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

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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.

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.

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

Comments (69)

  • Genghis says:

    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?

  • Genghis says:

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

    • Hobbit says:


      • Genghis says:

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

        • Hobbit says:

          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.

          • Genghis says:

            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.

          • AndyS says:

            I’ve also just applied for one. do you know How long does it take for ihg status to update?

          • Hobbit says:

            Mine has not been updated yet after 24 hours plus.

          • Genghis says:

            Within a couple of days. Patience people

          • Peter K says:

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

    • Sohan says:

      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.

  • S879 says:

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

  • rick says:


    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.

    • Roger says:

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

      Oo er!

      • Roger says:

        Tried again, and there they are. The tired old ones, but no Trailfinders (yet?).

    • 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.

    • Kinkell says:

      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.

      • Roger says:

        Is this still the case in internet age?

      • Richard says:

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

        • pat says:

          would like to know this too

        • Rob says:

          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.

        • Alan says:

          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.

    • David P says:

      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.

    • Alan says:

      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.

  • Hobbit says:


    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.

    • Olivula says:

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

      • mark2 says:

        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.

      • Genghis says:

        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.

        • Roger says:

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

          • Genghis says:

            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.

          • Roger says:

            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 …

          • Roger says:

            I am also posting under different name now. Roger to Hobbit

        • 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.

          • mark2 says:

            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.

          • pat says:

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

          • Genghis says:

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

  • mark2 says:

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

  • Nick says:

    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?

  • Hobbit says:

    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 🙂

    • Rob says:

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

      • James says:

        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?

        • harry says:

          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

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