How to Book Any PointBreaks Hotel for $35/night

This post will tell you how to book any hotel on the list of Priority Club’s PointBreaks for only $35 per night.

Whenever Priority Club announces its new list of PointBreaks hotels, the miles’ world pays attention. The hotels on the list that may ordinarily cost hundreds of dollars a night go for 5,000 Priority Club points for a limited time. The new list is valid for stays through July 31.

As loyal readers know, I’m not big on hotel rewards programs; I usually get a better deal pricelining as I explained here. But PointBreaks are a great deal since Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to Priority Club (not instantly, in about 14-19 hours). And you can also transfer Amex Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio until June 30 when the relationship ends.

I value 5,000 MR at $127.50 until the 50% Avios transfer bonus ends on May 31 and 5,000 UR at around $100. Those are pretty low prices for some of the PointBreaks hotels, but we can do better. We can stay at any hotel on the PointBreaks list for $35 just by exploiting one loophole!

The basic premise is that Priority Club lets you buy its points for 0.7 cents each when booking an award night with cash and points. Then you can immediately cancel the award night you purchased with cash and points. Instead of refunding your cash, Priority Club will let you keep the points you just purchased for 0.7 cents.

Hopefully this example will show you how you can book any PointBreaks hotel for $35/night:

I scoured the new PointBreaks list to see if any of my travel plans coincide with any of the hotels, and they did in one case: I will be in Krakow, Poland and the Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre is on the list.

I’ll be in Krakow June 6 – 9, and I didn’t have a hotel booked. While the Krakow Holiday Inn is hardly the nicest property on the PointBreaks list, its cheapest room June 6 is 531 Polish Zloty, which is $153.

As a PointBreaks hotel, the same room that night is 5,000 Priority Club points. Having no Priority Club points, I could transfer in 5,000 Ultimate Rewards, book the hotel room, and be satisfied by saving a few bucks. But we can do even better than booking this property for 5,000 Ultimate Rewards; we can book it for $35!

To do that, we need to buy Priority Club points for 0.7 cents, which you cannot do through ordinary point buying. The way to buy Priority Club points for 0.7 cents is to make a cash and points award booking then cancel it. To make a cash and points booking, you need to have some Priority Club Points, so I transferred 5,000 Ultimate Rewards into my new Priority Club account. The transfer took about 14 hours to post.

Once I had a Priority Club account with 5,000 points, the next step was to book a 15,000 point award. Why? When booking a 15,000 point award, you are given the option to purchase the 10,000 point shortfall for $70, which is 0.7 cents per point. Here is such an award:

As you can see, this award costs 15,000 points or 5,000 and $70. Having only 5,000 points in my account, I selected 5,000 points and $70 and paid for the award. The confirmation screen made it very clear that the $70 was going towards buying 10,000 points that would be immediately used to book the award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After booking, I immediately cancelled the reservation online by following a link from the booking confirmation page. That brought me to this screen:

As you can see, my reservation has been cancelled. As you can also see in the top right, the points immediately credit back to my account. My account now has 15,000 points, 5,000 that I transferred from Ultimate Rewards and 10,000 that I just bought for $70 while making a dummy booking.

The 10,000 points I just bought for $70 are enough points for two free nights at any PointBreaks hotel, meaning that you can stay at PointBreaks hotels for $35/night using this trick!

Now that I had some extra points, I went to book the night at the Holiday Inn Krakow. I would have been willing to book two nights, but while there was award availability June 6 and June 8, there was none June 7. In the end, I just booked one night June 6.

As you can see, the night cost me 5,000 points, which I had just bought for $35, and my account balance was back down to 10,000 points. I’ll be sure to use those 10,000 points if future PointBreaks lists coincide with my future travel plans!

Caveats:

You have to have points in your account to “buy” points for 0.7 cents each. Buying points is a much better deal than transferring in your UR or MR that are worth way more than 0.7 cents each, but you may have to transfer in 5,000 to start the point-buying madness.

Not all hotels are on the PointBreaks list. Not all nights are available as 5,000 point award nights at the hotels that are on the list. Check availability before buying points.

Bottom line:

I just booked a $153 hotel room for $35. And there are much nicer, more expensive hotels on the list of PointBreaks hotels. There are Intercontinentals that go for over $400/night that you can get for $35/night using the technique outlined in this post.

Which hotel will you stay at for $35/night?

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30 Responses to How to Book Any PointBreaks Hotel for $35/night

  1. Anyone get their account banned for exploiting this loop hole?
    I just don’t want to be the first if I did this.

    • If anyone has any information about account bannings, I would love to hear it and change my strategy accordingly. But I don’t think Priority Club will mind people doing this. Sure, they are losing money when we book an InterContinental for $35, but the loss is not caused by us buying points at 0.7 cents as much as by offering the rooms for 5,000 points. And offering a select few rooms for 5,000 points is an intentional loss leader to get free coverage exactly like the kind given by this post.
      I actually think Priority Club thinks they’re putting one over on us if we follow the instructions on this post! They could configure their systems to refund $70 instead of 10,000 points when you cancel a cash-and-points booking. But they don’t. They prefer to keep the money. I also prefer that they keep the money, effectively letting me buy unlimited points at 0.7 cents and unlimited PointBreaks nights at $35!

