Nov102017

IHG 15% Points&Cash stay discount to Jan 31

IHG Rewards Club is offering members 15% off the cash portion of Points & Cash reward stays for bookings made by November 29, 2017 for hotel stay reservations completed by January 31, 2018 when you book during IHG’s Your World Sale. This offer is available at IHG brand hotels worldwide. The offer is in my account today when I search rates.

I was not offered 20% off Points & Cash bookings flash sale promotion a couple of weeks ago that was targeted to a subset of IHG Rewards Club members.

Cash Price for IHG Points for Points & Cash Reward

Different IHG hotels offer different Points & Cash cash portion rates to buy 5,000 to 20,000 points toward the nightly rate at time of booking.

  • 5,000 points = $30 to $50
  • 10,000 points = $60 to $80
  • 15,000 points = $89 to $109
  • 20,000 points = $115 to $135

InterContinental Monterey The Clement

2 night stay Mon Jan 22 – Wed Jan 24, 2018

$645.82 USD after tax best flexible member rate

or

80,000 points + $195.50

($195.50 is 15% off $230. Normal Points & Cash $115/night rate to buy 20,000 points at this hotel).

IC Monterey Points-Cash discount stay

$645.82 – $195.50 = $450.32 saved with 80,000 IHG points.

IHG Rewards Club points redemption value = $5.63 per 1,000 points for this sample reward stay.

The $195.50 cost to buy 40,000 points for this 2-night award stay is buying points for $4.89 per 1,000 points.

Key point is this IHG Rewards Club Points & Cash discount allows IHG Rewards Club members to buy points for less than the room savings provided when points are redeemed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. Ric, I struggled with your explanation and I think it’s because you referred to the price of the room, which is (almost) irrelevant.

    The easiest way to understand/explain the cost of the points is to compare the COMPLETELY-FREE-WITH-POINTS price to the MOST-NUMBER-OF-POINTS + CASH price. If you use an example that includes such 2 listings, it becomes easier to follow.

    For example, using a different Monterrey hotel on Cannery Row, I found a hotel which offered a COMPLETELY-FREE room for 40K points. That same night was also available for 35K + $25.50. Using this example, it’s easy to see that 5K points is valued at $25.50. The actual going rate for the room doesn’t enter into the equation.

    Hope this is helpful to someone. (And if I have this wrong, please correct me!)

  2. @bluecat – I see what you mean for Points value based on a direct comparison to the price of points in a redemption.

    I look at points value differently, though not necessarily correctly.

    My basic assumption is anytime you can buy points for less than the cost to pay cash for the room, then that is a good redemption value.

    The room rate is $323 after tax or 60,000 points. The room is $293.40 to buy 60,000 points.
    That being said, I would never consider it reasonable to pay $293 for a room night in my travels.

    The true value for me in the example given for InterContinental Monterey is the opportunity to buy 40,000 points for $195.50 with a 2-night Points & Cash reward booking, cancel and keep the points.

    Now I have 40,000 points with a definite cost value of $195.50. As I travel I will look for places where I get high added value from my $195.50 in IHG points.

    Holiday Inn Krakow Poland Dec 30-Jan 2 is 60,000 points for a 3 night stay. The room rate is $159.98 USD per night or $479.94 total.

    The way I look at the Points & Cash discount deal is I can buy 60,000 points for $293.25 for a hotel stay I don’t necessarily want – cancel the reward stay – then use the 60,000 points for a hotel stay I really want.

    Holiday Inn Krakow Dec 29-Jan 2 for New Year’s Eve has lowest flexible room rate at $159.98 per night. This IHG Points & Cash special allows me to buy 20,000 points for $97.75.

    $97.75 is a reasonable hotel rate that I would have a hard time bettering in Krakow for New Year’s Eve night in a central location as good as Holiday Inn Krakow.

    My points cost is $4.88 per 1,000 IHG points.

    I redeem those points at a hotel night where I get $8.00 per 1,000 points based on the applicable room rate.
    While the $160 room rate for Holiday Inn Krakow is mostly irrelevant since that is not what I pay for the room, the fact that I choose to stay at Holiday Inn Krakow on those nights when $160 is the price of a room is totally relevant. That becomes my redemption value for those 60,000 points. $480/60 = $8.00 per 1,000 points.

    My analysis does not emphasize the redemption value of $8.00 per 1,000 points. That simply allows me to see the spread between what points cost and the cash savings at the hotel I redeem my points. 60,000 points spent at Holiday Inn Krakow cost me $293.25 for a hotel stay that would have cost $479.94 to pay for in cash.

    I consider Holiday Inn Krakow a good value investment for buying 60,000 IHG Rewards Club points in this current IHG Points& Cash sale.

    On the other hand, Monterey at $322.91 per night or 60,000 points purchased for $293.25 is not a good investment, unless I had to be at that hotel. I would not mess around buying 60,000 points to save $30 on one expensive hotel room night.

    Originally I looked at this Points&Cash deal and considered booking InterContinental Prague for two nights at New Year’s Eve for 40,000 points + $195.50. I already have a hotel reservation in Prague for under $100 per night. $195.50 is about $200 less than the actual published rate for New Year’s Eve, but that is irrelevant to me.

    The $195.50 per night is about twice my average cost for a hotel night across the 90 or so nights I stayed in hotels in 2017. Even though I already have 80,000 IHG points for a 2-night stay, I decided against booking points nights at IC Prague for New Year’s Eve. I already have a good hotel deal in Prague and I know I will get better use with my IHG points saving them for some place where redeeming IHG points will be the best deal I can find for the city I am visiting.

