The Best Benefits of the IHG Rewards Club Loyalty Program

IHG Rewards Club membership has automatic benefits, like free Wi-Fi and discounted room rates.

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With benefits including the standard bonus points and the delightfully luxurious spa credits, the IHG Rewards Club loyalty program has plenty of perks for every membership tier. And with more than 5,900 locations around the globe spanning more than a dozen brands, it's not too difficult to find a hotel within the InterContinental Hotels Group where you can use those IHG Rewards Club membership benefits.

Here are some of the best IHG Rewards Club benefits:

The best IHG Rewards Club benefits available to all members

It's free to become an IHG member, which alone entails enough benefits to justify enrolling, even if you stay at an IHG property only once in your life.

In exchange for you creating an IHG account (which entails handing over a bit of personal information, like your email address), you'll automatically become a Club Member, which is the lowest tier of membership in the IHG Club loyalty program.

Here are some of the best benefits you’ll receive as a Club Member:

Discounted room rates: IHG members get exclusive rates when they make reservations directly through the individual hotel, the IHG website or the IHG app. Note that some properties and regions are excluded.

Free internet: All members will receive free Wi-Fi during their stay. Internet accessibility, speed and connectivity in common areas and guest rooms vary by hotel.

A $30 in-room spa credit: If a massage from the comfort of your own room sounds like a delightful addition to your vacation, here’s a deal to make that massage even better: a $30 credit. As an IHG Rewards Club member, you’ll receive a $30 spa credit at participating hotels. Some have limitations on how it can be used; at Kimpton hotels, for example, the credit can typically be applied toward any 50-80 minute service on the menu.

No blackout dates for award nights: Unlike some hotel loyalty programs that won’t let you book on certain days (which often means the popular dates when you’ll actually want to stay), there are no blackout dates when you use points to book a reservation. As long as the hotel you want to stay at has a room available during your desired dates, you can book it with points.

The ability to pay with points and cash: As a member of IHG Rewards, you don’t necessarily have to wait until you have a massive pile of points before you can apply them toward travel. With IHG’s Points & Cash payment option, you can book a stay using a combination of both. Better yet, those stays count toward elite status.

You’ll need at least 5,000 points to use this option. Enter your dates and destination in the reservations search to see how much cash and points you’ll need alongside your other payment options. NerdWallet values IHG Rewards points at 0.8 cent each. You can use the NerdWallet calculator here to see if your hotel and dates offer a better value in cash or in points.

The best IHG Rewards Club benefits once you’ve reached elite status

Anyone can be a Club Member, but the more loyal customers will have elite status. There are three tiers of IHG elite status: Gold, Platinum Elite and Spire Elite, each with increasingly better benefits as you climb the ranks.

You can become an elite member by staying at least 10 nights per year at participating properties, by accumulating IHG points or by holding an IHG Rewards Club credit card like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

Here are some of the best benefits you can expect once you’ve broken the Club Member barrier and attained a higher tier of status:

Bonus points earned on stays: As an IHG Rewards member, you can earn points by paying for hotel stays with cash. Most IHG hotels pay you 10 points per dollar, with a few low-cost brands like Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites paying 5 points per dollar. Once you’re an elite member, you get a boost on top of those earnings.

Here's what kind of earnings boost you'll get, based on your tier of status:

  • Gold Elite: 10% bonus earnings on top of base points.

  • Platinum Elite: 50% bonus earnings on top of base points.

  • Spire Elite: 100% bonus earnings on top of base points.

Late checkout and priority check-in: All elite members will receive extended checkout and priority check-in, subject to availability. With Spire Elite status, you get even more time in your room. Spire Elite members may check in as early as 10 a.m. You’ll need to select early arrival as a stay preference in your reservation confirmation to take advantage of that benefit.

Complimentary room upgrades (Platinum and Spire Elite only): If there’s a room available when you check in, Platinum and Spire Elite members will be offered a complimentary upgrade, which might include rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated rooms or rooms with a better view.

There are a few limitations, including that the benefit is not available for rooms booked at Holiday Inn Express hotels in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan or for IHG Residence properties.

The best benefits of InterContinental Ambassador membership

The best benefits materialize once you have InterContinental Ambassador membership. But the only way you can earn Ambassador status is through your wallet. There’s a $200 annual membership fee, but it can easily pay for itself through one of its best benefits, the complimentary weekend night. Here are some of the standout features of InterContinental Ambassador membership.

  • Complimentary weekend night, redeemable in conjunction with a minimum two-night paid stay at most InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, and participating Regent Hotels & Resorts properties.

  • Automatic Platinum Elite status.

  • Guaranteed one category room upgrade.

  • Guaranteed late checkout of 4 p.m.

  • Restaurants & bar credit (up to $20 for each stay).

  • Complimentary mineral water daily.

  • Complimentary internet.

For stays at Six Senses properties, InterContinental Ambassador membership entails even more benefits, including:

  • Complimentary breakfast for two in the main restaurant each day.

  • Signature amenity of either a complimentary 50-minute Six Senses Spa massage for two or a local experience, redeemable once per stay.

  • Early check-in of 10 a.m. (benefit subject to availability for Ambassador members).

Perks for having IHG Rewards credit cards

IHG offers two credit cards through Chase that give you opportunities to earn more points. The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card includes a tidy welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Pay with your card at IHG properties, and you’ll earn additional bonus points. Plus you’ll earn points when you use it for everyday spending on purchases like gas and restaurants. There’s no annual fee for holding this card.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card charges an $89 annual fee but it comes with a nice welcome bonus: Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This card also offers additional points-earning opportunities, plus cardmembers get automatic Platinum Elite status.

And perhaps the best benefit that can justify the card’s annual fee? You'll receive a certificate for an anniversary night, which you'll find in your credit card account upon your renewal anniversary date each year. That anniversary night certificate is valid at IHG hotels with a current point redemption level of 40,000 points or less.

The bottom line

There are plenty of good reasons to join the IHG Rewards Club loyalty program, from perks like exclusive rates and no blackout dates even for members of the lowest tier, to free nights for members of the highest tiers.

No matter which benefits appeal to you the most, it’s almost always worth it to sign up for the IHG Rewards Club loyalty program before booking stays at an IHG property.

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:

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