12 Best Ways To Earn IHG Points [2020 Guide]

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IHG Rewards Club is one of the largest hotel loyalty programs in the world with over 5,600 properties in more than 100 countries.

While the IHG program may not get the recognition of Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors, it shouldn't be overlooked, especially if you aren't a luxury traveler and prefer economical accommodations with the occasional splurge.

Compared to other hotel loyalty programs, IHG Rewards Club makes it easy to earn IHG points that can be used for free stays at hotels around the world. Along with earning points on IHG stays and with the co-branded IHG credit card, there are nearly a dozen options for earning IHG points.

Ready to jump in and start earning your first free stay at IHG? Here's a comprehensive look at the best ways to earn IHG points and start racking up free stays.

Quick Answer

How to earn IHG Rewards Club points:
1. Earn points with the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card
2. Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and transfer to IHG Rewards Club
3. Stay at IHG properties
4. Book a rental car with Hertz
5. Sign up to ride with Uber
6. Order GrubHub delivery to your IHG hotel
7. Dine through the IHG Rewards Club Dining program
8. Book activities and tours through IHG
9. Book transport services
10. Shop for Apple products through IHG
11. Submit surveys through Opinion Check-In
12. Buy IHG points

First Step: Enroll in the IHG Rewards Club Program

As you probably already guessed, the first step to earning IHG points is creating an IHG Rewards Club account. Membership is free and you'll be on your way to earning free IHG stays in no time.

You can join IHG Rewards Club for free online or sign up in person at an IHG property.

You don't need to provide much more than your name, email address, and physical address to get started. You also need to set up a 4-digit PIN to access your account.

When you join IHG, you'll even get a welcome bonus of 500 points.

As a new member, you will be at the base level of the IHG Rewards Club program. If you sign up for the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card, however, you will have instant Platinum elite status.

Other than signing up for the IHG credit card, you can earn elite status in the IHG program by reaching a minimum number of stays in a calendar year or earning a specific number of elite qualifying points.

Why IHG Rewards Club Points Are Worth Earning

IHG Rewards Club may not have the same brand recognition of Marriott or Hilton -- or the valuable elite status perks these programs deliver -- but the program still has a lot to offer.

The IHG Rewards Club program makes it very easy to earn IHG points to redeem for free stays and it has a huge portfolio of properties around the world.

IHG specializes in extended stay properties and affordable properties for business travelers and families. They even have a number of all-inclusive yet budget-friendly resorts. If you tend to look for the best value when you travel -- or your travel takes to you a lot of areas off the beaten path where other brands may not have a presence -- the IHG program will probably deliver a lot of value for you.

Here's why IHG Rewards Club is worth joining:

  • Earn and redeem points at more than 5,600 hotels around the world
  • IHG focuses on extended stay and budget-friendly properties
  • Simple award chart makes using IHG points easy
  • Easy to earn free nights

That doesn't mean IHG Rewards Club is perfect.

One of the biggest drawbacks with the IHG program is its lack of impressive elite status benefits. There's not much point to progressing past Platinum status -- which you get automatically with the IHG credit card -- because you'll only get Hertz Five Star status, early check-in, and 25,000 bonus points per year.

With IHG elite status, you can't even use your elite benefits like free room upgrades on award stays -- a perk other hotel loyalty programs offer. You also don't get free breakfast at chains that do not include it or other perks like the ability to use IHG points for anything but standard room redemptions.

Despite this drawback, the IHG program still has a lot to offer. You'll find it easy to earn free IHG stays within its diverse portfolio that includes city and suburban locations as well as exotic locales and all-inclusive resorts. 

You can learn more about how the program works and how you can redeem the points you earn by reading our in-depth guide to the IHG Rewards Club

How Do IHG Rewards Club Points Compare to Other Hotel Points?

IHG points are most comparable to Hilton Honors points which are both valued at about 0.6 cents each. While this may not seem like much compared to World of Hyatt points which are valued at 1.7 cents each, Hilton and IHG both make it easy to earn points and earn free stays.

