How Does ValuePenguin Get Paid?

IHG Rewards Program Guide: Fast Track to Elite Status

IHG Rewards Program Guide: Fast Track to Elite Status

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

IHG Hotels is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, and the IHG Rewards Club program is the loyalty program for each of its hotel brands. Since the IHG Rewards Club program is free to join, it's definitely worth signing up if you have an upcoming stay at any IHG hotel. That will qualify you for complimentary internet during your stay as well as access to members-only rates for your stay.

In fact, with 15 different hotel brands sprawled across nearly 5,800 properties, IHG is worth considering for any worldwide traveler.

In addition to its large footprint, the IHG Rewards Program is one of the most well-rounded rewards programs out there, with offerings for both budget and luxury travelers.

However, you'll have to contend with the low value of IHG points — you'll need an enormous amount of points to score an award night at a luxury-level hotel.

IHG Rewards Club quick facts
How many hotels does IHG have?5,990+ hotels in more than 100 countries
How many IHG Rewards points for a free night?~11,000 to ~84,000
Redemption optionsHotel nights, merchandise, bid on unique experiences, magazine subscriptions, digital rewards such as eBooks, transfer points to airline miles, transfer points to friends, donate points
IHG points value$0.005 (10,000 IHG points are worth around $50)
Pros
  • Large amount of hotel properties
  • Wide selection of types of hotels
  • Point values are relatively stable
  • Award nights start at only 11,000 points
  • Points are transferable to airline programs
  • Many ways to earn points, including IHG credit cards
Cons
  • Points expire after 12 months of inactivity, short in comparison to other programs
  • Large amount of points per night needed for exclusive properties

Is IHG Rewards Club worth it?

Yes, the IHG Rewards program is worth it. The program is free and easy to join — and with the wide variety and large number of IHG properties around the world, there are endless redemption opportunities. Even being a basic member comes with some perks when staying at IHG hotels.

You'll want to check the cash price of your hotel before using points, and also consider the opportunity cost of earning IHG points on a credit card compared to earning other types of points (such as credit card points or airline miles). Doing both of those will help you make sure to get great value from being a part of IHG Rewards Club.

What hotels are in IHG Rewards?

IHG has a global footprint with nearly 6,000 total hotels in over 100 countries around the world. With that many hotels, you're likely to find an IHG-branded hotel no matter where you travel. IHG also offers a wide variety of different types of properties, from ultra-luxury (Intercontinental) to budget and extended-stay (Candlewood Suites).

IHG brands

Brand
Type of property
#of locations
Six SensesLuxury21
RegentLuxury7
IntercontinentalLuxury204
Vignette CollectionLuxury1
KimptonLuxury75
Show All Rows

How much are IHG points worth?

IHG doesn’t reveal the "true" value of its points, but many travel rewards experts estimate their value to be worth roughly 0.5 cents per point ($0.005).

Compared to other loyalty programs, IHG points aren’t worth a ton, though they can prove to be valuable when used strategically. For example, 140,000 IHG points are worth an estimated $700 in value.

However, these points fluctuate in value depending on how you use them. If an IHG hotel requires more points than usual for a reward night, points will be worth less. There is a simple strategy to avoid this trend — use your points only when it makes sense.

How do you know if using IHG points is worth it?

IHG points are generally valued around $0.005 per point — if a hotel stay is worth around $0.005 per point, then it’s likely worth it to use them. To calculate the value of IHG points, use this simple equation:

Cash price (including taxes and fees) / Number of points needed for hotel stay = Points value for that specific reservation

{"backgroundColor":"ice","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch3\u003EHow do you know if using IHG points is worth it?\u003C\/h3\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EIHG points are generally valued around $0.005 per point \u2014 if a hotel stay is worth around $0.005 per point, then it\u2019s likely worth it to use them. To calculate the value of IHG points, use this simple equation:\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeAlign--root ShortcodeAlign--center\"\u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeAlign--container\"\u003E \n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodePullquote--root\"\u003E\n \u003Cp class=\"ShortcodePullquote--text ShortcodePullquote--black\"\u003E\n Cash price (including taxes and fees) \/ Number of points needed for hotel stay = Points value for that specific reservation\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}

Pros and cons of the IHG Rewards program

Like most programs, there are pros and cons to participating in the IHG Rewards program, and whether you find good value will depend on your travel habits.

