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I am not generally a fan of speculatively buying points. Even when points go on sale, they are often still sold at a cost which is high above their actual worth. And since miles and points are generally a deflationary currency (meaning that their value will only go down), it doesn’t make sense to buy them in a lot of cases. Still, there are a few times when buying points can make sense, ESPECIALLY (and only?) when you have a specific use for those points. So I want to share a recent real-world experience I had where buying points saved me around 70% compared to the alternative when booking a hotel

A 4 night stay in New Orleans

I recently returned from the FinCon conference in New Orleans, where I was staying for 4 nights. The conference itself was hosted at the Sheraton New Orleans. I booked originally via the conference room rate of $229

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With $3 occupancy rate charge and 16.20% room tax, my total for 4 nights came to $1,076.39. I do think there’s a lot of value for staying at the hotel where the conference is located, but that was a lot of money

Using IHG Points Instead

So I looked around and saw that I could book 4 nights at the Holiday Inn Express New Orleans Downtown – French Quarter for only 61,000 IHG points. Since I have the card_name, I get the 4th night free on all rewards points stays.

(SEE ALSO: Which IHG credit card is the best?)

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Buying Points

IHG regularly offers sales on buying points, and recently they offered a 100% bonus on buying points. So 61,000 points only cost $305 to buy. Compare that to the $1,076.39 that I would have had to shell out to stay at the Sheraton, and you can see that doing it this way saved over 70% of the cost. Yes, there were a few downsides to staying at a separate hotel, but I’m on record as not liking staying in “fancy” hotels anyways.

(SEE ALSO: When is buying airline miles worth it? In ONLY these 3 instances)

The Bottom Line

While buying points is not something that I would typically recommend, there definitely are times when it can make a lot of sense. On a recent stay in New Orleans, I saved over 70% by strategically buying points instead of paying cash to stay at the hotel where the conference was.

Do you ever think buying points can make sense? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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