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Why IHG One Rewards ‘bonus points packages’ get you elite status quickly – and effectively free

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IHG recently announced its new IHG One Rewards loyalty programme, which covers Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental, Holiday Inn Express etc.

We were very pleasantly surprised with what IHG has done with IHG One Rewards. Our full review of IHG One Rewards is here. Suddenly, IHG has a loyalty scheme which can genuinely compete with Marriott and Hilton.

The bad news is that to earn top tier Diamond Elite status – which is what you need for free breakfast and the best upgrades – will now require 120,000 status points per year. This is a lot, by any standards.

There is a way of short cutting this, however.

If you are looking to earn status in IHG One Rewards, one of the easiest ways of doing it is by booking ‘bonus points packages’.

There are other ways to get easy status-qualifying points, as this HfP article explains, but the methods are fewer than they were.

When you are search for hotels on, you will often – but not always – come across a situation like this:

IHG bonus points count for status

In this example, you are paying an extra £14 for 3,000 IHG One Rewards points.  This is virtually worth doing just for the points – I value an IHG point at 0.4p, so you are getting £12-worth of bonus points.

Note that the 3,000 bonus points are awarded per night.  For a long stay, the bonus will add up. There are some hotels offering up to 5,000 bonus points per night under this deal.

These points also qualify for elite status

This is the real reason why you may want to book a ‘bonus points package’.

As well as counting towards booking a free night, the points you earn are ‘elite qualifying’.  This means that they count towards status renewal or promotion.

Because the bonus is per night, you can easily earn a substantial number of points.

IHG confirms this if you click the ‘?’ on screen:

IHG base points buy points

Does the maths work? Possibly

Let’s imagine that you would naturally earn 37,500 IHG One Rewards base points per year, based on 30 nights at £120 each (£100 excluding VAT, which is $125 at 10 base points per $1).

Based on the costs above, buying 3,000 additional points per night would cost you (£14 x 30) £420.

This would get you 90,000 additional base points which, when added to the 37,500 base points you will earn naturally, triggers top tier Diamond Elite status.

Here’s the key thing. We value an IHG One Rewards points at 0.4p. This is easy to acheive when redeeming. This means that the 90,000 points you have bought will get you (90,000 x 0.4p) £360 of future hotel stays. You have only ‘paid’ £60 for Diamond Elite.

If you are smarter on your redemptions and can average 0.5p per point, the 90,000 points you purchased will get you £450 of free stays. You’ve made a small profit on the £420 you spend and get Diamond Elite.

Remember one thing though ….

When you read about IHG One Rewards, you will see references to guaranteed club lounge access and guaranteed ‘confirmed in advance’ suite upgrades.

These are NOT status benefits. They are ‘Milestone Rewards’, triggered when you do a specific number of nights.

Whilst buying bonus points packages via the route we explain above IS a good way of getting IHG One Rewards status, it does not unlock all of the benefits of the programme. To earn Milestone Rewards – explained in this HfP article – you need to do ‘heads in beds’.

IHG One Rewards update – February 2023:

Get bonus points: Click here for our article on IHG’s ‘2k Every 2 Nights’ promotion, which runs from 9th February 2023 to 14th April 2023. 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 (28)

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

  • Alan says:

    Worth noting that as a diamond elite you are able to select free breakfast as your chosen welcome amenity even though there is no entitlement to a free breakfast or lounge access due to status alone.

  • Rebecca says:

    On the booking I’m currently making through the IHG website, I can choose an option with bonus points or to add (paid) breakfast, not both. Is there some particular reason for this? Seems like an odd exclusion when either way it means more cash for them.

    • ChrisC says:

      Could you not just pay for the breakfast locally?

      • ChrisC says:

        Actually I’ve just seen on one hotel that when selecting the non member bonus rate it does offer the option of adding breakfast.

        so it’s possible – just need to check all the options.

        • BJ says:

          Isn’t there a box (circle) to check to add breakfast to all rates that don’t include it? I’m reasonably sure there used to be for most rates if not all.

      • Rebecca says:

        Of course, just thought it was strange to make you choose between them! It’s definitely not an option to have both on the nights I want to book.

    • John says:

      I think it has always been like this. Because breakfast is often (slightly) discounted if adding online at the time of booking, although if you ask on check in hotels often offer a discounted rate anyway

  • Barry McNally says:

    I may have missed it on a previous update, but do points earned through the IHG Premier rewards card still count towards status? I still get Platinum elite status and an annual voucher.

  • Dave B says:

    Any hotel suggestions for these additional points in North/Midlands as we are traveling next weekend and tried a few without luck so far.

  • Dave B says:

    Not available on Non Refundable rates , which was £10 night cheaper . Normally only a few £s cheaper so not worth Non Refundable rates.

  • NorthernLass says:

    Are these offers always on flexible bookings? Presumably you’d need to wait until after your stay for them to be credited? Though non-refundable bookings often don’t get charged until much nearer the check in date.

    • HAM76 says:

      That depends on the hotel… If a hotel has them, they are always available on the regular flexible rate. Sometimes, however, these hotels only have special flexible rates like a charity rate that includes a donation or a business rate that includes parking and gives ten percent rebate on restaurant and bar. These special rates usually do not have the additional point offers.

      Points are credited along with the regular points for the stay. In the new App you also can‘t see anymore that they count towards your status points. The total is updated correctly, but the former two column layout has been replaced by a one column layout.

    • David says:

      Of course you have to complete the stay for three points to be credited.

  • lumma says:

    IHG related, just looked at Intercontinental Athens (this Wednesday to Saturday) and the best flexible rate says both

    – 1 night non refundable deposit required
    – No deposit required

    What does this mean? Is it maybe that on one of the days there’s an event or something in town that they want pre payment for?

    • Rob says:

      I am guessing the latter – something is ‘up’ and they want to protect their revenue.

  • pauline says:

    I assume that you can’t choose a bonus points package if you make a booking through Emyr?

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

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