Save Chase Points When Booking IHG Hotels!

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Million Mile Secrets reader Tammy Horvath commented:

What does this mean:  “If you’re comfortable with using the cash and points trick, you can buy IHG Rewards points and then get a statement credit of 1 cent per Chase Ultimate Rewards point. This is a better value than redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly for IHG Rewards points.”

I did the cash and points trick already in the past but is this referring to buying them with my Ink card or something?  I don’t understand how to get a statement credit of 1 cent per Ultimate Reward point.

Tammy is referring to the IHG Cash and Points trick, which allows you to “buy” IHG points for 0.7 cents per point.

Save Chase Points When Booking IHG Hotels

You Can Buy IHG Points for 0.7 Cents Each and Stay at the Willard Intercontinental in Washington, DC

If you want to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for IHG hotel stays, it’s better to use this trick than to transfer points directly to IHG.  I’ll explain why!

How Does the IHG Cash and Points Trick Work?

Link:   IHG Cash and Points Trick

IHG Rewards (formerly Priority Club) includes Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, and Staybridge Suites brand hotels

IHG normally sells their points for 1.15 to 1.35 cents per point.  But by using the Cash and Points trick, you can effectively “buy” points for 0.7 cents per point.

I’ve written detailed instructions, but here’s a quick overview of how it works.

IHG allows you to book nights using a combination of points and cash.  So if you don’t have enough points for an award night, you can buy the points you need to make up the balance.

Save Chase Points When Booking IHG Hotels

Short on Points? Pay Cash for Points You’re Missing

If you make a points and cash reservation, then cancel it before the deadline, IHG will NOT refund your money.  But they WILL refund the points you purchased!

In order to do this trick, you’ll need at least 5,000 IHG points in your account.  If you don’t have a lot of IHG points, your best bet is to find a hotel that normally costs 15,000 points per night.

For example, the Staybridge Suites Toronto – Markham costs:

  • 15,000 points per night, or
  • 10,000 points plus $40 (so you’re buying 5,000 points for $40), or
  • 5,000 points plus $70 (so you’re buying 10,000 points for $70)

By using cash and points, you’ll usually get the hotel for less than retail cost.  But always double-check to be sure!

Save Chase Points When Booking IHG Hotels

You Can Pay 15,000 Points, or a Combination of Points and Cash for a Room at the Staybridge Suites Toronto – Markham

If you book using 5,000 points plus $70, you’re effectively paying $70 for 10,000 points (15,000 point normal room cost – 5,000 points for cash and points).  That works out to 0.7 cents per point ($70 cash cost / 10,000 points).

Then, when you cancel the reservation, you won’t be refunded the $70 you paid.  But the points will be re-deposited into your account!  So you’ve just bought 10,000 points for $70.

The great thing about this deal is that there’s no limit to the number of points you can get (though you’re limited to spending $280 per day on cash and points bookings).  Normally, IHG only allows members to purchase a maximum of 120,000 points per year.

What About Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?

If you want to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for IHG hotel stays, you could transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to IHG.

Save Chase Points When Booking IHG Hotels

You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to IHG at a 1:1 Ratio

So if you need 10,000 IHG points, you’ll have to transfer 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Save Chase Points When Booking IHG Hotels

10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points = 10,000 IHG Points

But the better way to do this is to use the IHG Cash and Points trick, and use your Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit card (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold) to pay for the purchase.  Remember, you’re “buying” 10,000 IHG points for $70.

Note:  There is currently a better in-branch offer for the Chase Ink Plus.

Then, you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards points towards a statement credit for $70.  Points are worth 1 cent each when used towards statement credits, so $70 costs 7,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

To do this, log into your Chase account, go to Ultimate Rewards, then click “Cash Back” on the menu.

Save Chase Points When Booking IHG Hotels

A Statement Credit for $70 Costs 7,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

So instead of transferring 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to get 10,000 IHG points, you’re using only 7,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a $70 statement credit.  And that $70 earned you 10,000 IHG points through the cash and points trick!

You’re saving 3,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points!  Using Chase Ultimate Rewards points towards a statement credit means you’re getting a transfer ratio of 1 Chase Ultimate Reward point to ~1.43 IHG points (10,000 IHG points / 7,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points).  That’s much better than the 1:1 ratio if you transferred points directly.

Note:   Direct transfers of Chase Ultimate Rewards points could be worth it if you have no IHG points to start with, and need 5,000 points to take advantage of the Cash and Points trick.  Or if you’re redeeming points for a PointBreaks reservation (which only costs 5,000 points per night).

Bottom Line

If you want to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for IHG hotel stays, you’ll save points by using the IHG Cash and Points trick.  Then use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a statement credit against that purchase.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer directly to IHG in a 1:1 ratio.  So if you needed 10,000 IHG points, it would cost you 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

But by using your Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit card to pay $70 for 10,000 points (using the IHG Cash and Points trick), then using Ultimate Rewards points for a $70 statement credit, it would only cost you 7,000 points.

That’s a much better deal!  Thanks for the question, Tammy!

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10 responses to “Save Chase Points When Booking IHG Hotels!

  1. You could also book your room thru the UR travel portal and get 1.25 cents per point when booking. Sometimes it helps to use that portal when you want to use UR points. Saves yourself some points instead of using credit statement. But you won’t receive benefits I’d assume if you use UR portal.

  2. Another way to accumulate IHG points inexpensively is via a purchase of a Simon Gift Card. If you live within proximity to a Simon Mall, you could buy $5,000 in Simon Visa Gift Cards (10 cards at $500 each) and get 5,000 IHG Points. The transaction fee associated with each $500 Simon Gift Card is $2.95 with your IHG Visa card for an out of pocket cost of less than $30.

  3. Another way to accumulate IHG points for FREE is to use you IHG credit card for things you were going to buy anyway!

  4. Thanks Daraius! That explains it. The only portion I was missing was getting the refund of my out of pocket for the $280 since I bought 40,000 IHG points.

  5. I did not understand, so as per the post I will get Ultimate Rewards back if I use Chase Sapphire card to pay for the 7000 points ($70)?

  6. In May 2014 I “bought” a lot of IHG points for reward nights booking and paid for them with my Sapphire Preferred card. When the cycle closed I realized that I did not get double points for the purchases. I inquired via a secure message and received a response stating “Since the merchant (IHG PTS AND CASH REWARD) in question was not assigned an appropriate category, your purchases did not qualify for bonus rewards. The rewards adjustment cannot be made because the merchant is not in an eligible category. ”

    Still better than redeeming UR points at full price, but disappointing not to get the double travel points.

  7. If I use my IHG CC, would I earn 5x points on these purchases like normal IHG purchases? If anyone has used their IHG card to pay for points using this method I’d like to know if it’s classified as an “IHG” purchase to get those extra bonus points.

  8. Darius, I just wanted to say thanks. Yesterday my wife and I returned from a 12 day trip to London to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. For several years, your blog has been my first e-mail read of the day, and I have enjoyed using many ideas I got from you to collect points and miles. We were able to travel first class on United going over with MP and some UR transferred miles, first class on American returning using our AA miles, stayed 10 nights at Holiday Inn Mayfair in Central London using our IHG points, traveled by rail and underground using points accumulated on the Barclay Arrival. Total cost not including food was $610 – the cost of the Heathrow fee on American. It was truly a trip of a lifetime for us – thanks again!

  9. Hi Darius, Great idea ! So I can also use my Capital Venture or Barclays card to do the same thing, and earns 2x points. Is that right ? Would IHG credit card gives you 5X points for this type of transaction ?
    Thank you !