The Deal Mommy

My Love/Hate Relationship with IHG Rewards Club

You may have seen that IHG Rewards Club points are on sale this week for just under .6 cents each. You’re seeing so much about them mostly because points sales earn a nice commission.  Full disclosure: the banner below is an affiliate link.

If you miss this sale, IHG will probably pop up on Daily Getaways next month and will certainly put them on sale again soon. 

To put it gently, I’m not a fan of buying points. That said, I have actually both advocated for buying IHG points at .6 and bought them myself at that level. 


Good question, and one I’ve been asking myself this week. I’ve come to realize I have a real love/hate relationship with IHG Rewards Club points: I love to collect them but hate to let them go.

That’s a really stupid strategy. 

I firmly believe that points are not an asset you own, but a tool you use to accomplish a goal. They are also volatile: devaluations occur in a way you can’t predict. I visualize points as fresh fruit: you don’t want them to rot before you have a chance to take a bite. 

Don’t let this happen to your points.

I have spent between 500K and a million miles/points each of the past five years, but I prefer to collect in a “just in time” fashion. In other words, I only sign up for a credit card if I see some use on the horizon. 

At any given time my average balance stays under a million. At the moment an embarrassingly large amount of those are IHG points. 

Part of this is due to two signups for the IHG Chase Visa. At $49/year for an unlimited category annual night the card is a no-brainer. However, I never saw a specific use so I didn’t bother to  apply. I was expecting to use the most of the points from the signup bonuses at Disneyland, but I didn’t.

Which leads to my IHG Rewards Club problem.  

My problem arises every time I go to book an IHG Rewards Club award room.It’s always a good practice to compare points rates to cash rates and current promotions.

In the Disneyland example, I had an IHG Rewards Club Accelerate Offer that was too good to pass up: 53K bonus points with just a four night stay at two different properties, as long as one of them was a Holiday Inn. Disneyland area IHG hotels are plentiful. On the week we stayed rates were consistently under $100. For a five night stay, spending $450 including taxes, I earned 61,000 points. 

So now I’m sitting not only on 160,000 IHG Rewards Club points from two credit card signups, but 61k bonus points in addition to the already healthy balance I had from previous promotions. 

At the moment I have 160K dedicated to a stay for Deal Dad in Dublin this fall. At 160K vs. $1204 it’s a redemption value of .75 cents. I’m happy with anything above .6.

But what happens when the departure dates comes closer and a new accelerate offer changes the math?  I’ll be tempted to change my reservation to a cash one if the earning rate is compelling enough. Especially if I find a rate that includes bonus points. 

Which means I’ll once again be sitting on an uncomfortable balance of IHG points. 

The only IHG points I’m completely comfortable spending are those on Pointbreaks. I’m one of the few who is happy about the new three tier Pointbreaks system as I might have more incentive to actually use the points I already have as opposed to earning more. 

Do you have trouble letting go of IHG points? I’d love to hear how you have used them successfully as I’m still sitting on more of them than I would like. 

15 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship with IHG Rewards Club

  1. Kelly

    I sit on my points in this program. The only time I seem to use them is for a one night stay near an airport on the way here or there. Or while traveling to through some little town near a national park before I stay IN the national Park. I do like using my yearly free night at a high end property like Venetian in Las Vegas or intercontinental in San Fran

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Funny you mention the airport. I just remembered the last time I used IHG points: Buenos Aires and Santiago Airport Holiday Inns before early morning flights.

  2. Denise L

    I had a large balance of IHG points finding them difficult to use. I usually end up booking a hotel where I have status to get lounge access and free breakfast. Then last summer my daughter and I took a last minute trip to Paris and I decided those elite benefits were not that important and I redeemed points at the Hotel Indigo Paris Opera for 40k per night. Now I wish I had more points! There are some very interesting properties in Europe.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Thanks for the suggestion. I think IHG’s lack of Platinum benefits weighs into the calculation. And in Paris? I’d much rather have a coffee and pastry than a hotel buffet, too.

  3. P

    I just don’t like not being able to redeem my points or annual free night for a room with two beds. Most options are always 1 king bed or bed type assigned at check in, and even though room preference is two beds, I never get two beds at check in. So, I always ends up using the free nights at a Holiday Inn that do provide two beds instead of an IC or Indigo.

  4. Kate

    I’m forcing myself to use 40,000 at an airport hotel in san diego tomorrow, but I have a lot of points and I don’t want to stay at some place cheap. but yes, it sort of hurts to spend 40,000 like that. I’m even having a trifle difficulty using our two $49 nights at the In Intercontinental in LA where the cash price is under $300, because I’ve done so much “better ” in the past, but I know that’s ridiculous, so I’m using both of them. I’m trying to get better about using points because we have about 4 million, although I do think it’s also going to be harder to get them going forward.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      If the redemption works for you, it works. The thing about IHG points is that they’ll pretty much be available forever at .7 or less.

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  6. Clare N

    I earn them and burn them! Right now I have fewer than 5,000 points. If I want to do a pointsbreak, I will need to top off my account by transferring in a few Sapphire reserve points.

  7. Aleks

    It’s still a decent program, use the points every year – some savings over cheapest member rates with those points (even purchased).
    The Free Cert. Night have some negatives but overall a good value: it’s hard to find a decent hotel under $99 in the US.
    Buying IHG for 0.5 cpp presents a good value if you have redemption in mind, or stocking for PointBreaks.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      I think part of the trick is using them in places where taxes are high because award rates aren’t taxed. Thanks for your insight.

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