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The other day when I mentioned that the newest Priority Club Point Breaks list was out, I talked about how since you can always buy IHG points for only 0.7 cents a point, this meant that any of the hotels on the Point Breaks list could be purchased for only $35.
Remember that you can always find the most up-to-date IHG PointBreaks map and list on my travel resources page.
How to buy IHG points using Points & Cash
The “trick” to buying IHG points involves making a Points + Cash reservation at any IHG hotel. Note that you do have to have at least 5,000 points in your account (you can only purchase up to 10,000 points at a time).
To buy IHG points, first find a hotel that is at least 15,000 points (that would be a Category 2) and make sure that the reservation is refundable. Then you can make a Points + Cash reservation – you can buy IHG points for 0.8 cents per point (5,000 points for $40) or you can buy IHG points for 0.7 cents per points (10,000 points for $70). Note that you can only buy 40,000 IHG points each day (for a total of $280).
Once you make a Points and Cash booking and purchased your points, you can go ahead and cancel the reservation.
Another note is that unlike Starwood, Hyatt and other chains, Points + Cash bookings at IHG do NOT count for stay credit nor do they typically count for promotions like Set your Sights, Accelerate or other IHG Promotions. This is true even if you keep your reservation as a Points + Cash booking instead of canceling it to use it to buy IHG points.
Buying IHG points: an example
Here’s an example of how to buy IHG points using the Cash and Points trick. I need to get a room in Baltimore to attend the #ResellingDO in March. I’m looking at the Holiday Inn Express Baltimore at the Stadiums, which is right near the Casino where the event is going to be held.
If I go to book the hotel, here are the options I get (along with a nightly rate of ~$170)
As you can see, I have 3 options, and either of the bottom 2 options would allow me to buy IHG points. If I were going to buy IHG points like this, I’d choose the 3rd option as that allows you to buy IHG points for slightly cheaper (0.7 cents per point instead of 0.8). In my case, because I’m flush with IHG points after getting 100,000 points for filling out envelopes, I just kept it a regular points booking.
Is it risky to buy IHG points like this?
Any time there is a “trick” or a “hack”, you should be cautious, but in this case, I think the risk is fairly low. This “trick” is actually right in the IHG terms and conditions
Having said that, while I would feel totally comfortable occasionally using this trick to buy IHG points, I wouldn’t go SUPER crazy on this. Plus, there are usually easier ways to “buy” IHG points through their periodic quarterly promotions. For example, in the IHG Accelerate promotion, I booked 2 hotel stays (both of which I needed anyways, though I may have paid a little extra to stay at Holiday Inns, which I hate), paying a total of $185.49 In exchange, I received 45,160 points, which is about 0.4 cents per point. Had I spend $185 using this Cash and Points trick to buy IHG points, I’d have only ended up with about 25,000 points.
What say you? Did you know about this trick to buy IHG points? Have you ever used it?