Get Cheap IHG and Choice Points Using the Cash & Points Trick (2019)

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With most hotel programs, it is usually too expensive to purchase points at the last minute. The cost to purchase the points needed for an award night tends to be more expensive than the regular room rate. But, that's not often not true with IHG and Choice.

The “Cash & Points” trick allows you to easily “buy” IHG or Choice points at lower-than-normal prices, and then use them to make award reservations. You aren't really getting a free night, but can frequently get a discounted rate for your room.

For example, if a room at an IHG hotel requires 20,000 points per night, you can use the Cash & Points trick to purchase the points you need for $115. This will be often be substantially less than the normal room rate.

At IHG, you can you the Cash & Points trick to purchase points at .575 cents each (or less during promotions). At Choice, you can buy points for .75 cents.

Step by Step Guide

  1. With IHG, you may have to search several times to find an opportunity to purchase points at the lowest cost. The cash portion of a Cash and Points reservation is different for different hotels and different dates. The best rate per point is when you are paying $115 to save 20,000 points from the normal award cost.
  2. Start by doing an award search for a larger city for any date at least a few days in the future. The best deals require a "20,000 points off" option and these are only available for hotels with base rates of at least 40,000 points, which are more common in larger cities. Book at least a few days out to avoid non-refundable award reservations.

    Once you see a list of hotels, use the buttons to switch the view to Points + Cash.


    Then scan the list to find an option with a $115 surcharge. If no hotel displays that option, try a different city and a different set of dates. We tend to have better results when searching within the next few weeks, rather than far in the future.


    If you find a hotel, click on the "Select Hotel" button, select your room type and you should see all your Cash + Points options.


    There should be four options, with the last option requiring 20,000 fewer points plus a $115 surcharge.

  3. If you need a bunch of points, make a reservation for multiple nights. For example, with IHG, you can only use the Cash & Points trick to acquire 20,000 points per night. If you need 80,000 points, make a four night reservation. If you are having trouble finding availability for all the nights you need, you can break it up into multiple reservations. With Choice, the maximum number of points you can acquire is typically 24,000 points per night (with hotels that normally require 30,000 points).
  4. Book a Cash and Points reservation, charging your credit card to complete the reservation. You are going to cancel your reservation in a minute, so it doesn't make any difference which hotel you book. Just make sure to book a few days out, so you don't wind up with a non-refundable reservation.
  5. Cancel the reservation you just made. When that happens, rather than refunding the cash portion of the reservation, IHG and Choice simply return all the points to your account—the original points from the point portion of the reservation, and the additional points you effectively bought with the cash portion. In this example, you would get 40,000 points back, rather than being refunded the 20,000 points and $115 you paid.
  6. Book the room at the hotel that you really want to stay at, using the new points in your account.

More details

  • Sometimes, IHG runs promotions that let you acquire points (using the trick) for even less money.
  • To make the initial reservation, you will need to already have at least some points in your account. If you don’t have enough points, you’ll need to start out by buying those points at regular price.
  • ChoiceLogo.png

    For Choice, you want to keep 6,000 points in your account. Since you can book any Choice hotel, using a cash and points award, for only 6,000 points plus a cash payment, you only need to spend 6,000 points per night for every new reservation. Periodically, use the cash and points trick to acquire new Choice points, spend 6,000 points (plus cash) for each reservation, and don’t let your balance get below 6,000 points before you purchase another block of points.

    If you want to book Preferred Hotels and Resorts, you’ll need to need 10,000 points plus a cash payment, per night, rather than 6,000. So, you'll want to keep more points in your account.


    For IHG, you ideally want to keep at least 20-30,000 points on hand, but you can get by with only 5,000 points. The lowest rate for acquiring IHG points with the Cash & Points trick is .575 cents per point, when you buy 20,000 points at a time. To purchase 20,000 points, you’ll need to book and cancel a hotel with a base rate of at least 40,000 points and sometimes at least 50,000 points. This requires at least 20--30,000 points in your account. So if you want to buy points at the cheapest possible price, you'll need to start out with a bunch of points, and purchase 20,000 points at a time.

    If you don’t want to keep this many points around, the absolute minimum number of points is 5,000. This allows you to make and cancel a reservation for a 15,000-point hotel, buying 10,000 points at a time, at somewhat higher rates.

  • We recommend always keeping some points in your account. When you acquire points to make a new reservation, get all the points you need for the reservation with the trick, rather than using up any existing points in your account. For example, if you need 12,000 points for a Choice reservation, start with 6,000, acquire 12,000 more, and you’ll still have 6,000 points in your account when you are done—setting you up for next time. Similarly, if you need 40,000 points for a IHG reservation, start with 30,000 points and acquire the full 40,000 points you need, so that you still have 30,000 points when you are done.

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