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 points.com 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.
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.