How to Use IHG Rewards Dining to Earn More Points [2021]

People Eating At A Large Table in A Restaurant

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There are several ways IHG Rewards members can earn some extra points, including capitalizing on dining. If you’re already going out to eat or ordering takeout, this method is pretty darned simple!

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about joining and utilizing the IHG Rewards Dining program.

How to Sign up and Log in

To earn reward points for dining experiences, customers must log in or join the program. This process just takes a quick couple of minutes to complete.

IHG Rewards Club Dining Program
Join with a couple of quick forms. Image Credit: IHG Rewards

If you are already an IHG Rewards member, you will still need to fill out a few simple forms to join the dining program. Be sure to use the same name and email that’s on your IHG Rewards membership.

If you are not an IHG Rewards member, you will need to sign up (1 basic form) since you must enter your IHG Rewards membership number to submit on your other forms for the dining program.

IHG Rewards Club Dining Program Sign Up
The second quick form. Image Credit: IHG Rewards

Additionally, before your sign-up process can be finalized, IHG will ask you to provide a credit card to link to the program. There is no fee to join the program, and don’t worry — you can link more cards later.

Don’t miss the section below on which credit cards you should link to maximize your earnings in this program.

IHG Rewards Club Dining Program Credit Card
Add a credit card to get started. Image Credit: IHG Rewards

Basics of Using the Program

There are 3 membership tiers within the IHG Rewards Dining program. Depending on your tier, you’ll earn a different amount of points and be offered certain additional benefits when you dine.

IHG Rewards Dining Club Membership Tier Levels
IHG Rewards Dining membership tier levels. Image Credit: IHG Rewards

You’ll see that simply by signing up to receive emails, you’re bumped up to earning 5 points per $1. If you dine 12+ times a year, you’re considered a VIP member and can earn up to 8 points per $1.

IHG Rewards Club Dining Program Restaurant Search
Search applicable restaurants to earn. Image Credit: IHG Rewards

To earn points when dining, the restaurant must also be an IHG Rewards Dining restaurant. You can easily search for these by city, state, zip code, or restaurant name.

You will then be presented with a list view, or you can choose a map view. Many details are listed including neighborhood, member rating, the average price of an entree, days of the week that rewards are applicable, and more.

Once you dine at a participating restaurant, be sure to pay with a card that is registered/linked with your IHG Rewards Dining program. You’ll earn bonus points based on the cost of your meal, including tax and tip.

Remember, it may take up to 5 days after dining to view the transaction in your club account.

Each restaurant in the program earns the same ratio of points per dollar depending on your membership status.

Intro Bonuses

IHG Rewards Club Dining Program Bonus Points
Example introductory bonus offer. Image Credit: IHG Rewards

At the time of this writing, IHG was offering a new member bonus of 1,000 points if you spend $30 within the first 30 days. To earn any applicable introductory bonus, you’ll need to pay for purchases with your linked card and complete an online review.

If you’re doing this solely for the points, this bonus isn’t especially lucrative. You can just as easily buy 1,000 points for $13.50 straight from the Buy Points section of the website (at the time of writing).

However, if you’re already planning to dine out at one of IHG Rewards Dining’s participating restaurants, it’s not an awful way to earn 1,000 extra points.

Example Restaurants

As previously mentioned, each IHG Rewards Dining restaurant earns the same ratio of points to spend. So, whether you spend $30 at a cafe or $30 at a fine dining location, you’ll receive the same number of points.

Regarding example restaurants: at the time of writing this article, a search of the Chicago area revealed 410 participating restaurants within 30 miles of the city center.

Most of these restaurants are smaller, local restaurants rather than chains, so the participating venues will vary quite a bit from city to city.

IHG Rewards Dining Club Restaurant Locations
IHG Rewards Dining restaurant locations. Image Credit: IHG Rewards

Similarly, each city may have a vastly different number of participating merchants. For example, at the time of writing, Atlanta had 358 participating restaurants within 30 miles of the city center, while Boston had 247, San Diego had 146, and Dallas had 229.

While most participating restaurants are local spots, you’ll want to note the address in case there is a chain you’re interested in visiting (not every restaurant of the same name may be participating).

This is also applicable for the few regional or national chains you may find — check the address so you’re not disappointed.

Using Credit Cards to Earn Extra Points

You have several card options to link with the IHG Rewards Dining program to help you earn even more IHG points.

IHG Rewards Credit Cards

Chase offers 2 credit cards to earn IHG points directly. The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card give cardholders 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.

If you link these cards to the IHG Rewards Dining program, you will earn these 2x points for using the card in addition to points earned from the dining program.

Take a look at our in-depth comparison for these 2 credit cards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards

Using a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards can also help boost your account since you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the IHG Rewards at a 1:1 ratio in up to 24 hours. A couple of these cards even include restaurants as a bonus category.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card, which is currently offering Chase's best offer ever of 100,000 point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 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 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 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® card - A solid, no annual fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash-back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, and 5% on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Then earn 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.

Final Thoughts

By joining the IHG Rewards Dining program and linking a couple of credit cards, you can earn some easy IHG Rewards points.

If you’re already dining out, why not earn a few extra points on your burger and that pint of beer? Grabbing takeout? You might even earn extra IHG Rewards points at your favorite Thai place.

Plus, if you pair your IHG Rewards program membership with a credit card that earns a category bonus on dining, you’re earning points on top of points.

Frequently asked questions

Does IHG offer a dining program?

Yes, IHG offers a dining program that allows you to earn bonus IHG Rewards points when dining out.

How many points do you earn with the IHG Rewards Dining Club?

There are 3 membership tiers within the IHG Rewards Dining program. Depending on your tier, you’ll earn a different amount of points and be offered certain additional benefits when you dine.

If you choose not to register for emails from IHG, you’ll earn 1 point per $1. If you sign up to receive emails, you’re bumped up to earning 5 points per $1, and if you dine 12+ times a year, you’re considered a VIP member and can earn up to 8 points per $1.

How much does it cost to join IHG Rewards Dining?

There is no cost to joining the IHG Rewards Dining program. To register, you need to provide your name, address, phone number, email, and IHG Rewards number.

Will my membership with IHG Rewards Dining ever expire?

Membership can expire if you have no dining activity with your registered credit or debit cards for 36 consecutive months.

When do points from dining get added to my IHG Rewards account?

Points will display in your IHG Rewards Dining account usually within 5 days of the transaction. These points will then appear in your IHG Rewards account 6 to 8 weeks after the transaction.

Dr. Erin Miller

About Dr. Erin Miller

Erin currently maintains her status as Alex's adventure-seeking partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points through in-depth content creation & relationship management.
She caught the travel bug just after high school when her grandmother took her on a two-week, whirlwind trip around Europe. That was that - she's been gallivanting around the globe ever since (26 countries & counting)!

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