IHG has a large global footprint with a wide variety of different types of hotels in over 100 countries. It can be relatively easy to earn IHG points with large sign-up bonuses on their credit cards, and you can get the fourth night free on award stays if you have an IHG credit card. On the other hand, a dynamic award chart means that you could be spending a high amount of points if you’re traveling to popular locations during peak times — plus any points you have will expire after only 12 months of inactivity if you don’t have elite status.

Pros

  • Large amount of hotel properties
  • Wide selection of types of hotels
  • Point values are relatively stable
  • Award nights start at only 11,000 points
  • 4th night free if you have an IHG credit card
  • Points are transferable to airline programs
  • Many ways to earn points, including IHG credit cards
  • No blackout dates for award stays

Cons

  • Points can expire after 12 months of inactivity (specifically for introductory members), which is short compared to other programs
  • IHG points are worth less than those of other hotel programs (e.g. Hyatt)
  • Large amount of points per night needed for exclusive properties

How to earn IHG points

The IHG Rewards program is widely known as one of the most consumer-friendly loyalty programs, because of the number of opportunities available to earn IHG points. Here are some of the more popular ways to earn IHG points:

IHG credit cards

IHG has partnered with Chase to offer co-branded credit cards, which are popular among travelers because of their great value. In fact, IHG has a promotion at the time of publishing for up to 125,000 bonus IHG points. In addition, if you stay at an IHG hotel, the cards offer generous earnings on top of your base points — up to 26 points per $1 with the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card. That's nearly 13% back on your IHG hotel stays if you value IHG points at $0.005 per point.

Credit card
Sign-up bonus
Earning rate
Annual fee
On Chase's Secure Website
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account openingEarn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.$99
On Chase's Secure Website
IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card
Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account openingEarn up to 17 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on purchases on monthly bills, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.$0

When you book an IHG stay through IHG directly, you’ll earn IHG points. The amount of points you earn varies based on the price you pay and your IHG elite status. Here is what a basic IHG member earns:

10 IHG points for every $1 USD

5 IHG points for every $1 USD

  • Regent
  • Intercontinental
  • Kimpton
  • Hotel Indigo
  • EVEN Hotels
  • Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Voco
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Avid Hotels

10 IHG points for every $1 USD

  • Regent
  • Intercontinental
  • Kimpton
  • Hotel Indigo
  • EVEN Hotels
  • Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Voco
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Resort
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Avid Hotels

5 IHG points for every $1 USD

  • Staybridge Suites
  • Candlewood Suites

When you have elite status, your points earnings will increase as follows:

  • Gold Elite: 10% bonus earnings
  • Platinum Elite: 50% bonus earnings
  • Spire Elite: 100% bonus earnings

The number of points you earn is derived from the base rate of the room, not including taxes or fees. For example, an IHG Hotels & Resorts Member that stays at a Voco hotel and spends $300 pre-taxes and fees will earn 3,000 IHG points.

{"backgroundColor":"gray","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EThe number of points you earn is derived from the base rate of the room, not including taxes or fees. For example, an IHG Hotels & Resorts Member that stays at a Voco hotel and spends $300 pre-taxes and fees will earn 3,000 IHG points.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}

IHG frequently announces opportunities to earn more IHG points. Utilizing promotions like this is perfect for jumpstarting your points balance. You can find IHG promotions for members on the IHG® Rewards Club offers website.

IHG Hotels & Resorts Dining is a free program where you can earn IHG points when you connect your IHG rewards account to any credit card you use for dining. When you sign up, you’ll be asked to link a card, though you can link multiple cards (including ones that aren’t co-branded by IHG) to maximize your earnings with the program. And when you use any card listed in your IHG Hotels & Resorts Dine & Earn profile, you'll earn IHG points for dining, in addition to credit card rewards. This is a practice known as "double dipping," as you’re earning points with two different programs with one purchase.

