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IHG has over 4,900 hotels across over 100 countries. IHG has eight brands total where you can earn points and redeem points. The easiest way to understand each of these brands is to categorize them:
In addition to the brands listed above, another grouping of brands that fall under the IHG Umbrella are Kimpton hotels. Currently, points earning and redemptions are not applicable to Kimpton hotels, but at some point in the future that may change. Up to date information on the IHG/Kimpton merger is available here.
The cost of a free night at an IHG hotel ranges from 5,000 points per night for a PointBreaks promotional hotel (more on this later) up to 60,000 points per night for a Category 9 hotel. IHG has many hotels that fall well within the middle of the redemption range. Unless you are staying city center or at at an InterContinental brand hotel, you will most likely be looking to pay between 20,000 and 40,000 points per night.
IHG also has Points + Cash awards, that are somewhat unique in their execution. For $40 you can get a 5,000 point discount on an award and for $70 you can get a 10,000 point discount on an award. Unlike other hotels that offer Points + Cash options, with IHG you are actually buying the additional points for that dollar amount.
This means that if you cancel a Point + Cash award night, you will not be refunded the dollar amount you spent, but rather you will have the additional 5,000 or 10,000 points returned to your account. This presents a unique ability to purchase points at a discounted rate which we will elaborate on later. If you find yourself short on points, Points + Cash awards are a great option.
Upgrades with points are not available in the IHG program, however you may be able to upgrade by paying a cash surcharge at time of check in, subject to availability and the policies of the hotel.
IHG has a lot of great hotels all over the world and you really won’t run into all that many places where there isn’t an IHG hotel option.
A few of the best resorts to redeem your IHG points at are the InterContinental Paris Le Grand, InterContinental Amsterdam Amstel, and InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa. All of these hotels regularly cost over $500 per night for weekend rates and can have rates closer to, or even over, $1,000 per night.
The InterContiental Paris LeGrand and InterContinental Bora Bora both cost 60,000 points per night while the InterContinental Amsterdam Amstel will run you 50,000 points per night. Even at the low end of the spectrum, you are looking to get about 1 cent per point in value ($500.00/50,000 points = $0.01).
Interested in staying in an all-inclusive resort on points? IHG has a couple of options that will work for you in Jamaica and Mexico. IHG all-inclusives generally cost between 30,000 and 50,000 points per night for two people. Redeeming points for all-inclusives is great because not only do you have a free hotel room, but you also receive food and drinks for no additional cost. The only additional cost you need to consider is getting to the hotel. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, some activities, and more is included in your rate. For this reason it is difficult to determine an exact value per point, but it could easily reach into the multiple cents per point range.
You can check out some of our other favorite redemptions here.
IHG PointBreaks hotels are hands down one of the best parts of the program. Every couple of months IHG releases a list of PointBreaks hotels, a group of hotels that offer a promotional redemption rate of only 5,000 points per night for the next two (or so) month period.
It is impossible to predict what hotels will be included during each period, and generally it is filled with lower end properties, but if the hotels on the list coincide with your travel plans it’s hard to beat 5,000 points per night.
Every once in awhile there will be a real gem on the list like the InterContinental Tahiti which made it onto the PointBreaks list in 2013.
The cancellation policy of award nights is dependent on the hotel. Most hotels will only require 24 hour advance notice, while some may have a more strict cancellation policy. Always be sure to double check the cancellation rules before you book. If you cancel, you should see the points deposited back into your account within minutes.
It is possible to convert IHG Points to airline miles. It will cost you 10,000 IHG points to convert to 2,000 airline miles, and you have many airlines to choose from. In order to convert points to miles, you will need to contact IHG Customer Care.
We value IHG points at 0.5 cents each. For example you can book the Intercontinental Century City near Los Angeles for 50,000 points a night, versus about $275 if you paid in cash, getting about 0.5 cents in value. The Intercontinental in San Francisco costs 60,000 points a night, and often goes for around $300 a night in cash. Searchers on HotelHustle.com on average get a bit more value than that for awards. And using PointBreaks or saving points for days when cash rates are unusually high can get you substantially more value.
