Like anyone going through a mid-life crisis and craving a revamp… so did IHG 😎 Since its overhaul in April of 2022, it’s become a solid contender on this list… for the right traveler.
This improved rewards program offers its members new benefits that include milestone reward incentives, free breakfast (for elites), and a faster earning rate.
With 18 hotel brands in its cool kids’ group, including the SUPER (and newly-acquired) cool kid, Six Senses, spread out across 6,000+ destinations, you’ve got some great selections.
IHG definitely has some premium and luxury options (as seen above), but it also offers travelers some more budget-friendly and basic places to spend the night—like the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express.
I know I’ve stayed at countless Holiday Inns in my life whether on a road trip or just crashing near an airport before a painfully early flight.
Let’s dive in to see all that IHG has to offer!
IHG One has four true elite tiers, plus one Club membership that you can get just for signing up for their rewards program.
Those four elite tiers include: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Elite. Man, these hotel reward programs really like their fancy metals and gemstones, eh?
Basically, InterContinental Ambassador allows you to purchase status that comes with its own perks and benefits at InterContinental Resorts & Hotel.
Whereas, the Kimpton Inner Circle is an exclusive, invite-only “status” for hard-core Kimpton guests. If you reach IHG® Diamond Elite status and stay frequently at Kimpton properties… your chances of getting in the club are pretty high.
But back to IGH One… as expected, each tier offers different perks and benefits 👇
Courtesy of IHG
You get a few simple perks like complimentary WiFi and the ability to accrue reward nights that count towards earning elite status.
You won’t earn any bonus points, but you will earn base points that range from 2.5x to 10x per dollar at different IHG properties.
Silver Elite Members:
The great news is that your points don’t expire as a Silver elite, but you won’t get rollover nights as part of next year’s status.
You also earn 20% bonus points on top of your base points.
Gold Elite Members:
To reach gold, you’ll need 20 elite qualifying nights or 40,000 elite qualifying points per year. You can also opt to spend $20,000 on the aforementioned IHG® Rewards Traveler card to gain Gold status.
There’s nothing else really too special (or different) between Silver and Gold, except the 40% bonus points you’d earn with Gold status.
Platinum Elite Members:
Now this is where IHG’s elite status starts to get good. You’ll need 40 elite qualifying nights or 60,000 points per calendar year to earn it. Additionally, you can always hold the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card, the IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, or join the InterContinental Ambassador program to get automatic status.
Additional benefits on top of what you get with Gold status include early check-in and late check-out, elite rollover nights, complimentary room upgrades, and 60% bonus points on top of your base points.
Diamond Elite Members:
To qualify for Diamond, you’ll have to spend 70 qualifying nights at IHG properties or fork over 120,000 points. However, you’ll earn 100% bonus points on top of your base points, which is sweet.
If you also happen to be looking for free breakfast and dedicated support and perks… then Diamond’s your guy.
There are quite a few ways to earn IHG points, but I’ll list a few of the most popular ways here.
This is going to be one of your core methods. Remember earlier I mentioned that even basic Club members will earn 2.5x to 10x points per dollar spent on hotel stays? Well, so do elite members.
For instance, at the low end, you’d earn 2.5x points per dollar at IHG Residence properties and 5x points per dollar at Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.
There are some other categories in there, but otherwise, you could earn 10x points per dollar on all other IHG properties.
If you’re an elite member, you’ll earn those different percentages (20%, 40%, 60%, and 100%) of bonus points based on your elite tier. This is on top of the base points you’d already get.
IHG also runs promos that allow you to earn bonus points on stays, so there’s a chance you could be triple stacking at times 😏
I want to also mention that despite the chart saying you could earn between 5x-10x IHG points from holding one of these cards, your total IHG points could be much higher. Here’s why.
Let’s say you have the IHG® Premier card (10x points per dollar), you’re an IHG member (10x points per dollar at most IHG properties), and you’re a Platinum Elite (courtesy of the card, 6x points per dollar because of the 60% bonus).
Do some simple math here.
You’re telling me that I could actually earn up to 26x points per dollar with IHG purchases?! Well, technically I’m telling YOU. But yeah. 26x points!