The amount of points you'll earn in the IHG Hotels & Resorts Dining program will depend on your status level:

Membership level
Requirements
IHG points/dollar
VIP member
  • Elect to receive emails from IHG Hotels & Resorts Dining and provide your email address
  • You have already completed 11 qualified transactions in the calendar year
8
Select memberElect to receive emails from IHG Hotels & Resorts Dining and provide your email address5
Basic memberNo valid email address tied to IHG Hotels & Resorts Dining account.1

Savvy traveler tip: The number of participating restaurants is limited. To find out which restaurants participate in your area, you can use the search engine on the IHG Hotels & Resorts Dine & Earn page.

{"backgroundColor":"gray","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeIcon--root ShortcodeIcon--margin-bottom\"\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\"ShortcodeIcon--icon ShortcodeIcon--medium ShortcodeIcon--blue ValuePenguinIcon--airplane\"\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003Cp class=\"ShortcodeIcon--content\"\u003E \u003Cstrong\u003ESavvy traveler tip:\u003C\/strong\u003E The number of participating restaurants is limited. To find out which restaurants participate in your area, you can use the search engine on the \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" rel=\"nofollow noopener\" target=\"_blank\" title=\"https:\/\/ihgrewardsclubdining.rewardsnetwork.com\/howitworks.htm\" href=\"https:\/\/ihgrewardsclubdining.rewardsnetwork.com\/howitworks.htm\"\u003EIHG Hotels & Resorts Dine & Earn page\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}

In addition to the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program, you can also earn IHG Rewards points through their partnerships with Grubhub and OpenTable. You’re able to earn up to 500 IHG Rewards points for making either a Grubhub or OpenTable reservation through the IHG Dining portal.

You can buy IHG points if you need additional ones — note, however, that we don't recommend this option, as points can be expensive to purchase.

Purchasing IHG points is best for people who need to top off their points balance for a stay, not for purchasing in large quantities. However, IHG periodically offers discounts on purchased points that may be a decent value.

If you do buy IHG points, be sure to calculate the value you receive. You can do this by using the formula mentioned above.

Chase is the only bank that allows its points to be transferred to IHG. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® to IHG points at a 1:1 ratio.

The following Chase credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards® points:

Savvy traveler tip: There are much more valuable uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Similar to buying IHG points, transferring Ultimate Rewards points should only be done to top off an account for a free stay.

{"backgroundColor":"gray","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeIcon--root ShortcodeIcon--margin-bottom\"\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\"ShortcodeIcon--icon ShortcodeIcon--medium ShortcodeIcon--blue ValuePenguinIcon--airplane\"\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003Cp class=\"ShortcodeIcon--content\"\u003E \u003Cstrong\u003ESavvy traveler tip:\u003C\/strong\u003E There are much more valuable uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards\u00ae points. Similar to buying IHG points, transferring Ultimate Rewards points should only be done to top off an account for a free stay.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}

You can also transfer your IHG Rewards points to friends and family members if you want to combine points from several accounts. However unlike some other points pooling programs, there’s a fee to transfer points — $5 per 1000 points transferred. Because of this, it's not a recommended way to use points for most people.

If you have the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, you can also earn IHG Rewards Club points by referring friends and family to apply for the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card. If your friend or family member applies through your personalized link and is approved, you can earn 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points, up to a maximum of 50,000 points each year.

You can earn IHG points by renting cars through IHG's site, as well as receive discounts and special promotions. The car rentals that participate in the program will depend on where you're located — you can find the details of saving money and earning IHG points through car rentals on the IHG car rental deals page.

How to use IHG points

The best value for using IHG (or any type of hotel) points is by redeeming them for hotel stays. The IHG Rewards Club program not only allows you to redeem your points for free night awards, but also allows you to redeem a mixture of points and cash for a free night stay. And if you have one of the IHG co-branded credit cards, you can get a fourth night free on award stays of four nights or longer.

Free night awards

IHG no longer has a specific award chart, where a given hotel will cost the same amount of points on every date. Instead, the points price will vary depending on the date. The cost for an IHG award night can typically range from around 11,000 points to 84,000 points per night (or maybe even more).

On the high range, here's a screenshot of hotels in New York City over New Year's Eve:

new york

As you might expect, trying to visit a very popular place when everyone else wants to go there as well will cost a high amount of IHG points.

