We’ve seen some big moves this year in loyalty schemes allowing free and/or easy transfers of points to other people:
- British Airways slashed its transfer cost to a flat £50 (it was £15 at one stage)
- Marriott Bonvoy moved its free points transfer service online, saving you a call
World of Hyatt still requires you to fill in a paper form and scan or fax it, but we’ll pass over that for now!
IHG One Rewards is now allowing free transfers
IHG One Rewards is the latest scheme to decide that allowing free points transfers is good for business.
However, they have gone about it in an odd way.
Historically IHG has allowed transfers but only at the rate of $5 per 1,000 points. This did make sense ten years ago – I once did it with a few points my Mum earned. However, IHG cut the cost of buying its points following its regular devaluations. It also started running regular 100% bonuses for buying points. This means that you can pick them up for just over $5 per 1,000 anyway.
Free transfers can only be made by Diamond members of IHG One Rewards. This defeats the key reason to do a transfer – to allow a low status member to transfer their points to a higher status member to make a reward booking, to benefit from the status on the stay.
For clarity, anyone can receive points (as long as the account is over 30 days old) but only a Diamond can send them.
I’m not sure why a Diamond member would want to transfer out. They are clearly still actively staying with IHG or they wouldn’t be Diamond. If they want to make a reward booking for someone else, it’s best to make it themselves – hoping that the elite benefits will stick – and put the name of the real guest in as ‘2nd guest’.
Transfers are restricted to 500,000 IHG One Rewards points per year.
There is a second option
Members of the IHG Business Rewards programme are also being offered free transfers, although it appears that you need to be a member for 30 days to transfer.
If you are not a Diamond member and want to make a free points transfer, signing up for IHG Business Rewards may be the way.
This is clearly a step in the right direction by IHG so we shouldn’t be too grumpy!
However, realistically, it needs to open it up to all members – or even just all elite members if they are worried about abuse from new accounts – to maximise its value.
IHG One Rewards update – February 2024:
Get bonus points: IHG One Rewards is not running a global promotion at the moment, but some members were sent targeted offers for their stays in February and March
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.
IHG One Rewards is offering an 80% bonus when you buy points by 7th March 2024. Click here to buy.
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.