Author Archives: Andy Shuman

Blast From the Past: Good IHG PointBreaks Hotels for $50 to $75 or Less

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Crowne Plaza Vientiane — a PointBreak Hotels for 10,000 points or $50 with the IHG Buy Points Bonus

The latest IHG PointBreaks Hotels list has been the best since IHG introduced the new 3-tier system.

I didn’t cover the latest IHG PointBreaks Deal because I wanted to test a theory. I expected that the absolute majority of the IHG PointBreaks hotels would remain available through the promotion. Since IHG went “dynamic” on their PointBreaks Deals by introducing 3 tiers of 5,000, 10,000, and 15,000 points per night, I presumed it’s obviously become less of a deal, which should result in 2 distinct benefits.

  • IHG started adding some decent hotels into the mix after years of abysmal offerings

  • Better availability – fewer people would snatch reservations for sport just to drop them later

Unfortunately, I was only 50% right.

People are still playing snatch with PointBreaks Deals

While the vast majority of IHG PointBreaks hotels still have available rooms (almost 1 month into the promotion), the very best have been snatched. Here are the hotels that are gone from the latest PointBreaks Deals.

5,000 points IHG PointBreaks hotels

  • 1 in the U.S.

  • 3 in China

10,000 points IHG PointBreaks hotels:

  • 18 in the U.S. out of 61

  • 6 in the world out of 30

    • Holiday Inn Express Paris – CDG

    • Holiday Inn Hamburg – City Nord

    • Holiday Inn Express Malta

    • InterContinental Bucharest

    • Crowne Plaza Istanbul – Harbiye

    • Crowne Plaza Tainan

15,000 points IHG PointBreaks hotels:

  • 6 in the U.S. out of 24

  • 11 in the world out of 25

    • InterContinental Sao Paulo

    • InterContinental Cartagena

    • Crowne Plaza Helsinki – Hesperia

    • Crowne Plaza Berlin – Potsdamer Platz

    • Independent QO Amsterdam

    • InterContinental Ljubljana

    • InterContinental Kiev

    • Crowne Plaza London – Heathrow

    • Holiday Inn Express London – Wandsworth

    • InterContinental Le Vendome Beirut

    • InterContinental Hanoi Landmark72

Some of these picks really make me shrug. CDG and Heathrow? Really? Are there any sane people who would fly to Europe to stay at an airport hotel? But some of those hotels that are no longer available – Hanoi, Amsterdam, Berlin, Helsinki, Malta, Kiev, Bucharest – would be a good to great deal for 10,000 to 15,000 points. And they would be an even better deal with the latest IHG 100% bonus promotion. More about that later.

So what’s left?

There are still some great places on the IHG PointBreaks list that you can book for a song. I tested all of them and the rooms were still available at the time of writing (10.15.18). Your mileage may vary.

10,000 points IHG PointBreaks hotels:

  • InterContinental Mendoza (in the heart of Argentinean wine country)

  • Holiday Inn Express Augsburg (I didn’t know anything about Augsburg, so I read on)

  • Holiday Inn Ulaanbaatar (I would love to visit Ulaanbaatar one day, and I have no idea why)

  • Holiday Inn Cape Town (near everything you want to be near in Capetown)

  • Crowne Plaza Vientiane (Laos is certainly on my list, a bargain if you can take advantage)

  • Holiday Inn Melaka (Melaka is a UNESCO heritage site and a must if you want to explore Malaysia)

  • Crowne Plaza Kathmandu-Soaltee (I’ve always wanted to visit Nepal, otherwise no idea)

IHG PointBreaks Hotels

The Goldener Saal: a ceremonial room in the Augsburg Town Hall, by Fred Romero

15,000 points IHG PointBreaks hotels:

  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Saint Augustine North (I just love Saint Augustine!)

  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Watertown-Thousand Islands (I just love Thousand Islands!)

  • InterContinental Miramar Panama (there are plenty of cheap hotels in Panama City, but with the bonus points it’s still a no-brainer, and great location, too)

  • Crowne Plaza St. Petersburg – Ligovsky and Hotel Indigo St. Petersburg – Tchaikovskogo (both central hotels, and bargains for the price)

  • Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC (Oman is immensely popular now, and Muscat is not cheap – great deal!)

  • Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi (the more I read about Abu Dhabi – the more I want to visit)

IHG PointBreaks Hotels

St Petersburg: Peter and Paul Cathedral by Paul Hood

Pay $50 to $75 per night for any of these hotels (or even less)

You can buy IHG points with up to a 100% bonus. HT: Head for Points

IHG pointbreaks hotels

The 100% IHG bonus is valid until October 31

Head for Points claims it’s targeted, but I’ve checked 3 IHG accounts, and each offered me a 100% bonus for buying 30,000 points and more.

IHG pointbreaks hotels

You need to buy 30,000 points or more to get the 100% bonus

What it means is that you can buy IHG points at 0.5 cents each, which translates to paying $50 for a 10,000-point hotel or $75 for a hotel that cost 15,000 points a night.

That’s not it. If you have an IHG credit card and are staying for 4 nights, the 4th night is free, which makes it $37.50 and $56 respectively.

Almost like the old good days.

Using IHG points wisely

This point valuation is a notoriously unreliable because it depends on several factors and is different for everyone, and I’m almost embarrassed to bring it up. Having said that, my valuation of IHG points is that they are worth one or 2 points less than Marriott points, which I value around 0.8-0.9 cents. So I’m content with booking IHG hotels at 0.6X, I’m glad when I get 0.7x, and I’m happy when I manage to arrive at 1x. The latest promo can often get you 1X even without buying points with a 100%, and — be still my beating heart — around 2X with it. It can be even more if you have an IHG credit card and stay for 4 night.

Of course, all valuations in the world are senseless if you don’t care about the destination or if the weather don’t cooperate. I mean, late fall in Saint Petersburg (not Florida)? Well, I don’t know. 🙂

That’s not the only consideration, though. When you’re trying to decide between cash and points, getting the real cost can be tricky.

Allow me to illustrate. Here is the PointsBreak cost for Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi.

And these are your paid options.

IHG pointbreaks hotels

Cheaper but non-refundable

The problem is that all these rates that IHG throws at you are non-refundable (either for the whole stay or the first night), while point redemptions are always refundable. So in order to compare apples with apples we need to find a refundable rate.

IHG pointbreaks hotels

A fully flexible rate is more expensive than the cheapest non-refundable rate displayed by default

So, realistically speaking, you’re already getting 1x for your 15,000 points, but that’s not it.

IHG pointbreaks hotels

Taxes and fees can add over 20% to the total bill, while point redemptions are (usually) not taxable

While you normally don’t pay taxes for a rewards stay, cash rates are another matter. In Abu Dhabi, hotel taxes and fees add another $103 to the total bill, which makes your 15,000-point redemption rate even more attractive.

Of course, if you buy your points with a 100% bonus, your total room cost will go down to $75 per night compared to the $184 cash price (tax-inclusive). That gives you an astonishing and unheard of 2.5X ratio for your IHG points.

What do you think? Have you booked an IHG PointBreaks hotel during the latest deal? Are you planning to?

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