The ins and outs of: IHG Rewards Club

The IHG rewards club is certainly one of the largest hotel reward schemes, operating 12 hotel brands with 5,000 hotels worldwide. IHG operates primarily under the InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites brands. With its vast number of Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express properties, IHG has established itself as the largest chain in the UK.

Elite membership:

Interestingly, IHG actually runs two loyalty programmes: "IHG Rewards Club", and the fee-based "Ambassador" loyalty scheme for InterContinental properties. It should be noted that InterContinental hotels favour "Ambassador" members, reducing the value of the IHG Rewards Club benefits at these properties.

Whilst the IHG Rewards Club status benefits are weak compared to other hotel reward schemes. The "Ambassador" status, available at the InterContinental brand, provides a host of additional benefits (such as guaranteed 4 pm check-out), enhancing an otherwise bland deal. Priced at $200 in the first year, this is definitely worth consideration. More information about the Ambassador scheme can be found here.

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There are three status tiers of the IHG Rewards Club:

  • Gold Elite - Achieved through 10 nights or 10,000 base points. You can also receive Gold status for taking out the free IHG MasterCard credit card.
  • Platinum Elite - Achieved through 40 nights or 40,000 base points. You can also receive Platinum status for free by taking out the £99 IHG Premium MasterCard credit card.
  • Spire Elite - Achieved through 70 nights or 75,000 base points.

The benefits for each status level include:

Benefits Gold Elite Platinum Elite Spire Elite
No Blackout Dates for Reward Nights
Reward Nights Count Toward Elite Status
Extended Check-Out1,2
Elite Members' Points Don't Expire4
Priority Check-In
Bonus Earnings on Top of Base Points10%50%100%
Elite Rollover Nights
Complimentary Room Upgrades2
Guartanteed Room Availibility3
Exclusive Choice Benefit Upon Receiving Status
Exclusive Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® Five Star® Upgrade

Key Limitations

1 May not be available in all regions.

2 Subject to availability.

3 Requires 72 hours advance notice. Platinum Elite and Spire Elite members are guaranteed one guest room for personal use for reservations made at least 72 hours prior to the date of arrival, except during special events that result in extraordinary demand, as determined solely by the hotel. Guaranteed room availability is not valid for Reward Nights. These reservations can only be made through the IHG® Rewards Club Service Centre.

4 Points in your account do not expire for all current Elite members, although all of your points may expire twelve (12) months after your account moves to Club level from an Elite level without earn or redeem activity.

The full table of elite benefits can be found here.

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IHG - NYC
Earning Points

With the exception of Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites, IHG properties earn you 10 base points per $1 spent. Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites give a reduced 5 points per $1.

Note that only base points that count towards elite status renewal. Bonus points do not count towards elite status. Points earned via partners may or may count:

  • Points earned from spending on an IHG credit card do count for status
  • As of February 2017 eRewards transfers no longer count for status
  • Point transfers from Virgin Flying Club do count for status
  • Points earned from the sign-up bonuses for IHG credit card do not count for status

With regular bonus promotions such as the "accelerate scheme", accruing large numbers of points is fairly easy with multiple stays at mid-priced hotels.

Redeeming Rewards

Whilst IHG Reward Club points can be redeemed in a number of ways, the best value is achieved through reward nights. These redemptions range from 10,000 points for Category 1 properties to 60,000 points for Category 6 properties.

As reward night are capped at 60,000 point, the more luxury hotels within the IHG brand (eg. InterContinental) offer a better 'pence per point' ratio than cheaper properties (eg. Holiday Inn Express).

For more flexible travellers, IHG runs regular "PointBreaks" offers. Every few months, 100 or so properties globally have their redemptions reduced to 5,000 points per night. This can provided some excellent deals. It should be noted that as hotels are only required to make 5% of their rooms available of redemption each night, the best "PointBreaks" offers go quickly. The current "PointBreaks" can be found here.

Cash and Point Redemptions

When booking a reward night, you have the option of reducing the number of reward points required. $40 reduced the number of points by 5,000, whilst $70 reduces the points by 10,000.

Airline Redemptions

IHG Rewards Club points can be transferred to a large number of Airlines including Avios and Virgin Flying Club at a fairly weak ratio of 5:1

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IHG - Hong Kong
Purchasing and Transferring Points

With the 25,000 bonus points for reaching and retaining Spire Elite status, purchasing or transferring points can be justified.

Points can be purchased from the IHG website for $13.50 per 1,000 points. However, this rate can be improved to $7 per 1000 points by booking a cash and point redemption. Cancelling this booking results in a points refund to your account, rather than the $70.

You are able to transfer Virgin Flying Club mile into your IHG Rewards Club account at a ratio of 1:1. Finnair miles can also be transfers into IHG Rewards Club at a ratio of 2:1. Both of these transfers do count towards elite status!

Whilst IHG Rewards Club is not an Amex Membership Rewards partner, you can transfer your points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club first.

Credit Card partners

The IHG Rewards Club currently has two associated credit cards. The free IHG Rewards Club credit card offers instant Gold Elite status and a sign-up bonus of 10,000 points. The IHG Rewards Club premium mastercard has a £99 fee and a 20,000 point sign-up bonus.

Other Ways to Redeem

Through the IHG online catalogue (found here) points can be redeemed for a range of brand name products, jewellery, electronics, gift cards and more.

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Ross Slater

Dr Ross Slater

Ross is Expert with Points' main contributor. Sharing his knowledge of various travel reward schemes, to help your travelling go further.

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