The NerdWallet Guide to Earning IHG One Rewards Points

There are ways to earn IHG points beyond booking hotel nights.
Jun 16, 2022

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Although Hilton and Marriott may have stolen the limelight over the last couple of years, IHG One Rewards still offers incredible value for rewards travelers. With over 5,000 hotels worldwide, IHG One Rewards provides plenty of opportunities for earning and redeeming points.

Of course, before you start redeeming IHG 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.

How to earn IHG 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 Traveler Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

Annual fee

$0.

$99.

Sign-up bonus

Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Rewards rate

  • Up to 17 points total per $1 spent at IHG (5 from card, 10 from loyalty program, 2 from automatic elite status).

  • 3 points per $1 spent on monthly bills, gas stations and restaurants.

  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Up to 26 points total per $1 spent at IHG (10 from card, 10 from loyalty program, 6 from automatic elite status).

  • 5 points per $1 spent on travel, gas stations and restaurants.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Other perks

Fourth night free when redeeming rewards for four or more nights.

Earn Gold status when you spend $10,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.

Free anniversary night each year (up to 40,000 point value).

Fourth night free when redeeming rewards for four or more nights.

Automatic Platinum status.

Foreign transaction fees

None.

None.

Earn points from hotels stays

As an IHG One Rewards 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 One Rewards members can earn bonus points on top of base points. Earnings vary based on your level of IHG elite status — the higher the status, the more bonus points you’ll earn.

Here is the breakdown:

Bonus earnings rate

Club member

No bonus.

Silver

20%.

Gold

40%.

Platinum

60%.

Diamond

100%.

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 1,200 bonus points (2,000 x 60%) for a total of 3,200 earned points. That's about a 12% return in the form of IHG points (vs. just an 8% return for not having any elite status).

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 Premier Credit Card, which has a $99 annual fee, earns the following welcome bonus: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

And the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card, which has a $0 annual fee, also offers a significant chunk of points as part of its welcome bonus: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening..

Earn milestone bonuses

With IHG One Rewards, you earn a milestone reward for every 10 nights you stay (starting at 20 qualified nights). That milestone rewards lets you choose from an assortment of goodies, including $20 food and beverage rewards and, yes, bonus points.

At the 20-night tier, you can select from either a suite upgrade, two food and beverage rewards (worth a combined $40) or 5,000 bonus points, worth roughly $40 as well. If you don't care for big hotel rooms (perhaps you spend all your trip out on the town) and you don't want to eat in the hotel (because you want to try the local offerings off-property), then opting to earn points is a good bet.

Transfer flexible credit card points to IHG

IHG points can also be earned indirectly by transferring them from Chase Ultimate Rewards®. If you have a card that earns transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards points, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you've got yourself a solid avenue for sending yourself some IHG points (assuming you're okay to part with them in Chase Ultimate Rewards points form).

That said, you might not actually be that willing to part with them in Chase Ultimate Rewards points form. Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to IHG points at a 1:1 ratio. But while Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth Sapphire cardholders 1.25 to 1.5 cents when redeemed for travel, NerdWallet values IHG points at just 0.8 cent each.

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 perhaps a non-IHG hotel program), or redeeming them for travel directly through Chase's travel portal.

Buy IHG points

Another option for accruing IHG points is by purchasing them directly through Points.com. IHG One Rewards frequently offers promotions on purchased points, sometimes offering up to a 100% bonus. Here's an example of a previous offer:

Take advantage of promotions with travel partners

There are plenty of other ways to earn IHG One Rewards 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 One Rewards 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 One Rewards Dining

With IHG One Rewards 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 (those who have attained VIP member status) can earn up to 8 points per $1.

In fact, the IHG One Rewards Dine & Earn program is the most valuable of all the hotel dining rewards programs out there.

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.

Final thoughts on how to get IHG points

There are some ways to earn IHG points that will help you accumulate points for your next award stay faster, such as spending on an IHG-branded credit card or booking stays with the chain. Other strategies might only net you a few hundred bonus points here and there, but it all adds up over time.

With some basic award optimization skills and effort, you'll be enjoying your fourth night free at an IHG property faster than you think.


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 2022, including those best for:

partner programs

IHG® One Rewards
Get exclusive benefits and earn points faster
World of Hyatt
Enjoy free nights, member rates and more
Alaska Mileage Plan
Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
IHG® Rewards Program

IHG® One Rewards

Wherever you go, however you stay, IHG One Rewards offers rewards for every one.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

Highlights:
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.
Highlights
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt

With the World of Hyatt loyalty program, enjoy a world of rewards designed to revolve around you.

on Hyatt's website

Highlights:
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.
Highlights
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.

on Hyatt's website

logo image

Alaska Mileage Plan

Mileage Plan is Alaska's loyalty program for anyone who loves to travel and is free to join!

on Alaska's website

Highlights:
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend
Highlights
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend

on Alaska's website

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