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This is part of the reader question posts that I a few weeks back. You can view more reader questions here. Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have a question you’d like answered.
Yesterday I posted that InterContinental Hotels Group was offering a 25%-100% bonus on purchasing points. Many folks commented on the blog post wondering if they should in fact purchase points:
“I got the 100 percent. Think it is worth it to buy? $690 for 120K points. Also how many times can one buy? Can I do multiple transactions or is there a cap for the amount of points one can buy per year at IHG?”
If you were targeted for the 100% bonus offer you can essentially purchase points at .58 cents per point. This means that if you want to purchase the maximum amount allowed in one transaction it will cost you $690 for 60,000 points + the 60,000 point bonus giving you a total of 120,000 points. IHG allows you to purchase a total of 120,000 points per calendar year, so if you have yet to purchase points yet this year, you can go through two transactions to fully maximize on the promotion (although I have not yet purchased points so I cannot verify that the 100% promotion is valid for the 2nd transaction as well).
So the big question here is, is this promotion actually a deal? Unfortunately there is no one set answer here as it really depends. I personally do not like purchasing points on a speculative basis unless it is for an incredibly low cost. This is because programs can devalue and award redemption might not be available on the desired dates. With that being said, if you know of an upcoming IHG hotel stay, it is worthwhile doing a cost analysis to see if purchasing points is cheaper than actually paying the lowest rate at the hotel. You can check out the number of points required for a particular hotel here.
Some examples where purchasing points will save you $$ (checked a random weekend in May):
- Hotel Indigo New York City Chelsea – The lowest rate I found is $315.62/night after tax (a non-refundable rate). If you are looking at a two night stay, you are looking at a total cost of $631.24. A free night award stay will cost you 90,000 points for the two nights, and the cost to purchase those points (45,000 points + 45,000 point bonus) is $517.50. So this purchase points promotion will save you over $100!
- Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills – The lowest rate I found was $249.68/night after tax (AAA rate). A two night stay will cost you a total of $499.36. This particular hotel requires 35,000 points a night, so 70,000 points for the stay. The cost to purchase the points (35,000 points + 35,000 point bonus) is $402.50. Again, purchasing points will save you almost $100 for your stay!
- InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora – This hotel is quite expensive at $494/night! A two night stay here will run you close to $1,000. This hotel requires 50,000 points/night for a free night redemption, so purchasing the points required for the two night stay (50,000 points + 50,000 point bonus) will cost you $575. This is by far an unbelievable way to stay at the hotel for almost half the price! Of course though, you need to check out hotel availability on an award stay, as the random weekend I checked had no availability at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa.
- Holiday Inn London Mayfair – At $304/night, this hotel will cost $608 for a two night stay. This particular hotel requires 35,000 points a night, so 70,000 points for the stay. The cost to purchase the points (35,000 points + 35,000 point bonus) is $402.50. This is a nice $200 savings.
Of course there are many hotels where purchasing points will not be less expensive, so you need to research your particular hotel to do the cost analysis. Ultimately, here is the price per night for each category hotel (assuming you are purchasing more than 26,000 points thus getting the better rate). If the hotel with tax is more expensive then purchasing points is a good deal:
- 50,000 points a night = $287.50
- 45,000 points a night = $258.75
- 40,000 points a night = $230.00
- 35,000 points a night = $201.25
- 30,000 points a night = $172.50
- 25,000 points a night = $143.75
- 20,000 points a night = $115.00
- 15,000 points a night = $86.25
And the best value is if you can book a points break hotel at 5,000 points a night! This means that the hotel will really only cost you $28.75/night!!!
Also remember, when using points, you will not earn points from your stay or be eligible for any promotion offering bonus points.
Will you be purchasing points? And if so, where will you be redeeming and what is your savings? You can purchase points here.