IHG Rewards Club has a lot to offer with a huge portfolio of more than 5,600 global hotels and resorts and a program that makes it easy to quickly earn free night stays.
As an IHG Rewards Club member, you can enjoy perks like late check-out, early check-in, and free room upgrades plus up to 45x points on IHG stays when you use the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase.
This IHG Rewards Club guide will cover everything you should know to get started with the IHG program including what it has to offer and how to earn and use IHG points for the best value.
IHG Rewards Club Program Basics
Getting started in the IHG Rewards Club program only takes a few minutes and allows you to start earning IHG points toward free stays. Here's why IHG Rewards Club is worth joining and the benefits you can expect as you earn elite status.
What Is IHG Rewards Club?
IHG Rewards Club is the hotel loyalty program for Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), a major hotel chain that comprises 16 brands and more than 5,600 hotels in over 100 countries thanks to recent acquisitions and brand announcements. As an IHG Rewards Club member, you can earn and redeem IHG points at thousands of properties and earn elite status to enjoy a range of benefits like complimentary room upgrades and early check-in.
IHG is a bit unique (and confusing!) because it has two parallel but different rewards programs: the IHG Rewards Club and the Intercontinental Ambassador programs. The IHG Rewards Club is free to join while the Ambassador program is a paid membership that's valid at InterContinental Hotels and costs $200 per year.
How to Join IHG Rewards Club
IHG Rewards Club is free to join online or at an IHG hotel.
To set up your IHG Rewards Club account, you only need to provide your name, address, and email address. You will also need to choose a 4-digit PIN to access your IHG Rewards Club account. Once you're done, you'll be ready to start earning IHG Rewards points!
IHG Rewards Club Brand Overview
There are currently 15 brands that participate in the IHG Rewards Club, although some of these brands are quite small. You can enjoy membership perks and earn/redeem points at the following brands which range from budget-friendly options to luxury hotels.
Footprint: Launching in late 2019
Atwell Suites is one of the newest brands from IHG, announced in February 2019. This new extended stay brand with pricing that will be between Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites once it launches at the end of 2019. While Candlewood and Staybridge Suites cater to guests staying at least a week, Atwell Suites will offer services and amenities designed for shorter 4 to 6-night stays with smaller kitchenettes and convertible space for more guests.
Footprint: 11 hotels in the U.S.
Avid is designed for everyday travel with the essentials you're looking for to enjoy a comfortable stay. Avid hotels include a free breakfast, black-out roller shades, high-quality bedding, a work desk, hard surface flooring, plenty of power outlets, and other thoughtful features.
Footprint: 400+ hotels in more than 60 countries
Crowne Plaza hotels are usually located near airports, in major city centers, and close to convention centers which makes it a popular choice among business travelers. At Crowne Plaza properties, you can expect the features you need to stay comfortable and productive with wellness amenities, fitness centers, premium bedding, and free WiFi.
Footprint: 350+ hotels in North America
Candlewood Suites competes with Mainstay Suites, Homewood Suites, and TownePlace Suites and targets rate-sensitive business travelers who stay during the week or for beyond 30 days. Hotels are usually in major cities, often close to airports. Candlewood Suites locations provide amenities that include on-site convenience stores, free entertainment libraries, fully equipped kitchens, 24-hour fitness centers, large workspaces, and free guest laundry -- an uncommon perk.
Footprint: 10+ hotels in the United States
The EVEN Hotels brand was launched in 2012 as a holistic wellness brand. EVEN Hotels offers options to stay healthy on the road including healthy food options, natural spaces, Athletic Studios with group classes, eucalyptus fiber bedding, and thoughtful workspaces. EVEN Hotels also offers in-room fitness training areas with medicine balls, resistance bands, and yoga mats.
Footprint: 1,175+ hotels in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East
Holiday Inn is IHG's largest brand with more than 1,175 hotels around the world. The chain is popular with families as up to 4 kids 12 and under can eat free at any time at the on-site restaurant and kids 19 and under can stay for free in their parents' room. Holiday Inn hotels offer amenities such as pools, fitness centers, meeting spaces, and on-site restaurants.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations
Footprint: 22 properties in the United States
Holiday Inn Club Vacations offers a resort-style vacation that makes it a popular choice for families. These properties are usually located near theme parks, beaches, and mountains in some of the most in-demand destinations throughout the United States. Holiday Inn Club Vacations properties are especially popular with large families thanks to their multi-room villas and kid-friendly activities. You don't need to be a vacation timeshare owner to stay at a Holiday Inn Club Vacations property.
