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IHG One Rewards is the loyalty program of IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group). It’s free to join and allows you to earn IHG One Rewards points which can then be redeemed for hotel reward nights, transferred to airlines and more. Additionally, members can earn their way towards IHG Elite status and enjoy benefits like room upgrades, late checkout and other special perks to make your stay that much better. With nearly 6,000 properties worldwide, IHG’s diverse portfolio has something to offer for every type of traveler.
InterContinental Hotels Group, also known as IHG, has a complex history like most hotel conglomerates. The IHG company was formed via various enterprises eventually coming together into one.
IHG’s story began in 1777 in the U.K. when a small brewery owned by William Bass began dabbling in the hospitality industry. Soon after, Bass Hotels emerged.
The next component contributing to IHG’s story takes place over 150 years later, in 1946, when Juan Trippe, the founder of PanAmerican Airways, established the InterContinental Hotels chain.
The last big part of IHG’s story was in 1954 when the very first Holiday Inn hotel opened up. Holiday Inn grew rapidly and the international portion of the chain was eventually bought by Bass in 1988, and later in 1990 the North American division was also acquired. Ten years later in 1998, Bass purchased the InterContinental Hotels chain, further expanding his holdings.
Bass then launched Holiday Inn Express, followed by Candlewood Suites, then Staybridge Suites. All of these various properties eventually consolidated in 2003 under the umbrella of the IHG Group. Today, IHG consists of nearly 6,000 properties on 6 continents and includes 17 unique brands.
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IHG Hotel Brands
The Luxury & Lifestyle Collection
- Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas: Boutique-style expansive and nature-focused properties with a nod to local culture and a strong emphasis on sustainability.
- Regent Hotels & Resorts: A small selection of high-end resorts, mostly in Asia, with an emphasis on sophistication.
- InterContinental Hotels & Resorts: Marquee luxury brand with iconic and often historic properties, mostly in major cities.
- Vignette Collection: A new collection of luxury resorts based in Australia.
- Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants: Offbeat, quirky luxury is to be expected at Kimpton. Each property is unique and reflects its location.
- Hotel Indigo: Similar to Kimpton, a collection of properties that defies the cookie-cutter design of most chain hotels.
The Premium Collection
- HUALAXE Hotels & Resorts: An IHG brand catering primarily to the Chinese traveler that focuses on “Chinese etiquette, status recognition, rejuvenation with nature, and enabling spaces.”
- Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts: Conference-friendly locations that are a step above Holiday Inn but not as luxurious as Intercontinental.
- EVEN Hotels: Mid-range properties with a focus on wellness and healthy living.
- voco hotels: Another mid-range hotel option centered on boutique properties that have a bit of local flair.
The Essentials Collection
- Holiday Inn: The original brand with a huge footprint and a leisure focus.
- Holiday Inn Express: Holiday Inn plus free breakfast and slightly fewer amenities.
- Avid Hotels: A new brand that promises “A great night’s sleep in a clean room,” but no bells and whistles.
The Suites Collection
- Atwell Suites: A brand in its infancy, which promises a slightly more upscale extended stay experience.
- Staybridge Suites: Family-friendly suites with full kitchens, free breakfast and weekly social hours with snacks.
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations: IHG’s version of timeshare ownership properties.
- Candlewood Suites: Extended stay with no-frills.
How to Earn Points with IHG Rewards
To begin earning IHG One Rewards points, you’ll first need to head over to IHG and sign up for a free loyalty account. Signing up is easy and only takes a minute or two. Once you are enrolled, you can immediately begin earning IHG One Rewards points.
Earn Through Hotel Stays
IHG members can earn IHG One Rewards points through many different outlets—hotel stays being the most obvious.
Each night you stay at an eligible IHG brand property you will earn the following:
- 10 IHG One Rewards points for each $1 spent at most IHG hotels
- 5 IHG One Rewards points for every $1 spent at Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.
Elite status holders can earn even more IHG One Rewards points on each stay. In addition to the standard base points given for every dollar spent at an IHG, you can earn up to 100% more points by having elite status.