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 $5.00 per 1,000 points.
IHG points can be purchased directly from IHG in 1,000 point increments, up to 60,000 points per year. Point prices depend on how many you are buying:
There is an even less expensive way to purchase points, but it is a less direct method and will require you to have at least 5,000 points already in your account. We mentioned above that when paying for a Point + Cash rate, you are actually purchasing points with the cash part of the rate. As a reminder, you receive the following ‘discounts’ for the cash paid:
What this really means is that you are purchasing 5,000 points for $40.00 (0.8 cents per point) or 10,000 points for $70.00 (0.7 cents per point) when you book a Points + Cash rate. Upon canceling that stay, all points are returned to your account and cash is not refunded. Here’s an example.
The Crowne Plaza: Memphis Downtown can be booked for 25,000 points per night. It also has Points + Cash Rates of 20,000 points + $40.00 and 15,000 points + $70.00. If you book one night for 15,000 points + $70.00, you are really purchasing 10,000 points for $70.00. If you then cancel that hotel night, 25,000 points will be returned to your IHG account. This method of purchasing points costs less than purchasing them directly through the IHG Purchase Points link.
You are able to earn points for every stay at an IHG hotel, with the exception of Kimpton hotels. You will earn 10 points per dollar spent at Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and InterContinental Hotels. You will earn 5 points per dollar spent at Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites hotels. If you achieve a higher status level with IHG you will earn more points for each stay. Gold members receive a 10% bonus, Platinum members receive a 50% bonus, and Spire members receive a 100% bonus.
IHG runs various promotions throughout the year where you can receive bonus points for staying different numbers of nights at different brands. Promotions usually require registration ahead of time.
Almost all rates that are booked through IHG.com receive stay and points credit. If you decide to book through a third party travel site such as hotels.com, Orbitz, or Expedia then you will not receive any points or stay credit towards your room rate. There have been scattered reports that you may still receive points on eligible dining charges that are posted to your room.
IHG does have a Best Rate Guarantee program that will match a better rate found on third party websites. If you find a better rate elsewhere, you will receive one night of your stay for free.
Gold status can be earned by staying at IHG hotels. In order to earn Gold status you must do one of the following within a calendar year:
The additional benefits for having Gold status are:
The easiest way to earn Platinum Elite status is to hold the IHG Rewards Club credit card issued by Chase. In addition to being able to earn Platinum status by holding the credit card, you can also earn it by one of the following:
The benefits of obtaining Platinum Elite status are the same as Gold with the following additions:
Receiving Platinum Elite status through the IHG credit card is going to give you the most bang for your buck as IHG status is not really worth very much. The 50% bonus is nice, however, and the Free Night Certificate from the IHG credit card already makes it pay for itself.
Spire status can be earned in the following ways:
The benefits of obtaining Spire status are the same as Gold and Platinum with the following additions:
IHG Points can be earned through a couple of different credit cards. Chase issues the IHG Rewards Club Mastercard which
lets you earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. You also get a free night each year of card membership at over 4,900 hotels worldwide and automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
The Annual Free Night Certificate is good for one night at an IHG hotel every year upon your cardmember anniversary. This certificate alone can make this credit card worth the $49 annual fee, saving you potentially hundreds of dollars on a hotel night.
IHG is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. As such, any premium Chase credit card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, could be used to earn IHG points.
Chase offers a few credit cards with no annual fee that earn Ultimate Rewards like the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited. Having these cards alone will not allow you to transfer to IHG because a premium Chase Card (Sapphire Preferred, Ink) is required in order to transfer points. Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to IHG.
In general, this is not the best way to earn IHG points as Ultimate Rewards has a lot of other transfer partners that are even more valuable than IHG, but if you need a few points for a redemption it may make sense.
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