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When you think of hotel loyalty programs, Marriott and Hilton may be the first that come to mind. But you’d be remiss if you overlooked IHG, or InterContinental Hotels Group, when planning your next trip.
IHG’s loyalty program, IHG Rewards Club, is free and can provide great value to travelers from all walks of life. Even with the CDC still recommends against non-essential travel, now is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the program so that you are a seasoned pro when it comes to booking.
Advantages and disadvantages of the IHG Rewards program
IHG operates approximately 6,000 hotels in its portfolio, including the InterContinental, Kimpton, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands. From luxury to budget, the chain caters to virtually all types of travelers.
The IHG Rewards program really shines when it comes to redeeming points. It’s also a Chase Ultimate Rewards partner, with a 1: 1 transfer ratio – meaning that for every Chase credit card point you transfer, you’ll earn 1 IHG Rewards Club point. There are also no blackout dates for award nights when you redeem your points. This means that you can use points to book whenever you want, as long as there is availability.
If you don’t have enough IHG points in your account to redeem them for a stay, or if you want to keep some for another occasion, you can take advantage of the chain’s Points & Cash option when booking. This will allow you to book your stay using a combination of points and cash, helping you save money on what might otherwise be a cash stay. Just be aware that if you cancel the stay, you will not be refunded the cash portion of your Points & Cash reservation.
A notable benefit of the IHG Rewards Club program is its âRaid the Barâ benefit at Kimpton hotels. With it, elite members can get a $ 10 credit at the restaurant bar or in-room mini-bar with each qualified stay. It’s an easy way to save a bit of cash here and there on food and drink, especially if you’re planning on spending that money anyway.
Note, however, that IHG Rewards does offer âdynamic pricing,â which means the number of points you will need to redeem for a given hotel each night may vary. Additionally, some of its properties, such as Sixth Senses and Mr. and Mrs. Smith hotels, cannot be booked with points.
The IHG rewards program lags behind some competitors when it comes to the benefits given to members who also have elite status. If you have elite status, you will not receive a free breakfast or even a guaranteed late checkout, regardless of your status. That’s a far cry from competitors like Marriott and Hilton, which offer these and other perks to many of their elite members.
How to earn IHG Rewards Club points
As with other big hotel chains, there are several ways to earn IHG points. Let’s take a closer look.
This is the traditional way to earn IHG points. All IHG Rewards Club members will earn points on their stays at the following rates:
- IHG Residence: 2.5 points per dollar
- IHG Army hotels: 3 points per dollar
- Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites: 5 points per dollar
- The Venetian Resort Las Vegas: 2,000 points per stay
- All other IHG properties: 10 points per dollar
If you are an elite member, you will earn even more points. Gold Elite members will receive a 10% bonus, Platinum Elite members will receive a 50% bonus, and high-level Spire Elite members will receive a 100% bonus.
Using a co-branded credit card from your favorite hotel chain or airline is a great way to earn bonus points or miles on your daily spending or with this travel provider. IHG is no exception.
The hotel chain currently has two credit cards open for new applications: the IHGÂ® Rewards Club Premier credit card and the IHGÂ® Rewards Club Traveler credit card.
The IHG Premier card has an annual fee of $ 89 and earns 25 points per dollar at IHG establishments, plus 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. He earns 1 point per dollar on everything else. You will also benefit from a reward evening each year on the occasion of your cardholder’s birthday (worth up to 40,000 points). The card currently offers a welcome bonus of 125,000 points + 1 night reward (worth up to 40,000 points) after spending $ 3,000 on purchases within three months of opening the account.
The IHG Rewards Club Traveler credit card, on the other hand, has no annual fee. It earns up to 15 points per dollar at IHG establishments – 5x as a cardholder, plus an additional 10x if you are also a Rewards Club member. He also earns 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. You can also earn Elite Gold status when you spend $ 10,000 on purchases with your card each calendar year. The card does not currently offer a welcome bonus.
