IHG PointBreaks can offer you a great deal of savings on hotel bookings but a lot of your potential value saved comes down to chance and your ability to calculate what’s a good deal. Here’s what you need to know about IHG PointBreaks and how it can save you big time on hotel bookings.
What is IHG PointBreaks?
IHG PointBreaks (often called IHG Points Break) is a program that offers discounted booking rates at well over 100 IHG properties around the world on a quarterly basis.
- You can check out the IHG PointBreaks page here.
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The new changes to PointBreaks
For the longest time, IHG PointBreaks hotels would only go for 5,000 a night. Many of these 5,000/night properties were Holiday Inn’s out in the middle of nowhere and and the Points Break promotion wasn’t as lucrative as it once was.
But recently, IHG changed the program to allow properties to be booked in tiers at: 5,000, 10,000, and 15,000 points. And they upped the number of hotels in the program to at or closer to 200, which is nearly double what many of use grew to expect over the years.
To give you some context for those award prices, if you value IHG points at .5 cents per point, then it’s like paying $25 worth of points for a 5,000/night property or $75 for a 15,000/night property which can be excellent value at the right location.
The changes presumably will allow IHG to consistently offer higher quality hotels on these deals like InterContinental properties. However, many people were not impressed with the first unveiling of the new PointBreaks list, as several former 5,000 point properties were moved up to 10,000. However, we also saw 10 InterContinentals on the list which was great to see.
IHG also allowed the option of paying for these with points + cash with the new changes. You can expect to pay about $50 to lower the cost by 5,000 points and about $80 to lower the cost by 10,000 points.
It’s worth noting that each member may only book two Point Breaks Reward Nights reservations per hotel (at least according to the terms and conditions). But the reservations can be for as many days as you can find availability for.
When do IHG PointBreaks come out?
IHG PointBreaks come out a few times a year but nobody usually knows exactly when. IHG usually releases a full list or at least a preview of these properties on the IHG blog just days before they are released so you have an idea what to expect.
When the announcement date is published you can expect the properties to show up at noon EST. And again, you’ll check for those properties here.
But note that sometimes the hotels become bookable before noon EST!
If you see a property you’re interested in you absolutely need to book that as soon as possible because these deals can go very quickly (sometimes within hours). Some of the properties, especially lower-tier properties, will likely remain on the list for weeks or even months so there’s not as much urgency needed to book those.
Are PointBreaks offers worth it?
PointBreak offers can definitely be worth it but just because you see a hotel on the PointBreaks list, that does not mean it’s worth using your points on it.
Comes down to chance
In my experience, PointBreaks deals often come down to chance. IHG doesn’t offer a wide enough range of discounted properties to give a huge swath of the population a bargain. But when those offers do align with your travel plans there can be tremendous savings as shown below.
Purchase IHG points for PointBreaks
IHG has been on a run recently and has offered promotions with even lower prices for purchasing IHG properties. (Admittedly, these came after a recent devaluation.)
In some instances, you’ll be able to purchase IHG points at a discount and then utilize them on PointBreaks for an ultimate discount. If you have the new IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, or the no annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card you’ll receive an additional 20% discount when you purchase points with your card.
For example, with a recent IHG promotion you could pay $230 for 36,000 points. With a 20% discount factored in, that’s $184 for 36,000 points (.5 cents per point). You’d have 6,000 IHG points left over, but you could spend the remaining 30,000 points on two 15,000 PointBreak hotels.
The InterContinental Tamanaco Caracas went for 15,000 in the last promotion and nights were going for $360 per night with tax. So you could pay $184 for a stay that would cost $720 at 4.8 cents per point (plus you’d have 6,000 extra IHG points sitting around). Even if the 20% discount didn’t apply, that’s still a great deal.
Not every deal will be so lucrative but that just goes to show how you can get great value from these deals.
I’m not sure if theI HG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card’s 4th night free benefit can be used with PointsBreak hotels but hopefully someone can present a data point on that.
Do the math
I’d advise to always consider the value of the points compared to the price for a night stay at that hotel. You would think that given the PointBreaks discount, you’d always be getting great value for your points but that’s not always the case. For example, sometimes the hotels going for 15,000 don’t offer good redemptions like above.
For example the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Cuernavaca also went for 15,000 points and you could purchase a room for 1,251.39 MXN or $67 USD. That means you’d be getting .4 cents per point with your IHG points which isn’t even close to the deal above.
Venezuela and Mexico may not be on your travel list right now, but it just goes to show how the value can differ.
Be sure of your dates
These bookings cannot be modified once there is no longer availability for the PointBreaks. Thus, you need to be sure about your dates. (If you end up shortening your stay, you might be able to get the points refunded.)
IHG Points Break deals can be worthwhile and it should be easier to find properties that fit your travel plans now that more properties participate in the program. The value of these offers often comes down to luck but when you do get lucky, you can save hundreds of dollars if you play your points right.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.