IHG Rewards Club points. 

Given that you can no longer transfer Amex points to IHG, this is not a bad opportunity to top off your account if you are a few short of a target reward.  It may even be worth buying enough points for an entire stay – but do the maths. Note that – based on my experience – if you didn’t get the email, you can’t get the discount ….

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  1. Is it true that one cannot claim their ambassador upgrade if room is booked through points ?

    • Hotels are not obliged to give ANY benefits to Ambassadors on reward nights. However, most hotels ignore this. I got full benefits in Boston and New York last month, including upgrade, free fruit / water and late check-out. In Dusseldorf – whilst we paid for those rooms – the welcome letter we got as Ambassadors implied that they do not give all benefits on reward nights.

  2. Stephen Meyer says:

    A good deal unless…….like me…….you were foolishly hooked by the 50% promo earlier on in the year and blew your ‘purchase allowance’ for the year. How I’m crying into my points cereal now and using one leg to kick t’other!

  3. Thunderbirds says:

    The maths work out for the more expensive properties but it would be interesting to take a punt on this for later purchase of Point Break rooms at 5,000 points. If you can find one or two of these on your normal business (self employed) or vacation routes then you could leverage a significant amount of value from this. It is noticable therefore that the window of opportunity ends shortly before the next list of Point Breaks is due!

    • Indeed. I know someone who spent 30 nights at a Crowne Plaza last month, booked entirely on PointBreaks! This was a hotel which gave lounge access to Platinum members, so he spent nothing during the entire holiday! Effectively he got all his meals and 30 nights accommodation for 150,000 points all-in!

      • Thunderbirds says:

        Nice, and since 1st July this year reward nights count towards Elite status for next year so a result all round. My 4 nights at the HIE Doncaster for 20k in June pale into insignificance comapred to that…!

  4. I didn’t get the offer by email, but it does appear when I try to purchase points. Trying to decide whether to go for it or not..

  5. Are the points sold by IHG or a third party? Think I might go for it but need to decide which card to go with – PC Rewards Black for spend 4points / £ on IHG or foreign spend (if it comes up in $?) or SPG AmEx to meet the £1k spend quicker. Decisions, decisions…!

    •, won’t give you 4 per £1 on Black

      • Thanks-SPG it is, then!

        • I have always been charged in US dollar when purchase IHG points through Although it will not count as IHG spent, it should count as foreign spend, therefore, still give you 4x points on your black card.

  6. Boddingtons says:

    I think it’s a good buy. The cost of a pointbreaks night is effectively £18.60, assuming you can benefit from them, and the new list should be released in around a fortnight from now.

    It’s worth remembering as well that if you have opted for the 10% rebate on redemptions when renewing your Ambassador membership, you can look at including that into the equation when working out the math.

  7. DontLikeFruit says:

    For some of the IHG properties I stay at a couple of times a year, this is a very good deal for me.
    But, as you note, I can’t help but think that a devaluation, sorry, ‘adjustment’, is just around the corner! Club Carlson were hawking discounted points on Facebook a week before their recent mileage conversion devaluation, and IIRC, Avianca Lifemiles had a similarly timed promo earlier this year.

    • Thunderbirds says:

      IHG had a major restructuring and devaluation last year so it would be unlikely that they would do the same again within such a short period.

  8. Well I purchased some points and had a confirmation email that points + points bonus had been purchased but my IHG account only shows the base points. Anyone else have this problem?

    • Thunderbirds says:

      Mine hasn’t either. However I wouldn’t worry too much as the IT systems of IHG are legendary for their idiosyncrasies so they will probably post later…

      • Frustrating! Bought enough points so that I could do a reward night and now just short the bonus points.

        • Ive experienced this before when buying IHG points – its often the case that the bonus wont post for a while after. If you need the points, call IHG – they will offer to ‘loan’ them to you, which appear on the account immediately, and they automatically take the loan back when the bonus points post. Its a bit strange but suggests that its a known IT issue and probably something that occurs frequently.