IHG vs. Marriott: Which Is Right for You?

Marriott outpaces IHG on a couple of fronts, but there's no harm in pursuing status with both chains.
Anya Kartashova
By Anya Kartashova 

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Choosing a hotel loyalty program to stick with can be a daunting task. There are so many hotel chains, how do you make a decision? If you’ve narrowed down your choices to Marriott and IHG, here’s how one might be better than the other.


Winner for hotel availability: Marriott

With more properties in more places, loyalty to Marriott is more likely to give you options wherever you're headed.


With nearly 9,000 properties worldwide, Marriott International is one of the largest hotel groups, second only to Wyndham Hotel Group.

  • AC Hotels.

  • Aloft Hotels.

  • Autograph Collection Hotels.

  • Bulgari Hotels & Resorts.

  • City Express.

  • Courtyard by Marriott.

  • Delta Hotels.

  • Design Hotels.

  • Edition.

  • Element by Westin.

  • Fairfield by Marriott.

  • Four Points by Sheraton.

  • Gaylord Hotels.

  • JW Marriott.

  • Le Méridien.

  • Marriott Executive Apartments.

  • Marriott Vacation Club.

  • Marriott.

  • Moxy Hotels.

  • Protea Hotels.

  • Renaissance Hotels.

  • Residence Inn by Marriott.

  • Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

  • Sheraton.

  • SpringHill Suites.

  • St. Regis.

  • The Luxury Collection.

  • The Ritz-Carlton.

  • TownePlace Suites.

  • Tribute Portfolio.

  • W Hotels.

  • Westin.


More than 6,000 properties fall under the IHG umbrella, which makes it the fifth largest hotel group in the world.

  • Atwell Suites.

  • Avid Hotels.

  • Candlewood Suites.

  • Crowne Plaza.

  • Even Hotels.

  • Garner Hotels.

  • Holiday Inn.

  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations.

  • Holiday Inn Express.

  • Hotel Indigo.

  • Hualuxe Hotels & Resorts.

  • Iberostar.

  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.

  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

  • Regent Hotels & Resorts.

  • Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.

  • Staybridge Suites.

  • Vignette Collection.

  • Voco.


Winner for the lowest fees: Tie

To compare these two hotel chains, we analyzed hotel fees, including parking and resort fees, as a percentage of the overall room rate. In short, IHG is a better option for U.S.-based road trippers who want to park their car at hotels across the country. But Marriott has lower resort fees.


Marriott’s average resort fee comes in at 2.53% of the room rate. However, its parking fees make up 11.5% of the room rate, which is the second-highest value after Hilton.


IHG’s average resort fee is slightly higher than Marriott’s, coming in at 3.59% of the room rate, but its parking fees are lower — 8.26% of the room rate.

Hotel loyalty programs

Winner for loyalty program: Tie

On a five-star scale, both loyalty programs received the same mark, coming in at a 2.5 in NerdWallet’s comparison of hotel rewards programs.

The rewards offer the same average per-point value, and the programs are similar in that they both use dynamic pricing for their award nights. This means that award rates fluctuate like cash rates would for most desired dates, and you will see different award pricing on different dates.

However, in terms of elite status perks, Marriott Bonvoy offers a bit more value to high-tier elite members of its program. Having said that, it also costs more to earn status in the Marriott program than in the IHG program. Marriott has more elite status tiers as well, so that plays a part in the overall valuation.

Marriott Bonvoy

In the Marriott Bonvoy program, you earn 10 points per $1 spent on eligible hotel charges at most properties. However, there are some exceptions.

You’ll earn 5 points per dollar spent at:

  • City Express.

  • Element.

  • Homes & Villas by Marriott International.

  • Protea Hotels.

  • Residence Inn.

  • TownePlace Suites.

Stays at Marriott Executive Apartments earn just 2.5 points per dollar.

Each Marriott Bonvoy point is worth 0.8 cent, according to NerdWallet’s hotel points valuation.

If you’re an elite member, you’ll earn a bonus on that eligible spend based on your status tier.

Nights needed to earn

Earnings bonus

Silver Elite

10 nights.


Gold Elite

25 nights.


Platinum Elite

50 nights.


Titanium Elite

75 nights.


Ambassador Elite

100 nights + $23,000 of annual spending with Marriott.


Below is NerdWallet’s valuation of each elite status level based on hotel perks, how much it costs to earn each level based on the number of nights needed, and the elite earning rates.

Value of benefits

Cost to earn

Elite earning rate

Silver Elite




Gold Elite




Platinum Elite




Titanium Elite




Ambassador Elite




IHG Rewards

Like with Marriott, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar on eligible charges on stays at most IHG brands, except for two: Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. You’ll earn 5x IHG Rewards points there.

IHG Rewards points are worth about 0.8 cent, as per NerdWallet’s IHG points valuation.

Elite IHG members will earn bonuses as follows.

Nights needed to earn

Earnings bonus

Silver Elite

10 nights.


Gold Elite

20 nights or 40,000 points.


Platinum Elite

40 nights or 60,000 points.


Diamond Elite

70 nights or 120,000 points.


Below is NerdWallet’s valuation of each elite status level based on hotel perks, how much it costs to earn each level based on the number of nights needed, and the elite earning rates.

Value of benefits

Cost to earn

Elite earning rate

Silver Elite




Gold Elite




Platinum Elite




Diamond Elite




Hotel credit card availability

Winner for best hotel credit card: Marriott

Marriott, hands down, wins this round simply because the chain offers so many more options to both consumers and small-business owners to earn hotel loyalty points. With Marriott, you have a no-fee card, a couple of mid-range cards and a premium card. With IHG, you have a couple of consumer cards and one business card.

Another edge Marriott has over IHG in the credit card department is the fact that two banks issue its co-branded cards: AmEx and Chase, whereas Chase is the sole issuer of the IHG-branded cards.

Additionally, if you’re over the 5/24 card count, you can’t qualify for a Chase card. American Express doesn’t have the same restrictions, which can make it easier for some to get a co-branded Marriott Bonvoy credit card.


Two banks issue Marriott credit cards: American Express and Chase, which means more options when it comes to travel rewards cards. Here, we rank the best of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.

Since Marriott has more airline transfer partners than the typical hotel rewards program, collecting this currency opens up additional redemptions.


Meanwhile, IHG offers three credit card options.

IHG One Rewards also has several airline transfer partners, but the transfer ratio is 5:1, which is pretty bleak. We generally don't recommend using IHG points on anything but hotel stays.

If you’re choosing between Marriott and IHG ...

In the competition of Marriott Bonvoy versus IHG Rewards, Marriott would be the winner when you take into account more brands and properties to choose from as well as more credit cards to earn points with. However, in terms of elite programs, both brands are quite similar in the value they provide.

Having said that, you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket. It wouldn’t be the worst thing to earn status in two programs and diversify your rewards accrual methods for future travel opportunities.

How to maximize your rewards

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