Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.
The information related to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.
- What is the IHG Rewards Club?
- What hotels are in the IHG Rewards Club?
- How to join the IHG Rewards Club
- Get the free IHG app
- Benefits of IHG rewards program
- The IHG tiers, benefits and how to earn IHG elite status
- IHG elite status benefits explained
- How much is IHG status worth?
- Credit cards that give you IHG status
- Is it worth buying IHG Platinum Elite status?
- Can you get IHG lifetime status?
- Does using points count toward IHG status?
- Do IHG points expire?
- Final thoughts on IHG elite status value
If you're a frequent guest at InterContinental Hotels Group brands—whether your style leans more toward Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo or Regent—you may wonder what you have to gain by getting IHG elite status.
IHG Rewards Club status has plenty to offer loyal customers with sizable points bonuses, late checkouts and free room upgrades. What are all those goodies worth? We've crunched the numbers for you to calculate the value of IHG elite status at all three tiers.
In this guide, we'll explain how to get IHG elite status and how much it's worth. Once you've got a better idea of the value of IHG elite status, you can decide whether pursuing status is worth it to you. Want a shortcut? You can apply for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and automatically get Platinum Elite status.
What is the IHG Rewards Club?
The IHG Rewards Club Loyalty Program is a free hotel loyalty program that rewards you for staying at IHG brand hotels. It's one of the top U.S. hotel loyalty programs and offers an easy way to earn free stays.
You can redeem your points at IHG hotel brands that range from midscale hotels to luxury resorts. The IHG portfolio includes more than 5,000 properties in 100 countries, so it's easy to plan your travel to include a stay that will earn you points.
As a rewards club member, you get a few added benefits, including free internet during your stays. By getting elite status, you add more perks. As you climb the IHG elite tiers and stay at IHG hotels more frequently, the benefits become more and more valuable.
What hotels are in the IHG Rewards Club?
IHG offers a variety of hotel brands, from midscale to luxury. You're sure to find an IHG property that fits into your travel plans and style, whether you're taking a beach getaway, attending a family reunion or closing a business deal.
Here is a list of IHG hotel brands:
- InterContinental Hotels and Resorts
- Regent Hotels & Resorts
Upper upscale hotels:
- Hotel Indigo
- Kimpton Hotels & Resorts
- Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts
- Hualuxe Hotels & Resorts
- Even Hotels
Upper midscale hotels:
- Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Express
- Avid Hotels
- Candlewood Suites (midscale)
- Staybridge Suites (upscale)
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
How to join the IHG Rewards Club
You can join the IHG rewards program in just a few minutes at no cost by filling out the IHG Rewards Club application.
After you become a member, you'll get a membership number. You can sign in to your account at any time by heading to the IHG homepage and entering your email or member number and your PIN. When you're logged in, you can see your points balance at the top of the screen. From your dashboard, you can also learn more about your benefits, plan hotel stays, buy points and redeem your IHG rewards.
Get the free IHG app
You may want to download the IHG mobile app to make it easier to get hotel deals and manage your rewards. The app helps you get special mobile-exclusive rates, access the details of upcoming stays, and check your rewards activity and points balance.
You can also use the IHG app to check out from your phone and get a copy of your bill at participating hotels.
You can get the app by searching for it on a mobile app store or by visiting the IHG app download page.
Benefits of IHG rewards program
Becoming a member of the IHG Rewards Club allows you to start taking advantage of program benefits right away. As an IHG member, you'll be able to:
- Start earning points that you can cash in for free hotel stays.
- Receive the best rate, according to IHG's guarantee.
- Redeem your points with no blackout dates.
- Get free standard internet during IHG hotel stays.
Though basic membership has its advantages, becoming an elite will greatly increase your points and your perks. There are three main tiers, and the higher tier you achieve the more benefits you unlock.
The IHG tiers, benefits and how to earn IHG elite status
The IHG rewards program has three status tiers that you can earn by booking qualifying nights and earning qualifying points in the program.