  2. This is one of those things that should not be posted… ever heard of discretion?

    • Hi anon. I appreciate your point of view (and the humorous email address you listed.) I think that this deal is well within the rules and spirit of the Priority Club program, so I see no need to censor myself. What part do you think they would object to? Buying points, cancelling a reservation, taking advantage of their PointsBreak hotels? I think those are all fine by them.
      I’m not ascribing the following sentiment to you, but I’ve heard some people express that deals should be kept to some group of “us” and not shared with “them.” I used to be them, and I find no rational basis for not sharing with “them” other than selfishness, so I will continue to share.
      I agree that there are some things that should not be shared, things that are very costly to the company offering them that are being abused in ways outside the spirit of the loyalty programs. For instance, I would never share how to YQ dump.

      • For the sake of conversation, how is this different from that thing you say you’ll never share?

        Discretion doesn’t necessarily mean selfishness. If someone were to come to me and ask how they could do this, I’d tell him. But laying it out there in the open for everyone to see (which includes the accountants at IHG) encourages abuse. I fail to see how this is not “outside the spirit” of the loyalty program.

        • Sure, I think this is a topic for healthy discussion. (See FrugalTravelGuy’s post on the subject today!) I think the reason this is within the spirit is that IHG clearly wants to keep the $70 and have us keep the points instead of reversing the transaction. IHG could easily have set up a cancellation of a points and cash booking to reverse the entire transaction, but instead IHG, like many companies, prefers to keep the cash and have us keep the points.
          With those points, we are clearly costing them money by booking InterContinental’s for $35. But the main cause of that loss is the fact that PointBreaks hotels exist at all not that we bought the points. I assume you would agree with me that if you saw a PointBreaks Hotel you wanted and transferred in UR points to book, IHG would be fine with that even though they are still losing money on an InterContinental at however much Chase pays them for 5,000 points. IHG knows they are losing money. They are intentionally losing money for the loyalty and free advertising it engenders.
          So the only part conceivably outside the spirit of the program is buying the points through a booking and cancellation. But IHG specifically set up their program to allow that instead of the more logical, in my opinion, setup that would allow points and cash nights but would not allow the buying of points through that program.
          I would never share how to YQ dump, which I don’t think reflects a conscious choice by the airlines as much as a kind of mistake that they would fix if they were more aware of it. I think IHG would not “fix” this even if they were told how I am exploiting it. Further the airlines have not set up the system as an intentional loss leader to engender loyalty or free advertising.

  3. I’m sure you will get more sarcastic questions about your discretion for publishing this, so let my “Thanks again” balance them out.

  4. seen this a few times out there on the those connecting tubes aka the internet (which negates the whole argument from ‘anon’ about posting about it) but had forgotten about it and you have a great knack for explaining in a clear concise manner. In the words of Oliver Twist =”Please Sir, can I have some more?..”

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  7. You are making us aware of a loophole…………..I cannot see the problem here. If you get a good deal and the result is a stay with them…isn`t that a win/ win

    and isn`t this why we are in this hobby to begin with

    Please keep up the good work

  8. Looks like you have to have at least 5000 points in your account. I tried it with the 1500 I have and it didnt work

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  11. Thanks for the great post, just booked $35/night stay for Chicago Seminar! It took my points 24 hours to transfer from UR.

    • I guess you’ll be renting a car. The three Chicagoland ones were too far away for me to book them for the Seminar

  12. Please correct me if I’m missing something…if I buy PC points this way, I could just keep them in my PC account, couldn’t I? I don’t actually have to spend them at a PointsBreak property, right? Couldn’t I just use them in future at any PC hotel?

    • Yes, you could. But why do this technique in advance of a future award? Just do this when you have an award in mind to avoid point depreciation.

      • Does this work with other award levels? Eg. I have less than 3K PC pts in my account & want to book a 30K + $70 cash award, but PC tells me I have too few pts. How many UR points would I need to transfer in to buy the rest at 0.7 cents?

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  15. If you have 5k pc in the account, and you need to get more to book a room (whether the room costs 5k pc or 40k), do the miles you purchase with this trick always cost you 0.7 cent a piece? For ex: if you want to book a hotel that costs 40k pc + $70. you put 5k pc in your account, and buy the other 35k by spending $70, but then you have 40k pc. you still need to book that hotel for 40k pc+another $70. At the end you end up spending $140 for 35k pc. The price per point is not 0.7 cents. Am I right?

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