Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, Citibank and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Update: It now costs 0.7 cents per Priority Club point.
I love Priority Club — the hotel loyalty program for Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) — which includes familiar hotels like Holiday Inn, InterContinental and many others.
Why? Because they make earning points so darned easy.
For example, I earned over 200,000 Priority Club points and 2 free nights at any IHG hotel for only $70 out of pocket which I used at the Williard InterContinental in Washington, DC a few weeks ago!
Buying Priority Club Points
Priority Club sells their hotel points for between 1.15 and 1.35 cents per point (depending on the quantity purchased) up to a limit of 50,000 per year.
That’s not a great deal, because:
Firstly, 50,000 points is not a lot of points, especially when you consider that 1 night at some InterContinentals is 30,000 to 50,000 points.
Secondly, there is a known way to get unlimited (really 40,000 points a day) Priority Club points for 0.60 cents per point!
You can then use these points, for example, to stay at ANY IHG hotel for, at most, $300 a night.
Or as subsection 15 of the Rewards Night sub-chapter of the Priority Club Terms & Conditions puts it:
Priority Club Rewards “Points & Cash” is an option for obtaining a Reward Night. You may choose to redeem Priority 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 $60 to total the required points. The total purchase on any single day may not exceed $240 US.
Aren’t you glad that I like reading complex Terms & Conditions!
You’d get a good value by redeeming 50,000 points bought for $300 at the expensive InterContinentals in London, Paris, and Amsterdam which routinely sell for $500+, or the fancy Willard in Washington DC, or the InterContinental in Bora Bora which costs $1000 a night!
That’s a 76% discount for a room in Bora Bora. That’s truly Big Travel with Small Money!
Have a look at the table below to see what a GREAT value this can be. You can stay at any InterContinental hotel for $180 to $300 or any Crowne Plaza Hotel for $150 to $210!
You can also use these points to redeem for PointsBreaks nights, where you can redeem a hotel night for only 5,000 points, which is perhaps the BEST redemption rate of any hotel reward program. That’s $30 per hotel night if you buy Priority Club points using the Points & Cash trick!
Use Priority Club “Cash and Points” Reservations To Buy Points at 0.6 cents Per Point
Priority Club also offers you the option to make “cash and points” reservations. Here’s how it works:
1) When you make the “cash and points” reservation, the CASH part of your reservation is used to buy points (at 0.6 cents per point) which are then used towards your reservation.
2) Now – here’s the trick! – when you CANCEL your “cash and points” reservation (before the cancellation deadline) you don’t get your money back, but you do get your points back, INCLUDING the points which you bought in step 1) above!
So the net result of making a Priority Club “Points & Cash” reservation and later cancelling that same reservation is that you’re buying points for the price of the cash component of your reservation. This works out to 0.6 cent per point or a 48% reduction over the price which Priority Club themselves sell points.
However, you do need to have at least 5,000 points in your Priority Club account before you can make a cash and points reservation.
It does take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the points to appear back into your account, so this “trick” may not work if you need a last minute reservation.
If you don’t have 5,000 Priority Club points you can either buy them from Priority Club for $67.50 (at the regular price) or sign-up for the Priority Club credit card which gives you 60,000 free Priority Club points.
This is a great card to have because you get 1 free night at any IHG hotel which alone is worth the fee for the credit card. Keep a look out for my review later on! Be aware that there is a targeted version of the Priority Club Credit card, which is emailed to selected members, which offers 80,000 bonus Priority Club points, instead of 60,000 points in the link above.
“Point & Cash Trick” Example With Screenshots:
Remember that the goal of this exercise is to buy Priority Club points at a much lower rate (0.6 cents per mile). If this is tricky — and it is! — please stay the course. I promise it will be worth your time by the end!
Log into your Priority Club account, click on “Reservations” and enter any city, say Indianapolis, IN for a 1 night stay. Under “Rate Preference,” select “Rewards Nights” and then click “Find Hotels.”
You will see a list of hotels which looks like this. I’ve highlighted the cash and points options in red below (click image to enlarge).
Let’s scroll down until we find, for example, the Candlewood Suites in the “Indianapolis Dwtn Medical Dist”
It offers us the following choices:
“15000 Priority Club Points
or 10000 Points + $40
or 5000 Points + $60
per night ”
This means that you can book 1 room for 1 night at the Indianapolis Downtown Candlewood Suite for either:
- 15,000 Priority Club points or
- 10,000 Priority Club points + $40 or
- 5,000 Priority Club points + $60 (this is what we’re interested in)
Option 1 is a simple redemption of Priority Club points for a free hotel night.
But, option 3 is another way of saying that you’re paying $60 (the cash in “points & cash” ) for 10,000 Priority Club points or 0.6 cents per point.
These 10,000 purchased points + the 5,000 points which you need to get started when using the points & cash trick = 15,000 points.
And 15,000 points is enough to book a room at the Candlewood Suites using only points (per option 1 above)!
Note: If you reserve the room for 10,000 points + $40, you are, in effect, buying the 5,000 points for 0.8 cents per point.
0.8 cents per point is a good price, but you can get 1 Priority Club point for 0.6 cents per point by by selecting option 3 above (5,000 Priority Club points + $60)!
Tricky, isn’t it! But we can use it to our advantage 🙂
Select the “5,000 Priority Club points + $60” option.
You are then prompted to choose a room.
After you have selected a room, you move to the final step which is to PAY for the 10,000 points which you have purchased. Note that this is a NON-REFUNDABLE transaction.
If you cancel your reservation (before the cancellation deadline, of course), you will NOT get your money back.
Instead you will get the full point redemption value of your hotel night back (in our example, 10,000 purchased points + 5,000 for a total of 15,000 points).
But that’s exactly what we want since by cancelling your reservation, you have, in effect, bought 10,000 Priority Club points for $60 or 0.6 cents per point!
Cancel your Points and Cash reservation and get 15,000 Priority Club points back in your account – 10,000 (purchased) Priority Clubs points + the 5,000 points which you had initially.
Keep on making points and cash reservations and cancellations until you have accumulated the number of points you require. The Priority Club redemption chart is here.
Note that there is a limit of $240 worth of points purchase per day, per the Priority Club Terms and Conditions. That means that you can’t buy more than 40,000 Priority Club points per day, so plan ahead for multiple night stays!
Once you have accumulated enough Priority Club points, redeem them for the hotels you want. See the chart at the beginning of this post to see just how much you save by using the Priority Club Points & Cash trick!
Be sure to check that there is a reward night available BEFORE you buy points using the Points and Cash trick.
I’ve placed a link to Hotel Reward Night Charts ” in the ‘Mile and Point Resources” section to make it easy for you to look up different airline and hotel award charts and figure out where your miles and points will take you. Just bookmark Million Mile Secrets instead of the gazillion different airline and hotel award charts in your browser!
I shared this trick with my friend Mike who saved $300 for a 2 night stay at a Holiday Inn in Omaha. All the hotels had hiked their rates because of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting this May, but Priority Club reward nights were available!
Have you used the Priority Club trick before? Tell us about it in the comments!