Here are the following status levels offered by IHG One Rewards and their respective bonus earning rates:
- Club: No bonus IHG points earned
- Silver Elite: 20% bonus
- Gold Elite: 40% bonus
- Platinum Elite: 60% bonus
- Diamond Elite: 100% bonus
Earning Elite Status
In addition to earning bonus IHG One Rewards points during stays, each status tier comes with its own perks and benefits. In addition, each status tier also comes with unique requirements to earn and maintain that status. The table below shows the benefits each elite status grants, along with the number of required nights or stays to achieve that level.
You will notice that you have the option of earning status via either earning points or by staying a certain number of nights. The vast majority of customers will earn points more quickly than they will collect nights, especially when you consider any status bonuses where you can up to double your earnings.
For instance, $100 in hotel spending at most properties will earn a Diamond Elite 2,000 points. That means that $6,000 in hotel spend will earn 120,000 points. It will likely take fewer than 70 nights to spend $6,000. Note, however, that elite bonuses on IHG spending will count towards status, but points earned from credit cards or promotions will not.
While the earnings rates will be effective immediately, the status changes outlined below will roll out gradually and be in place by June 2022.
Club: No nights or stays required
Club is IHG’s base level for all members. When you sign up for IHG One Rewards you will automatically receive Club status.
- Exclusive rates
- No blackout dates when using points to book
- Complimentary internet
- Reward nights count towards elite status
- Members-only promotions
- 2 p.m. late check-out upon availability (preference given to higher status elites)
Silver Elite: 10 nights, no points requirement
IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card* members receive complimentary Silver Elite status with the option to earn Gold Elite Status when you spend $20,000 on purchases with your card and make one additional purchase each calendar year.
Silver Elite members receive all of the benefits of Club plus the following:
Gold Elite: 20 nights or 40,000 IHG One Rewards points
IHG Gold Elite status gives you all the benefits of Silver status and the following perks:
- Rollover nights towards next year’s status
Platinum Elite: 40 nights or 60,000 IHG One Rewards points
Complimentary for card holders of the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card* and the IHG® Rewards Premier Business Card*. Additionally, IHG Rewards Premier cardholders can earn Diamond Elite status after spending $40,000 on purchases and making one additional purchase each calendar year.
Platinum Elite status includes all of the benefits of Gold Elite, as well as the following:
- Complimentary room upgrades (subject to availability)
- Guaranteed room availability up to 72 hours
- Welcome amenity of either points or drink/snack at check in
- Reward Night discount promotions
- Early check-in, which is subject to availability.
Diamond Elite: 70 nights or 120,000 IHG One Rewards points
In March 2022, IHG changed the name of its Spire Elite status to Diamond Elite. Diamond Elite members get all the previously listed perks, in addition to the following:
- Welcome Amenity choice: points, drink/snack or free breakfast for Diamond Elite members and one additional guest.
- Dedicated Diamond Elite customer service phone line
IHG InterContinental Ambassador
The InterContinental Ambassador program is another loyalty program offered by IHG that is exclusively for InterContinental Hotels and Resorts. It’s open to all IHG One Rewards Club members, but it requires a yearly $200 fee. You can join here. Perks include:
- Room upgrade of one category guaranteed
- 4pm check-out
- Free weekend night certificate useable with a paid night on the same reservation
- Automatic Platinum Elite IHG One Rewards Club status
- $20 restaurant and bar credit each stay
- Complimentary water
- Free internet
- Dedicated check-in area
- Single room rate for double occupancy
- Breakfast for one each night you stay. Available only in Mainland China
- Welcome fruit platter for stays in Greater China
InterContinental Ambassador status doesn’t make sense for everyone but if you can utilize the benefits it could come in handy.
There are no current status match options available with IHG as of this writing, however, the ability to fast track your way to Platinum status opens up to all members from time to time.
Earn Through Credit Cards
The fastest way to load up on IHG One Rewards points is by signing up for an IHG credit card. Currently, there are three co-branded credit cards on the market which allow you to earn IHG One Rewards points.
- IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card: Earn 10 points per dollar at IHG® Hotels and Resorts as an IHG® Rewards member, 5 points per dollar spent at IHG Hotels and Resorts with the card, plus 2 points per dollar spent from IHG with Silver Elite Status (a benefit of this card), 3 points per dollar spent at gas stations, on utilities; internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming services and restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases.
- IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn 10 points per dollar at IHG® Hotels and Resorts as an IHG® Rewards Premier Credit cardmember, 10 points per dollar at IHG Hotels and Resorts as an IHG® Rewards member, 6 points per dollar from IHG with Platinum Elite Status (a benefit of this card), 5 points per dollar on travel, dining and at gas stations and 3 point per dollar on all other purchases.
- IHG Premier Business Card: Earn 10 points per dollar at IHG® Hotels and Resorts as an IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Cardmember, 5 points per dollar on travel, dining, select business, and at gas stations, and 3 points per dollar on all other purchases.
Each card is issued through Chase bank, which can be somewhat picky when it comes to approving new accounts. Most importantly you’ll need to make sure that you are under Chase’s 5/24 rule, otherwise you will automatically be rejected for a new card.
Earn Through Transfer Partners
Not all points are created equally, and that is especially true when it comes to transferable currencies like American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Capital One Rewards. What makes these points so valuable is the flexibility they provide thanks to the numerous travel partners they can be transferred to.
For IHG One Rewards points you can transfer your points from Chase Ultimate Rewards at a rate of 1:1. This is not generally thought of as an optimal redemption as Chase has more valuable transfer partners, but the ability to transfer can be useful to top up an account.
IHG does not have a dedicated shopping portal, but it does have a shopping partner which allows you to earn IHG One Rewards points on eligible purchases.
- Apple Partnership: When you sign into your IHG One Rewards account and shop through the link, you can earn 4 IHG points for every $1 spent.
You can earn even more IHG One Rewards points each time you dine out at eligible restaurants. IHG’s Dine & Earn program is easy to join, and gives lots of great incentives to enroll, as well – past offers include earning 1,000 IHG One Rewards points after spending $30 within 30 days of enrollment.
Buying IHG One Rewards
Every year IHG One Rewards members can purchase points, up to 150,000 per year. Note you can also gift up to 150,000 points per year to another member and there is no limit to how many gifts any one member can receive.
Purchases are processed by a third party called Points.com so you will not receive any travel category bonuses from credit card spend.
Speculatively buying IHG One Rewards points, or any points, is not something we generally recommend, even when they are on sale. However, if you need to top off your account for an upcoming stay then buying points could make sense.
Make sure to crunch the numbers to ensure you are getting the better value. Additionally, IHG runs frequent promotions for up to 100% bonus points with purchase, so if you can wait for one to roll around you will get a much better deal.
Redeeming IHG One Rewards
Earning IHG Rewards points is only half the fun. The other half comes from redeeming them. There are lots of ways you can redeem your IHG Rewards points, some of them much more valuable than others.
Back in 2020, IHG followed the lead of several other hotel loyalty programs and did away with its award charts, replacing it with a dynamic pricing model. This means that award rates will fluctuate due to demand, similar to how cash rates work.
Take Paris, France, for example. The Crowne Plaza Paris – Republique runs 33,000 IHG One Rewards points for a week day in March 2022.
Fast forward to a weekend in June and the price jumps 12,000 IHG One Rewards points. June is a very popular season for Paris, so the points cost of the hotel reflects the demand.
Because of the nature of dynamic pricing, sweet spots don’t exist in the traditional sense of the term. That doesn’t mean great deals aren’t waiting to be found, though.
To really stretch the value of your IHG One Rewards points, flexibility is key. Consider traveling during slower seasons. From the example above, you can save 12,000 IHG One Rewards points a night by visiting during a non-peak travel time.
When you go to redeem IHG One Rewards points, it’s always a good idea to compare the cash pricing to the awards pricing. In general, if you are getting more than .7 cents per point you can consider it a solid use of your points. Remember the fourth award night is free if you have an IHG credit card when calculating the value of any specific stay.
Points & Cash
If you find yourself short on cash, you can always use IHG’s Points & Cash option. Points & Cash works by allowing you to use your IHG One Rewards points in 5,000 point increments to offset the cost of the room.
To use Points & Cash, you can simply conduct a search for an award night. IHG will ask you at some point during the booking process if you’d like to use your points to cover some of the cost.
Make sure that “Rewards Nights” is selected under the Rate Preference option.