Holiday Inn Express
Footprint: 2,700+ hotels in 48 countries
Holiday Inn Express is IHG's largest brand and accounts for almost half of its global portfolio with a larger footprint than the original Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn Express hotels offer services designed for short-term stays and business travelers with affordable pricing. You can express amenities like the Express Start buffet breakfast but Holiday Inn Express properties typically do not have on-site bars or restaurants.
Holiday Inn Resorts
Footprint: 44 hotels in North America, Central America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Australasia, and the Middle East
Holiday Inn Resorts offer pools, live entertainment, kids clubs, and daily activities to make the most of your vacation. These all-inclusive hotels are located in highly desirable locations like Cabo San Lucas with enough activities and excitement that you never need to leave the resort.
Footprint: 83 hotels in the Americas, Asia, and Europe
Hotel Indigo is IHG's most unique brand. This chain of boutique hotels reflects the history, character, and features of local communities to help you enjoy a more authentic travel experience. Each hotel displays local artwork and local cuisine in its restaurants. All Hotel Indigo guest rooms feature hard surface flooring, oversized murals and artwork, free WiFi, and 24-hour fitness centers and business centers.
Footprint: 12+ hotels in China
Hualuxe is IHG's first luxury brand tailored specifically to Chinese guests with services based on Chinese etiquette, space for business and social gatherings, status recognition, and luxurious settings complete with resort-style bathrooms and garden lobbies. Hualuxe has nearly a dozen locations throughout China.
Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts
Footprint: 210+ hotels in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Australia
Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts is IHG's most well-known luxury brand that features on-site spas and restaurants as well as upscale decor and amenities. This brand includes not only large resorts but historic, renovated properties and hotels near major landmarks.
Footprint: 68 hotels in Europe, Asia Pacific, Central America/Caribbean, and North America
Kimpton became part of IHG Rewards Club in 2018. These boutique hotels offer a unique experience with bold design, great amenities, and award-winning cuisine. Standard amenities include free WiFi, a nightly hosted wine hour, public bikes and yoga mats, fitness centers, luxury linens, and complimentary travel essentials like deodorant, tweezers, sewing kits, and TSA-approved liquid bags.
Regent Hotels & Resorts
Footprint: 6 hotels in 5 countries
Regent is IHG's ultra luxury brand that was acquired in 2018 and relaunched. This 50-year-old brand has just six hotels in 5 countries but IHG plans to grow it to 40+ hotels globally in the coming years with new properties planned in Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. Regent was known for pioneering the luxury hotel experience in the 1970s and IHG plans to build on this reputation by focusing on customer service and discreet opulence.
Six Senses Hotels
Footprint: 16 hotels in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East
In 2019, IHG acquired Six Senses, a luxury resort chain that's comprised of 16 properties. IHG has plans to develop 60 new Six Senses hotels within the next decade. Six Senses features luxury resorts and hotels that focus on wellness. You'll find Six Senses properties in some of the most luxurious destinations like the Maldives with more locations planned, including Krabey, a private island in Cambodia.
Footprint: 200+ hotels in the United States
Staybridge Suites is an extended stay brand that's more upscale than Candlewood Suites with more amenities such as free social happy hour with complimentary drinks and food, fully equipped kitchens, free hot breakfast, a 24-hour convenience store, a 24-hour business center, storage lockers, and a free laundry center.
Footprint: 6 hotels in Europe and the Pacific
Voco is one of IHG's latest hotel brand which launched in 2018 in the UAE, Australia, and the UK. This upscale lifestyle brand has a goal of growing quickly around the world and reaching 200 properties within the first 10 years. Voco hotels are designed to be welcoming with unique character and comfortable amenities like Roman-inspired spas, private balconies, and premium bedding.
Maximizing IHG Rewards Club Benefits
Like other hotel loyalty programs, IHG Rewards Club lets you do more than just earn and use IHG points: you can also earn elite status that comes with unique perks to make your IHG stays more enjoyable.
