Updated on March 26, 2014
Updated on March 26, 2014
I’m always excited when it’s time for the PointBreaks list to come out. If it weren’t for IHG’s PointBreaks list, the cheapest IHG stay would be about 10,000 points and would get you into the cheapest Holiday Inn. But thanks to PointBreaks, the cheapest IHG stay can be had for 5,000 points and can get you something as nice as a 5 star InterContinental.
This has become such a huge part of our strategy for increasing the longevity of our travels. We spent 17 nights in a row at the InterContinental Kiev, an incredible 5 star hotel with some of the best lounge desserts I’ve ever had. And two years ago we used this same sale to stay 8 nights in a row at the InterContinental Fiji for our anniversary. Both of these hotels often go for $400 for a standard room.
What is PointBreaks
PointBreaks is a list that IHG publishes roughly every two months of hotels all across their brands that are bookable for 5,000 points a night for the two months that follow.
The PointBreaks list can be found here, though for now it will show the last list: from August 31- October 31. (Nothing too impressive left there, as these lists only release a certain portion to the sale and the best options go first.)
Planning it out
PointBreaks is the kind of sale you need to act fast on, or rather, plan fast. Since the rates are only bookable for the two month span in which they appear on the list, you can’t really plan ahead more than that.
Also, if you want to get the best deal out of the PointBreaks list, you have to act fast because the nicest hotels go first. As I said, each hotel only releases a certain amount of availability to the sale and once it’s booked it’s gone. It’s not like some things where it gets booked up fast and then availability opens back up as people cancel. That doesn’t happen here. Once it’s booked it’s gone and if someone cancels their PointBreaks reservations, it doesn’t get rereleased at the sale price. Once booked, regardless of whether the reservation is maintained, it’s gone.
Also, obviously your best value is with the nicest hotels on the list. Drew and I look for InterContinentals and Crowne Plazas first, in part because we love the central locations these brands often offer (and the 5 star quality is awesome of course too!) If you find a Holiday Inn on PointBreaks…well…that’s still 50% off. But if you find an InterContinental the deal is even better.
How can you get points for your PointBreaks stays?
Here are three options for earning IHG Rewards.
1.) Paid Stays stacked up with promotions
To be honest, we get most of our points with paid stays that we stack up with promotions so that our points earnings are awesome for each stay. That’s something you can read morein this post: How to Earn IHG Rewards Points, but I’ll give an abbreviated intro in here as well.
First of all, having the IHG Rewards card and paying for your stays with that card can already earn you a nice chunk of points per dollar spent, but the way to really earn big is to sign up for promotions found on this thread on FlyerTalk. The thread basically lists a whole bunch of promotion codes that you can try to apply to your stay. I say “try” because it’s a bit trial and error meaning that you’ll have to plug in a ton of codes and not all of them will work. Really you should work backwards by testing the more recently added promo codes found on the last page of the thread found here. Copy the codes and plug them in here.
2.) Purchasing Points
Just as IHG offers the PointBreaks list, it also offers occasional points-sales. For instance they had a sale earlier in the year that offered a 100% bonus on buying points. The best sale they’ve offered comes out to about $28 per 5,000 points.
3.) Refunding a Cash+Points room
One of the easiest ways is to just refund a room booked on cash and points, essentially buying 10,000 points for $70. With PointBreaks stays coming out at 5,000 points each, you can think of that as a $35 stay, which isn’t bad for an InterContinental or Crowne Plaza.
What happens is this: IHG will refund the points, but instead of refunding you $70, they’re just going to refund another 10,000 points to your account. So, you’re not going to see that $70 again, but you’ve just essentially purchased 2 nights on PointBreaks. You’ll simply get refunded the amount of points the hotel would have costed if you had paid entirely in points.
Update: Note that no matter what hotel you choose, if you select the least points option as recommended, you are going to earn the difference between the all-points cost and the points you spent. Understand that you will be refunded the amount of points your hotel would have cost with the all-points option.
For example the rate below would earn 10,000 points for $70. (15,000 points – 5,000 points = an earning of 10,000 points)
With this option however, you’d only make 5,000 points. (10,000 points – 5,000 points = an earning of 5,000 points.)
Why it’s worth learning about
This is the point I really want to drive home. PointBreaks are awesome. Awesome for affording 5 star hotels we wouldn’t be able to otherwise and awesome for achieving lengths of stays we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. It’s incredible. Just look at how often PointBreaks comes up in our stats page. Pretty much any time you see a stretch of IC nights. 🙂