IHG Rewards Loyalty Program Review

IHG Rewards Loyalty Program Review
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IHG Rewards Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

IHG Hotels & Resorts has 2 co-branded credit cards and partners with 1 transferable point program. This means that you will have plenty of ways to earn IHG Rewards points with your credit card spend.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG Premier card packs a punch for 2 reasons. The first reason is the welcome bonus is elevated way above where you’ll normally see it. The second reason to consider the card is that each anniversary it comes with a free night at an IHG property requiring 40,000 points or less for a reward night stay.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Apply Now
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2x points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; then 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommend (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $89

In addition to these benefits, the card can be great if you’re interested in elite status as it comes with IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status and earns 10x points per $1 on IHG stays.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

The IHG Traveler card is a more affordable option than the IHG Premier card, but offers fewer benefits and earnings in exchange. With the IHG Traveler card, you’ll earn 5x points per $1 on your IHG stays, a 20% discount on point purchases, Gold Elite status after you spend $10,000 on the card, and of course — your fourth night free on all award stays.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Apply Now
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn up to 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2x points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; then 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • No Annual Fee

Hot Tip: Before signing up for the IHG Premier card or IHG Traveler card, it’s important to note that these cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule so they probably shouldn’t be the first cards you apply for.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

IHG partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards and you can transfer Chase points to IHG Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. The transfer time can take up to 24 hours. While we don’t always recommend transferring Chase points to IHG, it can make sense if you’re very close to a specific redemption that you want to make.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card, which is currently offering a 80,000 point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.

The card earns 2x points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. With offering other travel benefits such as excellent travel insurance coverage and no foreign transaction fees, this card is a very rewarding Chase credit card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card - This premium card will get you access to 1,300+ airport lounges. as well as a number of other card benefits. The current sign up bonus is 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $550 annual fee. As an extra bonus, until 12/31/21, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit.

Earn big with this card, earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, earn 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, then 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Chase Freedom Unlimited® card - A fantastic, no annual fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash-back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash-back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases, but you won't get any travel benefits with this card.

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card - this is our #1 recommended business card and right now comes with a 100,000 sign up bonus after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Pay your cell phone bill with this card to receive up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year; as well as a number of other benefits.

Earn 3x on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year, plus 1x on all other purchases — with no limit to the amount you can earn. All for an annual fee of $95.
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card - Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

This no annual fee business card earns up to 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year, plus 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary.
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card - Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase made for your business.

Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. There's no annual fee.

IHG Rewards Overview

IHG is a British hospitality company headquartered in England. The company has over 5,500 hotels with coverage across nearly 100 countries.

The IHG hotel loyalty program is called IHG Rewards and it allows members to earn and redeem IHG Rewards points.

Joining IHG Rewards

The IHG Rewards program is free to join. Complete the IHG Rewards application to start earning points on your next hotel stay.

How To Sign in To Your IHG Rewards Account

Head to the IHG homepage and click the Sign In tab at the top right of the page. You will then enter your member number or email address and PIN to access your IHG Rewards account.

Viewing Your Account Activity

After signing into your IHG Rewards account, follow these steps to view the number of points in your account:

  1. Click your name in the top right corner of the page
  2. Click Account Activity on the left side of the page

Profile Preferences

Members can update their profile and preferences when logged into your account. To update your account, follow these steps:

  1. Click your name in the top right corner of the page
  2. Click Personal Information on the left side of the page

In addition, you can update your stay preferences when you are logged into your account. Click the Preferences tab to make your next stay personalized to your taste.

Points Expiration

Points expire after 12 months if there’s no account activity. To extend the expiration of your points, simply earn or redeem once a year at any of the IHG hotels or with partners.

Due to COVID-19, points will not expire until June 30, 2021, even if there was no account activity for 12 months.

If you’ve earned Elite member status (Gold, Platinum, Spire), your IHG Rewards points do not expire as long as you hold this status.

IHG Rewards Benefits

InterContinental Bora Bora
Use IHG points to stay at the InterContinental Bora Bora. Image Credit: IHG

The IHG Rewards program has 3 elite tiers in Gold, Platinum, and Spire. Each elite tier comes with different benefits, but you’ll typically receive the most value when using your IHG Rewards points for a reward night.

