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IHG has launched an “up to” 100% bonus on purchasing Rewards Club points. This comes hot on the heels of the Club Carlson 75% bonus I wrote about yesterday.
IHG, the parent company of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental etc, habitually runs this type of buying bonus. We covered an 80% bonus as recently as August. However, 100% is as good as it has ever been. As a Rewards Club member, you are allowed to buy a maximum of 60k points a year (120K including this bonus). Assuming a 100% bonus, at current exchange rates, you will be buying points @ 0.48p pence each.
So is it worth buying points ?
Buying points in this manner can sometimes make financial sense compared with paying cash for a hotel. Remember, you really need to compare it to a flex rate, as reward night bookings are cancellable.
The standard Macky litmus test lets me down on this occasion. I normally pick a Manchester Saturday night when Man Utd are playing at home. On the 19th of November, Utd play Arsenal. However there isn’t a reward room available in any of the IHG city centre hotels that night.
So lets go further afield and look at London. On Monday the 21st November, the flex rate at the Intercontinental Park Lane is £359. A reward night requires 60K points, which during this promo will cost £288. So if you had to stay in that hotel on that night, you’d be better off buying the points. However if we look at the Intercontinental at the O2, it’s a different story. The flex rate is £195. A reward night here requires 45K points, which is £216. It’s actually cheaper to book the cash rate. Also you’ll get stay credit and points for the cash night.
As is usual with these sort of promos, you need to size it up to see if buying points works for you. Certainly, if you are only a few points short of an award night, then it makes sense to buy a small amount. However, in this case, to get the full 100% bonus, you must purchase at least 21K points. Remember also that purchased points do not count as qualifying points, and thus you can not simply buy your way to a higher status level.
The offer runs until the 16th November, and the T&C says you need to allow 24-48 hrs for the points to post. You can buy the points here. You will need to log in with your IHG account credentials.
Note that with a new set of PointBreaks redemptions on the horizon, you could potentially be buying IHG hotel nights for as little as £24 a night (or Category 1 IHG hotels at £48 a night). As such, although this is not an unmissable deal (points buying rarely is, even with hefty bonuses) there is definitely value to be had.