IHG Bonus Points Offer – To Buy or Not To Buy?
[If you came here just for the free donuts, the information is at the bottom of this post. 😉 ]
IHG Rewards Club, the loyalty program of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), is currently offering a bonus when you buy points in the program.
A few people have asked me if it’s worth it. My answer – as it is to most questions in life – is “it depends.”
IHG normally sells points for as low as 1.15 cents each. Here’s the price chart:
That is not a good deal considering they can be acquired for 0.7 cents by other means (discussed here).
However, this promotion gives you a certain bonus when buying points.
But not everyone is offered the same bonus. The various offers are 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. You can find out which you received here.
This is the effective cost per point with each offer:
If you received a 50% offer or below, it does not make sense to buy points this way (since you can acquire them for cheaper, at 0.7 cents each, as mentioned above).
If you got a 75% or 100% offer, then I could see it making sense if both of the following are true:
- You think IHG points are worth more than these sale prices. I personally value an IHG point at about 0.7 cents, so I think prices are favorable if you received the 75% or the 100% offer.
- You have a specific, near-term use for them. I would not buy points just to hoard them as (1) loyalty points can be – and often are – devalued at whim by the company, and (2) I think it unwise to convert a liquid asset (cash) to an illiquid one (hotel points with little value outside their loyalty program) without good reason.
Here’s an example where it does make sense to buy points. Below is the price of a room at the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam on a random date this summer.
As you see, for one night the cash rate is €1,460 (about $1,800 at today’s exchange rate).
Instead of paying cash, you can book a night for 40,000 points – which can be purchased for $230 with the 100% bonus offer (40,000 x $0.00575) or $263 with the 75% offer.
I’ve used this example before, and it’s a fairly extreme example, but it’s good for illustration.
But be sure to check award availability at your desired hotel before purchasing points!
Treat yourself to a free dozen Krispy Kreme donuts (with purchase).
Coupon is available here and offer is valid only today (December 12). Enjoy!