Gold Elite Member

  • Earned after 10 Qualifying Nights or 10,000 Qualifying Points (7 nights or 70,000 points in 2021)
  • $30 in-room spa credit
  • 10% bonus points in addition to base points
  • Points do not expire for elite members
  • Extended checkout and priority check-in
  • Welcome amenity

Platinum Elite Member

  • Earned after 40 Qualifying Nights or 40,000 Qualifying Points (30 nights or 30,000 points in 2021)
  • All Gold Elite benefits
  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • 50% bonus points in addition to base points
  • Raid the Bar at Kimpton properties
  • Guaranteed room availability

Spire Elite Member

  • Earned after 75 Qualifying Nights or 75,000 Qualifying Points (55 nights or 55,000 points in 2021)
  • All Platinum Elite benefits
  • Exclusive Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status
  • Early check-in at 10 a.m.
  • 100% bonus points in addition to base points
  • Choice benefit (25,000 bonus points or gift of Platinum Elite status)

In addition to Gold, Platinum, and Spire, the IHG Rewards program has an elite tier where you can pay to hold the status.

InterContinental Ambassador

  • Membership fee of $200
  • Guaranteed 1 category room upgrade
  • Extended 4 p.m. checkout
  • Complimentary weekend night at an InterContinental Hotel & Resort valid on the second night of a paid weekend stay on the Ambassador Weekend Rate
  • Restaurant and bar credit of up to $20 for every stay
  • Complimentary breakfast for 1 for each night you stay
  • 15% discount at restaurants and bars

Earning IHG Rewards Elite Status

IHG Rewards elite status is earned per calendar year. Once a member earns elite membership status in any calendar year, such status will be maintained through the end of the following calendar year. IHG determines your elite status based on the number of Qualifying Points or Qualifying Nights during a calendar year.

IHG Rewards Reward Nights count towards your Qualifying Nights total and any nights in excess of the number required for each status level will be counted towards the member’s Elite status qualification for the following calendar year. Elite Rollover Nights are only valid for 1 calendar year.

2021 Update: Due to COVID-19, IHG is extending IHG Rewards elite status to all existing members through January 2022. All elite nights earned in 2020 have been rolled over to 2021 and elite requirements for 2021 have been reduced by 25%.

IHG Rewards Qualification Requirements (Revised for 2021)

Status TierQualifying NightsQualifying Points
Club00
Gold Elite770,000
Platinum Elite3030,000
Spire Elite5555,000

Qualifying Nights are earned on every eligible paid rate or award stay at an IHG property.

Qualifying Points are earned when you pay for eligible charges at an IHG property.

Bonus Points are points earned that may count towards your Qualifying Points total. IHG Rewards Bonus Points (or miles) from IHG packages are considered eligible Qualifying Points. Elite status bonuses, credit card welcome bonuses, and select promotions are NOT considered Qualifying Points.

Hot Tip: The free award night from the IHG Premier card will count towards your Qualifying Nights total to help you earn elite status. 

Value of IHG Rewards Status

IHG has a global footprint with premium brands in HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts, InterContinental, Regent Hotels & Resorts, and Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. Its full-service brands include familiar hotels to U.S. travelers — Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

IHG Premier cardholders automatically receive Platinum status for being a cardmember. This credit card alone puts you within range of qualifying for Spire Elite, the top IHG elite status. With that said, the elite benefits offered at the Spire Elite don’t warrant the additional 35 nights or 35,000 points to qualify.

If you’re looking for a brand with a global reach, a few premium brands, and a number of full-service brands, IHG may make sense for you.

How To Earn IHG Rewards Points

A credit card with a high welcome offer plus a partnership with a transferable point program makes it relatively easy to earn IHG points.

Earning Points on IHG Stays

IHG points by brand
Image Credit: IHG

IHG Rewards members will earn between 5 and 10 points per dollar for their stay. If you earn elite status, you will also earn between a 10% to 100% bonus:

  • Club: 5 to 10 points per dollar
  • Gold: 5 to 10 points per dollar + 10% bonus
  • Platinum: 5 to 10 points per dollar + 50% bonus
  • Spire: 5 to 10 points per dollar + 100% bonus

Plan Meetings and Events

Another way to earn IHG points is to hold a meeting or event at an IHG hotel. Members earn 3 points per dollar every time they book a meeting or event. In addition, members can also earn elite status by booking a meeting or event:

Elite Status# of Events
Gold1
Platinum2

Earn Airlines Miles Instead of Points 

IHG Rewards members can choose to earn airline miles instead of IHG Rewards points for their qualifying stays. Refer to the earning rates of each airline as the rates vary.

