Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Hotel loyalty schemes IHG One Rewards Earn and burn, or build a balance?

  • phantomchickenz 325 posts

    I’ve finally built up enough One Rewards points for a redemption or two. Is there any ‘best use’ for these points, or should I just use them up? There doesn’t appear to be any multi-night perks like Hilton, and from what I can tell you can’t redeem for suites, so is it best just to redeem for regular rooms as and when needed?

    strickers 723 posts

    I generally earn and burn especially as most bookings are fully flexible. Then I cancel and rebook if the points requirements drop or if there’s a good deal, possibly one that stacks with an Amex offer.

    NorthernLass 8,225 posts

    I try to get the best value from points bookings (at least 0.8p), and pay cash the rest of the time – which then earns a decent amount of points in itself as Diamond.

    can2 573 posts

    Some save up for a big vacation some churn as they go. One thing is the possible inflation for redemptions. We know by experience that this game is not get any easier. Something you save now will cost more in the future so you’ll need to save more than what you expect.

    zio 266 posts

    Dynamic pricing also seems to have left less upside for IHG redemptions than Hilton.

    Rob has analysed in the past how devaluation is baked into hotel schemes so a plan of saving for 10 years to fund a retirement trip is asking for disappointment.

    I’m basically with @NorthernLass above as regards my IHG bookings at the moment, though I’m happy with a lower value.

    John 1,043 posts

    It’s occasionally possible to redeem for suites. I’ve done it at CPs and HIs. You can also use CSUs

    AnotherUser 190 posts

    I’ll earn and burn – normally happy accepting 0.5p/point. Points stays can be cancelled if a better offer shows up, and you can buy points if there’s a great deal for a points redemption that you don’t have the points for.

    If you’ve got status with IHG, you’ll get better value booking at a hotel that treats elites well. Likewise with Ambassador status at an Intercontinental

    Super Secret Stuff 364 posts

    I earn and burn, looking for anything over 0.8p. NYC just before Christmas think I got 1.3p per point after IHG closed my original hotel and rebooked me on the same rate

    Julia 51 posts

    I wouldn’t wait to get enough points for the full length of a stay, too risky. We have a pretty stable itinerary we follow so we know where we’re going and how much a redemption is per day. So as soon as I’ve got enough points for one day I’ll book it and start saving towards the next day. If the worst happens and we get a Radisson type devaluation then at least I’ve got some days safety banked.

    JohnG 40 posts

    I earn and burn, looking for anything over 0.8p. NYC just before Christmas think I got 1.3p per point after IHG closed my original hotel and rebooked me on the same rate

    Genuinely open to examples to the contrary but I’m dubious about any claims that valuations like 0.8p can be practically achieved. Your example seems like the sort of false accounting that too often is used to inflate valuations; by this I mean that you value based on the room you received but as you would I assume have received the same room if your original booking was a cash booking then the real value of the redemption is based on whatever your original booking would have cost in cash.

    With dynamic pricing it is rare at best that redemptions with real values above 0.6p are available, and in practice if you can make use of things like railcard rates the real saving and thus valuation is even lower. For example with an Indigo stay I am looking at the valuation against fully flex is 0.54p per point but as I would be happy with 3 day cancellation terms I would use the railcard rate meaning the valuation is really 0.44p. The non-refundable breakfast rate is so cheap, and I have good travel insurance, that I might be tempted to book that at which point the valuation would actually be under 0.38p. The only reason I might book it with points is that I can use a suite upgrade voucher that way (which I couldn’t on the discounted rates).


    To answer OP’s question I’d 100% suggest burning when you can and definitely not building up long term balances.

    jeff 36 posts

    Genuinely open to examples to the contrary but I’m dubious about any claims that valuations like 0.8p can be practically achieved. Your example seems like the sort of false accounting that too often is used to inflate valuations; by this I mean that you value based on the room you received but as you would I assume have received the same room if your original booking was a cash booking then the real value of the redemption is based on whatever your original booking would have cost in cash.

