IHG Rewards Club Points + Cash Quirk (+ Workaround)

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IHG Rewards Club Points + Cash has been around for couple of years. IHG basically sells you 5,000 points for $40 or 10,000 points for $70 per award night and just issues a regular points award for your stay.

ihg-rewards-club-cash-points-not-enough

The benefit of doing it this way is that hotels don’t need to load separate Points + Cash availability (they all must participate) and they are reimbursed under regular award night schedule.

You can access IHG’s web page for this award type here.

ihg-rewards-club-cash-points

A LoyaltyLobby reader just had problem redeeming for a Points + Cash award night in Singapore (rates there are through the roof).

He thought that having the points component of the Points + Cash on his account would be enough, but that is not the case. You must have the number of points required for the award reservation using full points or the transaction won’t go through.

The reason for this is that IHG first redeems the award using full points and then issues points for your account for the “cash” portion.

If IHG would first “sell” you the Points + Cash points and deposit the points to your account BEFORE issuing the award, having enough points just for the Points + Cash award would work.

Workaround

Here’s what I suggested that the LoyaltyLobby reader should do.

1. Redeem Points + Cash award night at property that normally requires 20,000 points for a night.

2. The IHG first deducts the full 20,000 from the account (reader has enough points) and then makes a deposit for the 10,000 points after charging $70.

3. Reader can then cancel the award night reservation and the full 20,000 points will go back to his account.

4. IHG Rewards Club account balance will then be 37K+ points that is enough to do full points reservation for the property in Singapore.

Conclusion

Points + Cash is a good option for essentially buying IHG Rewards Club points for $70 per 10,000.

If you don’t have enough points in your account to issue the award type you would prefer, you can either do it in the steps outlined before or wait until IHG has points sale next time that would allow you to purchase points outright (without having to do Points + Cash reservations and then canceling them).

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  • Guest

    I had another quirk. When did the $70 for 10,000 it had said I was purchasing 5,000. This has been happening since December 2013. For example as other reader above I tried to redeem 2 nights @30,000 having only 52,000 points and it gave same error message as above and this has been the “quirk” going on since I recall December 18, 2013, when I first tried. So basically what math would you use to redeem two nights at 30,000 with 52k points available or 3 nights at 20k or how about redeeming a 15k night (using points and cash) having only 5k available? If you can give us a few scenarios with various points amounts that would be great!

    • I have covered this in my previous post sometime in 2013. I am not trying to encourage people to make unnecessary Points + Cash to buy the points because it may have adverse effect to your account standing at some later point.

  • How many points do you think it is safe to purchase in a year using this technique? I’ve been flirting around the idea of living for an extended amount of time in the best hotels of the point breaks list but I’m worried buying hundreds of thousands or even millions of points will get my account suspended.

    • There aren’t that many “best hotels” on the Point Breaks list. You could buy the yearly maximum during their next decent sale. This should be at the same or lower price than going the above route. I am sure that you can reserve and cancel few times, but I wouldn’t do it extensively.

  • ccc

    you can contact the IHG hotline, they’ll add your points & book for you.
    I think it’s eaiser 🙂

    • Thanks! If I would do something like this personally, I would rather do it online than calling IHG.

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  • Adrian

    It is a system error. If you call the hotline it will work. It worked for me … the error appears on all the hotels I believe.

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  • properthwacking

    The article indicates a refund of the “full” 20,000 points. Surely they meant 30k?