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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), owner of the IGH Rewards Program, has over 5,600 hotels in nearly 100 countries around the world including North America, Europe, China, Japan, Mexico, the Caribbean and other international destinations.
The hotels under the IHG umbrella range from budget-friendly Holiday Inns to upscale InterContinental, Crown Plaza and Regent hotels and resorts. Other brands include the Staybridge and Candlewood all-suite chains for extended stays, and boutique hotels such as Kimpton and Hotel Indigo.
IHG also includes some specialty chains like EVEN Hotels and Six Senses wellness brands, and HUALUXE, which caters to Chinese business travelers. Some of the latest additions to the IHG portfolio include the upscale voco and budget-friendly avid properties.
In October 2020, the chain added 400 Mr. & Mrs. Smith luxury and boutique properties to its inventory as well.
Regardless of where you stay, you can earn points in the IHG Rewards Club once you are enrolled. Joining the program allows you to not only earn points that can be redeemed for future stays and other rewards, but you can also gain elite status and get bonus points and extra perks during your stay.
Elite Status Levels and Benefits
IHG has four elite tiers beyond the basic Club Member, which offers exclusive member rates, free WiFi and a dedicated customer service line, in addition to being able to earn points in the hotel loyalty program.
There are no blackout dates when redeeming rewards, and reward nights count toward elite status. Anyone can join, and if you aren’t already a member be sure to sign up before you book.
To advance to Gold Elite status, you need to stay 10 nights or earn 10,000 points. After staying 40 nights or earning 40,000 points, you earn Platinum Elite status, and after 75 nights or 75,000 points, you reach the highest IHG tier which is Spire Elite.
At the basic Club level, you earn 10 points per dollar spent at most of the hotel group’s brands, and five points per dollar at the Staybridge and Candlewood Suites properties. At the Gold Elite level you qualify for priority check-in, late check-out, a welcome amenity and a 10% point bonus on reservations.
Your points won’t expire if you hold elite status, but if you lose you status and go back to being a basic Club member then points will expire if there is no activity level within 12 months.
Platinum members get all those benefits, a 50% point bonus, guaranteed room when booking at least 72 hours in advance and a complimentary room upgrade. Members at or above Platinum status get all previously named benefits and can also rollover nights once they have achieved status if they earn more nights than needed for their elite level.
Spire elites get a 100% point bonus plus all other benefits at lower tier levels, and they can get early check-in starting at 10 am.
Once members qualify for this level they get a 25,000 annual point bonus or they can gift Platinum status to a friend or family member. They also get Hertz Gold Plus Rewards status and a car upgrade when they book with the hotel chain’s car rental partner.
Inner Circle and Ambassador programs
There is one level higher than IHG Spire Elite, but the Kimpton Inner Circle membership is by invitation only and reserved for that chain’s most loyal customers. Members get perks like a personalized welcome gift at Kimpton properties, a room upgrade and a free night at newly-opened Kimpton hotels.
It also comes with a $10 credit for a beverage or snack out of your room’s mini-fridge or at the hotel’s bar, and a $30 in-room spa credit at participating Kimpton locations.
There is also an InterContinental Ambassador reward program, which costs $200 a year and comes with benefits for stays at over 200 InterContinental and Regent hotels and resorts.
You also get automatic Platinum Elite status in the IHG rewards program when you pay the fee, which is worth the investment if you want to achieve automatic top-tier status with IHG Rewards Club and enjoy the extra perks at the chain’s luxury properties.
Ambassador members receive a one-category room upgrade, 4 pm check-out, a complimentary weekend night, a daily $20 food and beverage credit during your stay, and free water, internet and other perks like a dedicated check-in area.
|Benefit||Club||Gold Elite||Platinum Elite||Spire Elite||Kimpton Inner Circle|
|Collect Points or Miles/Credits||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Exclusive Rates (Member Rate)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Dedicated Customer Service Phone Assistance||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|No Blackout Dates for Reward Nights||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Reward Nights Count Towards Elite Status||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Elite Members’ Points Don’t Expire||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Welcome Amenity / Raid the Bar at Kimpton hotels||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Elite Rollover Nights||✔||✔||✔|
|Complimentary Room Upgrades||✔||✔||✔|
|Guaranteed Room Availability||✔||✔||✔|
|Early Check-in (10 am)||✔||✔|
|Exclusive Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® Five Star® Upgrade||✔||✔|
|New Hotel Free Night||✔|
Co-branded Credit Cards
You can also achieve automatic Platinum status and earn 140,000 bonus points for a limited time when you sign up for the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card and spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months. You keep your Platinum status as long as you keep the card, which has no annual fee the first year and is $89 every year after that.
Another valuable benefit of this card is that you get a fourth night free on award bookings. You only use points for the first three nights, but can stay for four. You’ll also get a free anniversary night when you renew the card, and you can also earn 10,000 bonus points if you spend over $20,000 on the IHG Premier credit card annually.
With this hotel credit card you can earn up to 25x points at IHG hotel and resorts. You get 10 points per dollar as a benefit of the IHG membership program, another 10 points per dollar for using this card to pay for your stay, and 5x points per dollar as a Platinum Elite.
You also earn two points for every dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, and one point on all other purchases by you or an authorized user. You also get a $100 credit every four years to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees.
Chase also offers a no-annual fee IHG Rewards Club Traveler card that currently comes with a 100,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $2,000 in the first three months. This card earns a total of 15x points on IHG hotel stays including the 10 points earned as an IHG Rewards Club member and 5x bonus points for paying your bill with this card. Also, neither of these IHG cards charge foreign transaction fees.
Ways to Earn More Points
In addition to earning points on stays and boosting your balance with a credit card sign-up, there are lots of ways to build your points stash and achieve elite status faster. If you book an IHG Rewards Club Bonus Points for example, you can earn 1,000 bonus points for each night of your stay.
IHG partners with several companies to offer earning and redemption opportunities. You can check their member offers for the full list, but as an example, you can join IHG Rewards Dine & Earn program and earn 1,000 points if you spend $30 at a participating restaurant and write a review within 30 days of signing up.
Become a VIP member of the dining program by dining at 11 participating restaurants before the end of your membership year and you can earn eight points per dollar spent at restaurants in the program using your linked credit card. You can also earn up to 500 points when you make a reservation through OpenTable or order food through GrubHub using the IHG portal.
You can also earn 1,000 points for taking surveys with Opinion Check-in or by booking an activity with IHG Trip Extras. Check this page for more partner offers. The hotel chain also has an alliance with the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas so you can earn 2,000 points per stay if you book through IHG. You can also earn 10 points per dollar for bookings at the Venetian Macao and Parisian Macao through IHG.
If you’re a frequent flyer and you’re chasing elite status with an airline, it may make sense to earn airlines miles instead of points in the hotel program. IHG partners with over 40 airlines that you can earn miles with for your hotel stay instead of points.
For the full list and mileage earning opportunities, check here. You just need to change your earning preference in your IHG Rewards Club account.
Redeeming Reward Points
There are plenty of ways to redeem your IHG Reward Club points, but obviously the most popular among travelers is to use them for free stays. Earlier this year IHG rolled out a dynamic award pricing chart that ties award rates more closely to revenue prices so there is no longer an award chart by category.
Rates start at about 10,000 points a night and can go up to 100,000 for high-end properties that are in demand. You can also opt to use a Points & Cash combination if you are short on points for a particular stay or are saving them for another trip. You can save on rates by using as little as 5,000 points with this method.
Another option for redeeming points is to trade them in for digital rewards, gift certificates, brand name merchandise, TSA Precheck or InterContinental Ambassador Memberships and more. Check their website for current offers.