IHG Rewards Club Elite Status Levels
There are four levels of membership in IHG Rewards Club: basic membership and three levels of elite status. The IHG Rewards Club levels are:
- Club (basic)
- Gold elite
- Platinum elite
- Spire elite
With the basic Club membership, you can earn and redeem points or miles in the program and enjoy free internet at participating IHG properties. Elite status comes with a range of other benefits, however.
Next, let's explore the IHG Rewards Club elite status benefits you can earn.
IHG Rewards Club Elite Status Benefits
With IHG Rewards Club elite status, you can enjoy perks like late check-out, early check-in, and free room upgrades. Here's a look at the benefits you can enjoy as you reach each elite tier in the program.
Points Don't Expire
Tiers: Gold, Platinum, Spire
With the base membership, IHG points expire after 12 months of inactivity. As long as you have elite status, your points won't expire.
Tiers: Gold, Platinum, Spire
IHG elite members all receive an extended check-out benefit subject to availability. Your check-out time can be extended to 2 pm, although this isn't as late as Hyatt and Marriott offer high-tier elite members.
Elite Bonus Points
Tiers: Gold, Platinum, Spire
As an IHG Rewards Club member, you earn base points on all IHG stays. You earn 10x base points at most IHG brands and 5x base points at IHG extended stay hotels like Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites.
Once you reach elite status, you earn a bonus on top of these base points:
- Gold: 10% (11x points total)
- Platinum: 50% (15x points)
- Spire: 100% (20x points)
Keep in mind these elite bonus points won't count toward earning elite status but the base points will.
Complimentary Room Upgrades
Tiers: Platinum, Spire
Once you reach Platinum status or higher, you can enjoy complimentary room upgrades that exclude suites. These upgrades are only available on qualifying paid stays, not award nights. Complimentary upgrades are subject to availability and they aren't guaranteed. It will be up to the hotel to decide if you will get an upgrade and even what's considered an upgrade. Depending on the hotel and room you booked, the free upgrade may simply be a better view.
Guaranteed Room Availability
Tiers: Platinum, Spire
Like Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards Club offers a guaranteed availability benefit for higher level elite members. With this benefit, you are guaranteed a room as long as you book within 72 hours of your stay. A room can't be guaranteed during special events that cause extraordinary demand, however, and the room will likely come at a premium.
Elite Rollover Nights
Tiers: Platinum, Spire
If you earn Platinum status and stay more than 40 nights in a calendar year but fewer than the 75 nights you need for Spire elite status, your qualifying nights will roll over and count toward earning elite status the next year.
Choice Benefit Upon Receiving Status
When you first reach Spire elite status, you get a choice benefit of either 25,000 bonus points or the ability to gift Platinum elite status to someone else.
Hertz Five Star Status
At Spire elite status, you'll receive complimentary Hertz Five Star status. This isn't the highest status in the Hertz loyalty program but it does give you boosted Hertz rewards points and one class upgrade when you rent a car. This status is usually earned with 7 rentals within a year.
Once you achieve IHG Spire elite status, you can enjoy 10 am early check-in, subject to availability. You'll need to indicate an early check-in on the stay preferences when you book your stay and the hotel will confirm or reject the request closer to check-in.
4th Night Free on Reward Stays with the IHG Credit Card
One of the drawbacks of the IHG Rewards Club program is it doesn't offer the 5th night free benefit you can get with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors on award stays. Still, if you have the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card -- which includes free Platinum elite status -- you can enjoy a 4th night free on IHG award stays.
While this benefit is more exclusive than the free night benefit at other major loyalty programs, it's still very valuable with a lower stay requirement.
How to Earn IHG Rewards Club Elite Status
You can earn IHG Rewards Club elite status in three ways: reaching a certain number of qualifying nights per year, earning the minimum elite qualifying points in a calendar year, or by earning free IHG elite status with the co-branded IHG Rewards Club credit card from Chase.
Elite qualifying points can be earned in several ways:
- Qualifying rates paid for IHG hotel stays
- IHG Rewards Club bonus points or miles packages
- Spending on the IHG Rewards Club Premier card
- Spending on partner activities
- Qualifying spending through IHG Business Rewards
Here's how to reach each elite status level in IHG Rewards Club. Note that IHG Rewards Club does not have lifetime elite status. You need to requalify for elite status every year.