If you're looking to stretch your points, you can also find a decent amount of hotels that have availability for as low as 11,000 points per night on some nights. Here is a look at availability in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina:

releigh durham

IHG 4th night free

If you have the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card or IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card, you can take advantage of one of the best deals from any hotel chain. With this benefit, you can get the fourth night free when you book the first three nights using IHG points. This is a great way to stretch your points further, and works for stays in increments of four, so you can, for example, plan a 10-night vacation to get two free nights. If you plan to stay often with IHG hotels, getting one of these cards could potentially save you thousands of points.

How to use the IHG Rewards annual free night

The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card also comes with a certificate that’s good for a free night each year on your anniversary. These anniversary free night certificates are good for hotels where the nightly cost is 40,000 points or less. One thing to be aware of is that because the points cost for a hotel varies each night, you may find that you can use your free night certificate at a given hotel on some nights, but not others.

{"backgroundColor":"butter","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch3\u003EHow to use the IHG Rewards annual free night\u003C\/h3\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EThe IHG\u00ae Rewards Premier Credit Card also comes with a certificate that\u2019s good for a free night each year on your anniversary. These anniversary free night certificates are good for hotels where the nightly cost is 40,000 points or less. One thing to be aware of is that because the points cost for a hotel varies each night, you may find that you can use your free night certificate at a given hotel on some nights, but not others.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}

IHG Points and Cash

Another way to book an award stay is to use IHG's Points and Cash program. With Points and Cash, you can use as few as 5,000 IHG Rewards points to book an award stay. Then, once you’ve paid your points, you can then use cash to purchase the remaining points you’ll need for your stay. The rates for purchasing the points vary depending on the hotel as well as how many points you're buying.

This can be a good deal if you're a few points short of booking a stay, since the rates for buying points via Points and Cash are usually cheaper than the rates for buying points directly. However, know that if you cancel your stay, you’ll only be refunded your points and not the cash you paid for the additional points.

Transfer IHG points

IHG allows you to transfer IHG Rewards points to a variety of different types of airline miles. For most airlines, it takes 10,000 IHG points to make 2,000 airline miles — which makes this deal less-than-ideal in most circumstances.

Here are the transfer ratios for some of IHG Rewards' top airline partners:

  • Aeromexico — 10,000 : 2,000
  • Aeroplan — 10,000 : 2,000
  • Air France — 10,000 : 2,000
  • Alaska Airlines — 10,000 : 2,000
  • American Airlines — 10,000 : 2,000
  • Asia Miles — 10,000 : 2,000
  • Delta — 10,000 : 2,000
  • JetBlue — 10,000 : 2,000
  • United Airlines — 10,000 : 2,000

Other IHG redemption options

If you accumulate IHG points but don’t travel much, you can always redeem points for options other than hotel rooms. However, these redemptions are almost always or poorer value, so you'd only want to use them if you see yourself not ever using your IHG Rewards points for hotel stays.

  • Purchase merchandise from the IHG online catalog
  • Purchase magazine subscriptions
  • Digital downloads, such as eBooks, games, music and movies
  • Donate your points to a variety of nonprofit organizations

IHG elite status

Having IHG elite status is a great way to make your hotel stay experience go from good to great. With benefits such as hotel room upgrades, free spa credit and welcome amenities — status gives IHG a chance to say "thank you" for your loyalty.

Status is typically earned through hotel stays. If you travel consistently for work or pleasure, you can earn IHG elite status by meeting the following requirements in a calendar year.

IHG Rewards levels

Status levels
Requirements to earn
IHG Club memberJoin the program
IHG Gold Elite Status7 hotel nights or 7,000 elite qualifying points
IHG Platinum Elite Status30 hotel nights or 30,000 elite qualifying points
IHG Spire Elite Status55 hotel nights or 55,000 elite qualifying points
Intercontinental AmbassadorPurchase of: $200 USD or 40,000 IHG points

Once you earn status, it's valid until the end of the following calendar year — so if you earn status in January 2022, you’ll maintain that status level until December 2023.

Benefits of IHG elite status

Here are the different levels of the IHG Rewards program, and what each status tier will earn you.