The IHG rewards tiers are:
- Gold Elite: the lowest elite tier
- Platinum Elite: the middle elite tier
- Spire Elite: the highest elite tier
IHG awards elite status is based on qualified nights per calendar year and elite qualifying points. You need a certain number of qualified nights or a certain number of elite qualifying points to reach each status tier.
That means you achieve status with qualifying hotel stays or points that you earn from hotel stays, spending on an IHG Rewards Club credit card and other activities.
What are IHG bonus points? IHG Rewards Club Bonus Points Packages are an optional add-on that give you an extra 1,000 to 5,000 points for the stay. These bonus points count toward earning and keeping IHG elite status.
When you reach elite status, you keep your status for the remainder of the calendar year as well as the following calendar year.
IHG elite status benefits explained
Here's a more in-depth overview of the IHG benefits tiers, their benefits and their value.
IHG Club status benefits include:
- 10 rewards points at most hotels and resorts, or 5 points for extended stay hotels, for every dollar spent on stays
- Exclusive guaranteed best rate
- Book award stays with no blackout dates
- Free standard internet during stays
How to earn IHG Club status
To earn IHG Club status, go to IHG.com and complete a simple application to become a member of the IHG Rewards Club Loyalty Program. It's free to join and you instantly get Club status.
Our take on IHG Club status
It makes sense to join the IHG Rewards Club Loyalty Program and get Club status. You get a few perks like free internet, you start earning points for your stays and you can begin working your way up to elite status.
IHG Gold Elite member benefits include all of the perks of Club level plus:
- 10% points-earning bonus on top of base points
- Your points will not expire
- Priority check-in
- Late checkout
- Enjoy a welcome amenity/raid the bar at Kimpton Hotels
How to earn IHG Gold Elite status
To earn IHG Gold Elite status, you need to:
- Spend at least 10 qualifying nights at IHG hotels
- OR earn at least 10,000 qualifying IHG points
- OR open the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card and spend at least $10,000 in a year
Our take on IHG Gold Elite status
The lowest level of IHG elite status, Gold Elite isn't very valuable compared with the two higher tiers. The priority check-in benefit sounds nice, but many frequent travelers find that it doesn't get them checked in any faster or improve their stays noticeably. But late checkout is a nice benefit that makes checkout more relaxed. Gold status also keeps your points from expiring and bumps your earnings, allowing you to rack up points and earn free stays a little more quickly.
IHG Platinum Elite member benefits include all of the perks of Gold Elite status plus:
- 50% points-earning bonus on base points
- Elite rollover nights, which allows extra elite qualifying nights you earn in a calendar year to count toward your status for the next year
- Guaranteed room availability if you make a reservation 72 or more hours in advance
- Free room upgrades, such as rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated rooms or rooms with better views
How to earn Platinum Elite status
To earn IHG Platinum Elite status, you need to:
- Spend at least 40 qualifying nights at IHG hotels
- OR earn at least 40,000 qualifying IHG points
- OR open the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Our take on IHG Platinum Elite status
The midlevel of IHG elite status, Platinum Elite status offers far richer perks than the Gold tier. The 50% points bonus can make a real difference in helping you to earn points faster and in helping you to reach the next level of status. The guaranteed room availability perk offers peace of mind. And the free room upgrades can make more a much more pleasant stay.
This level of status also is fairly easy to attain because, if you don't travel frequently enough, you can simply sign up for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which grants automatic Platinum status.
IHG Spire Elite member benefits include all of the perks of Platinum Elite status plus:
- 100% points-earning bonus, instead of 50%, on top of base points
- Either get a 25,000-point bonus annually or gift Platinum Elite status to someone else
- Get a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards upgrade to Five Star status to unlock exclusive discounts and perks on Hertz car rentals
How to earn Spire Elite status
To earn IHG Spire Elite status, you need to:
- Spend at least 75 qualifying nights at IHG hotels
- OR earn at least 75,000 qualifying IHG points
Our take on IHG Spire Elite status
The top level of IHG status, Spire Elite, offers some attractive benefits. The extra 100% points-earning bonus can really accelerate your earnings, especially when you travel as frequently as is necessary to earn this level of status. The annual 25,000-point bonus can get you a free night in an upscale IHG hotel.
