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Last month, I wrote about how you could always buy IHG points for 0.7 cents per point, buy using the “Cash and Points” trick. Basically as part of the booking process, if you don’t have enough points to make the complete booking, you can buy points at a particular rate to get you enough points
Unlike Cash and Points stays at Hyatt, Starwood or some other hotel chains, these IHG Cash and Points stays do NOT count as qualifying stays nor as stays for promotions like IHG Accelerate. That’s because IHG treats these as just buying points and then making an award stay (which is probably why when you cancel, the points stay in your account)
1. An option to buy 15,000 points
Readers of the original post mentioned that back in December, IHG announced that at some higher end hotels, you would be able to buy 15,000 IHG points for $90 (making it as low as 0.6 cents per point). The one downside to this is that it seemed to only be on higher end hotels. For example, some Intercontinentals that cost 50,000 points per night (going up to 60,000 points / night soon!!) would let you buy 15,000 points for $90, but you had to have 35,000 points in your account. Of course, to those of us who have gotten upwards of 50,000 points just for a few hours work, that should be no problem, right?!!?
2. Buying 5,000 points for $30 or 10,000 points for $60 (0.6 cpp)
The other day, a reddit user pointed out that some hotels were allowing this better redemption, even at the 10000 point level. For example, here’s the Holiday Inn and Suites Anaheim for 3/1-3/2
So even buying only 5,000 points will buy them at the 0.6 cents per point level
3. Buying 10,000 points for $65 (0.65 cpp)
But for the same dates, here’s the Holiday Inn Anaheim for 3/1 – 3/2 (different hotel but similar name)
You can see that you can buy 5,000 points for $35 (0.7 cpp) or 10,000 points for $65 (0.65 cpp)
4. 10,000 points costing $75!! (0.75 cpp)
Here’s the same Anaheim hotel for a date in July
5,000 points now cost $45 (0.9 cpp) and 10,000 points cost $75 (0.75 cpp).
It seems clear that IHG is doing a bit of A/B testing (or is it A/B/C/D testing?!!) with different costs at different hotels (and even different dates), measuring how that affects how many people take advantage of purchasing points at different cost levels.
The good news is that IT DOESN’T MATTER. If the date / hotel you want has a higher cost for points (if you want / need to buy points in the first place), then you can just make a reservation at the hotel / date that has the lowest possible point cost, cancel it and then you should have enough to book your hotel as a straight up point redemption
As an example, say you had 25,000 points and wanted to book the hotel listed in Option 4. Rather than pay $45 to buy your additional 5000 points, you could just make a booking at the hotel / date in Option 2, pay $60 for 10,000 points, cancel the booking, and then book the hotel you actually want for the full 30,000 points / night