IHG Rewards Club Gold Elite Status:
There are two ways to achieve IHG Gold elite status, the lowest elite tier in the program: 10 qualifying nights or 10,000 elite qualifying points in a calendar year.
IHG Rewards Club Platinum Status:
Earning IHG Platinum elite status requires meeting one of three requirements in a calendar year:
- 40 qualifying nights,
- 40,000 elite qualifying points, OR
- Having the Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase is the only IHG co-branded credit card and it gives you automatic mid-level elite status in IHG Rewards Club as long as your account is active.
IHG Rewards Club Spire Status:
To reach IHG Spire elite status, you must meet one of two requirements: 75 qualifying nights or 75,000 elite qualifying points in a calendar year.
IHG Rewards Club Ambassador Status:
IHG has two separate rewards programs: IHG Rewards Club and the Ambassador program which is similar to elite status. InterContinental Ambassador status can't be earned; you need to pay $200 per year to join. In exchange, you get perks that can only be used at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts including IHG Platinum elite status, a guaranteed room upgrade, a bar and restaurant credit of up to $20 per stay, and a complimentary weekend night.
IHG Rewards Club Elite Status Value
Wondering if it's worth it to work toward elite status in IHG Rewards Club? IHG has three elite status tiers, excluding the paid Ambassador status.
At Gold level, the first elite tier, you won't get much value as the only perks are 10% more points on IHG stays, a small welcome amenity that isn't made very clear, and late checkout which is subject to availability and not available in all areas.
It gets more interesting once you get to Platinum status which you can get automatically with the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase. At this point, you get a 50% bonus on points at IHG and the opportunity for space-available free room upgrades.
Surprisingly, you don't get much more for earning Spire status once you make it to Platinum elite status aside from the choice benefit and Hertz Five Star elite status. You may prefer other benefits like free breakfast or lounge access.
Still, it may be worthwhile to work toward Spire status for the choice benefit if you get Platinum status automatically with the IHG Rewards Club Premier card. The 25,000 bonus points you can choose are enough for a free stay at a category 4 hotel with a value of about $150 when IHG points are valued at 0.6 cents each.
It should be noted that elite status doesn't have the same value in IHG as it does in other programs like Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. IHG doesn't offer free breakfast for elite status, lounge access, or the other perks you might be looking for.
How to Earn IHG Rewards Club Points
Ready to start earning IHG points? There are many ways to earn IHG points, including by staying at IHG properties, using the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card, and spending with partners. Here's an overview of the many ways you can quickly amass tens of thousands of IHG points to use for free stays.
IHG Rewards Club Credit Cards
There is only one co-branded IHG credit card: the IHG Rewards Club Premier card from Chase. The IHG credit card is one of the best ways to earn IHG points by boosting the points you earn on IHG stays and letting you earn points on virtually all other spending.
With the IHG Rewards Club Premier card, you'll earn:
- 40x points at IHG during the first 12 months. During the first year, you earn 25x points at IHG (10x bonus points afterward) plus the 10x base points you earn and 5x bonus elite points as a Platinum elite member. This elite status is automatic with the card.
- 4x points on all other spending during the first 12 months. Afterward, you earn 2x points at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores and 1x points on all other spending.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card typically has a sizeable welcome bonus as well that can be up to 125,000 IHG points. That's worth up to $750 when you value IHG points at 0.6 cents each.
When you use the IHG Rewards Club Premier card, the bonus points you earn will be stacked on other IHG points you earn at partners or on IHG stays. That means you can earn credit card bonus points, base points, elite status bonus points, and promotional bonus points at the same time.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards
Even if you have the IHG Rewards Club Premier card, it may still be worthwhile to earn IHG points with another Chase credit card if you'll get a better return. Because IHG has partnered with Chase, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to the IHG Rewards Club program.
The transfer is at a 1:1 ratio. That means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points becomes 1,000 IHG Rewards points.
This isn't a good deal, though. Chase Ultimate Rewards points have a value of about 2 cents each while IHG Rewards points are valued at just 0.6 cents each, or practically one-quarter of the value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Note: many people report that Ultimate Rewards points transferred to IHG Rewards points count as elite qualifying points. Still, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG points isn't the best use of Ultimate Rewards points.
