Update: IHG Points + Cash awards now offer a better “points & cash” rate which allows you to purchase points at 0.6 cents per point.

IHG Rewards Club is one of my favorite hotel loyalty programs–because earning points is incredibly quick and easy. I have previously written about the insanely lucrative IHG Rewards Club Visa 80,000 bonus offer and their PointBreaks promotions that offer award nights for only 5,000 points.

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There is another super easy way to earn (well, actually purchase) IHG points using a backdoor method. Using this trick you can buy IHG points for 0.7 cents per point.

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IHG Rewards Club (previously called Priority Club) is the loyalty program of InterContinental Hotel Group and includes the following hotels:

  • Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts
  • Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Even Hotels
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Resorts
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Candlewood Suites

This trick to buying IHG points has been covered before, but it’s so valuable that I figured it could  use a refresher and be useful for anyone new to miles and points.

Normally IHG Rewards Club sells their points for 1.15 to 1.35 cents per point, but using this backdoor method to ‘buying’ IHG points you can buy 10,000 points for $70 (0.7 cents each). You can use these points to stay at any IHG hotel or at an InterContinental hotel on the PointBreaks list for only $35 a night!

IHG Rewards Club’s “Points and Cash” Reservations

When you make a reward night reservation on IHG’s website you have three options. The first is to pay for the stay completely with points, and the other two are “Points and Cash” options that are exactly that, paying for the stay with a combination of points and money.

IHG’s Rewards Clubs terms and conditions say:

IHG® Rewards Club “Points & Cash” is an option for obtaining a Reward Night. You may choose to redeem IHG® Rewards Club points for a Reward Night in three ways: using your existing points for all required points for the desired Reward Night; using your existing points and 5,000 points purchased for US $40 to total the required points; or using your existing points and 10,000 points purchased for US $70 to total the required points. The total purchase on any single day may not exceed $280 US.

The cost for the points purchased is non-refundable. If the Reward Night is cancelled in accordance with these Terms & Conditions and with each hotel’s cancellation policy, the purchased IHG® Rewards Club points will be re-deposited into your IHG® Rewards Club account.

This states that you can make a reservation using “Points and Cash” and purchase 10,000 points for $70, and if you end up cancelling the stay, the points you bought for 0.7 cents each will be re-deposited into your IHG Rewards Club account.

Thus, you have an endless way to ‘buy’ IHG Rewards Club points for 0.7 cents each!

Plus, when you redeem IHG points you get a 10% rebate! So, you’re really getting 11,000 points for $70 or paying 0.63 cents per point.

IHG normally offers very competitive rates for stays using points, but when you buy points for 0.7 cents each you are getting a very good deal!

Last August, I stayed at the Holiday Inn Sisli in Istanbul that usually runs around ~$322 or 15,000 points per night in the summer. I consider 15,000 a night for this hotel a great value, but using points you bought for 0.7 cents each you’d only be paying $102 per night (or 67% off!).

This is just one example of the amazing value you can get, I’m sure you’ll find many amazing properties (especially InterContinental hotels) that you can save 50% off per night using the points you bought with the trick.

One of the best uses of these points is to redeem them for reward nights at a hotel on IHG’s Point Breaks list for only 5,000 points per night. Using points from the “Points and Cash” trick means you can stay at ANY hotel on the list for $35 per night. This is a great deal for any of the hotels, but certainly a steal for stays at an InterContinental hotel.

Think about that. You could stay a month at an InterContinental hotel on the Point Breaks list for ~$1,000. That’s less than rent in most major cities in the US! This is why IHG Rewards Club is an amazing program.

Purchasing IHG Rewards Club Points for 0.7 Cents Each Using the “Points and Cash” Trick

As I mentioned above, when you make an IHG Rewards Club reward night reservation you have three options,  including paying for part of the stay using points and part with money. This is “the trick.” These “Points and Cash” reservations are how you can buy IHG points for 0.7 cents each.

How Does This Work?

When you choose to make a “Points and Cash” reservation you are essentially buying 10,000 points for $70 and using your existing points for the rest of the cost. Essentially all of these reservations knock 10,000 points off the total price and allow you to buy points at 0.7 cents per point to cover the 10,000 point difference.

