The IHG Rewards Club Cash and Points Trick Just Got Even Cheaper

The “cash and points trick” for buying IHG Rewards Club points at a discount just got a price cut, back to levels we haven’t seen since 2012.

The Cash and Points Trick to Buy Points Inexpensively

Back in 2009 Priority Club introduced cash and points awards.

Unlike Starwood and Hyatt, whose cash and points awards are a discounted award inventory separate from regular award nights, what Priority Club (now IHG Rewards Club) did is decided to let you buy points at a discount in conjunction with booking an award. That way ‘cash and points’ are always available.


Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur

At the beginning that meant you could buy part of the points for an award at 6/10ths of a cent. The interesting thing that we figured out within days back in 2009 was that you could book a cash and points award. If you cancelled the reservation, the points purchase was non-refundable. As a result, booking and cancelling cash and points awards has been a way to buy IHG Rewards Club points at a discount for the past 6 years.

They raised the price of the points you buy through cash and points to 7/10ths of a cent back in 2012, but otherwise this approach has gone on uninterrupted. And it’s why I can’t get too excited by a 100% bonus on purchased points since that offer lets you buy points at $0.00575 apiece. Really not that much better than you can buy points for on your own every day through cash and points awards.


Club Lounge at the Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur

Cash and Points Pricing Just Went Back to 6/10ths of a Cent

It looks like cash and points just introduced an even cheaper option, bringing the price back down to 6/10ths of a cent apiece! (HT: jfhscott)

Here’s an award at the Intercontinental Sydney:

Zoning in on the booking options, you can spend 50,000 points or buy down the number of points with cash and points.

Normally they’ve offered a 5000 and a 10,000 point option. But there’s also a 15,000 point option. Buying points 15,000 at a time drives the price per point down to 6/10ths of a cent apiece.

The strange thing is that this new cheaper (per point) 15,000 point option isn’t available at all hotels, or even all 50,000 point Intercontinentals. It didn’t come up for me at the Intercontinental Times Square or Intercontinental San Francisco for instance. But it does for the Intercontinental Hong Kong:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. This is great news, but I find it odd that this option, thus far, seems not to be available when you check cash and points rates at IC hotels in US.

  2. I’ve heard warnings that doing this could lead to loss of your IHG points and a ban from the program…no personal experience though but enough to make me not want to risk it

  3. After reading this I checked the options for my stay at Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport but it still only offers just 2 options for points and cash. Maybe 3 options are only available for the top 50k IHG Reward Points properties?

  4. US IC hotels that we have looked at still show:

    50,000k and 40,000 +$70 ($.07 each) Thus the $.0575 is better in the USA.

    Also do not forget large XX% room tax that you avoid on the hotel when you use 100% points. The hotel tax does not apply to the $51-$61 per night parking fees in SFO and most cities.

  5. if you have the $200 ambassador renewal option available, you get a stackable 10% credit on points for redemption of reward nights.

    if points plus cash are classified as reward nights, your math gets even better.

    In essence, you’ve bought 25,000 IHG points for $90. This equals $0.0036 per point.

    then the 5 x points for spend at IHG.com.

    nice.

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