    Currently I do not feel a need for more IHG points. If I did, I would definitely book some IHG Points & Cash nights at a place like IC Monterey or IC Prague and buy some cheap points for $4.88/1,000 points. At that price, I know I will find good value IHG hotels for reward nights on my travels.

  3. “My basic assumption is anytime you can buy points for less than the cost to pay cash for the room, then that is a good redemption value.”

    Very interesting. My overall strategy with points appears to be fundamentally different than yours and it would be good for me to try to understand yours better, to see if I can improve on things…

    The sentence I quoted (and your subsequent discussion) makes me think that you (1) first identify a hotel you would like to stay at and then (2) decide whether or not to purchase points in order to reduce your overall cost.

    Conversely, I tend to buy points ahead of time (without any specific redemption in mind), in the hopes that maybe I find a use for them in the coming 1 or 2 years where I can use them well. You might call me a hoarder, although I tend not to buy points in a particular “currency” if I think I have way more than I can use in 2 years.

    For me, it works this way: when I decide on a city I want to visit, I look for candidate hotels. There are MANY criteria that I consider for candidates, including location, tripadvisor/booking.com/hotels.com ratings, and cost.

    In the “cost” criterion, I consider the cash price versus the points cost (and variations of mixing the two, if offered). Sometimes, the points price is below the cash price but, unlike you, I may NOT consider it a good redemption value—there may be other mitigating factors like if there are upgrades available for a cash room, if there is a promotion goal that I need to meet by paying cash, etc. (I assume you consider these as well but didn’t mention it to keep your explanation simpler.)

    Bottom line is that I tend to buy points speculatively *if they seem cheap* but *without* any particular redemption in mind. Then, later, when I look for candidate hotels in a city and I ‘ve identified a few potentials, I look at the cost in my various “currencies” (cash, UR points, IHG points, etc.) to see what works out best for my needs. Sometimes, my technique doesn’t yield enough candidates and then I go look at boutique hotels and airbnbs—I don’t limit myself to the big chain hotels.

    You seem to identify the hotel first and then decide if an on-the-spot points purchase makes sense.

    I’m always looking for the best “algorithm” for picking a hotel AND the best way to pay for it—it’s quite complex and would love to hear how other people do this.

  4. @bluecat – My approach is very similar to yours. The main thing is I don’t invest in points unless I think I will need them in the next six months.

    In terms of choosing hotels, I have planned trips to so many places in Europe that I have not visited, I already have a catalog of hotels where I know I would like to stay.

    When the next Hilton points sale comes around I will buy points for reward nights in Romania. Never been there, but I have researched hotel deals and Hilton points are a great deal there.

    I am making an effort to earn the 30,000 Wyndham Rewards bonus points with last month’s Masterpass payment bonus on 2 stays and the Visa Checkout 15,000 bonus points for 3 stays by February 2018. I know I will be hanging out in Amsterdam at least a week in 2018 and 3,000 Wyndham points gives me a $75 room at Ramada Apollo Amsterdam.

    Choice Privileges points are a currency I always need for stays in Scandinavia, my most reliable cheap ticket for California to Europe travel. I end up with a few one night stays in Stockholm every year and 10,000 Choice Privileges points is a big discount on average room rates. I purchased points in October during the current 50% bonus points sale at $7.33 per 1,000 points and I transferred Diners Club Rewards points into Choice Privileges points 1,250 DCR = 2,400 Choice Privileges points.

    Marriott, Hyatt and SPG are points I rarely use these days, since I generally find better value elsewhere. I purchased 9 Marriott nights last week for $269 in the Marriott Omaha Business Council annual auction for hotel stays in Atlanta, Australia and Germany. I rarely use Marriott points, but I sure get plenty of nights with that annual auction. I like the current SPG points sale through December 29 and I may pick up 10,000 points for $227.50 next month for when I am in a city with a category 2 hotel like Sofia Hotel Balkan where I stayed last month for 2,000 points + $35. That is essentially paying $80 for an award night at a hotel that is generally $150+.

    Best Western is the one currency where I fell short in 2017. I regret not buying points during the Daily Getaways sale. For years I had a stash of BWR points I rarely found good redemption value, then in 2017 I have been in several places where BWR points purchased for $5.50 per 1,000 points would have been a terrific deal for a hotel night I needed. I transferred Diners Club points at 1,250 Diners Club points = 3,300 BWR points to pad my account for future reward nights until the next Daily Getaways sale in spring 2018.

    My hotel points purchase strategy probably comes up sounding different than my practice since I write to share a deal that people without IHG points can use to reduce the cost of hotel nights.

    I actually earn the vast majority of my IHG points through paid IHG hotel stays. IHG Rewards Club promotions are lucrative and allow me to maintain a 6-figure points balance on less than $1,000 hotel spend with about 15 to 20 nights a year in IHG hotels. IHG is the program I best achieve earn and burn in practice with a good balance between points earned each year and points burned.

  5. Thanks for the reply. You are lucky to have a bunch of trips coming up where you have time to figure out what hotel to stay at and also have enough time to accrue points.

    Good to know about Best Western points….not something I collected in the past but might be an option. Maybe consider writing an article on some of the smaller chains that have good benefits. (In the past, you turned me on to Choice for Norway redemptions and that has been great. I could suggest Melia if you ever travel to Spain.)

    I think I’ll buy some cheap IHG points now. Like you said, it’s the one chain that seems to be everywhere that I want to go, so it’s a good currency to have.

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