InterContinental Hotels Group has added a new “Points & Cash” option that allows members to redeem fewer points plus cash for award nights. Members now have three options when redeeming points for award nights: points only, points plus $30 and points plus $60. For example, a stay at a Holiday Inn is normally 25,000 points. With cash and points, members can redeem $30 plus 20,000 points or $60 plus 15,000 points. The new feature is available at all of IHG’s hotel brands worldwide.
Amy Ceriani-Nelson, Director of Priority Club Rewards says the program introduced Points & Cash to provide more flexibility and versatility and the response from members so far has been “resoundingly positive.”
Bottom line: Combining cash and points is cheaper than purchasing a few extra points to reach an award level and is a viable option for members who are a few thousand points away from an award level. Using the example above, a member with 20,000 points could purchase 5,000 points to reach the 25,000-point level for $67.50 (at $13.50 per 1,000 points) or pay only $30 plus the 20,000 points with Points & Cash. Cash and Points award nights can be cancelled before the scheduled award stay. The points will be refunded to your account, but not the cash–but you will have paid for points at a discount compared to the usual channel of buying points. As Gary Leff of BoardingArea.com’s “View from the Wing” says, “As a result, the cash and points award option is a backdoor way to discounted points purchase even when you aren’t looking to book an award night. Why might you want to do this? Well, one reason would be Priority Club offers ‘PointBreaks’ awards, room nights at select hotels for only 5,000 points. Using the cash and points backdoor for points purchases, you can acquire 5,000 points for $30.”