IHG has a simple award chart with 13 hotel categories. You need between 10,000 and 70,000 points per night for a free stay -- or as few as 5,000 points for PointBreaks deals. Hilton Honors redemptions, by comparison, start at 5,000 points but go as high as 95,000 points per night. Hilton Honors also has a dynamic pricing model so the number of points needed at a hotel can vary from one night to the next. IHG currently uses a fixed award chart to make redemptions easier.

Best Ways to Maximize Earning IHG Rewards Club Points

Ready to start earning IHG rewards points? Like other major hotel loyalty programs, IHG offers many ways to earn IHG points, even outside of hotel stays. Here are the best ways to earn IHG Rewards points and set yourself on the path to your first free night stay.

Earn IHG Rewards Club Points from Credit Cards

Want to earn IHG points as quickly as possible? One of the best ways to earn IHG Rewards points is with the IHG Rewards Club Premier card from Chase.

The IHG credit card allows you to earn even more points on IHG stays and even earn IHG points on everyday spending.

For the first year as an IHG cardholder, you'll earn 25x points at IHG and 4x points on all other spending.

After the first year, you'll get 10x bonus points at IHG; 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; and 1x points on everything else.

Don't forget the IHG Rewards Club Premier card also includes a free anniversary night certificate that can be used at any category 7 or lower hotel (and worth up to 40,000 points!) plus your 4th night free on award stays to make your points go even farther.

IHG Rewards Club Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

As with other co-branded hotel loyalty credit cards, the IHG credit card almost always has a welcome offer for new cardholders. This welcome offer is usually sizeable and can go up to 125,000 IHG points with a value of $750 or even more, depending on how you use your points. A welcome offer of that size is enough for more than 12 free nights (or 15 with the 4th night free benefit if they're consecutive!) or up to 25 free PointBreaks stays.

The welcome offer can be stretched pretty far and it has a great value considering the IHG Rewards Club Premier card only has an annual fee of $89 -- which is already more than offset by the free anniversary night certificate each year.

Everyday Spending on IHG Rewards Club Credit Cards

You can use your IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card anywhere MasterCard is accepted to earn IHG points on all everyday spending outside of IHG stays. You'll even earn a higher reward rate on bonus categories.

During the first 12 months, you'll get 4x IHG points on all spending outside of IHG. Afterward, you'll get 2x points in bonus categories:

  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants

Earn Bonus Points When You Stay at IHG Hotels

It's hard to beat the earning potential of the IHG Rewards Club Premier card when it's used to book IHG stays. With the IHG Rewards Club co-branded credit card, you earn boosted IHG bonus points that can be stacked with any other IHG points you earn for your stay.

During the first year, the card earns 25x points on IHG stays. That's 2,500 points for every $100. After the first year, you still earn 10x points on top of base points, elite status points, and promotional points.

On a $200 IHG stay, you can earn:

  • 10x base points (10 x 200 = 2,000 base points)
  • Elite status bonus points (1x, 5x, or 10x depending on your status. The IHG credit card gives you automatic Platinum status for 5x elite status points or 1,000 bonus points)
  • 25x credit card bonus points (25 x 200 = 5,000 bonus points) or 10x points after the first year

That's 8,000 points for a single $200 stay -- already more than enough for a PointBreaks hotel stay!

This doesn't include any promotional points you may earn on your stay. It isn't uncommon for IHG to offer promotions to earn even more points on your stay.

Earn Extra Points with IHG Chase Offers

If you have any Chase card, including the IHG Rewards Club Premier card, you have access to Chase Offers, a program that offers targeted and limited-time deals when you use your linked Chase card at a partner merchant.

Chase Offers are targeted, which means you may or may not receive certain offers -- or they may only be offered for certain cards.

Because IHG and Chase are partners, you'll sometimes see IHG offers through Chase Offers. These deals can help you save on your next IHG stay -- although there's the potential to earn extra points, too. Recent Chase Offers gave 10% to 15% back at IHG brands.