With these two cards, you will also be eligible to receive a fourth night free on qualifying award stays.
Events and Meetings
An underrated way to earn IHG Points is to book a corporate event or meeting at one of the chain’s properties through the IHG Business Rewards program. All you gotta do is register on the siteand you will earn 3x points on rooms, meetings and events. This includes rooms reserved for others, meeting and event costs, conference room costs, catering services for events and meetings, and all-inclusive meeting packages. Note that there is a maximum earning potential of 60,000 points per event or meeting.
Like its competitors, IHG also offers a catering program, where Rewards Club members can earn points when they eat at eligible restaurants. You will need create a free account and link it to your Rewards Club account, and register a debit or credit card. You will then earn IHG points when you use this card at qualifying locations.
Depending on your status in the catering program, you will earn a certain number of points: VIP members earn 8 points per dollar; Some members earn 5 points per dollar; and Basic members earn 1 point per dollar.
To maximize your rewards, we recommend using a card that earns bonus points at restaurants, such as the American ExpressÂ® Gold Card, so that you can earn credit card points as well as IHG points.
Buy Apple Products
You can also earn 4 points per dollar by purchasing Apple products through the Apple IHG Rewards Portal. Keep in mind, however, that not all products are eligible to earn bonus points, so you’ll want to take a look at what’s excluded first.
Purchase of points
You can also buy IHG points to boost your account. The standard price is 1 cent per point for purchases of 26,000 points or more.
That said, IHG often runs promotions where you can buy points with a 100% bonus, which means you can get points for 0.5 cents each, a much better value. Typically, you can purchase up to 150,000 IHG ââpoints per year, although this limit is sometimes increased during promotions.
Transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG to increase your account balance if needed. For every 1 Chase point you transfer, you get 1 IHG point back.
How to redeem points
Now that we have the basics of earning IHG Points, let’s take a look at how to redeem them.
You must first log into your IHG Rewards Club account. From there, you can enter dates in the desired destination and search for available properties.
Once you have determined the property you wish to reserve, click on “Select a hotel”. From there, you will have the option to pay in points, cash or in points and cash.
IHG does not publish an award table, which means award rates when redeeming points are not fixed and may fluctuate based on ownership and date.
We did a quick search to compare rates for properties on both ends of the spectrum. For example, at the InterContinental Maldives, a 5 star resort in a luxurious setting in the Maldives, Indian Ocean, we found rates starting at 120,000 points per night.
At the Holiday Inn in Times Square, New York, rates are around 25,000 points per night.
Earn Elite Status
IHG has three elite status levels: Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, and Spire Elite. Here is how they break down.
Gold elites qualify after spending 10 nights or earning 10,000 elite points in a calendar year – although those requirements have dropped to 7 and 7,000 respectively for 2021, due to the pandemic.
With it, you’ll enjoy extended check-out time (subject to availability), priority check-in, and the aforementioned 10% bonus on rewards bookings. You will also receive a welcome gift upon check-in. Typically, IHG points expire in 12 months if you have no qualifying account activity, but they do not expire for Gold Elite.
Platinum elites will be eligible for their status after staying 40 nights or after accumulating 40,000 elite elite points. This year those requirements have been lowered to 30 nights or 30,000 elite qualifying points.
Platinum elites receive the same benefits as Gold elites, as well as elite rollover nights, free room upgrades (subject to availability), and the aforementioned 50% bonus on award bookings. Points do not expire for Platinum elites either.
Top Spire elites earn their status after 75 nights or 75,000 elite qualifying points in a calendar year. For this year, those requirements have dropped to 55 nights or 55,000 elite qualifying points.
They enjoy the same benefits as Platinum elites, as well as early registration, an exclusive choice benefit (such as an annual bonus of 25,000 points or the ability to offer Platinum status) and a Hertz Gold Plus upgrade. Five Star Rewards. They will also receive a 100% bonus on reward stays, as mentioned earlier.