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Although Hilton and Marriott may have stolen the limelight over the last couple of years, IHG Rewards Club still offers incredible value for rewards travelers. With over 5,000 hotels worldwide, IHG Rewards Club provides plenty of opportunities for earning and redeeming points. Of course, before you start using points for free nights, you'll have to earn them. As with all hotel programs, there are strategies and tricks to maximize points earnings.
When accruing IHG points, keep in mind that we currently value IHG points at 0.8 cent each. With this baseline, you can decide whether the method for earning points is worth the effort and money. That said, let's dive into the best ways to earn IHG points.
» Learn more: IHG Rewards: More value for the frugal traveler
Earn points from hotels stays
As an IHG Rewards Club member you’ll earn points on qualifying stays at IHG properties. For the most part, you’ll earn 10 points for every $1 spent at properties like Intercontinental, Kimpton and Holiday Inn. There are, however, two hotel brands where you will earn only 5 points per $1 spent: Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites.
Bonus points for elite members
IHG Rewards Club elite members earn bonus points on top of base points. Earnings vary based on status level — the higher the status, the more bonus points you’ll earn. Here is the breakdown:
Let’s look at an example of potential earnings for a hotel stay. If a Platinum elite member spends $200 at an Intercontinental hotel, they’ll earn 2,000 base points ($200 x 10) and 1,000 bonus points (2,000 x 50%) for a total of 3,000 earned points.
Use IHG credit cards
By using an IHG credit card, it’s possible to earn points without ever completing a hotel stay. When you do stay at an IHG hotel, you can supercharge your earnings when you pay for your stay using an IHG credit card. Chase offers two co-branded IHG credit cards:
Using an IHG credit card for everyday spending is one of the best ways to consistently earn IHG points. Each IHG card features bonus spending categories, which can help you quickly rack up enough points for award nights.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Fourth night free when redeeming rewards for four or more nights. Earn Gold Elite status when you spend $10,000 or more on your card in a calendar year. Gold Elite benefits include:
Free anniversary night each year (up to 40,000 point value). Fourth night free when redeeming rewards for four or more nights. Automatic Platinum Elite status. Benefits include:
Foreign transaction fees
Earn points with a welcome bonus
Each IHG credit card offers a welcome bonus for new cardholders after they are approved and meet the minimum spending requirement. A sizable welcome bonus can easily be worth a few free nights, so it’s a great way to jump-start your IHG points earnings.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card earns the following welcome bonus: Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening..
And the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card also offers a significant chunk of points as part of its welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening..
Transfer flexible points to IHG
IHG points can also be earned indirectly by transferring them from Chase Ultimate Rewards®. However, unless you have a high-value IHG redemption lined up, you'll likely get more value from Chase Ultimate Rewards® points by transferring to an airline program or redeeming them for travel directly through Chase's travel portal.
Another option for accruing IHG points is by purchasing them directly through Points.com. IHG Rewards Club frequently offers promotions on purchased points, sometimes offering up to a 100% bonus. Here's an example of a previous offer:
Promotions and travel partners
There are plenty of other ways to earn IHG Rewards Club points, aside from hotel stays and credit cards. These include booking rental cars, dining out and booking tours. Here's how to earn more IHG points:
Rental car bookings
Earn IHG points every time you book a rental car with Hertz. You'll receive at least 1,500 points for each booking and an additional 500 points per day. IHG Rewards Club members with Spire Elite status will also enjoy an upgrade to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status, which is eligible for free upgrades.
IHG Rewards Club Dining
With IHG Rewards Club dining, you can earn a 1,000 point bonus when you join and spend $30 within your first 30 days. If you dine out often, this can be an easy way to rack up extra points. Basic members earn 1 point per $1 spent, while frequent diners can earn up to 8 points per $1.
Book tours & activities
Earn points on your next trip when you book tours and activities through IHG Trip Extras. You'll earn 1,000 IHG points when you book activities such as walking tours, wine tastings, museums, zoos and walking tours. The site offers an excellent way to earn extra IHG points for activities that you may have already planned for your trip.
Order food through Grubhub
Ordering food through Grubhub while staying at an IHG hotel is another easy way to earn extra IHG points. Simply place your GrubHub order through this IHG page to earn 500 IHG points on your first order. Each additional order will earn 250 points.
When you stay at participating IHG hotels and decline housekeeping services, you'll earn 500 points per stay. The catch is that you must complete a minimum two-night stay. Although this isn't a huge number of points, it's an easy way to net 500 points and be more environmentally friendly during your hotel stay.
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