How To Buy IHG Points To Save Money On Hotels

Kimpton hotel, one of the hotels you could redeem for less if you use our guide on how to buy IHG points

Hotel rewards programs can offer many benefits, especially for those who stay at hotels frequently and can gain elite status with these programs. For those who can’t or who need a few points to top up to make a redemption, there’s the option of buying points. Compared to airline programs, most hotel programs, including IHG One, offer the ability to buy points at great prices. While this may seem counter-intuitive, if you do this right, you can save a lot of money on your hotel redemptions. In some cases, this can be more than 50% off the cash rate. Read our guide on IHG One and how to buy IHG points to save money.

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    Why does buying IHG points make sense?

    Buying reward points sounds counterintuitive because you generally expect to get them for free in return for staying in hotels or earning through associated partners. Most people don’t know it can be a great way to get luxury and even regular hotel rooms at excellent discounts during peak periods. Most people will realise that hotel prices have increased after the pandemic. This can make your next holiday a little bit more affordable. Let me demonstrate this to you with some examples.

    hotel indigo in nashville. A potential IHG points redemption

    Save 20% on a 4-star hotel in New York.

    For those who have travelled to America, you know the prices of hotels have become somewhat ridiculous, especially once you consider taxes and fees. Take the Intercontinental Hotel in Times Square. The cost of the hotel for four nights is US$1400, including taxes and additional fees. If you look at the same hotel with points, it is 45,750 per night + US$40 per night for the service fee. If you buy these points while a bonus points promotion is running, you could pay US$970 to buy the required points.

    Along with the nightly service fee, you’d pay US$1130 or 20% less than if you’d booked outright. In addition, you gain a flexible room, which you can cancel at any time up to the night before your stay. Something you’d usually have to pay extra for!

    Save 15% on a 4-star hotel in Melbourne.

    For those wanting a local getaway, consider using the IHG program to pay for your next hotel. The Holiday Inn Express in Southbank, Melbourne, starts at US$133 per night or US$532 for four nights, including all taxes. The same room with points costs 21,250 points per night, so buying the points required for a four-night stay would only set you back US$450. This is a 15% saving for next to no effort, and you gain a flexible room rate.

    How to Buy IHG Points

    hotel indigo in nashville. A potential IHG points redemption

    Buying points is relatively straightforward. The two things I suggest doing before going through these steps are to make sure that there are reward nights available for the hotel you are interested in staying at and check that there is a bonus points promotion, as these happen frequently and offer the best value. Often, you’ll get a 100% bonus on your purchased points, making the points even better value than what I have shown you.

    1. Sign up for IHG One, the IHG Rewards Program.
    2. Visit this page to buy IHG points and complete the steps to finish your purchase.

    Yep, it’s that easy. Once the points have been credited to your account (which should be more or less instant), go through the steps to book your chosen hotel.

    Use IHG’s InterContinental Ambassador Program to get more value from your points.

    IHG offers an additional paid loyalty program like Accor Plus from ALL. It’s called InterContinental Ambassador. This costs 200 USD per year but gives you several perks that make it worth a look. Firstly, it comes with a free weekend night at an Intercontinental hotel (with a few exceptions), which should immediately offset the joining cost. The other perk which, for me, offers more value is the free IHG One Platinum Elite status while you’re a member. This means that you get a room upgrade on arrival, assorted discounts on dining within hotels, and bonus points for stays. While it does promise discounted reward nights, I have yet to find evidence of these existing, so don’t consider this when looking at the membership.

    What's the catch?

    Buying points is a relatively easy way to save money on hotels. IHG’s program isn’t as appealing as Hilton’s (which has its fifth-night free perk, saving you another 20%), but it has its uses. IHG has an extensive global footprint and many options to suit more budget-conscious travellers. This trick can benefit people with any budget and is worth looking into for all travellers. Keep some things in mind before going down the points buying route.

    • Reward nights for popular hotels sell out quickly. Please confirm that the hotel has availability with points before buying them, as points purchases are not refundable.
    • Some hotels do have additional fees with points purchases. IHG’s website is transparent about these fees but take them into account when doing your calculations on whether it’s worth it or not.
    • There is a cap on how many points you can buy in a year. Currently, this is 150,000 points (not including bonuses). So, if you find a 100% bonus offer, you can buy 300,000 points yearly. This may not be enough for some premium or longer reservations.
    • You will not earn points on stays paid for through points. In some cases, especially for elite members, you may get more value by paying cash and using the points earned for future stays.

    Despite these caveats, this is a great trick to save a little money as hotel rooms become pricier and holidays become more expensive. It will work well for those who want to go on an extended overseas trip and for a local weekend away, which is why I think it’s worth looking into.

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