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The Best Ways to Redeem Points with IHG Rewards

The Best Ways to Redeem Points with IHG Rewards

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This article was last updated May 02, 2019, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

The IHG® Rewards Club loyalty program gives travelers access to 13 brands at more than 5,600 hotels around the world. While it isn’t among the best when it comes to high-value, luxury redemptions, it does offer some good options in the low- to mid-tier hotel range.

The club offers flexibility when it comes to redeeming points. There are no blackout dates for reward nights and you can pay for stays with a combination of points and cash. Guests can also earn elite status that unlocks benefits designed to upgrade their hotel stays.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your IHG points.

What hotels can you book with IHG points?

IHG brands you can book include:

  • Luxury: InterContinental®, Hualuxe
  • Upscale: Crowne Plaza®, Even® Hotels
  • Boutique: Hotel Indigo®, Kimpton
  • Midscale: Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express
  • Extended Stay: Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®

What credit card earns IHG points?

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has an annual fee of $89. New cardmembers Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening plus an additional 40,000 bonus points after spending a total of $5,000 on purchases within 6 months of account opening. You’ll also receive 10,000 bonus points each account anniversary year when you spend at least $20,000 on the card, along with one more purchase is made at least one day after you spend $20,000.

Earn 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Receive automatic IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status for as long as you have the card. Save 20% when you buy points with the card. Receive a free night on your cardmember anniversary and a free reward night for a stay of four or more nights.

Cardmembers can transfer points earned on this card to nine airline and three hotel loyalty programs, including IHG Rewards Club, at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website.

How do you earn points?

Earn 10 points per $1 spent at InterContinental, Hualuxe, Crowne Plaza, Even Hotels, Hotel Indigo, Kimpton, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express; earn 5 points per $1 spent at Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites hotels.

IHG runs various promotions throughout the year where you can receive bonus points for stays at different brands. Promotions usually require registration ahead of time.

Tip: In addition to hotel stays, you can earn points for purchasing goods and services with IHG Partners.

How many points does a free night cost?

The cost of a free night at an IHG hotel ranges from 10,000 points a night for Candlewood Suites in Houston to 65,000 points a night for the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City.

Tip: Although there aren’t blackout dates for booking reward nights, room inventory is limited and subject to prior sale. PointBreaks hotels (see below) often sell out at the promotional rate of 5,000 points within the first day of being offered. Know that you’ll be challenged to find rooms at this rate when booking popular hotels or on popular travel dates.

Room upgrades with points are not available in the IHG program.

How IHG PointBreaks works

IHG PointBreaks is a great way to book reward stays at lower points. Every few months, IHG releases a list of hotels that offer a promotional redemption rate of between 5,000 and 15,000 points per night, currently through May 31, 2019. A new list of hotels will be revealed on June 1. Members can only book two PointBreaks reward nights reservations per hotel (see more details about the program further in this post).

What are Points & Cash awards?

IHG Rewards Club members can use the Points & Cash program to book rooms. For example, if you book a room for two adults June 4-6, 2019, at the Holiday Inn & Suites: Across From Universal Orlando, it would cost $108.30 or 30,000 points a night. You could also choose to spend 25,000 points plus $36, 20,000 points plus $72 or 15,000 points plus $92.

Good deal redemptions

IHG has a lot of great hotels all over the world. A few of the best resorts to redeem your IHG points at are the luxury InterContinental-branded hotels or all-inclusive resorts. We outline two below.

InterContinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas, Portugal

Image courtesy of Ihg.com

This hotel overlooks Liberdade Square in the center of Porto and is a few minutes’ walk from São Bento railway station and the Lello & Irmão Bookstore, named by Lonely Planet as the third-most beautiful library in the world. Take a boat ride along the River Douro or visit one of the city’s famous port wine cellars. A room for two adults in August is $332.26 or 50,000 points a night.

Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay All-Inclusive, Jamaica

Image courtesy of Ihg.com

This beachfront all-inclusive resort has five on-site restaurants, an outdoor pool, beach access, a casino, a cocktail bar, live entertainment, a spa and activities for children. Located in proximity to local attractions such as the Rose Hall Great House, the Martha Brae River and Dunn’s River Falls.

Redeeming points for all-inclusive resorts is a great value because not only do you have a free hotel room, but you also receive breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, some activities and more in your rate. You’ll spend $204.13 or 50,000 points a night.

You can also redeem your points for merchandise, gift cards, unique experiences under IHG Rewards Club Access, magazine subscriptions, digital downloads or donations to charities.

What is the cancellation policy for an award night?

The cancellation policy depends on the hotel booked. If you cancel your reward night reservation before the hotel’s cutoff time, your points will be redeposited into your IHG Rewards Club account and may be subject to a processing fee. If you don’t cancel your reservation by the hotel’s deadline, your points will be redeposited into your Rewards Club account, but you may be hit with a no-show charge for the first night of the reservation, plus tax, per room, billed to the credit card used to guarantee the reservation.