The Hertz upgrade to Five Star status is a nice additional perk as it gets you 25% extra Hertz points, car rental upgrades, expedited pickup and the ability to swap a vehicle for another one for free. If you rent cars frequently, this upgrade could offer substantial value.
But it may be difficult to earn IHG Spire Elite status unless you're an avid vacationer, you make frequent business trips or you need a place to stay for an extended term (for example, if you're waiting for your home renovations to be completed). Since no credit card offers Spire status, there's no way to get to this tier without frequent hotel stays.
Savvy traveler tip: Want IHG Spire Elite status instantly? Simply transfer 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points into your IHG rewards account. These points count toward status, allowing you to quickly achieve Spire status without even one night in an IHG hotel. Don't have enough points? You can get most of the way there by getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and earning the sign-on bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
How much is IHG status worth?
To determine the dollar value of IHG status at different tiers, we'll break down each of the IHG elite benefits to see how much they're worth. The dollar values listed below are ValuePenguin estimates and vary depending on your use of the corresponding benefits. Please note that benefits cannot actually be exchanged for cash.
Elite bonus points: dollar value varies
As a Club member with no elite status, you get 10 points per dollar spent at most IHG properties, or 5 points per dollar spent at Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites. Each level of elite status gives you a percentage boost as a bonus, allowing you to earn 10% to 100% more points for your stays, depending on your tier. The bonuses are:
- Gold: 10%
- Platinum Elite: 50%
- Spire Elite: 100%
Here's what that percentage bonus translates to in terms of number of points earned at most IHG hotels for each status tier. Instead of 10 points per dollar, you'll earn:
- Gold: 11 points per dollar
- Platinum Elite: 15 points per dollar
- Spire Elite: 20 points per dollar
The dollar value of these bonuses vary by tier and by the amount you spend on stays.
Points not expiring: $10 per year
When you reach elite status, your IHG points won't expire as long as you keep that status. This isn't a hugely valuable perk since points only expire if you let your account go dormant for a year, which would be difficult to do if you travel regularly or hold an IHG credit card. However, the peace of mind may be worth $10 per year.
Priority check-in: $2 per stay
Some IHG properties offer a special priority check-in line where guests who have elite status can, in theory, sidestep the throng at the front desk and get to their room more quickly. However, some frequent travelers don't see much value in this benefit. Not all hotels have the priority check-in line, and it may not even be necessary. We'll value this at $2 per stay.
Late checkout: $10 per stay
The IHG extended check-out benefit is available to all elites, though IHG notes on its website that it may not be available in some regions. IHG doesn't specify the time for late checkout on its website, though it was listed as 2 p.m. when the benefit was announced. This benefit can make travel much more convenient, and we'll value it at $10 per stay.
Welcome amenity/raid the bar: $10 per stay
This is only available at Kimpton Hotels, so the value you get depends on how often you stay at Kimpton versus other IHG brands. If you never stay at Kimpton, the value is $0. At Kimpton, it's $10 per stay. What is Kimpton Raid the Bar? It's a perk that gives you a $10 credit toward a snack or drink at the restaurant or bar, or from the in-room honor bar.
Elite rollover nights: dollar value varies
This benefit means that extra elite qualifying nights you earned in a calendar year will roll over into the next year, giving you a head start toward elite status in that year. It's hard to quantify the value of this benefit because it varies based on your situation.
Guaranteed room availability: $5 per stay
You're guaranteed a room if you make a reservation 72 or more hours in advance. However, IHG.com states that there are exceptions to the rule, such as special events. Let's value this perk at $5 per stay.
Free room upgrades: $10 per night
Upgrades are determined by the hotel and may mean rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated rooms or rooms with better views. This is a fairly subjective benefit, but it's always nice to get a better room, so let's value this at $10 per night.
