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:
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.
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.
IHG Rewards update – October 2021:
Get bonus points: You can earn up to triple IHG Rewards base points with IHG’s new Autumn promotion. It runs from 1st October to 31st December. You can register here and our full article on the offer is here.
Buy points: If you need additional IHG 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.