As one of the largest hotel loyalty programs in the world, IHG Rewards allows members to earn points for stays at more than 6,000 IHG Hotels & Resorts properties. These points can be redeemed for reward hotel stays and other awards.
Here are great strategies for maximizing your IHG Rewards points so that you can quickly build up your balance. After all, the more points you accrue, the better redemptions you will qualify for!
IHG Rewards Program
1. Join IHG Rewards
Sign up for the IHG Rewards to start earning points immediately. In fact, if you enroll during your stay, you get an automatic 1,000 points for that stay! You can also enroll for free on the IHG Rewards website or by contacting the service center. Then earn 5x or 10x base points per $1 for future hotel stays, depending on the property.
The graphic below shows how many points you can earn per $1 spent at each hotel:
You’ll earn points for charges to your room — such as food, drinks, laundry, and in-room movies — even if staying on a rewards night redemption.
It takes 2 to 4 weeks to receive your permanent IHG Rewards card, but you can print the temporary card right away. Points won’t expire as long as you redeem or earn more within 12 months.
Hot Tip: IHG has a new partnership with Mr and Mrs Smith, a curated selection of some of the world’s best hotels, and select properties are now eligible for members to earn and redeem IHG Rewards points.
2. IHG Credit Card Welcome Bonus
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card helps you accrue IHG Rewards points, including a sign-up bonus to get you started. Plus, you earn 25x points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Not only does the card usually come with a welcome bonus, but it includes tons of benefits like an annual reward night and complimentary elite status.
|CREDIT CARD||CARD INFO|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card|
(at Chase's secure site)
- Earn 125,000 bonus points + a Free Night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- 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
- Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
- Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
- IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
- Good to Excellent Credit Recommend (670-850)
- Annual Fee: $89
Hot Tip: Not sure if the IHG Premier card is right for you? Check out our analysis of all of the IHG-branded credit cards.
3. IHG Credit Card Bonus Categories
Make purchases with the IHG Premier card to earn points. For instance, earn:
4. IHG Rewards Elite Status
|Club||Gold Elite||Platinum Elite||Spire Elite|
|Collect Points or Miles||X||X||X||X|
|Exclusive Rates (Your Rate)||X||X||X||X|
|Dedicated Customer Service Phone Assistance||X||X||X||X|
|No Blackout Dates for Reward Nights||X||X||X||X|
|Reward Nights Count Towards Elite Status||X||X||X||X|
|Elite Members’ Points Don’t Expire||X||X||X|
|Bonus Earnings on Top of Base Points||10%||50%||100%|
IHG Rewards members start at Club status — unless you have the IHG Premier card. With this card, you automatically qualify for Platinum Elite status (and all the benefits) for as long as you are a cardmember.
Using your IHG Premier card is a great way to keep your points from expiring as well. Since you get automatic Platinum Elite status, your points won’t expire as long as you have the card.
2021 Update: All elite nights earned in 2020 have been rolled over to 2021 and elite requirements for 2021 have been reduced by 25%.
The table below shows the bonus for each status as well as how to qualify:
|Level||Bonus||2021 Qualifying Points||2021 Qualifying Nights|
The top status level, Spire Elite, comes with a host of great perks. One of the best perks is being able to pick a Choice Benefit — 25,000 bonus points or gifting Platinum Elite status to another member. Once you qualify for Spire Elite status, you can select a benefit immediately by logging in to your account.
With all the bonus points and points rebates at your disposal, it can really add up:
- 2x to 25x points for using the IHG Premier card
- 5x to 10x points for being an IHG Rewards member
- 10% to 100% status bonus
Hot Tip: Rewards Nights count toward elite status, so you earn points toward achieving a higher status while enjoying your reward night!
5. Join the Ambassador Program
There’s actually another way to get elite status in the IHG Rewards. Join Ambassador for $200 and you’ll get automatic Platinum Elite status, plus a guaranteed 1 category room upgrade, extended 4 p.m. check-out, a certificate for a reward weekend night, and more.
Transfer Chase Points to IHG Rewards
6. Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards
Chase Ultimate Rewards is the only credit card loyalty program that partners with IHG Rewards. That means you can transfer Ultimate Rewards to IHG Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio, starting at 1,000 points.
Due to how valuable Chase points are, we don’t recommend cashing in all of your Ultimate Reward points for IHG Rewards points. However, this can be a fantastic option if you need to top off your points balance to have enough for a certain redemption.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card, which is currently offering a 60,000 point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.|
The card earns 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining and 2x points on all other travel purchases, plus more. Enjoy a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, and other travel benefits such as excellent travel insurance coverage, including car rental insurance and no foreign transaction fees, this card is a very rewarding card.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve® - 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 50,000 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. |
Earn big with this card, earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
|Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A solid, no-annual-fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. The newest intro offer earns an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back! This means you'll enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).|
After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
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 Rental Car Partners
7. Rent a Car
Need a rental car? Consider booking with one of the following programs that allow you to earn IHG Rewards points for your rental.
Other Opportunities to Earn Points
With IHG Trip Extras, members can earn 1,000 points every time you book an activity through the Trip Extras portal. Trip Extras gives you the option to books tours and activities, restaurants, transport services, excursions, and other experiences.
9. IHG Rewards Promotions
IHG Rewards posts special deals online throughout the year for members. These member offers include additional bonus points for stays, double bonus points, and discounts. Be sure to keep an eye out for the quarterly IHG Accelerate offers that can dramatically increase your point balance by completing tasks like booking a stay through the app or staying at multiple brands.
10. IHG Rewards Dining
Earn points for dining out when you enroll in the IHG Rewards Dining program and dine at one of more than 10,000 select restaurants around the country.
You can join for free and register with a credit or debit card. Then earn up to 5x IHG Rewards points per $1 just for registering your email address, and 8x points per $1 after your eleventh dining experience.
11. Protect the Environment
Bet you didn’t know you can earn IHG Rewards by conserving water and energy!
That’s right! Earn 500 points by declining housekeeping services at participating hotels. You must stay at least 2 consecutive nights to qualify.
12. IHG Meeting Rewards
Become a meeting planner with IHG Meeting Rewards and earn points for hosting qualifying events.
You’ll earn 3 points for each $1 spent on meeting space, food, beverages, and even guest rooms.
Host 1 event to become a Gold Elite member (10% elite point bonus) or 2 events to become a Platinum Elite member (50% elite point bonus).
13. Purchase Discount IHG Rewards Points
Are you close to an award but still need more points for the redemption? You may be able to buy IHG Rewards points at a discount.
Every so often IHG Rewards offers targeted promotions to members. For example, you may be able to take advantage of a 100% bonus on purchases between 5,000 to 100,000 points — the 100% bonus doubles whatever denomination you purchase.
14. Shop With Apple
When you buy your new Apple products through IHG, you can earn 4x points for every $1 you spend on qualifying products. Simply visit the IHG/Apple partnership website, sign in to your IHG Rewards account, and start shopping.
Your points will be deposited in your IHG account after the Apple 30-day product return period has passed.
15. Transfer IHG Rewards Points to Another Member
IHG Rewards permits you to transfer your points to another member, or have them transfer points to you! Best of all, there is no limit. You must transfer in 1,000 point increments, but there is a $5 fee per 1,000 points. This could definitely get expensive if you’re transferring a large number of points, so be sure to calculate whether the added cost is worth the redemption.
Credit card bonuses, elite status bonuses, promotional offers, and so much more. IHG really does offer plenty of ways to earn IHG Rewards points.
Simply pick the strategies from this post that work best for your needs and you will be on your way to earning plenty of points for an award night in no time!