Yearly point bonus or ability to give status: $125 per year
The value of IHG points is about 0.5 cent each, so the annual 25,000-point bonus is worth $125 a year. You also have the ability to gift Platinum Elite status to your spouse, your kid, your parent or anyone else you wish.
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards upgrade: $50 per year
The value of the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards upgrade to Five Star status depends on whether you use Hertz and how often you rent cars. The perk gives you a 25% points-earning bonus on your spending with Hertz, along with upgrades and the ability to choose a different car if you wish. The value of this perk is very subjective since it really depends on whether you're a loyal Hertz customer. Assuming you rent from Hertz a few times a year, we'll value this perk at $50 per year.
Value of IHG status tiers
The value of a given status tier will vary depending on a variety of factors, including: how frequently you travel, how often you stay at IHG hotels and whether you stay at midscale, upscale or luxury properties.
For the purpose of this valuation, we're going to assume you completed just enough stays to reach a certain status tier, that you spent an average of $150 per night, and that each stay lasted two nights. We'll also assume one of your stays was at a Kimpton. You can adjust the value calculations up or down based on your particular situation, and even whether a particular perk is worth more or less to you personally.
Here is our take on the dollar value of each IHG status tier:
IHG Gold status value: $80+
- 10% bonus on points earned: $8 (rounded up to the nearest dollar)
- Points not expiring: $10
- Priority check-in: $10
- Late checkout: $50
- Welcome amenity/raid the bar at Kimpton Hotels: $10
IHG Platinum Elite status value: $900+
- 50% bonus on points earned: $150
- Points not expiring: $10
- Priority check-in: $40
- Late checkout: $200
- Welcome amenity/raid the bar at Kimpton Hotels: $10
- Elite rollover nights: varies
- Guaranteed room availability: $100
- Free room upgrades: $400
IHG Spire Elite status value: $2,100+
- 100% bonus on points earned: $563 (rounded up to the nearest dollar)
- Points not expiring: $10
- Priority check-in: $76
- Late checkout: $380
- Welcome amenity/raid the bar at Kimpton Hotels: $10
- Elite rollover nights: varies
- Guaranteed room availability: $190
- Free room upgrades: $750
- 25,000 bonus points: $125
- Hertz status upgrade: $50
Keep in mind that the value of each tier increases with the number of stays, which is part of the reason the higher tiers are so much more valuable. However, these numbers can serve as a starting point to determine if IHG elite status is worth it for you.
There is one thing thing to keep in mind when considering getting a credit card to get IHG Platinum Elite status, which we'll discuss next. Our valuation of Platinum Elite status at $900 is based on the assumption that you complete enough stays to get Platinum Elite status, meaning you stay at IHG hotels 10 nights per year. The value of Platinum Elite status will be lower for you if you complete fewer stays.
Credit cards that give you IHG status
If you'd like to skip to the front of the line to get IHG elite status quickly, a credit card may be your best option. Chase offers two co-branded IHG credit cards that let you get IHG status. If status is your main goal, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is clearly the better option because cardholders get IHG Platinum status right away.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives you automatic Platinum Elite status with no spending required on your card, along with a huge sign-on bonus: Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The card also offers these perks:
- 40 points per dollar spent on IHG stays and 4 points per dollar spent on everything else for your first year
- Fourth reward night free
- A 20% discount on points purchases
- A free night every year after account anniversary
- Complimentary upgrades
- Elite rollover nights
Our take on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
First, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives you automatic Platinum Elite status with IHG just for being a cardholder. If you're seeking status, this is an excellent way to get it quickly and affordably.
Another major benefit of this card is that it allows you to turbocharge your IHG points earnings, thanks to a new offer that gives you 40 points per dollar spent on IHG stays plus 4 points per dollar spent on everything else for your first year. And the normal earnings rate on the card is still impressive at 25 points per dollar spent on IHG stays. It's a great way to accelerate your earnings and possibly achieve a higher level of status.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Your other option for a co-branded card is the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.