The Premier Business card is the same, and the no-fee Traveler card will get you up to 17x points per dollar at IHG properties (5x points with the card, 10x points for being an IHG member, and 2x for holding Silver status as a benefit of the card).
Earning rates will vary depending on a few things:
Basic members earn 1x point per $1.
Select members earn 5x points per $1. To earn Select, you must opt-in to receive emails from the program.
VIP members earn 8x points per $1. To progress from Select to VIP, you must also opt-in to receive emails from the program and complete 11 qualified transactions for that year.
These earning rates are in addition to any points you would get for dining purchases on a credit card. If you’re using a card that gets 3x points on dining, and you’re a VIP member, you’d actually score 11x IHG points per dollar when ordering through the Dine & Earn portal.
Some of the most common include:
Hertz car rentals: 1,500 points per rental (plus bonus points for elite members)
Viator tours and activities: 1,000 points per activity booked
Grubhub food delivery to select U.S. IHG hotels: 500 points for your first order, then 250 points every order after that
There are tons of others, but do your research to ensure you’re actually getting a good deal before booking.
Free Night Awards
Our IHG credit card chart above briefly mentions that both the Premier and Business Premier cards offer you a free night on each account anniversary.
This is valued at 40,000 points for a one-night stay; however, IHG has no limits for topping this off 🥳
What I mean by this is if you’re looking to burn your free night, but the hotel you really want to stay at costs 55,000 per night, you could put your free night award towards that stay, and then throw in 15,000 of your own points to top it off.
To actually find your free night(s), log in to your account to see if you have any certificates listed under “Available Points.”
Courtesy of IHG
Click the orange “Redeem” button to get started, or click on the orange “Free Night(s)” link to view their individual details.
Another type of free night that comes with being an IHG credit card holder is the “Redeem 3 Nights, Get 4th Night Free” perk.
To be clear, you get this perk on all three of IHG’s co-branded cards 🤗
If you book a single award stay of four or more nights using one of IHG’s cards, you’ll pay zero points for that fourth night.
You can do this on unlimited stays annually, but your bookings must exclusively be award stays using points—cash bookings or “points and cash” bookings won’t apply.
How to Redeem IHG Points:
Carlton Cannes (France), a Regent Hotel
IHG has dynamic award pricing, meaning that award prices could vary from night, to week, to month, and beyond.
Most IHG properties will let you redeem points, but a few brands (Intercontinental, IHG Army Hotels, and some Sixth Senses and Mr. and Mrs. Smith) may not.
When you go to search for a property, just be sure to select “Reward Nights" in order to see the point values that you’re dealing with.
Examples of Reward Night searches for IHG
If you want to save some points, you also have the option to split the cost between using points and cash.
These portions vary, so ensure you’re getting a good value before you book.
If you want to do some shopping, IHG has a catalog with tons of stuff... like a lot of stuff. You can find massages, golf club sets, headphones, and even gift cards! There are a lot of brands available, so it never hurts to see what you’ll find.
Here you’ll find a massive selection of movies, music, games, eMagazines, eBooks, and even software packages.
To give you an idea, that first milestone of 20 nights will give you the option of choosing either 5,000 bonus points, two food and beverage rewards, or one confirmable suite upgrade.
These milestones increase by ten-night increments going up to 100 nights, and at each milestone, you get to pick one reward (except at 40 and 70 nights, you get to select a second one!).
As you can imagine, the more Milestone Rewards you reach, the better the rewards are to choose from.
A Few Additional IHG Perks
A fun perk that makes IHG stand out is its great pet-friendly policies! Some brands, like Kimpton, don’t even charge a pet fee AT ALL 🐈🐶
And they’ll welcome just about any species, even providing pet bedding, treats, and waste bags 💩
Again, this is a great option to have if you’re taking the road trip route with your fur baby.
IHG properties also have exceptionally low fees when compared to some of the other programs… which, as we know, can have ridiculously high hotel and resort fees *cough *cough Hyatt…….
Bottom Line: IHG is Best for Travelers Who
Are frugal travelers who want basic hotel options
Might be traveling with pets
Embark on regular road trips
Are okay with having limited luxury hotel options
Are often able to book four consecutive nights (to get that free night perk)