Select the property you are interested in. Then hit the “Pay with Points: Points + Cash Available” option. From there you can choose which Points & Cash option that makes sense for you.
Milestone Rewards is the all new program from IHG that gives you the opportunity to choose unique benefits to complement your individual travel style and needs. Although Milestone Rewards won’t be available until June 2022, here is what you can expect once it goes live.
The benefits of Milestone Rewards are awarded each time you stay a specific number of nights. Specifically, when you reach 20 nights, you will receive your first benefit. Every 10 nights thereafter you will earn another benefit, up to 100 nights.
Each Milestone Rewards’ tier comes with several options to choose from. You can pick one option from the list. At 40 nights and 70 nights, you will earn a bonus choice benefit and may choose two options instead of just one.
Rewards include the following:
- Up to 10,000 Bonus IHG One Rewards points
- Food and beverage credits
- Confirmable suite upgrades
- Annual Club Lounge membership
When choosing benefits, you’ll have 90 days to make your selection. You’ll then have 12 months to use your awards with the exception of the Annual Club Lounge membership. These will be eligible for the remainder of the year you qualify for it plus the entire next year.
The Club Lounge membership deserves special mention as it is a benefit not offered by any other hotel chain. Other chains allow club access to top-level elites but the membership model proposed by IHG is unique. Just keep in mind that the number of IHG properties that actually have club lounges is very small compared to the chain’s footprint.
If you find yourself with IHG One Rewards points and no stays planned, transferring your IHG One Rewards points to an airline is one option to still get some value out of them. IHG One Rewards points convert at a ratio of 5:1. This means that for every five IHG One Rewards points you transfer, you will receive one airline mile.
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Converting IHG One Rewards points to airline miles must be initiated over the phone. Call into IHG customer service at 1-888-211-9874. Miles can take up to 6 weeks to post, so plan accordingly. In general, this is not a good value for your points.
Here are all the airlines you can convert your IHG Rewards points to.
Several 3rd party gift cards are available for IHG One Rewards points redemptions through IHG. Generally, using your IHG One Rewards points for gift cards won’t get you as much value as you would when redeeming them for a free night, however, if you don’t have any other uses for your points, this could be a convenient option.
Here are a few examples of various 3rd party gift cards available through IHG. As you can see, the cards cost quite a lot of IHG Rewards points for not a lot of gift card funds.
Merchandise – IHG One Rewards Shopping Mall
IHG allows you to redeem your IHG One Rewards points for merchandise ranging from electronics to clothing to even fine jewelry. Points prices vary from item to item. Additionally, this is probably not going to give you the most value on your IHG One Rewards points, but if there is no travel in your foreseeable future and your points are burning a hole in your pocket, check out the IHG shopping mall and see if there is something you need.
Elite status members’ IHG One Rewards points never expire, but for Club members points expire after 12 months of no activity. To keep your IHG One Rewards points from expiring, you can do any of the following:
- Book a reward night
- Use Points & Cash
- Make a purchase with a co-branded IHG credit card (Note: IHG credit cards all come with some sort of elite status making points expiration moot)
- Purchase IHG One Rewards points
- Shop with the IHG One Rewards online shopping mall
- Dine out and use your card connected to your IHG Dining Rewards account
IHG doesn’t charge any additional fees, however, resort fees are not guaranteed to be waived for award nights – it’s ultimately up to the property. If you have elite status and you do get charged a resort fee you may have luck asking for the fee to be waived at checkout or contacting customer service.
IHG One Rewards Club has a family pooling feature but it’s not a particularly generous option. Members are able to send and receive IHG One Rewards points to other members, but it costs $5.00 for every 1,000 IHG One Rewards points. This is equivalent to the value you can get if you buy or gift points with a 100% points promotion, so there really isn’t a use case for family pooling since you can buy them for the same rate. There is no limit to how many points you can send and receive through this avenue.
IHG’s loyalty program has an abundance of opportunities to earn loads of IHG One Rewards points and redeem them for reward nights. Because of the dynamic pricing model, finding sweet spots can take some work but there are some opportunities to find significant value. And thanks to IHG’s huge footprint, there’s likely to be an IHG property somewhere in the world for any travel need and points budget.