There may be a better option for using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points on IHG stays: redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book a stay at an IHG property. When you pay with Ultimate Rewards points, IHG counts it as paying in cash so you will still earn IHG Rewards Club points on your stay. You'll get a better value on your Chase Ultimate Rewards points compared to transferring them and still earn IHG rewards points!
Earning Points from IHG Rewards Club Stays
While there are many ways to earn IHG Rewards points, you'll probably get most of your points from IHG stays. When you pay for IHG stays with the IHG credit card, you can even earn up to 40x points on your bookings.
There are two types of points earned through IHG Rewards Club for stays: base points and bonus points. These points are worth the same except only base points help you earn elite status.
At most IHG properties, you'll earn 10x base points for every $1 you spend. At extended stay properties, you earn just 5x base points. Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites are included in the extended stay category with the reduced base points; it's not yet known if the recently announced Atwell Suites will be as well, but it's likely.
At most hotels, all IHG charges -- including spa, restaurant, and bar spending charged to your room -- earn base points. Other spending is excluded at Kimpton Hotels, though.
Elite Status Bonuses
Every elite status tier in IHG Rewards Club comes with an elite status bonus on the base points you earn during your stay.
- Gold: 10% (11x points total)
- Platinum: 50% (15x points)
- Spire: 100% (20x points)
If you spend $200 for a night stay at an IHG hotel, you can earn:
- Base: 2,000 base IHG points
- Gold: 2,200 base IHG points (2,000 base points + 10% bonus)
- Platinum: 3,000 base IHG points (2,000 base points + 50% bonus)
- Spire: 4,000 base IHG points (2,000 base points + 100% bonus)
IHG is always running promotions that can earn you bonus points on your IHG stays. For example, Bonus Points Packages allow you to earn 1,000 to 5,000 bonus points per stay and these bonus points count toward earning elite status.
IHG recently ran a promotion called Accelerate that you needed to register for. This promotion allowed you to complete tasks for bonus points such as 10,000 bonus points for staying 5 nights, 14,400 points for staying at three different brands, and 1,500 bonus points for paying for an IHG stay on your IHG credit card.
Always make sure you check the latest IHG promotions before planning a stay.
Other Ways to Earn IHG Rewards Club Points
Along with IHG stays and IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card spending, you have other opportunities to earn IHG points quickly through partner spending, dining, and even buying IHG points. Here's a quick look at other ways to earn IHG points.
- Earn IHG points for dining with the IHG Rewards Club Dining program. Register a card and get bonus points at 11,000+ participating bars and restaurants.
- Ride with Uber. Earn 2,000 IHG points when you sign up for Uber and take your first ride.
- Book a ride with IHG, an airport pickup service. Get 500 points for every ride.
- Rent a car. Book a rental car with Hertz, Budget, or Avis for a discount. Get 3x points at Budget and Avis or 1,500 bonus points with Hertz and up to 500 points per day.
- Shop for Apple products. Get 4x IHG points when you buy Apple products through IHG.
- Complete surveys with Opinion Check-In.
- Decline housekeeping service during your IHG stay and get 500 bonus points.
- Buy IHG points. IHG allows you to buy points and sometimes offers targeted bonuses of up to 100% on points. This is only a worthwhile option when you need a low number of points for an award or a bonus promotion lowers the cost to 0.5 cents each.
How to Use IHG Rewards Club Points
Ready to use IHG points for a great reward? Here's a look at the ways to use IHG points starting with what will likely give you the best value: redeeming points for free IHG stays.
Redeem IHG Rewards Club Points for Reward Stays
As with any hotel loyalty program, you will usually get the highest value for your IHG Rewards points when they are redeemed for free IHG stays. Here's an overview of how to make the most of your IHG points and use IHG points for free nights.
Standard Award Stays
You probably signed up for IHG Rewards Club to earn free stays and that's certainly the backbone of the program. The most common way to use IHG points for a free night stay is with a standard award booking.
Unlike some programs that have switched to dynamic pricing, there is an IHG award chart you can consult to find out exactly how many points per night you need for the hotel of your choice.
IHG has 13 hotel categories that determine the number of points you need ranging from 10,000 points for a Category 1 hotel to 70,000 points for a Category 13 hotel.
Points & Cash
Like Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, and Marriott Bonvoy, the IHG Rewards Club program allows you to book award stays with a combination of points and cash. IHG's Points & Cash option is unique because it actually offers a much better deal than other programs.
