There are times when buying hotel points can save you money, either by topping off your account so you have enough for a free stay, or by buying the entire points amount required. IHG is a hotel chain that includes Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, InterContinental, Indigo and Even hotels. Here are a few different ways you can buy IHG points.
The first is a direct purchase of points from IHG. If you have an IHG membership you would have received an email about a “mystery bonus” promotion. Points are always available for purchase (up to a limit of 60,000 per year) but occasionally there will be a promotion giving you a bonus. The current one is targeted so you must sign in to see what level of bonus you’ve been given. They range from 50% to 100%. The bonus points do not count toward the 60,000 limit. The promotion ends July 18.
Here are the regular prices. It’s a bit less if you buy a larger quantity:
1000 – 10,000 ($13.50 USD per 1000)
11,000 – 23,000 ($12.50 USD per 1000)
26,000 – 60,000 ($11.50 USD per 1000)
So, if you have the 100% bonus you’re paying half price. Apparently, Canadian residents are charged HST on points.com purchases.
Another way to buy points is to choose a bonus point package rate for a hotel stay. These have the added perk of being elite qualifying points according to IHG terms and conditions although they don’t always post as such. These points are usually offered in amounts of 1000 or 5000 points but there are a rare few hotels that offer higher amounts. Note that unlike a direct purchase of points from IHG, there is no standard price for these. Of the 12 IHG hotels in the Maritimes, the cost of the additional 5000 points varies significantly. However, this cost is added to the “best flexible rate” so you must consider the difference between a discounted rate such as advance purchase or CAA, and the best flexible rate when calculating the actual added cost. But it’s a good idea when booking to check what the hotel is charging for these bonus point packages. There are a couple of hotels in the Maritimes with great rates of this type. Remember, the 5000 bonus point packages are typically per stay, not per night.
The last way to get some extra points is to make a cash + points booking and cancel. Your cash portion will be refunded in the form of points. For example, at a hotel that requires 25,000 points a night you will have the option of paying with 20,000 plus $40 USD or 15,000 plus $70 USD. Some hotels in the US also offer options of buying 15,000 points for $99 USD and 20,000 points for $125 USD. Be advised that this method should be used sparingly and only when some extra points are needed for a stay. It’s referred to as the the points & cash “trick” because there is a fear among points collectors of too many people using it which might cause it to be discontinued.
Before you go buying any points it’s important to know how you’re going to use them. IHG hotels require from 10,000 to 60,000 points per night. Of course, if you pay with points you forgo the ability to earn points on your stay.
Here are the point requirements for IHG hotels in the Maritimes from lowest to highest:
Holiday Inn Sydney – Waterfront – 10,000
Holiday Inn Halifax Harbourview (Dartmouth) – 15,000
Holiday Inn Truro – 15,000
Holiday Inn Express Stellarton-New Glasgow -15,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Dieppe Airport – 15,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fredericton – 15,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Halifax – Bedford – 20,000
Crowne Plaza Moncton Downtown – 20,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Saint John Harbourside – 20,000
Crowne Plaza Fredericton Lord Beaverbrook – 30,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Halifax Airport – 30,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Charlottetown – 30,000
Obviously, the Sydney hotel at 10,000 points represents the best value for points. Unfortunately, hotels at the 10,000 point level are quite scarce. One I’ve made a note of is the Holiday Inn Blois – Loire Valley in France.
Another reason to buy some IHG points would be to take a chance that the next Point Break list will have a hotel to your liking. Hotels on the list are only 5000 points per night but there are restrictions in dates, number of bookings, and most importantly, total rooms available at the point break rate. That means popular hotels drop off the list quickly so you must be on the ball when the new list is released. The next one is due out later this month. Hotels in the Maritimes have been on the list occasionally in the past but you certainly can’t count on it. It’s really great though when a hotel on the list fits into your travel plans.