Transfer Points To Family and Friends

Points may be transferred between any 2 member accounts by paying $5 per 1,000 points transferred. You’ll need to complete and submit an authorization to transfer points for the transfer to be completed. 

Hot Tip: Due to the $5 fee, we don’t recommend that you transfer your points to family and friends. Instead, we recommend family and friends sign up for the IHG Premier card to earn IHG Rewards points. 

How To Redeem Rewards Points

IHG offers several different ways to redeem IHG Rewards points that include reward nights, shopping, experiences, Points & Cash, rental cars, digital rewards, airline redemptions, and a points donation.

The best way to unlock the most value with your IHG Rewards points is with hotel redemptions.

Award Nights

IHG prices its awards dynamically, similar to Hilton Honors, and there is no longer a published award chart. As the award price fluctuates, you will need to run an award search to determine the number of points required to book a room.

Points & Cash

The Points & Cash option is great if you don’t have the number of points required for a reward night. You’ll search for a reward night, choose the Points & Cash combination at the hotel you want to book, and then book your stay.

Hot Tip: Points & Cash is the perfect option if you want to save money, use fewer points for a reward night, and have at least 5,000 IHG Rewards points available. 

All-Inclusive Resorts

IHG has 4 resorts in the Holiday Inn brand that are all-inclusive. All 4 are located in coastal destinations making each an option to consider for your next vacation.

The cheapest resort is the Holiday Inn Resort Los Cabos. This property requires around 20,000 points per night. The most expensive all-inclusive resort is the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay. You’ll need around 50,000 points per night to stay at this property.

Transfer Points To Airline Miles

Members may convert their IHG Rewards points into airline miles with airlines that are IHG partners. Consult the full list of IHG airline partners to see how many miles you will receive when converting your IHG Rewards points to an airline.


The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.


Frequently asked questions

How do I join the IHG Rewards? Is there a fee to join?

IHG Rewards membership is free. Complete the IHG Rewards member application to start earning and redeeming IHG Rewards points today.

Does the IHG Rewards status match to any other program?

IHG Rewards members can submit status matches or challenges with Hilton, Radisson, Choice, Best Western, and Sonesta.

What are the IHG Rewards elite status levels?

The IHG Rewards program has 3 elite tiers in Gold, Platinum, and Spire.

What are the different IHG brands?

IHG has 16 different brands:

How do I contact IHG Rewards?

You can call IHG Rewards at 888-211-9874 or submit a form.

Can I earn IHG Rewards points with a credit card?

Yes! The IHG Premier card currently has an excellent welcome bonus and comes with quite a few valuable perks. IHG also offers the IHG Traveler card.

Do IHG Rewards points expire?

If you’ve earned Elite member status (Gold, Platinum, Spire), your IHG Rewards points do not expire as long as you hold this status.

Due to COVID-19, points will not expire until June 30, 2021, even if there was no account activity for 12 months.

What hotels does IHG own?

Atwell Suites, avid hotels, Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, EVEN Hotels, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Regent Hotels & Resorts, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, Staybridge Suites, and voco are hotels in the IHG portfolio.

How many IHG points do you need for an award stay?

You will need between 5,000 and 70,000 points per night to book a reward night.

Can IHG points be transferred?

Yes, but we do not recommend transferring your points to another member or to an airline partner because you will lose value.

What credit cards earn IHG points?

The IHG Premier card and IHG Traveler card earn IHG Rewards points.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earn Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to IHG. Chase credit cards that do not earn Ultimate Rewards can be paired with any of these 3 cards and then those points can be transferred to IHG.

Michael McHugh

About Michael McHugh

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn't travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since. Michael first caught wind of the points and miles game in 2014 while at a bar in Washington, DC where the conversation amongst friends was quickly derailed because of an alert on a friend's phone about a mistake fare.  That's where the love affair with points and miles began.

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2 comments

  1. Be aware that if you book with points + cash, you will be charged the cash immediately; if you cancel the reservation, the cash will not be returned-you will get points instead; if you have the IHG credit card you will not get the 10X loyalty points for IHG purchases, you will get 1X the amount. This makes points + cash a terrible way to pay for your hotel room.

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