IHG Club Member

  • Complimentary internet
  • Exclusive member-only rates
  • Reward Nights count toward Elite status
  • No blackout dates on reward nights

IHG Gold Elite

  • Club member benefits plus...
  • 10% bonus points on top of base points
  • Extended check-out
  • Welcome amenity
  • Elite members points don't expire

IHG Platinum Elite

  • Gold member benefits plus...
  • 50% bonus earnings on top of base points
  • Elite rollover nights
  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • Guaranteed room availability

IHG Spire Elite

  • Platinum Platinum member benefits plus...
  • 100% bonus earnings on top of base points
  • Early check-in
  • Inner Circle amenity (when staying at Kimpton properties)
  • Exclusive choice benefits upon receiving status

Intercontinental Ambassador

  • Guaranteed room upgrade
  • Extended 4pm check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night
  • Dedicated check-in area
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status
  • Restaurant and bar credit worth $20 USD for every stay
  • Complimentary mineral water
  • Complimentary internet (highest access)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the IHG Rewards Club?

IHG Rewards Club is the loyalty program for hotels that are part of IHG. This includes hotel brands like Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton and Intercontinental. You can earn and redeem IHG Rewards points at these hotels.

Can you transfer IHG points to Chase Ultimate Rewards®?

No, you cannot transfer IHG points to Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. If you have Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, you can transfer those points to IHG, but you’re not able to transfer them back to Ultimate Rewards points.

Is Marriott part of IHG Rewards?

No, Marriott is not a part of IHG Rewards. Marriott has its own loyalty program called Marriott Bonvoy for hotels in the Marriott network.

What are the levels of IHG rewards?

There are currently five different levels of status within the IHG Rewards Club program. When first signing up, you'll become a Club Member. Further qualifying can give you Gold, Platinum, Spire or Ambassador status.

How do you cancel an IHG rewards account?

If you want to cancel your IHG Rewards Club account, you can call the IHG customer service number at 888-211-9874. Since there’s no cost for having an IHG Rewards account, there is no need for most people to cancel their account.

Does the IHG Rewards Club cost money?

No, joining the IHG Rewards Club program is free. So if you’re planning on staying at an IHG-branded hotel, it makes sense to join IHG Rewards Club. The program can give you access to complimentary internet during your stay as well as exclusive members-only rates.

How do I check my IHG Rewards points?

The easiest way to check the balance of your IHG Rewards Club account is by logging on to your account at IHG.com. If you're staying at an IHG hotel, you can also ask the front desk to check your account balance.

What is my IHG Rewards Club number?

One way to find your IHG Rewards Club number is by calling the IHG customer service number at 888-211-9874. You can also find your IHG Rewards Club number by logging on to your online account or by checking your membership card if you have one.

Does the IHG Rewards Club cost anything?

No, there isn’t a cost to join the IHG Rewards Club program. All members of IHG Rewards have access to members-only rates for stays, as well as complimentary internet during stays. Those are two good reasons to join IHG Rewards Club if you're planning on staying at an IHG hotel.

Is Hilton part of IHG rewards?

No, Hilton is not part of the IHG Rewards Club program. Hilton has its own loyalty program, Hilton Honors.

Can you buy IHG rewards points?

Yes, you can buy IHG Rewards Club points. For most people, it’s not a good value to buy IHG points unless you’re buying a small amount to top off your account for an upcoming stay.

Do IHG rewards nights count towards status?

Yes, redeeming IHG Rewards Club points for a free night does count as a night towards earning status. This can be a great way to get additional nights towards earning status.

Do IHG Rewards nights include breakfast?

Redeeming IHG Rewards Club points for a free night does not in and of itself include breakfast. You’ll get breakfast included if you’re staying at an IHG brand that includes breakfast for all guests, such as Holiday Inn Express.

Do IHG Rewards Club points expire?

Yes, IHG Rewards Club points expire after 12 months of inactivity. You can extend the life of your points by earning or redeeming points within 12 months. However, if you’re a Gold or higher elite member, your points won’t expire.

How do I get my IHG Rewards number?

One way to get your IHG Rewards number is by logging on to your online account at ihg.com. You can also call the IHG customer service number at 888-211-9874.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).