Buying Points

On this page you’ll find details, values, costs, and links for buying points at all the major chains, including any promos.

Lots of hotels and airlines let you buy points. It is nearly always not a good deal, but there are regular promotions offering bonus points which can make the value more attractive.

I’ve made some huge savings buying Hilton, IHG, Melia, and Shangri La points, through generous promotions.

This article has a few pictures of the stunning overwater villa I stayed in at the Conrad Bora Bora, and a beach villa with a private pool in the Maldives where 480,000 Hilton points would get you a stay worth around £12,000.

You should always check what value your points will get when you redeem them, and generally you should only buy if you have a clear plan and understand the value.

Buying points speculatively can sometimes bite you if the scheme devalues, ie changes the number of points required for a redemption.

Also check availability. The IHG Thalasso Bora Bora is an incredible bargain on points – I stayed in an overwater villa that should have cost £1400 per night but paid just 70000 points – but reward nights are really hard to find and get snapped up fast (there is a trick to it).

Sometimes buying points extends the expiry date on your account. If you’re trying that, do it with enough time to try something else if it doesn’t work. There are no guarantees.

Buying points never counts towards status.

In the guides below, the “Point value” is my valuation based on what is easily achievable. I personally would not redeem at those values. It is possible to do much better. But it represents a floor. If you pay less than this, then you’re probably onto a winner. Paying more can work if you have the right plan.

We also list the main places you can transfer in to get points. It’s usually not good value to swap airline points for hotel points or vice versa, unless either you have so many you don’t care, or so few you just need to get them out to make use of them.

All Current Buy Points Promos

IHG – 75% bonus on Buy Points until 27th February. The annual limit is increased to 150,000. Note that IHG regularly runs a 100% buy points bonus.

Hyatt25% discount for 5000 or more until 29th February.

Hilton100% bonus until 19th February.

Hilton Buy Points page

Annual limit: 80000

Point value: 0.35p

Standard price: $10 per 1000 (~0.8p per point)

Notes:
Frequent 100% bonuses eg Jan/Feb 2020.
Occasional purchase limit increases.

Worth buying during 100% bonus promos, especially for premium locations like Maldives, Bora Bora, New York, or at busy times.

Transfer in from:
Amex: 1MR = 2 Hilton
Virgin Flying Club: 2 VFC = 3 Hilton

Radisson Buy Points page

Annual limit: 80000

Point value: 0.35p

Standard price: $7 per 1000 (~0.55p per point)

Notes:
Occasional bonuses. 30% bonus in October 2019.
Amex MR points at 1:3 is decent value.
May be worth buying during bonus periods for premium room redemptions at peak times.
Commonly 70000 points for a standard room which would be £425 if buying points, so almost never worth it.

Transfer in from:
Amex: 1MR = 3 Radisson

IHG Buy Points page

Annual limit: 100000

Point value: 0.45p

Standard price: Sliding scale – $13.50 for 1000 (~1p) at the bottom end, improving to ~0.77p when buying 26000+

Notes:
Frequent 100% bonuses.
Occasional annual limit increases.
Worth buying during 100% bonus promos, especially for premium locations like Bora Bora or at busy times.

Transfer in from:
Virgin Flying Club: 1VFC = 1 IHG

Bonvoy Buy Points page

Annual limit: 50000

Point value: 0.65p

Standard price: £12.50 for 1000 (~0.96p)

Notes:
Occasional bonuses. 30% bonus in December 2019.
Occasional annual limit increases.
If you have enough points, you can get easily beat 0.6p. The annual limit of 50000 means you need to be earning in other ways to get enough for a decent redemption.

Transfer in from:
Amex: 2MR = 3 Bonvoy

Hyatt Buy Points page

Annual limit: 55000

Point value: 1.2p

Standard price: $24 for 1000 (~1.85p)

Notes:
Occasional bonuses. 25% discount in February 2020. 40% bonus in December 2019.
Worth buying during bonus promos for more expensive properties such as Park Hyatt.
1.2p can be beaten.

Melia Buy Points page

Annual limit: There is a limit of 150,000 per transaction but seemingly no annual limit

Point value: 0.75p

Standard price: €5 per 1000 (~0.42p)

Notes:
Stops expiry.
Regular promotions on Black Friday can bring exceptional value.
Putting a value on Melia points is hard but I have regularly achieved well over 1p. My 0.75p is conservative.
It varies wildly by property according to cash rates, but before booking a Melia I check the points cost.
Even at the standard price it can be a significant saving to buy points.
Not always though. Don’t assume you can get this value at all hotels all the time.

Shangri La Buy Points page

Annual limit: 10000

Point value: 7p

Standard price: $6.50 for 50 (10p per point)

Notes:
Points value hard to measure. The best I’ve ever done on rooms is 7p in Fiji and Hong Kong.

If it’s useful to you, the best value is up to 7-10p per point on dining. 1000 GC points gets you a $100 dining voucher. You can get $125 per 1000 points if you have Gold status. Depending on exchange rate, 7p is the floor for a GC point value.

Wyndham Buy Points page

Annual limit: 10000

Point value: 0.45p

Standard price: $13 for 1000 (~1p)

Notes:

A note on points redemption value

People argue about how to calculate the value of a point. Take a room where the cash rate is £100 and it costs 20,000 points. The simple calculation suggests that you’re getting 0.5p per point. Each point saves you paying 0.5p.

A lot of people like to consider the points you would earn on that stay, which represents a discount off future stays. For example, as a Hilton Diamond you would earn 20 points per $. That means about £9 back on this stay. So your effective cost would have been £91, and the redeemed points value is 0.45p.

Fortunately at Hilton, reward nights still earn any bonus points from promos or status “My Way” options, but at others that’s not the case. Hilton reward nights count for status, but that’s not true at some others, so you have to consider your targets.

The points you earn varies according to your status, so you have to account for that. Reward nights are refundable, so do you compare against the refundable rate, or would you only actually buy the cheapest AP rate so that’s what you should compare against?

When you’re considering buying points, you should simply be looking for a redemption value that is much more than what you’re paying. If the redemption value is double the purchase cost then you can forget about all the other maths and just get on with it.

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