Tomorrow on May 1st, 2016, IHG Rewards Club will write off millions if not billions unredeemed points that they decided to start expiring after 12 months of inactivity last year (read more here).
IHG Rewards Club advertised for years that their points NEVER expire. Well. Not until they decided to change the policy!
You can access IHG’s web page for various redemption options here.
Note that some of these redemption options are country specific and the merchandise selection can vary as well.
Here are the easiest way to keep the points alive:
1. Have a stay at IHG affiliated hotel
You could have a stay at lower end brands such as the Holiday Inn Express sometimes for $20 to $30. You could also earn bundle of points if you do that during one of the promotions that IHG Rewards Club has continuously.
2. Redeem points for a stay
You could always redeem for a stay 12 months out at a hotel requiring 10,000 points for a night and cancel it close to the stay date. These have counted towards the activity in the past, but IHG could always program their system to catch this kind of behavior.
3. Use online shopping
You can earn points for shopping at various online merchants. You should perhaps use the mall for one transaction that you would have done anyway and extend your points balance in the process.
4. Redeem for digital rewards
This is probably one of the cheapest option. You could choose to redeem for the cheapest digital reward option that is available and extend your points by a year. Note that this is not available in all markets.
5. Purchase points
If you haven’t used your points for a while, it doesn’t make sense to purchase more of them.
6. Redeeming for a gift card
Redeeming points for a gift card doesn’t make too much sense BUT if you have no plans to stay at any IHG hotels anytime soon, this could be a reasonable option to burn your points. You would get some value out of them.
7. Donate points
The monetary value per point when used for donations is very low. Could be an option for some, however.
8. Redeem point for miles
You can redeem IHG Rewards Club points to number of airlines miles. This can make sense if you redeem the with a premium airline such as Singapore Airlines and use the miles for international business or first class flight.
9. Redeem amenity points
IHG Rewards Club elite members get amenity points at many IHG brands. Usually these are scratch cards that you use to deposit the points to your account. If one of the family members or friends get these, he/she can donate one to person with expiring points.
10. Redeem points for merchandise
The monetary value associated with one point is low. But if you can find something you would have purchased anyway, it can make sense rather than let the points expire or the value to devalue over the years. You can access the IHG product catalog (including plenty of Apple) here.
I have family member account with less than 30K points that I need to keep alive. Just had a look at the digital download options and there was one magazine for 300 points. Must be the cheapest option to extend the validity of the points by a year.
Expiring points after single year of inactivity is bit harsh, but seems to be one of the options for these programs to write down the liability.