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Can you arbitrage IHG’s 75% ‘buy points’ bonus with the new PointBreaks?

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As we first mentioned a couple of weeks ago, until 28th February you can buy IHG Rewards Club – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – points with a bonus of up to 75%.

The page to buy points is here – log in and see what is available.

We have seen bigger bonuses in the past, although there is no guarantee they will return.  The deal is:

  • Buy 5,000-19,000 points, get a 50% bonus
  • Buy 20,000+ points, get a 75% bonus

Even if you have no IHG points at present, you can possibly combine this deal with the new list of PointBreaks discounted redemptions to get yourself some good value stays.

What is PointBreaks?

Every three months, IHG Rewards Club releases a list of hotels that can be booked at discounted points rates.

Historically all of the hotels included cost just 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points.  This was, in theory, a great deal but the problem was that the quality of hotels included had got worse and worse.

When the new list launched two weeks ago, IHG spiced it up.  There were 200 hotels on the list, costing either 5,000, 10,000 or 15,000 points per night.  This is a discount of at least 50%.

Some of the 200 hotels hit their target for PointBreaks bookings very quickly.  As of yesterday afternoon, 160 hotels still had discounted rooms available.

The list is here.  It is valid for stays until 30th April.

How much are you paying if you buy points just to book PointBreaks rooms?

The maximum purchase you can make is 60,000 points, with a bonus of 45,000 points, for $690 (£497).

For ease of maths, you are paying £23.66 per 5,000 points.

Here are a few examples of PointBreaks redemptions you could book.  I have mainly focused on hotels in Europe but as you can see here there are many, many hotels in the Americas too.

Crowne Plaza Antalya

At 5,000 points (£23.66):

Crowne Plaza Antalya (Turkey, picture above)
Holiday Inn Express Istanbul Airport (Turkey)
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fort Saskatchewan (Canada)

Staybridge Suites St Petersburg

At 10,000 points  (£47.33):

Holiday Inn St. Petersburg – Moskovskye V.  (Russia)
Staybridge Suites St. Petersburg  (Russia, picture above)
Holiday Inn Express Aberdeen City Centre  (UK)
Holiday Inn Express London – Dartford  (UK)
Holiday Inn Express St. Albans – M25, Jct.22  (UK)
Holiday Inn Dresden – City South  (Germany)

Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi

At 15,000 points (£70.98):

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Calgary  (Canada)
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Regina  (Canada)
Crowne Plaza Helsinki  (Finland)
Holiday Inn Express Munich – Messe  (Germany)
Crowne Plaza Venice East – Quarto D’Altino  (Italy)
Holiday Inn Express Luzern – Neuenkirch  (Switzerland)
Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi  (UAE, picture above)
Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross  (UK)
Crowne Plaza Felbridge  (UK)

Remember that this is just a sample of the 160 hotels still bookable at discounted rates.

This is not a totally risk free game of course.  You need to check if PointBreaks rooms are still there on the dates you want, buy the points from IHG and then hope you can still book when they arrive in a day or so.

The upside is that, as a points booking, it is refundable if your plans change (although you can’t sell back the points for a cash refund).  In the worse case scenario you would have some IHG Rewards Club points to use when the next list of PointBreaks is released in late April.

Many of the better hotels disappeared quickly this time, including two Holiday Inn Express properties in Central London, but you would be better placed next time with points already in the bank.

The current bonus of up to 75% when you buy IHG Rewards Club points runs until 28th FebruaryThe page to buy is 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.)

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  1. Doubtful the Aberdeen one is worth it, still plenty of decent hotels available for cash around £50 that would earn points/status and get you breakfast. Think the Hilton group has 5 there if I remember correctly…

    But as you say might be worth it for London in the summer, would be nice to see Florida feature on the next list too.

  2. I believe it is now possible to use the points and cash option on 10000 and 15000 PointBreaks. Therefore if somebody has few stays and doesn’t want to buy the maximum number of points to yield the best discount Rob refers to then buying less points at a lower rate combined with points and cash could also be a good option as that reduces 5000 points to about £28.78 at the most.

  3. Will these points expire, if so when?

    • They will expire after 12 months if there is no activity on your account.

      • They is correct for basic club level membership.
        Also, if you have status with IHG of gold, platinum or spire then they don’t expire all the time you hold that status.

      • Alan Young says:

        What’s the easiest way to keep my club level points ticking over without having a stay or buying points?

      • On the website i think the prices quoted are only valid for end of April?

  4. If you have points book a room then cancel.

  5. That’s not a good value purchase for CP Felbridge. Often see it for c£60.

  6. Alan Kipling says:

    OT, did anyone get the 500 Avios with last September’s IHG new members sign up bonus

  7. ROB – OT- I am currently in the process of applying for a mortgage. Already had agreement in principle and mortgage advisor is doing the leg work.