If you do see an IHG offer through the Chase Offers program, make sure you read the fine print. There will typically be a deadline to book and stay at the property and some IHG brands may be excluded. You usually need to book through IHG directly rather than using a third-party website, although you'll want to do this anyway to earn IHG points on your booking.

Earn Points Via Other Chase Credit Cards

If you have another Chase credit card that participates in the Ultimate Rewards program, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points instantly to the IHG Rewards Club program at a straight 1:1 ratio.

There are a few Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points that are fully transferable and several cards that are technically cash-back credit cards. However, you can still combine the earnings from your Chase cash-back cards with the Ultimate Rewards points from other cards to transform them into regular Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to IHG.

Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points include:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Preferred
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred

Cash-back cards that allow you to transfer earnings to one of the above cards (and then to IHG) include:

  • Chase Ink Business Cash
  • Chase Ink Business Unlimited
  • Chase Freedom
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited

Before you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG points, keep in mind you aren't getting the best value. Ultimate Rewards points are worth between 1 and 1.5 cents each while IHG points are worth about 0.6 cents each.

Because IHG points are fairly easy to earn, you're better off saving your Ultimate Rewards points.

Refer-a-Friend for IHG Rewards Club Chase Credit Cards

Do you have the IHG Rewards Club Premier card already? Know someone who might like to earn IHG points and enjoy Platinum elite status? When you refer someone for the card, you can earn a decent bonus.

Chase has a fairly strict refer-a-friend program that requires your friend sign up specifically for the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card (or whatever card you have that you referred them to) to get your bonus. That means if you refer a friend to the IHG Rewards Club Premier card but they sign up for a Chase Freedom card and you do not have it, you do not get a bonus.

The referral bonus for the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card is usually 10,000 IHG points once your friend signs up with an annual cap of 50,000 points.

Quick Guide: How to Refer-a-Friend for Chase Credit Cards

All you need to refer a friend to the IHG Rewards Club Premier card is your Chase referral link. To get it, go to the Chase Refer-a-Friend IHG landing page

Enter your zip code, last name, and the last 4 digits of your credit card to see if it's eligible for a referral bonus. If so, a referral links is generated that you can share with friends.

Earn Points For IHG Stays

Of course, the IHG Rewards Club program revolves around IHG stays and that's where you will earn the most IHG points. The amount of points you earn when you stay with IHG depends on your elite status, whether you use the IHG Rewards Club Premier card, and whether there are any promotions that offer bonus points.

Every stay at IHG can earn IHG Rewards points in several ways:

  • Base points (10x points)
  • Elite status bonus points (up to an extra 10x points)
  • IHG credit card bonus (25x during the first year; 10x after)
  • IHG bonus promotions (may offer double base points on your stay, for example)

You will always earn at least 10x points on IHG stays and qualifying hotel purchases exept at Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites which have a reduced base earning of 5x points.

That means you earn a minimum of 10x points at the following IHG brands:

  • Avid
  • Crowne Plaza
  • EVEN Hotels
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Resorts
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Hualuxe
  • Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts
  • Kimpton
  • Regent Hotels & Resorts
  • Six Senses Hotels
  • Voco Hotels

Earn Extra Points with IHG Rewards Club Elite Status

As a regular member of IHG Rewards Club, you'll earn 10x base points on all IHG stays. With elite status, you get bonus points stacked on these base points. There are three tiers of elite status in the IHG Rewards program:

  • Gold: 10% bonus (1x extra points)
  • Platinum: 50% bonus (5x extra points)
  • Spire: 100% bonus (10x extra points)

With a $100 IHG stay, you'll get 1,000 base points plus an extra 100 points at Gold level, 500 points at Platinum level, and 1,000 points at Spire level.

Enroll in IHG Rewards Club Bonus Promotions

Before your next IHG booking, make sure you check for any promotions and offers that can earn you extra bonus points on your stay.

IHG frequently runs an Accelerate promotion that usually lasts for one quarter. You need to register by the deadline then you'll get a personalized offer based on your stay history with requirements to meet for rewards.

