Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: IHG 100% ‘buy points’ bonus, Amex Plat adds more lounges, Hilton Japan flash sale

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

News in brief:

100% IHG Rewards Club ‘buy points’ bonus – three days only

IHG Rewards Club – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – has brought back its ‘100% buy points bonus’ promotion.  It is as generous an offer as you will ever see for IHG points.

The page to buy points is here.  The deal runs until midnight New York-time on the 19th.

Here are the standard purchase rates which do NOT include the bonus:

  • 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

You receive a 100% bonus with any order of 5,000 points or more.  With a 100% bonus, you would be able to buy 120,000 IHG points for (at current exchange rates) £535.  This assumes your credit card has 0% FX fees.

Here are a few examples of how this deal may work.

At the top end of the IHG Rewards Club portfolio, you have InterContinental properties which top out at 50,000 – 60,000 points per night. That’s what you would pay for InterContinental Le Grand in Paris or the InterContinental Amstel in Amsterdam.

With a 100% bonus, IHG is effectively selling you a night at a 50,000 point property for £223 all-in.  A 60,000 point hotel would be £268.  At the bottom end, the points for a 5,000 point PointBreaks night would cost just £23.

The continual devaluation of some top IHG properties into the 60,000 points category makes this offer less generous than it was.  The fall in the value of the £ also makes this deal worse – although if you are redeeming for hotels in the USA or a ‘pegged’ country like the UAE it nets off.

The maximum number of points you can buy per year is 120,000 (ie 60,000 plus the 60,000 bonus).

You can buy via this link.

InterContinental Times Square

American Express Platinum adds new lounges

If you have an American Express Platinum charge card, you can benefit from a new deal signed with ‘Escape’ lounges, the small airport lounge company owned by Manchester Airports Group (MAG).

As well as the ‘Escape’ lounges in its UK airports, MAG also operates Escape-branded lounges in the US.  These are at Minneapolis, Oakland and Bradley International (Hartford).

Effective immediately, these lounges can be accessed – with up to TWO guests – with an American Express Platinum card issued in any country.

Oakland will be of interest if you are looking at the Norwegian or British Airways services from Gatwick.  Aer Lingus is now serving Hartford.

Full details can be found here.

Conrad Tokyo sign

72 hour Hilton Japan flash sale

I wouldn’t normally mention a niche sale like this, but given the large volume of Japan coverage on Head for Points in recent weeks I thought it tied in.

Until 19th May (sale ends 2pm UK time), Hilton is offering 50% off Best Available Rate for various hotels in Japan.  This includes the Conrad Tokyo pictured above which I reviewed here.

Stays must be completed by 30th December.  Bookings are non-refundable so the discount is not genuinely 50% (a non-refundable room is always cheaper than Best Available Rate) but there will be some decent savings to be had.

Full details can be found on the Hilton website here.

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

Comments (45)

  • Fraser says:

    I looked at the IHG offer but am well off for points with them now, and to be honest the rate is not that good at the high end. I paid £750 cash for 4 nights at the Intercontinental in Sydney last month, but at 60,000 points per night, it would still be over £1000 in this offer – you’d need either a really expensive hotel or a really cheap one for it to make sense. I bought last year (for £475) but was then saving anywhere from £25 to £120 per night v the cash rate during Euro 2016 in France.

    One word of warning re the IHG Accelerate promotion. I completed ALL my targets last quarter, but for my final hotel night, the stay didn’t post. After I rang them, it posted after a couple of weeks – but the other targets (including a “bonus package” stay which this was) still didn’t post…despite the “bonus points” appearing on the account. They then disputed that I had made two bookings via the App and claimed they were via a mobile web browser, so do be careful – I did use the app but it seems some devices or mobile OS do not recognise as App stays and you may need to have a vigorous debate with them. They didn’t even recognise my F&B stay and needed me to scan and send the receipt from the hotel to prove I had completed this spend too.

    These promotions are great when they work, but having to spend a long time on the phone to get them to provide the points once you’ve done the required spend makes me rethink if it’s really worth the hassle versus my usual preferences of Hilton, Radisson or SPG where the upgrades are all better.

  • Fenny says:

    Given my Accelerate targets for the quarter, I’m more interested in buying the points than trying to fit in with the requirements. I’ve not got any stays planned and most of my Accelerate targets require 2 weekend night together. I’m Gold to the end of the year anyway and will retain status if I go for the new CC, so unless I decide to go anywhere for my birthday, I CBA to manufacture stays just to hit the targets.

  • Genghis says:

    IHG related. Has anyone stayed at the IC in Porto? Opinion? What’s recognition of SE and AMB?

    • LB says:

      Genghis, we stayed at the IC Porto (using points) and received an upgrade of one level to a nice room overlooking the square. Unfortunately, there was a rock concert on the Saturday night (think it was the festival of St Joan). The hotel was small for an IC and service/ location was ok. We spent another 2 nights at the Crowne Plaza which was further out of town but were upgraded to the “Diplomat Suite”, possibly the best upgrade I’ve had on points. Give the IC a try but check for festivals…

  • Jake says:

    Does buying IHG points count towards activity to keep the account alive? Need activity on the account before the end of June, but not likely to get a stay in before then.

  • Aliks says:

    OT , but does anyone know if JAL restricts avios redemptions on routes to Seoul (ICN)?

    I can see Narita NRT to Seoul ICN for 15,000 avios plus £45 return, but nothing available, ever for Kyoto KIX – ICN

  • Graham Walsh says:

    Damm, missed this 100% Bonus. Need points to part pay for room in August. Not sure how much I can max out my CC card spend. Any idea how often they do the 100% bonus? Not used one this year, so could max it out for IC stay.