Paying $70 plus points gives you a 10,000-point discount on your award stay with a value of 0.7 cents per point while $40 gives you a 5,000-point discount on your stay for a value of 0.8 cents per point.
This great value is why many people use the Points & Cash option to indirectly buy IHG points. If you book a Points & Cash stay but cancel your booking, you're refunded all of the points for the stay. For example, if you book a category 7 hotel that requires 30,000 points for 15,000 points + $300, you'll be refunded the 30,000 points.
Sometimes IHG even offers Points & Cash promotions, such as a recent targeted promotion for 15% off.
Before using the Points & Cash option, compare it with the paid rate for the full stay to make sure you're getting the best deal.
Every 3 months, IHG Rewards Club publishes a list of PointBreaks hotels: properties that are normally a category 1 to 11 but, during the promotional period, can be booked for 5,000, 10,000, or 15,000 IHG points.
If you find a property that works for you, the savings can be significant: normal redemptions are up to 70,000.
Because these properties have limited availability, you can only book 2 PointBreaks reward nights per hotel during each 3-month promotion.
4th Night Free
If you have the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card, you can get an even better value on free IHG stays. IHG cardholders receive a free 4th night on award stays -- a great perk that you can't get any other way in the IHG Rewards Club program.
How Many Points Do You Need for a Free Night?
You will need at least 10,000 points for a free IHG stay at a Category 1 hotel, but you can find PointBreaks hotels starting at just 5,000 points.
How to Book a Free Night Reward
Booking for free award night with IHG is easy. Simply log into your IHG account and go to the "Reward Nights" page to book a hotel or choose "Reward Nights" in the Rate Preference drop-down menu when searching for a hotel as you would normally.
Transfer IHG Rewards Club Points to Partners
While you won't get a good value, you do have the option of transferring IHG Rewards points to partner airlines, usually at a rate of 10,000 points to 2,000 miles.
The list of IHG Rewards Club partner airlines includes:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- British Airways
- Delta SkyMiles
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- United Airlines
You can view all airline partners here and see specific transfer ratios.
Other Ways to Use IHG Rewards Club Points
There are plenty of other ways to use your IHG Rewards points if you aren't interested in a free night. You can also use IHG points for travel, unique experiences, and even shopping. Here are other options for using IHG points.
- Redeem points for experiences through IHG Access Rewards. Redeem IHG points to buy or bid on experiences that include everything from concert and sporting tickets to spa weekends and all-inclusive vacations.
- Use IHG points for travel. Through the IHG travel portal, you can use IHG points for non-IHG hotels, flights, and car rentals. Just keep in mind you won't get the best deal.
- Use IHG points for merchandise. IHG points can be redeemed for physical products, gift cards, and digital products like eBooks.
How Does IHG Rewards Club Compare to Other Hotel Loyalty Programs?
Hotel loyalty programs are a lot like airline loyalty programs: you'll get the most benefit if you choose just one so you can earn not only free stays but also elite status and the benefits that come with it. To choose the right hotel program, you may want to weigh many factors such as:
- How often you travel
- The types of destinations you enjoy
- What type of hotel you prefer (such as extended stay, resorts, and hotels in city centers or suburbs)
- Co-branded credit card options
- Elite status perks
To help you decide if IHG Rewards Club is the right hotel loyalty program for you, here's a quick look at how it compares with the three other major loyalty programs: Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt.
IHG Rewards Club vs Hilton Honors
Hilton Honors and IHG Rewards Club are comparable in many ways with a similar global footprint and credit cards that offer elite status. While IHG offers a better presence in small towns in the United States and other areas that are off the beaten path as well as family-friendly extended stay hotels, Hilton offers a greater variety of luxury properties and resorts. Hilton also offers a better line-up of credit cards, including a premium credit card that offers impressive benefits and the highest elite status you can earn.
IHG's greatest weakness is it doesn't offer the level of perks and elite recognition as Hilton Honors. You may find it makes up for this by making it even easier to earn free night stays.
IHG Rewards Club vs World of Hyatt
World of Hyatt doesn't get as much attention as other hotel loyalty programs in part due to its small portfolio of fewer than 800 properties plus its partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) and M life Rewards that expands its portfolio a bit. IHG Rewards Club, on the other hand, has more than 5,600 properties around the world where you can earn and redeem IHG points.
