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Yesterday I wrote about how, until tomorrow (3rd June), you can purchase IHG Points for ~0.4p each (0.575 US cents), so £4.00 per 1,000 Points.
The sale page is here, and now it’s time to look at why you might want to take advantage:
We’ve written about Pointsbreaks quite a few times before, but essentially, IHG release a list of hotels every few months that offer a limited number of rooms for just 5,000 IHG Points per night.
It really is one of the best, regular, hotel promotions around – even though the properties on the lists tend not to be as glamorous as they were a few years ago, and the best hotels get snapped up very quickly these days.
The current Points sale means that you can buy 5,000 IHG Points for ~£20.00 (assuming you buy at least 26,000 +26,000 bonus Points, in order to get the cheapest rate), which is an extremely good deal for any reasonable hotel – and sometimes there are still excellent hotels on the list.
I recently stayed at the Holiday Inn Manchester Central Park on Pointsbreaks (nothing special, but absolutely fine), and have a couple of nights at the Holiday Inn Express in Chester coming up next month too. For the dates I booked, anything comparable would have been at least £80.00+, so you can see what a money saver Pointsbreaks can be – if they fit your plans.
At the other end of the spectrum to Pointsbreaks, is using Points for IHG’s most expensive hotels.
The latest devaluation increased the number of Points required for top-tier properties from 50,000 to 60,000. That means that to book hotels like the Intercontinentals in places like Bora Bora, London, Paris etc, you would need to spend £240.00 on Points in the sale.
For me, that’s way too much to pay for a hotel (and Intercontinental hotels are usually good, but not exceptional), however, it’s considerably less than what most of the top-tier IHG hotels usually charge.
Let’s take the Intercontinental Park Lane in London as an example. As I made clear in my review, it’s a good hotel in a very expensive part of town, and a decent option for using up free night certificates.
I could just about justify using 60,000 IHG Points, but that’s because I have plenty of them. I could not justify spending £400.00, which is the going rate for a flexible booking.
If you really were set on staying there though, you’d be better off buying 60,000 Points in the sale for £240.00, rather than paying the cash rate, almost all the time.
Expensive Nights/Times of Year
One of the great things about IHG Points is that the number of Points required doesn’t adjust to mirror the cash rate. This means you can use Points at expensive times and cash at cheap times.
Big sporting events, and celebrations like New Year’s Eve can send hotel prices through the roof, but the number of Points required doesn’t change. £240.00 is the most you would pay if you bought enough Points for a night at any IHG hotel (60,000), and obviously that’s expensive, but it’s a lot less than what hotels in cities like New York and Sydney charge at New Year.
It’s very important to make clear though that award capacity is limited, so you need to book early. Given the possibility of devaluations/hotels leaving IHG etc, I wouldn’t buy Points speculatively for this purpose (ie for dates that aren’t available to book yet), unless you had a good backup use for the Points too.
Other Ways to Get IHG Points
If you are thinking about buying some IHG Points in the sale it might be worth doing a couple of other calculations first.
IHG can (and do) devalue their Points by introducing higher categories and bumping hotels up into higher categories. This means that there is always a risk to buying Points that you don’t intend to use straight away.
There is a well-known trick that allows members to buy IHG Points at any time for as little as ~0.45p (0.65 cents) per point, which is only 12.5% more than the sale price. You might well decide that paying a little more when the time comes to book is better than buying now and risking your Points being devalued before you use them.
[The trick is simply to make a Points + Cash booking and cancel it. You keep the extra Points rather than getting your money back. You do need at least 5,000 Points in your account to take advantage though, and need to find a hotel offering to ‘save’ you 15,000 for $95.00 in order to get the lowest price of ~ 0.45p per point.]
Another option you could consider is ‘mattress running’ to complete your Accelerate promotion targets. Everyone has different targets, but with mine it should be possible to get 50,000+ bonus points for booking just 3 nights.
I will likely complete my targets anyway, but if not, Sunday nights at my local Holiday Inn Express can be booked for as little as £25.00-30.00. I, obviously, much prefer to hit my targets staying at places I actually want to stay at, even if it is a bit more expensive – but the option is there to pick-up at least 50,000 Points for ~ £100.00, if required. 50,000 Points in the sale would cost £200.00, so it’s a big saving!
As I say, everyone’s offer is different but it’s definitely worth having a look to see if it would make more sense than buying Points!