    Would it be unwise to apply now for the AMEX Preferred Rewards Gold card? Given that it’s a charge card I’m unclear as to whether or not it will affect my credit score, and therefore mortgage application.

    Keen to get the AMEX gold again before the 6m period potentially increases! Note I’m a first time buyer.

    • I very much doubt that one card application, credit or charge, makes the slightest difference. Applying for 5 cards on the other hand …

      In theory a charge card should have less of an impact than a credit card because you aren’t actually borrowing money. You still get a ‘ding’ on your credit report but one isn’t going to change much. You get the same ding from a car loan, new mobile contract etc.

      • Thanks! It’s difficult to find concrete information on the impacts since it all seems shrouded in secrecy and varies depending on who you ask!

        • Well one thing that shocked me when changing current accounts is that even with zero overdraft it leaves a significant negative impact on your credit file!

        • @will a debit card is actually a temporary credit product due to the way payments on it are processed

      • RIccatti says:

        Will, closing your oldest current account is what makes a dent on credit score, not transferring to new one.

        Same applies wrt your oldest credit card.

    • RIccatti says:

      Many things can disturb a mortgage application.

      Agreement in principle does not mean much. Wait at the very least until the full underwriting completed and you are holding a firm mortgage offer in your hands.

      Even with that, I would wait until your solicitor received the mortgage advance from the lender. This is usually on the day before/day of exchange.

      There were cases in the past, that even application for utilities for the new property disturbed mortgage application.

      • RIccatti says:

        This is usually on the day before/day of completion (not exchange) of course.

        • If you have a poor credit score in general – yes. If you are buying a run-of-the-mill property – yes. If you have an average salary to house price ratio – yes. If you have an established relationship with a proper bank – I’d suggest HSBC is one of the last of those in the UK – a decent salary, a decent set of assets, then an application for a credit card, or to buy a zoo full of exotic animals, for that matter, won’t make a blind bit of difference. So many armchair ‘experts’ on here. Go back to MoneySavingExpert and start paying for flights if you want airmiles and start paying for hotels if you want hotel points! You MandS Yellow Label Crowd!!

  8. Jeremy I says:

    thanks for this rob. we just did exactly this for the crowne plaza kochi which was a lovely hotel – x2 nights for 10,000 a night (as compared to £110 online).

    on a separate note we used AA miles to fly back in Etihad First Apartment. As a couple I didn’t find it as lonely as Rob has in the past and the food was amazing. service style was much less formal than Lufthansa, which we liked. only problem was that the power to my seat died a couple of hours into the flight. have raised a complaint so we’ll see what they offer (if anything!).

    would thoroughly recommend Kerala, by the way.

  9. Although it has dropped off the list now, I tried out the Crowne Plaza at Gerrards Cross a couple of weeks ago instead of my normal Heathrow hotels. Normally, I’ll only book a hotel that I can get to on the 423 bus route from T5 within 15 minutes, or the Holiday Inn T5 which I can walk to in 20 minutes. The CP at Gerrards Cross took 35 minutes on the bus from central bus station – there’s a stop right outside the hotel. It took me 50 minutes from leaving the hotel to sipping champagne in Cathay First lounge. I’d wager that’s just as quick as any Hotel Hoppa serviced hotel run! Not bad for 15k points. And lounge access too.

  10. I think you would need to do the check the regular prices before buying to see if its worth it, if you already had the points then points break is usually better value if you didn’t buy them.

    • Surely it is irrelevant whether you have the points or buy them? It all depends on the points cost of the night or nights you want to stay at a hotel versus cash cost. And how much value you put on points. Plus the often unmentioned factor: how many points you have. Because a big stash of points can be halved in value overnight. Valuing points is a bit like valuing options.

      • If you didn’t buy them and earn’t them at a lower cost through a promotion such as accelerate or the credit card then there isn’t always a direct cost for the points so using them for points break redemptions may make sense even though the cash price is low.

        I agree that the amount of points you have is important because if you waste them on a points break redemption where the cash price was low and then later need to stay where you could have got a better value per point, then it would make sense not to use them.

  11. Cuchlainn says:

    Slightly OT but hotel redemption related :
    How do I work out how many HH points I need for a 5 for price of 4 stay ? I have the Hilton CC, 20,000HH points and 25,000 MR ( x2 = 50,000HH points ) – looking to book Hilton Naples in Florida for 5 nights from 16th-21st July this year and Hilton currently offering a 85% bonus on buying points.
    Also do I have to pay in $ when buying points, or can I use my Hilton CC ( £ ) when buying the additional points when making my booking ? Thanks

    • do a dummy booking.
      Yes you pay in $ because you buy from

      • Cuchlainn says:

        Thanks mark2 – just wonder if doing an advance payment transaction will register a 5 for 4 offer..

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