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A devaluation or a bargain? IHG drops purchase price of points to 0.6c

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In general, when I write about IHG Rewards Club (the Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental scheme), I say that I value their points at 0.5p.

This is based on my tendency to redeem 50,000 points for five-star hotels which would otherwise cost £250 per night.  The maths also often works at lower price levels if you tend to redeem at mid-market properties.

There was always a problem with this 0.5p valuation.  It has always been possible to buy IHG Rewards Club points via a special method for 0.7 cents.  This is 0.47p.  It is obviously wrong to value a reward point at more than it would cost you to buy them but, given the small difference, I didn’t lose any sleep over it.

I am now forced to reduce my valuation of IHG Rewards Club points to 0.4p.  This is because IHG is now selling them in unlimited quantities for 0.6 cents.

Let’s take a step back

IHG isn’t ‘officially’ selling them this cheaply.  If you go to the ‘buy points’ page on the website, you will see that points still cost $13.50 for 1,000.  This is a long way from $6.

However, IHG has a rewards option called ‘points and cash’.  If you try to book a 35,000 points per night property, you will be offered the following:

35,000 points, or

30,000 points + $40, or

25,000 points + $70

If you book a room using the second or third options above and then cancel it, you do not receive any money back.  Instead, you only receive points back.

This means that you are effectively buying points for 0.8 cents in the first example and 0.7 cents in the second example.

What is new?

Over the last couple of days, a new option has started to appear.  Using the example above, it would be:

20,000 points + $90

If you booked and cancelled a redemption using this option, you would gain 15,000 points for a cost of $90.  This is just 0.6 cents per point, or 0.40p.

Only a few hotels have loaded this option so far.  The InterContinental Hong Kong is one of them if you try a dummy booking for that.

What does this change mean for me?

If you are booking an IHG hotel for cash, you should now work out the cost of buying the points via this ‘points and cash and cancel’ method.  The Indigo Earls Court in London, for example, is 30,000 points per night.  If it is selling for more than £120 – which it normally does – this route would be cheaper.

Similarly, the break-even point for a 50,000 points per night InterContinental is now £200 per night.  If a room is selling for more than that, buying the points may be the answer.

You may also want to re-evaluate your Accelerate promotion targets.  Your bonus is now worth less than it was.  If you were planning a mattress run to achieve your bonus, make sure it still makes sense at a valuation of 0.4p per point.

Whether this move is a precursor to a wider IHG devaluation in 2016 remains to be seen.  I doubt we will see many changes at the 3-4 star level but the 50,000 point per night ‘cap’ on InterContinental redemptions is looking a little soft in my view.

IHG One Rewards update – September 2023:

Get bonus points: IHG One Rewards is not currently running a global promotion.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One Rewards points, you can buy them here..

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

Comments (70)

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  • RIccati says:

    If IHG devalues, it will hit them quite hard, they are ones without tangible status benefits and so go to the end of the loyalty queue (plus their properties are usually more expensive than comparable hotels in the same city, overpriced one would say). Continuing ‘category creep’ is more likely but already noticeable with most Crowne Plaza wanting them same points as Intercontinentals, and Holiday Inns for all sakes wanting 5-10k less. Yes, Intercontinentals might want to differentiate BUT they can’t charge more in cash because of general competition, so if they increase to 60,000 per night they will start looking really unattractive, even within the IHG as one might find a property for 25-30K a night.

    • Metatone says:

      This would make the 31,000 they are offering me through Accelerate worth about £124.
      Makes it look less attractive if I can’t work a really cheap run in somewhere.

  • Points + Cash trick - still works? says:

    […] the Points + Cash trick has become cheaper in USD terms. Now USD 0.006 a point Buy IHG Rewards Club points for 0.4p – anytime Reply With […]

  • ee says:

    We booked a week on points at the new Indigo, New York East Side to pair up with our £400 ex CPH J fares.

    This was 30k points a night but when I price up now it’s moved to 45k!

    • James67 says:

      When IHG opens they usually provide discounted redemptions for a while, that’s why it’s always worthwhile checking out new hotels before booking your usual one.

      • ee says:

        I was chuffed – we were going to return to the Staybridge Times Square which we had previously enjoyed but when I saw this hotel was new and less points I thought we’d grab it. No breakfast included (unlike Staybridge) but plenty of options locally I imagine. Reviews online seem good to date.

  • Rich says:

    If they devalue, do you think IHG will give any forewarning? It would be useful if they provided a window of opportunity to redeem before any changes kicked in. Does anyone know how they’ve managed this historically?

  • Metatone says:

    I’ve had a number of recent stays in London for various reasons and IHG has certainly not seemed like good value for cash stays. Maybe it’s better in other cities?

  • Paul says:

    Is there any experience of IHG pulling up people who have abused this system?

  • luke says:


    apologies for going totally OT but aware people tend to read most recent articles..

    bit of a novice at the points game, but reading this website with increasing interest…

    wondering if any readers or Raffles can share their expertise…

    am London based, and I need 120 BA tier points (I have 480) by 1st march when my membership year runs out…no travel planned before then unfort

    anyone able to advise me the cheapest way to get those tier points…am happy to do a tier points run anywhere in Europe etc?

    have done the maths and i think as I fly several long haul a year in prem economy/economy, the savings I would make over a year by being silver and not having to pay to choose my seat in advance justifies it..

    tks in advance!


  • Irons1980 says:

    Sorry to be contrary but I use IHG because I like their hotels! Some ICs in Europe, Asia and Indigos/CPs in UK offer good value for money and being Ambassador gives nice benefits at ICs – I earn 250,000+ points a year fropm stays and actually in the end I use the points to redeem at hotels I want to stay at.
    The IC Times Square is however a complete waste of money and / or points…

    • Ben says:

      Why do you say the IC Times Square is a waste of money?

      I’m going to NY next week, that was one of my options.

      • Marly says:

        The IC totally worth it, except when they price it at $400+ a night maybe, but their hotel rooms are amazing, especially when you are ambassador and get upgraded to a corner suite on the top floor. I will definitely suggest that hotel to anyone on points and status!

      • Rob says:

        I like the rooms. Hotel has no public space – at all – which is the big issue. It is more like a block of flats than a hotel. Nowhere to hang out, no lounge, no pool, no shops. Just a reception desk and a lift. Even the restaurant is run externally.

        • Irons1980 says:

          It’s completely overrated – rooms are basic (for an IC) there’s no lounge or pool, staff and service are average to poor and f&b are stupidly expensive. Ambassador privileges are not very much and my upgrade was simply to a room with a higher floor and 2 beds rather than one – with tax was almost $500 a night room only. Rip off

          • Leo says:

            Not bad for £200 on reward tho’ when you compare to central NYC prices?

          • Ben says:

            Is it worth £150 per night? I don’t have any status. My other option was the Sofitel £220 per night in the larger room and a good chance of an upgrade with platinum.

            Any advice?

          • Rob says:

            It is a new modern hotel in a central location with few facilities. Never seen a review of Sofitel. If it has a lounge and you are Accor Plat I may be tempted.

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