How to earn, redeem, and maximize IHG points — from posh new resorts to familiar brands, there are options for everyone

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  • IHG Rewards Club is the loyalty program of InterContinental Hotels Group, which includes brands like Kimpton, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Staybridge Suites.
  • You'll earn IHG points when you stay at IHG hotels or spend with partners, but it's even easier if you have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, or a card that earns transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
  • You can redeem IHG points for stays at over 5,900 hotels worldwide, use IHG's Points & Cash feature to stretch their overall value, convert points to gift cards or merchandise, donate them to charities, or share them with a friend.
  • Read Business Insider's guide to the best hotel credit cards

Whether you enjoy staying at luxury and boutique hotels, or prefer family-friendly brands, joining IHG Rewards Club is a no-brainer. As a member (it's free to join), you'll get perks like complimentary Wi-Fi, no blackout dates, award nights that count toward elite status, a dedicated concierge, and special rates just for members.

With more than 5,900 properties worldwide including brands like InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton, Holiday Inn, and Staybridge Suites, it's well worth being a part of this loyalty program. IHG also has a new partnership with Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels, opening the door to some of the most luxurious boutique resorts and villas in the world.

IHG Rewards points are one of the most valuable travel rewards currencies if you know how to use them, as you can redeem points for hotel stays, flights, activities, and a host of other travel-related purchases. Here's everything you'll need to know to start earning, redeeming, and maximizing your IHG points.

How to earn IHG points

IHG has two main categories of points: non-elite-qualifying bonus points, which help you earn rewards via special promotions, and elite-qualifying base points, which you can redeem for rewards, upgrades, and maintaining elite status.

You can generally earn base points by staying at IHG properties and by booking through IHG's various travel, dining, and shopping partners. Here's a look at some of the best ways to earn IHG points.

Use Chase IHG co-branded credit cards

If you're just getting started, the quickest way to accrue IHG points is by signing up for one of its two c0-branded credit cards.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Staying at IHG properties earns you up to 25x points, you'll earn 2x points on eligible dining, shopping, and at gas stations, plus you'll receive instant Platinum Elite status. The card also offers a complimentary anniversary night at any IHG property with a redemption rate under 40,000 points per night, a fourth reward night free when you redeem four or more nights, and a credit of up to $100 toward the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. You'll also be able to earn 10,000 bonus points once you spend more than $20,000 in a year.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

Chase IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

You can earn up to 15x points when you stay at IHG properties — 5x points for using the card, plus the usual 10x points you'll earn by being an IHG Rewards member — and 2x points on eligible gas, groceries, and dining. You'll also get a fourth reward night free when you redeem points for stays of at least four nights, and earn Gold Elite status after spending $10,000 in a calendar year.

Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to IHG Rewards Club

If you prefer flexible rewards, cards that earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points could be a better choice. IHG is one of over a dozen Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel transfer partners, and you can move points to the program at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments. 

You can earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the following cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, plus 2x points on dining and travel. Here's our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® — This premium credit card offers 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account and comes with valuable travel perks. Find out more in our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card — Small-business owners can earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, plus handy benefits like cell phone protection. Read our Ink Business Preferred review for more details.

Keep in mind you can transfer points to any of the Chase cards mentioned above from no-annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Freedom Flex℠, Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, or Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, then move them to IHG at the same 1:1 ratio.

Maximize your stays at IHG hotels and resorts 

As an IHG Rewards Club member, you'll earn 10x points for paid stays at most IHG properties, with exceptions noted below. IHG brands include:

  • InterContinental Hotels and Resorts
  • Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
  • Regent
  • Voco
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Hualuxe
  • EVEN Hotels
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Resorts
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Avid
  • Staybridge Suites (earn 5x points)
  • Candlewood Suites (earn 5x points)

You'll also earn 10x points at Six Senses, ING ANA Hotels Group Japan, and Mr & Mrs Smith, and 2,000 points per stay when you book InterContinental Alliance Resorts like The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, or 10 points per dollar at The Venetian Macau and The Parisian Macao.