Despite its small size, Hyatt should still be worth considering. Unlike IHG, which is weak when it comes to elite benefits, World of Hyatt has some of the most valuable elite membership levels that include perks like lounge access.
IHG Rewards Club will still probably work better for you if you want consistent, comfortable stays, affordable properties, free stays that are easy to earn, and you tend to stay in areas that are more out of the way.
IHG Rewards Club vs Marriott Bonvoy
Like Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy is comparable to IHG Rewards Club in terms of its global footprint, although Marriott Bonvoy also focuses more on upscale properties and resorts while IHG has a much larger selection of budget-friendly properties that target families and business travelers.
Marriott Bonvoy also offers an award chart like IHG, although Marriott Bonvoy introduced peak and off-peak award prices starting September 14, 2019 which can make award stays more costly (or a better deal, depending on when and where you travel) as well as more confusing.
In terms of benefits, Marriott Bonvoy comes out ahead as they offer better elite status benefits and other perks to members -- a major area of weakness with IHG.
What is IHG Rewards Club? Is it free to join?
IHG Rewards Club is the hotel loyalty program for InterContinental Hotels Group. It's free to join and allows you to earn IHG rewards points that can be redeemed for free night stays as well as travel and unique experiences.
What hotels are in the IHG Rewards Club?
There are 17 hotel chains in IHG Rewards Club: Atwell Suites (*not yet launched), Avid, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites, 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, Staybridge Suites, Voco Hotels.
How many IHG points do you get per night?
This depends on your elite status in the program, whether you use the IHG credit card, and whether you qualify for a promotion that gives bonus points on your stay. During the first year as a cardmember, you can earn 40x points on your IHG stay with Platinum elite status and an extra 5x points if you reach Spire elite status. With a double points promotion, you can earn up to 65x points! With a $200 night stay, that's 13,000 points -- more than enough already for a free night stay.
Do IHG Rewards Club points expire?
IHG Rewards Club points expire after 12 months of account inactivity unless you have elite status, in which case your points won't expire.
How many IHG points are needed for a free night?
IHG award nights range from 10,000 to 70,000 although PointBreaks hotels cost 5,000 to 15,000 points per night.
Is it worth buying IHG points?
As a general rule, it's only a good idea to buy IHG points if you're just short of an award redemption. Still, it can be very worthwhile when there's a targeted bonus as you can buy points for 0.5 cents each or lower and potentially redeem them at a much higher value. You may also have luck "buying" discounted IHG points through the Points & Cash bookings then canceling your booking.
Are IHG reward nights refundable?
If you cancel a reward stay within the cancellation policy, the points will be refunded to your account.
Can I earn points on stays I book for someone else?
You won't earn points for stays booked under someone else's name as the name on the reservation must match the IHG account number. The easiest way to get around this is to book the stay in your name and add the other person's name as an additional guest.
How much are IHG Rewards Club points worth?
IHG Rewards Club points have a value of 0.6 cents each in general. Remember you can get a lower or higher value depending on how you use your points.
Which credit cards earn IHG Rewards Club points?
There is only one IHG co-branded credit card: the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase. The card earns up to 40x IHG points on IHG stays and 4x points on other purchases for the first year plus a sizeable welcome offer and a free anniversary night stay every year. You also get your 4th night free on all reward stays and automatic IHG Platinum elite status.
What are IHG Rewards Club elite status tiers?
IHG has three elite status tiers you can earn: Gold, Platinum, and Spire. You can buy a higher elite status called Ambassador status for $200 per year.
How do I get IHG Spire Elite status?
IHG Spire elite status can be earned with 75,000 elite qualifying points or 75 qualifying nights in a calendar year.
Can I transfer IHG points to airlines?
Yes, you can transfer IHG points to airlines loyalty programs, but you will typically get a low value for your points.
IHG Rewards Club may not be your first choice for a hotel loyalty program because they don't offer the perks and loyalty recognition that other programs provide. Still, don't overlook how easy it is to earn free IHG stays with the program. If you frequently stay at IHG hotels, you won't have trouble racking up plenty of free nights in no time with frequent promotions, a very rewarding IHG credit card, and a generous reward rate that can be enough for a free night (or even two!) for every paid night.