IHG Rewards — the loyalty program of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and InterContinental — offers a regular promotion called PointBreaks in which select hotels provide award nights as low as 5,000 points per night. Properties across the world and in every brand participate, so it’s not just the cheap ones you’d expect to find. But availability is limited, so they are highly sought after.
There are many ways to get 5,000 points that I’ll explain below. You can even, in a way, purchase them at a price of 0.7 cents each. That would make it possible to book these hotels for only $35 a night. You must stay between January 27 and March 31.
Here are the participating hotels, which are currently listed in an online forum (skip to the second post for U.S. properties). The official PointBreaks page should be updated eventually. I’ll share a few that caught my eye because it is a very long list:
- Holiday Inn Express Carlsbad Beach (CA)
- Hotel Indigo Boston-Newton Riverside (MA)
- Candlewood Suites Amarillo-Western Crossing (TX)
- Crowne Plaza Madison (WI)
- InterContinental Beijing Beichen
- Crowne Plaza Shanghai Fudan
- Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Jinsha
- InterContinental Phnom Penh
- Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini
- Holiday Inn Vanuatu
- Holiday Inn Berlin City E-Landsberger
- Crowne Plaza Ankara
- Holiday Inn Darlington-A1 Scotch Corner
- InterContinental Mendoza
- Crowne Plaza Suites Tequendama Bogota
- Crowne Plaza Guatamala
- Crowne Plaza Asuncion
Obtaining IHG Rewards Points NOW!
Okay, so you have a taste of what’s available and now you need to know how to get the points. If you’re really worried about availability, then you have two good options and one bad.
First, you could transfer Ultimate Rewards points if you have any. I don’t normally recommend this because I think Ultimate Rewards can be put to much better use with more valuable rewards programs like United MileagePlus or Hyatt Gold Passport. But if you have a specific, high-value use in mind then they are very easy to move over almost instantly. I value UR points at about 1.7 cents each, so this is a “cost” of $85 per night.
Second, you could “buy” points if you already have at least 5,000 to work with. When you book at Cash + Points award at a hotel, the cash portion is actually used to buy the missing number of points — it’s not really a discounted award type like at some other rewards programs. The cost per point in this method is only 0.7 cents each, and if you later cancel the Cash + Points award you will get the points back instead of the money. Your cost is $35.
There is a third option: buy points from Points.com. But they’ll charge as much as 1.35 cents each. It’s much cheaper and not too difficult to use the reservation trick above.
Obtaining IHG Rewards Points Later
If you are more patient and willing to risk that your particular property of choice could sell out, then I have two other suggestions for obtaining points at lower cost.
First, IHG has a ton of promotions, most of which stack. Frequent Miler recently wrote a post in which he described booking a stay at a Candlewood Suites for a final cost of $95 after using a cash back portal. In exchange, he earned almost 22,000 IHG Rewards points as well as additional points on his credit card. Let’s call it a $100 mattress run for 20,000 points. Your cost when you redeem them for a PointBreaks award is $25 per night.
Second, Chase issues an IHG Rewards credit card. It doesn’t get a lot of attention because it’s not in any of the affiliate programs, but you’ve probably received an email for it. The sign-up offer ranges from 60,000 to 80,000 points depending on the link you use, but I have always been able to find the 80,000 link on FlyerTalk (unlike some cards, where the better offer actually does come and go). You just need to spend $1,000 in three months to get the points in your account. The first year’s annual fee is waived,but after that $49 gets you another free night each year at any IHG hotel.