You may get anywhere from 3 to 5 achievable offers with individual bonuses and a large bonus for completing them all. Because these offers are unique and based on your stay history, there's no way to predict what your offer will be. However, IHG members who log a lot of stays will generally have harder challenges -- and larger rewards.

Examples of offers may include:

  • Stay a Little Longer: Earn bonus points for booking a specific number of stays at least 4 days long
  • Stay for Less and Earn: Book a stay with Points & Cash.
  • Saturday Stays Bonus: Stay a certain number of weekends that include a Saturday night.
  • Stay at Holiday Inn: Book a specific number of stays at Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express hotels.
  • Spend on your IHG Rewards Club Premier card: Book a stay and pay with your IHG credit card.
  • Discover Our Brands: Stay at a specific number of IHG brands.
  • Earn More, Faster: Book a specific number of Bonus Points Package stays.
  • Go Places with the IHG App: Earn bonus points if you download the IHG app, sign in, and book a specific number of stays.

Sometimes one of the offers may be as easy as staying one night and getting 1,000 bonus points!

Just make sure you register for the promotion on time! 

Get Extra Points with IHG Rewards Club Credit Cards

Using your IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card to book IHG stays is probably the easiest solution for earning IHG points in a hurry. During the first year of cardmembership, you'll get an extra 25x points on IHG stays. That's very impressive considering the highest elite status gets you 20x points on stays. After the first 12 months, the card still gives you an extra 10x points.

The bonus points you earn with the IHG credit card are stacked on top of the base points, elite status bonus points, and promotional bonus points.

Other Ways to Get IHG Points

You don't just earn IHG Rewards points for IHG stays and using the IHG credit card; you can also start earning IHG points for doing everything from booking rental cars and activities to ordering food for delivery. Here are the other ways to earn IHG Rewards Club points.

Book a Rental Car

Book a rental car with Hertz and get rewarded with IHG bonus points and savings on base rates. You'll earn at least 1,500 IHG points and up to 500 extra points per day when you rent a car with Hertz.

If you're a Spire elite member, you'll also enjoy free Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status for free upgrades.

Earn Points Through GrubHub

Order food through GrubHub and get rewarded. When you order with GrubHub through the IHG link or the on-property WiFi at an IHG property, you'll earn 500 IHG points for your first order and 250 IHG points on all subsequent food orders.

The catch is you only earn points when GrubHub is delivered to a participating IHG hotel. GrubHub is now available in over 1,000 IHG hotels in the United States in the Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, and Holiday Inn Express brands.

Ride with Uber

Unfortunately, you won't earn IHG points on every ride, but you do earn 2,000 IHG points for signing up with Uber through IHG and completing your first ride.

Earn IHG Points through IHG Rewards Club Dining

The IHG Rewards Club Dining program allows you to earn IHG points when you register a debit or credit card and pay with your card at thousands of participating clubs, bars, and restaurants. You can earn up to 8x IHG points plus 1,000 bonus points when you spend $30 within your first 30 days.

Book Transport Services

Book shuttle buses, airport transfers, and other transport services through IHG and get 1,000 IHG bonus points per booking.

Book Tours & Activities

Before your next trip, check the IHG Trip Extras program to see if you can earn bonus points on any activities you have planned.

The IHG Rewards Club program allows you to earn bonus points when you book tours and activities that include everything from tickets to zoos, aquariums, museums, and theme parks to walking tours, dinner cruises, kayak tours, and cooking classes. You'll earn 1,000 IHG points when you book your activity, no matter the cost.

Shop for Apple Products

When you shop at the Apple Store by following IHG's link, you can earn 4x IHG points on your purchase. Most products qualify with the exception of Bose products and points are deposited after about 30 days.

Complete Surveys with Opinion Check-In

Opinion Check-In is an online survey community for IHG Rewards Club members. You'll earn 1,000 IHG points when you complete your first survey and additional bonus points for every survey you complete. As you work on surveys, you may receive a notification that you do not qualify to complete the survey in which case you earn 5 IHG points for the effort.