Staying at IHG Residence properties will earn you 2.5 points per dollar, while stays at IHG Army Hotels will earn you 3 points per dollar. If you have one of the two IHG Rewards credit cards, you'll earn an extra 10 points per dollar with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, or 5 points per dollar with the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.

There are also ways to earn bonus points during your stay. You'll get 1,000 elite-qualifying bonus points per night just for being an IHG Rewards Club member and can earn up to 5,000 extra points with bonus points packages when booking stays at participating InterContinental properties.

Depending on your hotel and elite status level, you might also be able to earn points as a welcome gift or for turning down daily housekeeping service on stays of more than two nights as part of IHG's A Greener Stay initiative.

Be sure to book directly with your desired IHG property — not an online travel agency or third-party travel site — to earn points and receive other status-related benefits.

Earn IHG points through your elite status

Earning elite status with IHG can lead to even more benefits if you're someone who travels frequently. As an IHG Rewards Club Member, you'll get complimentary Wi-Fi, members-only rates, a dedicated concierge, no blackout dates, and award nights that count toward elite status.

Gold Elite status adds welcome amenities like Raid the Bar credits at Kimpton, priority check-in, late check-out, and the chance to earn 10% more points per stay after you earn 10,000 elite qualifying points or complete 10 qualifying nights in a year. For Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, and Spire Elite members, IHG Rewards points never expire — Club members, however, must earn or redeem points at least once every 12 months to keep them active. 

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card cardholders receive instant IHG Platinum Elite status, meaning you'll get all the benefits of Gold Elite status, plus complimentary room upgrades, guaranteed room availability, elite rollover nights, and the chance to earn 50% more points per stay after you earn 40,000 elite-qualifying points or complete 40 qualifying nights in a year.

Spire Elite status takes all that, lets you earn 100% more points per stay after you earn 75,000 elite-qualifying points or complete 75 qualifying nights in a year, and adds early 10 a.m. check-in, an exclusive choice benefit, and upgrades to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status. Best of all, upon earning any level of elite status, you'll get to keep it through the end of the following year.

InterContinental lovers can also pay $200 to become part of the InterContinental Ambassador program, which offers instant Platinum Elite status and benefits like late 4 p.m. check-out, complimentary weekend nights, guaranteed room upgrades, premium Wi-Fi, free mineral water, and a $20 bar and restaurant credit per stay.

If you're lucky enough to be invited, Kimpton Inner Circle gives you all the perks of IHG Spire Elite status so you can earn 100% more points for your stay, and adds unique benefits like a free night at the newest Kimpton hotel and a special treat from the chef at Kimpton restaurants. Amenity fees are waived, an upgrade to the next category is guaranteed, and there's a VIP customer service hotline just in case.

Buy IHG Rewards points

IHG cardholders save 20% when buying IHG points through the website. Points must be purchased in increments of 1,000 and start at $10.80 per 1,000 points for IHG cardholders, and $13.50 per 1,000 points for everyone else. Note that you're only allowed to buy 100,000 points per calendar year.

Use IHG's shopping, dining, and travel partnerships

You can even earn IHG points for making dinner reservations through OpenTable (500 points), visiting local attractions or taking guided tours (1,000 points), and booking transportation (1,000 points).

You'll earn 500 points for having your first meal delivered to a participating IHG hotel via Grubhub and 250 points on future hotel food deliveries. Renting a car through Hertz can earn you 1,500 points, while Spire Elite members enjoy a complimentary upgrade to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status. Fans of Apple products can earn 4x points on eligible purchases made through this IHG partner link.

Join IHG Rewards Club Dine & Earn

IHG Rewards Club Dine & Earn is IHG's dining program, which lets new members earn 1,000 bonus points after spending more than $30 and completing an online review during their first month. After dining at participating restaurants, cafés, and bars 11 times before the end of the year, you'll receive VIP status that carries through the following year, giving you access to a VIP Member Services hotline, and letting you earn eight points per dollar on dining.

Sign up for IHG Rewards Club promotions 

Check your inbox for exclusive promotions and offers to earn more points per stay. For example, through December 15, you can earn 2x points on stays, while IHG Rewards Club cardholders can score an extra 10,000 points for their first stay when using their card.