BUT, per the terms when you cancel a “Points and Cash” reservation the points you purchased get re-deposited back into your account. This means you will not get money back for these points, but rather a refund in points. Another note: make sure you cancel your reservation within the timeline of hotel’s policy.

Just to clarify, when you cancel  the reservation you will get both the points you used from your account and the points you purchased to cover the “Cash” portion of the reservation. This means that when you make a ““Points and Cash” reservation and cancel it within the hotel’s cancellation deadline you are buying IHG points for 0.7 cents per point. This is a much better deal than what IHG normally sells their points for.

Some side notes:

  • To use the “Points and Cash” trick you must have 5,000 or more points in your IHG Rewards Club account. You can either transfer Ultimate Rewards points to IHG or buy 5,000 points for full price (1.15 to 1.35 cents each) directly from IHG.
  • Make sure that you use the “Points and Cash” option to buy 10,000 points for $70, since there is another less valuable option of 5,000 points for $40.
  • You can only buy up to $280 (40,000)  worth of points per day using the “Points and Cash” trick.
  • Be sure to check out reward night availability before you buy points using the “Points and Cash” trick.

And now a walk-through on how to buy IHG points using this trick:

It’s simple to buy IHG points using the “Points and Cash” trick, all you need to do is follow these steps and you’ll be set to buy IHG points for 0.7 cents each!

1. Make sure you are logged into your IHG Rewards Club account.

2. Next, on IHG’s reservations page, enter a city and search for a 1 night reservation. The default “Rate Preference” should be set to “Reward Nights” though if it’s not then select that option and submit your search by clicking “Find a Hotel”.

IHGTrick1

3. The search results will show hotels with 3 different price options. In my example you can book the reward night for:

  • 15,000 points per night (100% points)
  • 10,000 points + ‎ $ 40.00 USD per night (points and cash option #1)
  • 5,000 points + ‎ $ 70.00 USD per night (points and cash option #2)

You want to select the “Points and Cash” option that says “5,000 points + $70.00 USD per night” (points and cash option #2). You’ll notice that the points needed is 10,000 points less than the 100% points option. This is how you buy 10,000 points for $70 (and better deal than 5,000 points for $40) since you are making the reservation using 5,000 of your points and buying 10,000 points that go towards the reservation.

IHGTrick2

You can choose the cheapest hotel option since you won’t actually be keeping the reservation. So you might as well make the reservation with as few points as possible just incase you want to make additional reservations.

4. Select the “5,000 points + ‎ $ 70.00 USD per night” option and click “Check Rates”. Next choose your room option, and again selecting the “5,000 points + ‎ $ 70.00 USD per night” option. Then click “Book This Room”.

IHGTrick3

4. On the confirmation page you will be prompted to enter your credit card info and agree to the terms of buying 10,000 points for $70.00.

I authorize a charge of $70.00 per night for a total of $70.00 charged to my specified credit card for the immediate purchase of 10,000 total IHG®Rewards Club points to be applied towards this Reward Night booking. This point purchase fee is non-refundable.

IHGTrick4

Note: These points are non-refundable for cash. When you cancel your reservation within the hotel’s policy you will only get the points re-deposited into your account.

This is the ‘trick’ to buying IHG points for 0.7 cents each! When you cancel you will get the points you purchased (10,000 points for $70) plus the points you used from your account to book the reservation re-deposited back into your account.

5. All you have to do now is cancel your “Points and Cash” reservation and the total points amount for the stay will be re-deposited back into your account (including the 10,000 points you purchased for $70.00).

6. You can repeat this process to earn 10,000 points each time, and soon you’ll have enough for stays you want. The only limit is that you can buy a maximum of 40,000 (or $280) IHG points per day using “Points and Cash” reservations.

7. You’ll want to plan ahead so you have the points in your account when you want to use them for stays. I wouldn’t recommend building up a large balance and keeping them over a long period of time, but rather using this trick when you have a stay know you want.

Now you’re set to buy IHG points for 0.7 cents each using the “Points and Cash” trick! And remember that when you redeem IHG points you get 10% back, so you’re actually getting 11,000 points for $70 or paying 0.63 cents a piece!

You can use the points for any IHG hotel and can check out their award chart here. One of the best uses of IHG points is for booking Point Breaks hotels for 5,000 per night, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a some points in your account before the new list comes out every 2 months. The next one is set to come out around the start of April.