This definitely isn't the easiest way to earn IHG points but it can be helpful if you need to keep your IHG Rewards Club account active and prevent your points from expiring.

Buy IHG Points

As a general rule, it's usually not a good idea to buy rewards points as they are priced higher than their value. Still, you can buy IHG points if you're a bit short for an award stay or you get a targeted bonus offer that makes it worthwhile.

It's not uncommon to have the opportunity to buy IHG points with up to a 100% bonus through Points.com which reduces your cost to 0.5 cents each -- the expected value for your points. When you redeem the points for a higher-value stay, this can definitely be worth it. For example, you can buy discounted points and use them to book a PointBreaks hotel for just $25 a night or a luxurious resort stay at 70,000 points (or $350) where rates can top $700 or more.

Wrap Up

IHG Rewards Club definitely has a lot to offer if you value a mix of affordable and convenient locations and exotic destinations with a program that's easy to understand and use. Unlike some rewards programs, you'll find it easy to earn IHG points quickly that can be used for free stays at more than 5,600 hotels around the world. IHG Rewards Club may not be great at offering elite status perks, but it definitely deserves your attention for making it easy to earn free IHG stays.

FAQ

What is IHG Rewards Club? Is it free to join?

IHG Rewards Club is the free hotel loyalty program for Intercontinental Hotels Group. The program includes 16 brands like Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts with over 5,600 properties.

How do I see my IHG point balance?

You can always view your IHG balance by logging into your IHG Rewards Club account online or through the IHG app. You can also call IHG Rewards Club customer service at 888-695-4678.

How many IHG points do you earn per night?

This depends on the brand (extended stay brands have a reduced rate of base points), your elite status, whether you use the IHG credit card, and whether you are earning promotional bonus points. On a $100 stay, you could earn 10x base points plus up to 10x elite status points, and 25x IHG credit card bonus points (or 10x after the first year).

Do IHG points expire?

IHG points expire after 12 months of inactivity. If you have IHG Gold, Platinum, or Spire status, points never expire.

Can I earn IHG Rewards Club points with a credit card?

The IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase allows you to earn up to 25x bonus points on IHG stays and up to 4x points on all other purchases. You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with another Chase card to the IHG program.

Can you have both IHG credit cards?

The IHG Rewards Club Premier card debuted in 2018 and the old IHG Rewards Club Select card was retired. The IHG Rewards Club Select card is no longer available for new applicants, but you can get both cards if you have the Select card. This allows you to stack the benefits of your cards to get the 10% rebate on IHG point redemptions with the old card and the 4th award night free with the new card.

Can you purchase IHG reward points? Is it worth buying IHG points?

Yes, you can buy IHG points, but it's usually not a good value unless you are short a small amount for an award stay. It may be worthwhile if you receive a targeted offer to get a 100% bonus on purchased points, however.

Can I transfer IHG points to airlines?

Yes, IHG has dozens of airline partners. You can transfer IHG points to airlines, usually at a rate of 10,000 IHG points to 2,000 miles, but this isn't a good value.

What does IHG Gold Elite get you? What is Spire Elite?

Gold elite status gets you a 10% bonus on base points, extended check-out when available, and your IHG points won't expire. With Spire status, you get a 100% bonus on base points plus free room upgrades when available on paid stays, guaranteed room availability, elite rollover nights, early check-in, Hertz Five Star status, and a Choice Benefit when you reach Spire status to either gift Platinum status to someone or get 25,000 bonus points.

What are IHG qualifying nights?

To reach elite status, you need to either reach the threshold number of elite qualifying nights or points. A stay is considered "qualifying" when you pay a qualifying room rate by booking through IHG, a travel agent, or directly at an IHG hotel.

Do IHG reward nights count towards status?

Yes, award nights do count toward elite status qualification in the IHG Rewards Club program.

Extra tips on how to maximize your rewards

Getting the most out of your credit cards is a must. Compare the current best offers with our Card Maximizer tool or take a look at our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020. Here are the highlights:

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