I’m not a huge fan of buying hotel points, with one exception: IHG Points Bonus: Buy 26,000- 60,000 points and get 100% bonus. At 100% bonus the points come down to less than .6 each, which is as low as I’ve ever seen them for outright purchase*.
I find IHG points just about the easiest to use, which is why I call them points with training wheels.
- IHG points don’t expire**
- The price above is as low as they get (you can “make” points for .7, but this is much easier).
- IHG (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge and Candlewoods Suites, Intercontinental among others) are pretty much everywhere.
- 75% of the time (in my experience) the points cost is going to be less than even the non-refundable rate for any given hotel.
- Pointbreaks, a list where hotels go for 5,000 points a night updated every 2 months.
I’ve had some truly memorable hotel stays, such as one last summer in Solomon’s Island, Maryland, for less than $30.
So if you’re really looking to get started traveling more for less, IHG points might be just the push you need, with very little downside. We’ll get those training wheels off soon enough!
*Another way to amass lots of points for very little cost is to maximize promotions such as the current “Accelerate” promotions which earns up to bonus points to share after as few as 3 stays. The promotion is personalized (which I hate) so you have to log in to see your specific bonus. This is one reason to have an account for both you and your spouse: for instance Deal Dad’s offer often varies significantly from mine.
My favorite way to top up once I book a stay is to book the bonus points package, which offers extra points for a very low per point cost on top of the best rate. And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the IHG Credit Card from Chase that offers an up to 80K signup bonus from time to time. You can find the best offers updated frequently in this Flyertalk thread.
Are you topping up your IHG Account? Where are you using your points? Please share in the comments.
**Technically, IHG points do expire after 12 months of inactivity, but there’s a no-brainer work-around to make sure they’re good into perpetuity. Just make a reservation far into the future, cancel it, and rebook as needed to keep the points alive until you are ready to use them. Points are withdrawn when you make a reservation, making this qualify as a “redeem” activity, but are immediately redeposited when you cancel.
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