Your Guide to Booking Award Nights With IHG Hotels

Lissa PoirotSeptember 17, 2019
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With over 5,000 properties spanning 14 brands around the world, IHG is a leader in hotels. Through its IHG Rewards Club program, the company rewards its loyal guests handsomely. Thanks to a generous reward structure and bonus point promotions, frequent travelers can easily build a collection of points to cash in for free hotel stays. Even those who don’t travel as often can earn points through other avenues.

Once you’re ready to cash in your points for free nights, here is what you can expect from the IHG Rewards Club award chart:

How many points are needed for a free night?

While IHG Rewards Club no longer publishes an award chart, members can cash in points for free nights starting at 10,000 points. There are no blackout dates, so you have many redemption options. How does this work? No matter what status member you are, if you have the points and they have availability, you can redeem your points.

IHG has 14 hotel brands to choose from:

  • Holiday Inn Hotels.

  • Holiday Inn Resorts.

  • Holiday Inn Express.

  • Staybridge Suites.

  • Candlewood Suites.

  • Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts.

  • Avid hotels.

  • EVEN Hotels.

  • Hualuxe Hotels & Resorts.

  • Hotel Indigo.

  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.

  • Regent Hotels.

  • Voco.

  • Kimpton Hotels.

Over the next 10 years, Six Senses will also be adding its 60 hotels to the IHG family. That provides plenty of opportunities to put IHG points to good use.

How many IHG points will I earn on hotel stays and how can I use them?

IHG members earn 10 points per $1 spent at all hotels, except for Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. These properties earn 5 points per $1 spent.

Don’t have enough points for any of the categories? You can use a combination of points with cash, as long as you have a minimum of 5,000 points. You’ll spend a bit more as the categories rise, as shown in this example of booking a Category 11 property.

IHG’s brands span from budget properties to luxury, and you can redeem your points for some good options, if you do your homework.

For example, you can redeem points at the InterContinental Shanghai Pudong for 30,000 points per night, Mexico City for 35,000 points, Porto for 50,000 points, or New York City for 70,000 points.

IHG PointBreaks

Every quarter, IHG releases its heavily discounted hotels with rates as low as 5,000 points per night. This promotion lowers awards entries for tons of hotels, so they can sell out quickly. Members can book up to two stays per hotel during Pointbreaks promotions. Find current deals on IHG Rewards Club’s website.

Need more points? Loyalty is rewarded

IHG rewards loyal travelers with extra points. Base members earn 5 points per $1 spent at Candlewood and Staybridge Suites and 10 points per $1 at all other brands. If you reach elite status, you can earn bonus points when you stay at IHG properties:

  • Gold Elite: Additional 10% bonus points

  • Platinum Elite: Additional 50% bonus points

  • Spire Elite: Additional 100% bonus points

These perks are easier to earn at IHG: You just need 10 nights or 10,000 points for Gold and 40 nights or 40,000 points for Platinum. Top-tier Spire status requires 75 nights or 75,000 points.

For lovers of IHG’s luxe Intercontinental properties, Ambassador awards can be used at over 200 properties around the world. Ambassadors receive IHG Platinum status, guaranteed room upgrades, as well as a $20 dining credit per stay.

Royal Ambassadors, an invitation-only status, are provided two category room upgrades, club lounge access, $50 nightly minibar credit (up to $200 per stay) and a free night at InterContinental properties, to name a few...

If you need to plan an event, IHG Rewards offers an additional 3 points per $1 spent — up to $60,000 — for booking event spaces or meeting rooms. This is a big incentive for those planning meetings, as it’s one of the highest returns for business spending in loyalty programs.

Earn more points with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is currently offering a generous sign-up bonus in addition to accelerated point earnings: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

During the first 12 months, cardholders also earn up to 40 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels and 4x points on everything else. Those rates are pretty tough to beat!

This card charges an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $89, but it also gives you up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA precheck fee credits every 4 years. The card also grants you Platinum status, along with a free anniversary night and the fourth night free when booking with points.

Those who have an IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card also get the fourth reward night free. Essentially, this translates to a 25% saving on four-night bookings.

How else can you use IHG points? Let us count the ways

IHG has partnerships with airlines, allowing you to convert your points to airline miles. Points will convert to most airlines at a rate of 10,000 points for 2,000 miles, including Delta, British Airways, American and United.

Outside of travel, IHG rewards can be used mainly for shopping, including:

  • Redeem points with IHG Rewards Club for kitchen tools, jewelry, magazines, electronics, sporting goods, apparel, gifts and more. IHG even offers DNA kits from Orig3n and 23andMe. There is also a category of rotating items available for 10,000 points or less.

  • Gift cards for nationwide retailers, such as Lowe’s, Best Buy, Target, AMC Theatres and Apple.

  • Donations of 2,500 to 10,000 points to nonprofits like Goodwill, American Red Cross, Care, Prince’s Trust and Youth Career Initiative.

  • One-of-a-kind Access experiences. From concert tickets to special events, you can redeem points for entertainment around the world.

The bottom line

IHG properties are plentiful in popular travel destinations, and the awards are easy to comprehend. That makes them a worthy investment for travelers.

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 2020, including those best for:

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