The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card allows you to get IHG Gold Elite status when you spend $10,000 on your card. Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Our take on the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is a far less attractive addition to your wallet since you need to spend $10,000 on the card just to get Gold elite status, the lowest tier of IHG status.
The sign-on bonus is also less than half of the current offer on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Given these drawbacks, we don't recommend the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. Instead, consider applying for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which provides a far better value.
Is it worth buying IHG Platinum Elite status?
There is a way to get IHG Platinum Elite status without getting the credit card and without earning it through hotel stays.
It's pretty straightforward: You pay $200 or 40,000 IHG points, which are worth about the same amount, to join the InterContinental Ambassador program for one year. The InterContinental Ambassador program includes:
- Elite status: Club and Gold Elite members get bumped to Platinum Elite status.
- Guaranteed room upgrades: You get a one-category room upgrade or, if not available, 10,000 points or a $50 per stay restaurant and bar credit.
- Guaranteed late checkout: You can stay in your room until 4 p.m. or, if not available, get either 10,000 points or a $50 per stay restaurant and bar credit.
- Lounge access: Get Club InterContinental lounge access or, if not available, get a restaurant and bar credit of $100 per night up to the benefit value.
- Premium internet: Get free premium internet access where available.
- Discounted double occupancy: Get double occupancy for the price of single.
- Free food and beverages: Get complimentary breakfast (worth at least $10 per night) and a $20 per stay restaurant and bar credit.
Our take on the InterContinental Ambassador program
We've calculated the value of Platinum Elite status at $900, provided that you stay 40 nights per year at IHG hotels, which is the number of nights required to get Platinum Elite status. The InterContinental Ambassador Program includes all of those benefits plus an additional list of valuable perks. But because you can get Platinum Elite status by getting a credit card for an $89 annual fee, it does not make sense to pay $200 just for the status.
However, if the additional benefits appeal to you, it may be worth it to join the InterContinental Ambassador program. The value of the additional benefits depends on how often you stay, but the free breakfast alone could allow you to recoup your cost in just 20 nights.
Can you get IHG lifetime status?
Unfortunately for loyal IHG customers, it's not possible to get IHG lifetime status at this time. You may wonder why, since Hilton and some other hotel companies allow you to earn lifetime elite status. The IHG Rewards Club requires members to requalify for IHG elite status each year.
Does using points count toward IHG status?
Stays that you book with points do not count toward IHG elite status. Only qualified stays count, and IHG defines a qualified stay as one for which you pay qualifying room rates. You pay qualifying room rates when you book a stay through IHG central reservations, IHG websites, travel agents or at an IHG hotel. Steer clear of sites like Booking.com and Orbitz because booking through these sites will hurt your chance to earn points and status.
Do IHG points expire?
If you've earned IHG elite status, you're in luck: Your IHG points will never expire as long as you hold status. However, IHG points will expire if you don't have elite status and if your account sits inactive for a year.
You can keep IHG points from expiring by earning or redeeming points. If you're in a pinch and need to do something to keep your points active, you can simply use your IHG credit card to earn points or redeem a small number of points for a gift card.
Final thoughts on IHG elite status value
The value of IHG elite status varies widely by tier, the number of nights per year you stay at IHG hotels and how much you spend on your stays.
Gold Elite status is worth very little because it comes with a low points bonus and few perks. Platinum Elite status may be the sweet spot for many travelers because you can get it for under $100 with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (annual fee of $89). Alternatively, if you stay the 40 nights per year required to get Platinum Elite status organically, you'll get at least $900 of value from the benefits.
If you're a less-frequent traveler who gets Platinum Elite status through the credit card and you stay only 20 nights per year, it's still worth $450, not counting the hundreds of dollars of added value you get from the card. And if you stay only 10 nights per year, the benefits of Platinum Elite status are still worth almost $250 to you.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card allows you to get Platinum Elite status with IHG before you ever book a stay. The card represents an affordable, easy way to get status, especially for travelers who otherwise wouldn't be able to earn IHG status but still want the VIP perks that come with being an elite.
The information related to the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.