Another promotion lets you book reward nights at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas from 30,000 IHG points per night. And be sure to watch for IHG's Accelerate promotions, which can be especially lucrative.

Earn more with IHG Business Rewards 

If you're constantly booking meetings, conferences, weddings, business trips, and other events for someone else, IHG Business Rewards lets you earn 3 points per dollar on reservations. Points count toward your own personal elite status and can be used to redeem reward nights for business or personal use, or for office supplies, vouchers, and other business needs.

Refer friends to IHG Rewards Club credit cards

When you refer a friend to sign up for one of the two IHG Rewards Club credit cards, you can earn 10,000 points for each referral, or up to 50,000 points per year.

The best ways to use IHG Rewards points

IHG doesn't have an award chart — instead, the number of points required for a free night varies by property, season, and date. You can expect to pay 10,000 to 70,000 points per night at most hotels, although a few high-end resorts charge up to 100,000 points per night.

If you choose to use IHG points for other redemptions, like merchandise or events, you'll usually get a lower value than if you redeemed points for an award stay.

Redeem IHG points for dream vacations

You can use your IHG points to stay at some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts in the world, whether you're in search of a romantic getaway, family vacation, solo travel escape, or dream honeymoon. Here are a few examples:

  • InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora (70,000 points per night)
  • Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa (70,000 points per night)
  • Kimpton Dewitt Amsterdam (55,000 points per night)
  • Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island (45,000 points per night)

Stretch your savings with Points & Cash

If you'd rather make your points last, you can make the most of your redemption by using Points & Cash to pay for your award nights. This benefit lets you book stays for as low as 5,000 points per night plus the cash difference as determined by IHG's dynamic pricing.

Use the fourth reward night benefit

IHG cardholders get four reward nights for the price of three when redeeming points for stays of four or more nights, giving you yet another reason to choose that redemption property wisely.

Redeem your IHG Premier anniversary night

If you have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you'll get an anniversary night each year to use at any IHG property with a redemption rate under 40,000 points. While this certainly narrows down your options, there are still some excellent choices that fit the bill, though prices vary by time of year:

  • InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa (40,000 points per night)
  • InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort (32,500 points per night)
  • InterContinental Bali Resort (27,500 points per night)
  • InterContinental Bangkok (20,000 points per night)
  • Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong (17,500 points per night)

Other ways to redeem IHG points

Opt for airline miles instead of IHG Rewards points

If you'd rather receive airline miles for your stays instead of IHG Rewards points, that's an option, though redemption rates vary by airline. IHG has dozens of airline partners, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United Airlines.

Donate IHG points to charity

You can donate IHG points in increments of 2,500, 5,000, or 10,000 to the American Red Cross, Goodwill, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Youth Career Initiative, The Prince's Trust, CARE International, or the IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) to make a difference. 

Transfer IHG points to a friend 

There's also an option to transfer IHG points to a friend or family member at a cost of $5 per 1,000 points, or buying them through IHG's website. To avoid the fee, you can use your points to book an award night for others, but you'll have to add the person's name to the reservation when you book online or by phone.

Redeem IHG points for gift cards, digital rewards, merchandise, and magazines

IHG allows you to turn your points into gift cards from dozens of brands — it's 13,000 points for a $25 gift card and 25,000 points for a $50 gift card — or you can put them toward eBooks, eNewspapers, eMagazines, games, movies, and computer software via IHG's digital rewards catalog.

You can also shop for jewelry, sports equipment, technology, and health and wellness products through IHG's online catalog. And if you're looking for something to read on the plane, you can redeem IHG points for subscriptions to magazines and newspapers.

Some of these redemptions are as low as 100 IHG points, so if you haven't had any activity in your account recently, this is a good way to keep your IHG points from expiring.

Use IHG points to attend special events

While there don't seem to be any concerts, sports, or special events at the moment due to the pandemic, this was a great way to put IHG points toward unique experiences. Check this link again later once things settle down.

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