Clocking in at around 5,900 hotels worldwide, chances are IHG has a hotel wherever you plan to travel. Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental are just a few of the 15 IHG brands offering luxury escapes, budget stays and everything in between.
With so many hotels around the world, IHG’s loyalty program, IHG Rewards, gives you lots of chances to use your hard-earned points for free nights, with some redemptions starting as low as 10,000 points.
But the benefits of IHG Rewards don’t end with hotel stays. IHG’s partnerships and special programs give you lots of ways to redeem and earn points or even convert them into airline miles to redeem for flights. Here’s how to get the most out of IHG’s partnerships and transfer opportunities.
» Learn more: Your complete guide to earning IHG Rewards points
Transfer points out: Turn your IHG points into flights
IHG has partnerships with nearly 40 airlines, allowing you to exchange 10,000 IHG points for 2,000 airline miles (in the majority of cases). United, American, Delta, British Airways and Qantas are just a few of the airlines where you can turn your IHG points into air travel.
Transfers must be made by phone, and the names on your IHG profile and your airline frequent flyer account must be an exact match. Over the phone, an IHG representative told us they can change your name on your account to match your name on your airline account (think maiden names). But check the name on file with your preferred frequent flyer program to know whether you’ll have to go through this extra step.
It takes about four to six weeks for your transfer to complete, according to representatives we spoke with. Compared to other loyalty program transfers, that’s a very long time. If you need points in a hurry to book a flight, don’t count on IHG points to get you there.
On the other hand, if you’re not planning on taking your trip anytime soon and you just want to top off a balance of frequent flyer miles, transferring IHG points could be a good way to do it.
Also, 10,000 points for 2,000 miles isn’t the best transfer ratio. Chase and other banks let you transfer their points to most airline partners at or near a 1:1 ratio, meaning that 10,000 points earn you 10,000 miles. The 5:1 transfer ratio for IHG points can’t compete with those programs, so if you really need airline miles, you've probably got better options elsewhere.
Transfer points in: Use your Chase points to earn IHG hotel stays faster
If you need IHG points in a jiffy and you happen to have a stack of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, you’re in luck, because Chase points convert to IHG Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. This means that several credit cards — not just the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card — can help you build up your IHG points balance. Non-IHG credit cards that could help you include:
Chase points convert to IHG points at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that you would need to transfer 10,000 Chase points in order to have enough for a free award night in one of IHG’s lowest priced properties. But be warned that there could be better uses for those transferable Chase points.
» Learn more: 5 best Chase transfer partners — and 4 to avoid
Partnerships and programs: How to earn even more IHG Rewards points
IHG partnerships and programs offer even more ways to earn points:
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is a fantastic option, especially if you have a lot of spending planned at IHG hotels. You’ll earn 10x for every dollar you charge on the card at IHG hotels, on top of the 15x points you’ll earn by being a Platinum member with IHG — another perk that comes with the card.
Plus, you’ll earn 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Every year that you renew the card, you get a free night at an IHG hotel, so pack all of this into the $89 annual fee and you’ve got one heck of a card.
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best travel credit cards
IHG meeting rewards
If you hold a meeting, conference or wedding at any IHG hotel, you can earn points simply for doing so. If you book a lot of business travel for yourself and others, you can earn points on your bookings with IHG Business Rewards. Simply sign up here and you will earn points for every hotel room, meeting, conference and more.
Hertz car rental
As a member of the IHG program, you’ll get two benefits when you rent with Hertz. First, you’ll get a discount of up to 35% off base rates for the car rental. Second, you’ll get 1,500 or more points with each rental.
One-day rentals earn 1,500 points and each additional day earns another 500 points on top. If you’re a Spire Elite IHG member, you will even get Hertz Gold Five Star elite status.
And yes, Hertz plans to be around for a while. The company says its recent bankruptcy filing was a way to restructure its debt as it continues with business in the age of the coronavirus and beyond.
IHG Rewards Club dining
If you eat out with any regularity, chances are you’re going to come across a restaurant that participates in the IHG dining program. Simply by linking your credit cards, you’ll be able to automatically earn points and miles for every dollar you spend at the restaurant.
The best part is that you don’t have to do this in conjunction with any stay. Tonight you could head out with your friends or family and earn points on a restaurant.
To make sure that you’re eating at a participating restaurant, head over to their page and search for restaurants in your area. There, you’ll see all the spots that will allow you to earn extra points with your meal. Chances are that your favorite neighborhood restaurant is on the list.
To sweeten the deal, if you spend $30 in the first 30 days (and complete your online review), you’ll earn an additional 1,000 bonus IHG rewards on top of anything you would normally earn with the spend.
» Learn more: Your guide to earning bonus points with hotel promotions
Don’t feel like eating at the restaurant to earn points? Grubhub delivers food right to your IHG hotel or home. Through Grubhub’s partnership with the hotel group, you will earn 500 IHG points on your first Grubhub order and then 250 points for every order after that.
Head over to the IHG Grubhub page and enter your address. You’ll see all the restaurants that will deliver to where you’re staying.
IHG Apple rewards
If you’ve got some Apple product purchases in your future, you might as well earn some extra points as a perk.
Now for every iPad, iMac, Macbook and iPhone that you buy (up to five) you can earn 4x IHG points. Head over to this dedicated page first, enter your email and IHG number, and shop.
The bottom line
IHG Rewards offers flexibility far beyond free hotel nights. Get to know all the ways you can earn, redeem and transfer your points so you’ll be ready to maximize their value for your next trip.
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:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card