Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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 One Rewards update – October 2022:

Get bonus points: You will earn bonus IHG One Rewards points on stays between 13th October 2022 and 31st December 2022. You can choose between 2,000 points for every two nights or 10,000 points for every four nights (not cumulative). Read this article for full details. You can register here.

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 (69)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • rams1981 says:

    the IHG 10k for free hotel night is an annual thing right? How do I monitor this spend on the barclaycard website?

    • Scott says:

      If you find a way let me know. I have resorted to a spreadsheet to keep tabs on it.

    • Roger says:

      If you have a Creation £99 fee IHG card, they have improved the landing page to show spend progress to date.

      One problem: transactions from approx 22 July to 12 August are not included (including my payment) so summary details are not correct. The blame a systems upgrade and say all is in hand.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, annual.

    • dgsupersonic says:

      – Check when you had your annual fee paid; Or check your annual statement; Or check for first transaction.
      – Use that as your “starting date”.
      – On the website, go to Recent Transactions then View All Transactions;
      – At the next screen look for Filter & Search
      – Use the Period From search option
      – Select the starting date as from and today as to.
      – It should give you a total paid and total spent.

      • dgsupersonic says:

        Two more points:
        – If this is your first year, just click on All available transactions.

        Right at the end of the list, it will show Transactions, VISA and other.
        VISA is your total expenditure.

    • Kevin says:

      It is a bit painful when get into second year when you do not know where it starts. What I normally do is just raise the question via the barclaycard online account.

  • pat says:

    OT- Re- MBNA AAdvanatage card

    I still have MBNA AAdvanatage card (Amex / Visa dual pack) back from 2013 when sign-up bonus was 35000 miles. Very old reader here! (Roger->Hobbit).
    Have about 45k miles in my and about 30K in wife’s account; but have not been able to make use of those miles yet.
    Any reason why I should keep that account open? Not worried about account activity as I can always top-up via Amex MR points to keep account active.
    I am considering closing some of old and less frequently used accounts now as newer cards are coming with much higher credit limit than I need.

    We have 2 in household, although my wife never received the second bonus (I think it was 20K + 15K miles bonus with spending threshold and she did spend what was due). Can’t chase MBNA now for those miles.

    • Alan says:

      You can’t keep AA a/c open with UK MR points except going via SPG. You can accrue via eRewards surveys though, I find that a relatively easy way to keep the account active.

  • Tony says:

    Just going to wade in on Trailfinders – I have found them great for relatively vanilla things (weekend in nyc) but was annoyed by them last year for quoting a comedy price for a trip to the us and Costa Rica. Got a far better deal by putting it together ourselves, presumably because for the Costa Rica part they had to another agency so you have both parties wanting mark up…

    • harry says:

      they’re not in business for the fun of it

      trailfinders did me an amazing wtw trip

      you obviously compare & contrast

  • damboy says:

    Hi community. O/T, but i need to earn 600 BA tier points between now and start of November to keep BA Gold status alive. Limited time available so I’m thinking one trip somewhere that will earn the majority of the needed points. I recall previous material on here about Qatar 560 tier points for certain flights. Can anyone recommend any good flight options / discounted business fares either ex Europe or ex London currently on sale. Are we expecting another Qatar airlines sale shortly? I’ve missed out in the past but would be very keen to snap something up soon. Advice appreciated.

  • David2910 says:

    OT: any views on the following? I have a weekend in Copenhagen, at start of October. Friday night to Tuesday morning. Travelling with partner plus infant. Want to he in the centre of town for those 4 nights, although happy to top or tail close to airport.

    Half decent hotels generally seem to start at GBP 150+ (absolute minimum!) per night. Happy to pay that or a bit more.

    Open question: how would you play that? What’s the pick of the hotels? I have free reign to open loyalty credit cards and enough time to get through minimum spends for free nights etc, but doesn’t look like eg the IHG or Hilton options are particularly central or interesting though. any ideas or recommendations from those in the know? Open to the forum!

    • Kinkell says:

      It only a short train trip from airport into central station. Cost about 34DKK single. Some nice central hotels 10 mins walking from station….. Axel Guldsmeden, Absalon. Radisson, nearby but much more expensive. There is a Crowne Plaza, but it’s nearer airport and you want to be in town. It’s a great place for a break. Worked there for a couple of years in my youth and have been back several times . Enjoy the trip

      • Cormac says:

        The connectivity from the Crowne Plaza (which is in a quiet area) via the simple and clean tram system is fantastic – maybe a 10min ride with trams every 5 or 10mins. The same stop serves also as a train station and is the 2nd stop from the airport in the direction of Copenhagen. We really enjoyed the Crowne Plaza – it helped that my wife is Spire and all 5 of us in the family room then got access to the club lounge for breakfast and evening drinks..

        • Alan says:

          I had a great stay at the Crowne Plaza too – upgraded and Exec Lounge access, even as Plat! Swimming pool setup is a bit funny though – they give you a pass and you have to walk a few min along the road to a public pool that’s in a gym within the shopping centre!

          Also stayed at the Radisson in town – iconic decor but rooms getting a bit dated. Semi-upgrade as Club Carlson Gold, but very good value on points vs paying cash!

  • LEE says:

    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.

  • AndyS says:

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

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.