Perhaps you're gearing up for your first trip in more than a year. You may have spent all of 2020 accruing up a stash of miles and points, and now you're ready to spend them.
We're big fans of the “earn and burn” strategy. Points are like currency, except that they rarely increase in value. So if your IHG Rewards Club points are piling up, be ready to cash them in at these new or new-to-IHG hotels.
If you need more points, brush up on ways to earn them via this primer to the loyalty program for InterContinental Hotels Group. You can pile on the points when spending via the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card or the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, too.
IHG Rewards Club no longer publishes an award chart, which means the number of points you need for an award night will vary by date and local demand. It helps to do some advance planning for your trip so that, whenever you are ready to travel, a free night is in your future.
» Learn more: Your guide to booking award nights with IHG hotels
1. Kimpton Hotel Fontenot New Orleans
If you're on the fence about international travel, that's okay. There's plenty of new adventure to be had in the U.S., such as at Kimpton's new hotel in New Orleans, the Hotel Fontenot. It's located on the corner of Poydras and Tchoupitoulas streets not far from the French Quarter, so you can balance work and pleasure with a stay in walking distance of it all. Kimpton’s signature amenities like in-room yoga mats, bikes to borrow and a free evening happy hour are welcome perks that set the hotel apart.
The decor is inspired by local musicians and artists, giving this hotel a playful sense of New Orleans. To get the party started, guests are even greeted with a local brew during the check-in process.
Kimpton is certainly one of IHG’s most regionally inspired hotel brands. The NOLA-inspired breakfast tacos and “booze-infused” desserts will become immediate favorites.
2. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Oakhurst-Yosemite Park Area
We all want a bit of fresh air, and this new hotel near the entrance to Yosemite National Park is the perfect option for families. The best use or value of points does not always mean booking the most luxurious brand — it’s what works for you when you travel and where you need it. If road trips are on your radar this year, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Oakhurst-Yosemite Park Area could be just that.
It comes with a loaded free breakfast (pancake machine, anyone?), plus all-day coffee and tea, among many other standard Holiday Inn Express amenities close to the national park.
3. Kimpton Vividora Hotel Barcelona, Spain
This is the first Kimpton property in Spain. Kimpton Vividora is located in the Gothic Quarter and is not far from Las Ramblas. Barcelona has several IHG hotels, but this Kimpton is the city’s hippest and most luxe offering.
As is typical for Kimpton hotels, there are lots of perks that come with a stay here, including bikes and yoga mats for guests and an evening happy hour with free drinks and munchies.
4. InterContinental Lyon – Hôtel Dieu, France
Intercontinental Lyon – Hôtel Dieu, along the banks of the Rhône river, opened in Lyon under the InterContinental name in 2019. This building was designed by the same architect as the Panthéon in Paris and served as a hospital for decades before it was converted into a luxury hotel. With its original facade restored, the interiors balance modern touches with plenty of signature French accents. The city’s main sights and top-notch dining are within walking distance, but a drink under the magnificent dome is a must-experience when visiting Lyon. There is something special about redeeming points for a free night’s stay in such a historic and stately building.
If you plan on spending a weekend at the Intercontinental Lyon, it's almost a good idea to join the InterContinental Ambassador program. Among the best benefits of IHG Ambassador membership is a complimentary weekend night, valid on the second night of a minimum two-night paid weekend stay at most InterContinental Hotels & Resorts properties worldwide (including this one).
5. Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
Recently added to the IHG Rewards Club portfolio, the Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal’s rich wine country has just unveiled a new vineyard wing. The stunning scenery of rolling hills and the active Douro River provide the perfect backdrop to chill out and try the region’s famous wine.
The new vineyard wing adds to the property seven suites, three guest rooms and a meeting facility with interactive walls that guests can write on (pre- or post-wine breaks). Guests at the hotel can go tree climbing, mountain biking and even grape stomping during their stay.
» Learn more: Your complete guide to earning IHG Rewards points
6. Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok has so many hotel brands to choose from, and now we can add Kimpton to that list. Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok is the first Kimpton in Thailand (and all of Southeast Asia). Expect all the free, guest-friendly perks found in Kimpton properties: yoga mats, bikes and all-day coffee and tea.
This property features jaw-dropping art and design and is close Lumphini Park if you want some fresh air. When it comes to picking a new hotel to visit in the Thai capital, the free Kimpton perks for all guests (not just those who book a certain room type) push this property to the top of the list.
7. InterContinental Phuket, Thailand
The InterContinental Phuket delivers a beautiful Kamala Beach location studded with lounge chairs and umbrellas facing the Andaman Sea. The luxury property has traditional rooms and suites plus more private villas.
Phuket is popular with families, especially those looking for al fresco recreation in the near future. Luckily, the resort has its own supervised kid activities. And who can say no to these views?
Since this is an InterContinental-branded hotel, it's an excellent place to spend your complimentary weekend night, earned through joining the InterContinental Ambassador program. Membership costs $200, but it pays for itself in large part due to the complimentary weekend night certificate you receive for joining the program. That certificate is, valid on the second night of a minimum two-night paid weekend stay at most InterContinental Hotels & Resorts properties worldwide (including the InterContinental Phuket).
8. Regent Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Located on Long Beach, this new Regent property is stunning. The hotel is located on one of 15 islands that make up the An Thoi archipelago, nestled on the white sands of Phu Quoc Island’s western coast.
Since the hotel is located on the western part of the island, it's an ideal spot to catch a sunset. During the day, explore the fishing villages and pepper plantations nearby.
9. The Grand Ho Tram Resort & Casino, Vietnam
Vietnam’s vibrant resort complex along Ho Tram Beach will see both InterContinental and Holiday Inn operating resorts in early 2021. The InterContinental Grand Ho Tram will offer plenty of leisure activities to vacationing guests, including a sprawling casino and pools for adults and kids.
The neighboring Holiday Inn, the first Holiday Inn Resort for the country, will have a water park, bowling lanes and an arcade, making this complex the ideal family destination.
10. Hotel Indigo Brisbane Fortitude Valley, Australia
Downtown Brisbane has been on the upswing for dining, entertainment and culture. The new Hotel Indigo Brisbane Fortitude Valley is within walking distance to Fortitude Music Hall and nearby Brunswick Street. This will be the first Hotel Indigo property in Australia.
The hotel’s rooftop pool is expected to offer beautiful skyline views and plenty of places to relax and refresh in the steamy Queensland summers.
Photos courtesy of IHG.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card