    I don’t often get >0.4-0.5p but one such example is Regent Tivat (Montenegro). A random points night in April is 49,000 for a King Premium Sea View Balcony Venezia, the cash value for which is £365, which I make to be 0.74p/point.

    If you are Diamond, there is a likelihood you will get upgraded to a Junior Suite as well, so I guess that’s where the false accounting you talk about comes in (£597 and 1.2p/point, but a cash rate would equally be upgraded in the same manner).

    memesweeper 1,297 posts

    I actively “save” in

    – hotels.com
    – Marriott
    – Hilton
    – IHG
    – Hyatt

    of these, IHG is my go-to for immediate redemptions 1 or 2 night stays at non-aspirational places. The others I typically save up for longer stays at nicer places, except hotels.com which I use for non-chains.

    Unfortunately this has lead to an issue where I have a “free night” voucher which I can use in a very nice IC somewhere, and not enough points to go with it to tack on a redemption night. Grrr. More points always good. 🙂

    NorthernLass 8,225 posts

    I’ve made a couple of good Hilton redemptions over the years (such as last Xmas in the Florida Keys when cash prices were nearly $500 pn), but have a balance of over 1 million which I’m (possibly ill-advisedly) saving for 10 nights in Seychelles or Maldives in the next couple of years. Fingers crossed there’s no major devaluation🤞😬

    I gave up on Marriott after dynamic pricing and don’t have a means any more of earning significant numbers of IHG points – though it remains my favourite at the moment and probably the one we’ll put most cash stays through.

    Avios are definitely earn and burn, though I prefer to keep a balance over 250k, “just in case” 😂

    JohnG 40 posts

    Genuinely open to examples to the contrary but I’m dubious about any claims that valuations like 0.8p can be practically achieved. Your example seems like the sort of false accounting that too often is used to inflate valuations; by this I mean that you value based on the room you received but as you would I assume have received the same room if your original booking was a cash booking then the real value of the redemption is based on whatever your original booking would have cost in cash.

    I don’t often get >0.4-0.5p but one such example is Regent Tivat (Montenegro). A random points night in April is 49,000 for a King Premium Sea View Balcony Venezia, the cash value for which is £365, which I make to be 0.74p/point.

    If you are Diamond, there is a likelihood you will get upgraded to a Junior Suite as well, so I guess that’s where the false accounting you talk about comes in (£597 and 1.2p/point, but a cash rate would equally be upgraded in the same manner).

    I wasn’t saying higher value redemptions don’t exist, just that basing valuations on them seems unrealistic unless you really think you would be able to get those types of redemptions with all your points. I’ve stayed at that hotel exactly because they offer premium rooms at oddly low points rates, but I am not visiting Montenegro annually just to claim a high IHG point valuation! The fact that even this is < 0.8p just emphasises the point that an 0.8p valuation seems unrealistic.

    And yes if you claimed the upgraded room value, when you would have got the same upgrade for cash, that’s exactly the kind of mental contortionism I was talking about.

    davefl 1,416 posts

    @JohnG I typically get 6.8-8p/point but the way to do it is to go through all 5 of the points+cash options to work out the value. Last June the HIX Columbus was 8k points + $96 = 0.77/point against the non-ref rate inc tax.

    If I’d calculated against the flex rate it would be been even better.

    The IC in Baku was over 0.65p/point when I booked it as a full points redemption and then I cancelled and rebooked twice for lower points values (forgot to redo the calculations after that). Then they bizarely credited my points back an extra time, so I ended up with 5 nights free.. is that infinity/p per point 🙂

    davefl 1,416 posts

    I gave up on Marriott after dynamic pricing and don’t have a means any more of earning significant numbers of IHG points – though it remains my favourite at the moment and probably the one we’ll put most cash stays through.

    I did superbly well out of Marriot H&V 40k per stay promotions and the stay x times one at cheap properties last year. Way better than the pitiful IHG and Hilton ones. Really hope they run the 40k one again this year.

    Cashed it all out for United Miles when they ran the transfer bonus, so ended up with 120k Marriott into 72k United. United miles can be very useful for short hops in europe and late availabilty one ways on Lufty from Croatia for example when Ezy wanted £250 for a ticket.

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