Can you transfer IHG points into airline miles?

It costs 10,000 IHG points to convert to 2,000 airline miles, and you have 38 airlines to choose from. In order to convert points to miles, you will need to contact IHG® Customer Care.

Tip: Transferring IHG points to airline miles is not a good idea because of the poor transfer ratio. If you need to top off an airline loyalty airline account for redemption or would otherwise  absolutely never use the hotel points, it may be justifiable. However, you will receive much higher value by redeeming the points for hotel nights.

Can you share points?

It is possible to share IHG points by transferring them to another member’s account. Points can be transferred in 1,000 point increments for a cost of $5 per 1,000 points.

Can you purchase points?

IHG points can be purchased directly from IHG in 1,000-point increments, up to 100,000 points per year. Point prices depend on how many you are buying:

  • 1,000 points: $13.50
  • *10,000 points plus 4,000 bonus: $135
  • *50,000 points plus 40,000 bonus: $500

*Bonus points currently available until May 1, 2019; check the website for an extension of the date.

How can you earn elite status?

IHG has four levels of elite status, based on the number of nights you stay or the base points you earn at one of its more than 5,600 hotels. Base points are determined by each hotel.

Gold Elite

Gold Elite status is earned by either staying at IHG hotels for 10 qualifying nights or earning 10,000 base points per year. Benefits of Gold status are:

  • Points don’t expire
  • Priority check-in and extended check-out
  • Free internet
  • Welcome amenity
  • 10% Bonus
  • Earn 1,000 bonus points for each night of your stay when booking Your Rate IHG Rewards Club Bonus Points Packages
  • Dedicated customer service phone assistance
  • Hertz Car Rental: save and earn 1,500+ points
  • $30 in-room spa credit at participating hotels
  • Earn on IHG Rewards Club Dining, OpenTable and Grubhub
  • One free Amazon Kindle eBook per quarter
  • No blackout dates for reward nights
  • Elite members’ points don’t expire

Platinum Elite

The easiest way to earn Platinum Elite status is to have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which gives cardholders automatic status. It’s also earned by either staying 40 nights or earning 40,000 base points a year. Platinum Elite comes with all the perks of Gold, along with the following:

  • 50% bonus points
  • Elite rollover nights (members who have earned extra Elite Qualifying Nights can roll them over into the next year)
  • Free room upgrades
  • Custom stay preferences
  • Guaranteed room availability
  • Two free Amazon Kindle eBooks per quarter

Spire Elite

Earn this status by either staying 75 nights or earning 75,000 base points a year. Benefits include everything that comes with Gold and Platinum along with the following:

  • 100% bonus points
  • Elite rollover nights
  • Exclusive choice benefit upon receiving status
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® Five Star® Status
  • Access to invitation-only Kimpton’s Inner Circle loyalty program
  • Complimentary Chef’s Taste
  • Three free Amazon Kindle eBooks per quarter

InterContinental® Ambassador

Guests pay $200 or 40,000 points a year for membership. Benefits include:

  • Automatic IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status
  • A guaranteed one-category room upgrade
  • Extended 4 p.m. check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night
  • Dedicated check-in area
  • Up to $20 credit toward restaurants and bars
  • Free mineral water and internet service

Do IHG points expire?

If you have elite status with IHG, your points will not expire. If you don’t have elite status, you will need to have qualifying activity at least once every 12 months. Qualifying activity counts as any points earning or redemption.

The bottom line

For those loyal to IHG, its Rewards Club gives you access to 13 brands at more than 5,600 hotels around the world. However, Marriott Bonvoy™ is still ahead, with 30 brands and 7,000 hotels.

Rewards Club members earn the same points — 10 per $1 spent — as competitors Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Like its competitors, those points drop to 5 points per $1 spent for their extended stay brands.

IHG Rewards Club offers plenty of ways to redeem points, including merchandise, gift cards, unique experiences under IHG Rewards Club Access, magazine subscriptions, digital downloads or donations to charities. While you can transfer your points to 38 airlines, the conversion ratio is so poor we only advise doing so if you need a limited number of miles in your loyalty program account.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card comes with automatic Platinum Elite status, which is more generous compared to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card (Silver), Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (Gold) and The World Of Hyatt Credit Card (Discoverist, the lowest elite status).

Elite status offers members nice perks at each level, including rollover nights that give you a jump start the following calendar year and the free quarterly Kindle downloads. The IHG Rewards Club, especially when paired with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, comes with plenty of ways to earn and redeem reward points, making it a worthy program for its most loyal customers.

The information related to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, and The World Of Hyatt Credit Card has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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