Have you purchased IHG points using this trick? Tell us how you used them in the comments!

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8 Comments

  • Hi

    Please help me. I can’t find the option for points plus cash. Is it on certain hotels only? All that I find are points only or cash only.

    Thank you

    Rose

  • Can you help me with this? My head is exploding with the options and how to do the math. We have a credit card that earns us 2% back as cash. We have the IHG card with 15K miles left from the 70K? sign on bonus.

    We need to stay at a hotel for 2 nights that would cost $180 / night or using IHG points we have the 15K / 10K / 5K options you mention.

    Trying to get the best value from this?

    Do we?

    a) charge our 2% credit card for the room rate
    b) use 15K points for first night, charge the 2nd night?
    c) use 10K and $40 for the first night (since you talk of 5K / $70 being a better deal than this, I’ll throw this out based on that?)
    d) use 5K and $70 twice and still have 5K miles left over?
    e) a combo of C&D for the 2 nights?
    f) some other combination to create points at .63c / point?

    while this is a specific situation, I’m thinking the thought process is similar in general? ie use 15K vs. 5K and $70. Which is the best value?

    thanks!

  • Generally how long does it take for the points to be redeposited back into your account? If it’s instantaneous, that’s great!

  • I have done this trick and got 30k points. If the hotel finds out you are doing this can they kick you out? Can I get in trouble?

    I am staying at a holiday inn and the manager is a real B!tch, she always treats me rude and with disrespect and acts like she doesn’t want me there.

    The employees do not know anything there and she is the only one who knows what to do.

    The other night I stopped by front desk and told the guy I was extending my stay and had a confirmation number. I asked if he knew how to do it and if not then I could stop by in the morning and let them know. He acted like he knew how to do it when he did not and he extended my stay through the in house system instead of by my reservation. SO he was boneheaded and acted like he knew what he was doing when he should have said he didn’t know!!

    Then the manager blamed me. It is incredible. My main worry is this room is nice and the points break is unbeatable. I am just worried they are going to research and find out I do this trick. The manager questioned me “I thought you were out of points!! Did you buy more!!???”

    This hotel is on points break now. She asks me HEY! your points were empty last time!! Hey how are you getting your points!! Did you buy more points!!??!

    Why should she question me like this?

    It is making me very nervous! Should I just leave this hotel? They act like they want me out. I cause no problems and am very quiet and ask for nothing nor do i complain. I think they can get 150 a night here and they are a corporate hotel.

    They treat me like I am an enemy and shady and ask inappropriate questions!

    What should I do?

    • John, it sounds like you have quite the nosey front desk agent! I haven’t heard of anyone having problems from IHG using this method. Let me know if you find otherwise!

  • Can you help clarify your technique? – the math don’t seem to pan out

    Am I missing something?

    Using the reservation below as an example:
    Indianapolis Dwtn Medical Dist
    1152 N. White River Pkwy. W. Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46222 United States

    Here are the booking options:
    1) $88.99 USD
    2) 15,000 points per night
    3) 10,000 points + ‎ $ 40.00 USD per night
    4) 5,000 points + ‎ $ 70.00 USD per night

    Question:
    Using your technique (I’d choose option 4 – see above), I would have paid $70 for 10,000 points ($0.007 per point) when I cancel my reservation.
    However, if I were to make an intended reservation using the points I accumulated with your strategy, it would proof to be more costly than paying for the hotel straight-up. See below.

    Example:
    1. By making a reservation and cancelling, I can accumulate enough points for 2 days (I’ll need 30,000 points).
    By booking for 3 days and cancelling, I’ll earn 10,000 x 3 = 30,000 (I’m paying $70 per 10,000 points)
    2. It would have cost me $210 using your technique (since I’m paying $70 per 10,000 points)
    3. It would have been cheaper to simply pay at the rate of $88.99 (per night) x 2 = $177.98

    Please clarify.

    Fareez Ismail

    • Fareez, you’re correct that not all stays will be a better value using points, but periodically there is a normal priced redemption that offers a better value buying points than paying for the night. The real value comes from using IHG points for PointBreaks stays that only cost 5,000 points per night. At this rate you can book stays for only ~$35 per night using the Cash & Points method.