Why I have not bought any cheap IHG points in 2015

IHG Rewards Club has points on sale with 100% bonus points on purchases through Friday December 11. This can be a great deal for some hotel travelers. There is an annual purchase limit of 60,000 IHG points. But in this sale bonus points do not count for the annual limit. You can buy a maximum 120,000 points for $690.

Why I have not bought any cheap IHG points in 2015

I have stayed at a lot of IHG hotels in 2015 using points. I have not purchased any IHG Rewards Club points in 2015. I earn points and free nights primarily through hotel stays earning points from IHG Rewards Club promotions. Maybe by the end of this article I will convince myself to buy points.

Three Price Points for IHG Rewards Club

Normal Rate

  • Buy 1,000 to 10,000 points = $13.50 per 1,000 points.
  • Buy 11,000 to 25,000 points = $12.50 per 1,000 points.
  • Buy 26,000 to 60,000 points = $11.50 per 1,000 points.

100% Bonus Points Rate through December 11, 2015

  • Buy 2,000 to 20,000 points = $6.75 per 1,000 points.
  • Buy 22,000 to 50,000 points = $6.25 per 1,000 points.
  • Buy 52,000 to 120,000 points = $5.75 per 1,000 points.

Value Analysis for IHG Rewards Club points

This is a deal where a buyer should at least buy a minimum 52,000 points. Unless you have a specific minimum purchase hotel redemption in mind, you have more potential with 52,000 points. There are plenty of hotels to redeem points at nearly any place you travel for two or three free nights.

There is potential to redeem points for PointBreaks seasonal hotels at 5,000 points per hotel reward night. 52,000 points can buy ten hotel nights on a $299 purchase.

IHG 52K points $299 Dec 10

I get great value out of IHG Rewards Club points due to generally earning them at a lower rate than $5.75 per 1,000 points. I redeemed points and promotion free nights for 16 reward nights at IHG hotels in 2015.

Are 52,000 IHG Rewards Club points worth $299?

There are plenty of IHG hotels where you can redeem 40,000 to 50,000 points in one hotel reward night. I equate points back to cash price since spending 50,000 points for one hotel night is easy when you forget those 50,000 points cost you $300.  I try to remember not to spend $300 per night for hotel rooms. There are so many other things money can be used for.

In September and October in Czech Republic, France and Switzerland I redeemed 65,000 points for nine hotel nights and a room rate value over $1,000. This current 100% bonus sale allows me to buy 66,000 points for $379.50.

PointBreaks really give great value if you happen to be in those places for cheap hotel stays. I went to Brno, CZ and Clermont-Ferrand, FR specifically to have extended stays at IHG PointBreaks hotels while exploring less touristed areas of these regions compared to the more popular cities of Prague and Lyon. That kind of travel has its advantages and disadvantages. Popular tourist places are usually popular for a reason and tend to be more entertaining when spending several days somewhere.

I find most IHG hotels overpriced when it comes to redeeming points. The price points for different hotels tend to show points are good value at the low end hotels of 15,000 points and less, and at high end IHG hotels where 35,000 to 50,000 points buys a room priced over $250 to $350 per night. Those are not the typical hotels I visit. IHG Rewards Club prices for hotel reward nights are high in the middle segment of hotels. These are the ones I typically desire where I travel.

Assume you buy 52,000 to 120,000 points at $5.75 per 1,000 points rate.

Price for IHG Rewards Club free night at $5.75 per 1,000 points

  • 5,000 points = $28.75 for a PointsBreak seasonal reward night (I redeemed eight of these nights in Sep-Oct 2015).
  • 10,000 points = $57.50 (Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn in places like Malaysia, someCandlewood Suites)
  • 15,000 points = $86.25 IHG Rewards Club points night

I see these rates from 5,000 to 15,000 points per night as the viable range where you are likely to find the cost to buy points will beat the published hotel room rate much of the time.

I checked IHG hotels in my area of California around Monterey. I have to travel 100 miles to Livermore for an IHG hotel in the 15,000 points category. There are a handful of hotels around Silicon Valley at the 20,000 points level.

  • 20,000 points = $115.00 IHG Rewards Club points night

I am at my comfort level for hotel rate with $115 for the price of 20,000 points, however, I am still not even to the midpoint for the upper end of IHG hotel reward night prices.

Once you rise into the 25,000 to 35,000 range, probably around 75% of IHG hotels in urban USA and Europe, the value of points drops significantly compared to room rates available in many hotel markets.

Over the past few years, the shift upward in IHG Rewards Club hotel free nights means most hotels I see in urban or tourist areas are 25,000 to 35,000 points per night.

  • 25,000 points = $143.75 IHG Rewards Club points night
  • 30,000 points = $172.50 IHG Rewards Club points night
  • 35,000 points = $201.25 IHG Rewards Club points night

At these rates the cost for IHG Rewards Club points makes me reluctant to redeem points for one hotel reward night, unless I am in a place like London where there are very few truly inexpensive lodging alternatives.

Most IHG hotels in London are 35,000 points. Spending $201 per night is actually a fair deal for London, but more than I want to pay.

Personally, I look at $143.75 and think that is as high as I am willing to spend for hotel nights. 25,000 points used to buy a lot more choice of hotels a few years ago in IHG Priority Club compared to today’s IHG Rewards Club free night rates. Believe me.

At $172.50 I am pretty certain I kind find a better deal in almost any city around the globe. I’ve traveled around 60 to 80 nights a year for the past 16 years and I still average around $100 per night with mostly upscale and upper upscale hotel stays. I learned from experience a long time ago to study hotel rates in the destination before buying airline tickets. Avoid peak price travel.

High Spenders

IHG has some pretty fancy hotels in places like French Polynesia, Paris, and San Francisco. Hotels that are 40,000 points to 50,000 points will often be discounted through points purchases. You can buy 120,000 points for $690 and book three Points and Cash Reward nights at some world-class hotels at the top end 50,000 points per reward night and pay only $300 per night.

$900 for three Luxury Hotel Nights

Buy 120,000 points for $690. Book 3 nights Point + Cash rate = 120,000 points + $210. Three hotel nights in Paris, London, Tokyo, New York can be a bargain rate. Some of these cities you can redeem points for 4 nights for 120,000 points on Cash & points rates and find a good luxury hotel deal for $245 per night.

I am not in the market myself for luxury hotel nights and I don’t anticipate I’ll need a big wad of 120,000 more IHG Rewards Club points. Still, I’ll hedge my bets.

I think I’ll go 52,000 IHG Rewards Club points at $299. I’ll be picking up some AA flights before they go revenue based in late 2016. I’ll see if I can match February-March travel with an IHG PointsBreak destination for some $29 hotel nights.

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 in 2008.

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  1. Since IHG gives its MasterCard customers a 10 percent rebate on redeemed points (not to mention the free night each year for the $49 annual fee cost), the price for a room purchased with points becomes even cheaper, in a way. For instance in New York City, where there are a slew of properties for 35,000 points, the net cost would be about $181. Not bad when you consider that even mid-priced hotels in NYC are often in the $250-$300 range plus tax.

  2. “while exploring less touristed areas like Prague”

    I hear Paris France is a less touristed area as well.

  3. @PSL – The 10% points rebate is something to factor for IHG credit card holders.

    @jep09 – Thanks for pointing out my incorrect phrase. Certainly not what I was trying to say. Fixed it now.

  4. Great article.
    Since I primarily travel with friends and family we always require two beds in a room. My sister has 90k points and we can’t find award nights for rooms with two beds even though they’re available for $. Although their holiday inn express offer better choices but I always find better luck with Hilton and Hyatt on their higher end hotels

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