IHG Rewards is offering a mystery bonus of up to 100% on points purchases until 23 August US time.
IHG Rewards points can be leveraged into some cheaper hotel nights than you would pay versus paid rates at InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Indigo and Kimpton Hotels. In this guide, I run through some examples of how to get a deal.
At the upper end of the market, InterContinental, Kimpton and Crowne Plaza hotel rooms can often go for fairly hefty nightly rates, so buying points to redeem immediately offers a nifty way to potentially reduce costs.
The current promotion
This offer is being marketed as a “mystery bonus”. You will have to log in to your account to see what offer you are eligible for.
For example, my account is eligible for a 100% bonus.
At this bonus tier, the cost per point is 0.5 US cents, with a total cost of US$1,000 for the maximum purchase of 200,000 IHG Rewards points (which includes the bonus).
The maximum 100% bonus starts from 10,000 IHG Rewards points.
Points outside of sales are sold at 1c per point but there is a hack to purchase them at 0.7c per point indefinitely—just book a points+pay room and then cancel, and you’ll be given the cash back as points in your account—but there’s some risk to your account in this approach.
Is this a good deal?
Potentially, if you know where you will use your points, and especially for PointBreaks promotions.
For those targeted with a 100% bonus, this is the highest we see on a regular basis. Anything lower than this will require some maths to see whether the points purchase value works out for your specific redemption needs. See Offer history below.
Promotions over the past two years have run as follows:
|Date||Bonus offer (%)||USD/point (cents)||Notes|
|June-August 2019||100||0.5||lowest price; mystery bonus|
|March 2019||100||0.5||lowest price|
|November 2018||100||0.5||lowest price|
|October 2018||100||0.5||lowest price|
|July-August 2018||100||0.5||lowest price; mystery bonus|
|June 2018||100||0.5||lowest price|
|March 2018||100||0.5||Standard points price reduced|
Under the current promotion if you get the maximum bonus, you’ll be able to buy enough points for a single night at hotels in the following categories / price bands for this cost:
|Example hotels in this category||IHG Rewards points needed||Cost of points per night (USD) in this promotion|
|Holiday Inn Rotorua||20000||$100|
|Holiday Inn Resort Bali, Auckland Airport, Queenstown|
Crowne Plaza Christchurch
|InterContinental Resort Fiji, Bali, Tahiti, Resort & Spa Moorea|
Crowne Plaza Auckland
Crowne Plaza Queenstown, Melbourne
|InterContinental Sydney, Grand Stanford Hong Kong||65000||$325|
Updated with 2019 redemption rates.
Clearly, you’ll want to run the numbers for your intended redemptions and compare points purchasing vs a paid stay to ensure you are better off buying and redeeming points than paying outright.
Though, like other hotel programme redemptions, IHG Rewards redemptions are flexible and can be cancelled at no cost.
This is a big difference compared to the lowest paid rate which is usually non-refundable, so if flexibility of your reservation is important, don’t forget to factor that benefit in.
Example IHG Rewards Redemptions
The Point Hacks team have redeemed points (a mixture of purchased and earned) at a range of properties, including:
In addition, some of the best value to be had from IHG Rewards is the PointsBreaks promotions, where rooms are available from 5,000-15,000 points per night.
These are released on a limited basis from a limited set of hotels once every three months.
Notable terms around buying and redeeming IHG Rewards Points
- The terms of purchase for IHG Rewards points state that you can buy a maximum of 100,000 IHG Rewards points per calendar year and receive as a gift a maximum of 100,000 points per calendar year.
- You’ll need to allow 24-48 hours for points to post and appear in your account.
- There’s no requirement around the age of an account that’s eligible to buy points, so you should be able to sign up and purchase immediately if it makes sense to do so.
Rooms available with IHG Rewards points, and benefits on offer with IHG Rewards redemptions
You’ll find that the rooms on offer using IHG Rewards points in each hotel are usually the base room type. If you’re after a premium or larger room, bear this in mind.
I have had some success in contacting the hotel in advance to try and pay my way up to a better room—it’s worth a shot.
You will be eligible for standard IHG Rewards status benefits, with the exception of any upgrade benefits if you are Platinum or Spire Elite. From my experience, most hotels will still offer a room upgrade—just don’t expect it, that way there will be no disappointment.
To see what IHG Ambassador benefits you will be eligible for on reward night stays, check out our separate guide.
As with any points purchase promotion, you need to run the maths for your own intended redemption and personal circumstances to see if this will yield some good value for you.
I’d argue that the best places to look for value are the resorts that are priced in the mid-range of the points category prices, such as the InterContinental Bali and Fiji resorts.
It will be harder to get great value out of the top-category points redemptions if buying points outright to redeem, but it’s worth keeping it in your back pocket in case you need to stay at a city hotel at a super expensive time of year.
Points redemption rooms are often available when you wouldn’t expect it and you may be able to save then too.