On the earth of miles and factors, there's a superb line between protecting a wholesome stability of miles and factors and spending all of your factors on journeys as quickly as potential. As a result of we stay in a world of seemingly near-constant program devaluations, it's not sensible to amass an enormous stash of miles with no plans to redeem them.
For many who actually like to combine issues up, IHG's awards program makes utilizing a mixture of factors and money for bookings comparatively simple – and doubtlessly an honest worth. We'll get to that shortly.
Deciding between paying money or factors for a lodge keep
Typically, I'm a fan of minimizing the amount of money spent on journeys, since money has real-world worth exterior of the world of miles and factors. However there are just a few causes it might make sense to pay money as a substitute of utilizing your miles and factors.
First, evaluate the worth you're getting out of your factors to NerdWallet's listing of what miles and factors are value, In the event you're getting considerably much less to your factors than the factors are value, it would make sense to avoid wasting your factors for a distinct redemption.
Secondly, in lots of circumstances, award stays don’t rely towards elite qualifying nor towards fulfilling lodge promotions. So if both of these are a consideration, you'll have a tougher determination to make.
One other factor that performs an enormous function is what number of lodge stays you might have. In the event you solely take one or two journeys per yr utilizing your factors, then signing up for just a few prime lodge bank cards would doubtless offer you sufficient factors to pay for all your stays. However as you begin having extra frequent lodge stays, you'll in all probability want to start out paying for a few of your stays in money except you might have one other supply of lodge factors (like a number of spending on a lodge bank card, or stays which are paid for by your job).
If you understand you're paying money for a few of your stays, then it is smart to rearrange these so that you're paying money as a substitute of factors for stays which have a low money worth and / or excessive factors worth.
'Shopping for' factors through IHG Factors + Money bookings
In the event you're a keep at an IHG lodge, one different choice that you’ve got is utilizing IHG’s Factors + Money bookings. You’ll have to have at the least 5,000 factors in your IHG Rewards account with a purpose to benefit from IHG’s Factors + Money. Then you may make a reservation and successfully purchase the additional factors you want. Right here’s an instance from the Candlewood Suites in Bloomington, Indiana.
A full award keep prices 15,000 IHG Rewards Membership factors, however it’s also possible to spend simply 10,000 factors and pay $ 42 to "purchase" your further 5,000 factors.
The attention-grabbing a part of that is that when you purchase your factors, your card is instantly charged, the factors are deposited into your account and your reservation is taken into account only a common award keep. Many award stays are thought of absolutely refundable in factors (although it is best to examine the phrases and situations of your keep), so in case you needed to, you may cancel your keep and nonetheless maintain the factors you paid money for.
You’ll additionally wish to ensure that simply paying money immediately for the keep isn’t a greater deal than getting factors by paying to your room in money. Generally you suppose that you just're getting a “whole lot” by utilizing this technique, while you'd be higher off simply protecting it easy and paying money.
Going again to the Candlewood Suites Bloomington instance, the money worth is fairly low – so that you could be higher off simply saving your factors, relying on what different upcoming stays you might have.
Not all Factors + Money bookings are created equal
There are two massive issues to bear in mind when reserving an IHG Factors + Money keep. First, the minimal variety of factors required relies on the class of the lodge.
For instance, the Candlewood Suites Bloomington is a Class 2 lodge, costing solely 15,000 factors per evening for a full award keep. In that case, you solely want 5,000 factors in your stability to make a Factors + Money reserving.
For accommodations in increased classes, it’s good to have extra factors in your account earlier than you may make a Factors + Money reserving. Right here’s an instance from the Staybridge Suites Orlando SeaWorld, the place 30,000 factors are required for a full award keep and at the least 15,000 factors to make a Factors + Money reserving.
The second factor to bear in mind is that there’s you don't essentially have to make your factors + Money reserving on the lodge the place you'll finally keep (in case you're doing it simply to amass factors, at the least). And as you may see from the examples we've shared right here, the price of the additional factors you're shopping for can differ:
To purchase 5,000 factors: $ 36 at Staybridge Suites Orlando (0.72 cent per level) and $ 42 on the Candlewood Suites Bloomington (0.84 cent per level).
To purchase 10,000 factors: $ 72 at Staybridge Suites Orlando (0.72 cent per level) and $ 69 on the Candlewood Suites Bloomington (0.69 cent per level).
To purchase 15,000 factors: $ 92 at Staybridge Suites Orlando (0.61 cents per level).
So it may pay to buy round to totally different accommodations or dates and see the place you could find the perfect price. Additionally, keep in mind that IHG often sells factors for 1 to 1.35 cents per level and generally runs promotions providing as much as 100% bonus factors. So if IHG is working a bonus factors promotion, it may make extra sense to only purchase the factors immediately quite than going by means of the method of creating and canceling a Factors + Money reservation.
Tips on how to Maximize Your Rewards
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