Learn the Secrets of the IHG Rewards Club Program — and How to Maximize Your Points

The IHG Rewards Club program offers some awesome membership perks — and it’s free to join!
Last updated Sep 22, 2020 | By Lee Huffman
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IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is the world's leading hotel and hospitality organization, with over 4,500 hotels in more than 100 countries around the world. Wherever you’re traveling, there's a good chance that one of IHG’s 15 brands has a hotel there. With that in mind, it makes sense to get to know the IHG Rewards Club program.

Read on to learn more about how this program works and why becoming a member makes sense.

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What is the IHG Rewards Club program?

The IHG Rewards Club is the hotel loyalty program for IHG. It’s free to join, and it offers members the opportunity to earn valuable rewards that can be redeemed for hotel stays, exclusive events, airline travel, and more.

The more often you stay at IHG properties, the bigger the loyalty benefits. The basic membership offers perks like complimentary internet, a $30 in-room spa credit, and two free Amazon Kindle books every year. Top-tier members get spoiled with complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late checkout, and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star Status.

How to earn IHG Rewards Club program points

There are several ways IHG Rewards Club members can earn points, including the following:

Spend on Chase IHG Rewards Club credit cards

Chase has two IHG Rewards Club credit cards – the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler.

The IHG Rewards Club Premier is the best hotel credit card of the two. The annual free night that comes with the Premier Card warrants paying the higher annual fee of $89 (vs. $29 for the Traveler card). But there are additional benefits that make this card a great choice. These perks include automatic Platinum Elite status, points bonuses, and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement.

Stay at an IHG hotel or resort

With more than 5,000 hotels and resorts around the world, finding an IHG property where you want to stay is simple. There are 15 IHG hotel brands to choose from — each catering to a different type of traveler.

During your stay, you'll earn IHG Rewards Club points based on the number of dollars you spend on your room and on dining. During most stays at IHG hotels, you earn 10 points for every dollar you spend, but Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites only offer five points per dollar.

You can also earn an additional 500 points on stays of two nights or more when you decline housekeeping at participating hotels.

Book meetings at IHG properties

If you're planning a meeting for your office or an event for family and friends, consider hosting that event at an IHG hotel or resort.

As the meeting organizer, you'll receive triple IHG Rewards Club points for qualified group stays, meetings, or events. If there are 10 or more qualified guest rooms per night, then your event will receive a complimentary meeting space. You must be a registered IHG Business Rewards Member to take advantage of this offer.

Purchase points

You can purchase IHG Rewards Club points to increase your balance and redeem for hotel reservations and other goodies. However, these points don’t count toward Elite status.

Points purchases and transfers are handled through Points.com and may take up to 72 hours to post to your account. You can buy a maximum of 100,000 points per year. And the most that you may receive as a gift is also 100,000 points per year.

Prices start at $13.50 for 1,000 IHG Rewards Club points. But IHG offers quantity discounts if you buy more in a single transaction. Promotions are also available at different times of the year where you'll receive bonus points based on the size of your purchase.

IHG partner programs

IHG Rewards Club partner programs also provide opportunities to earn even more points. For example, you can score additional rewards on meals at participating restaurants when you sign up for the IHG Rewards Club Dining program. Signing up for both the IHG Rewards Club and IHG Rewards Club Dining can help you maximize your total points.

Additional ways to earn include purchasing Apple products, completing surveys, and booking rental cars with Hertz.

How to redeem your IHG Rewards Club program points

Although you have several options to redeem points, you get the most bang for your IHG Rewards Club buck by booking at an IHG hotel.

Book a room with IHG

To book a room using IHG Rewards Club points, start your search at IHG.com. Before clicking “Search," set your rate preference to "Reward Nights." This will tell IHG that you want to use points to book your room.

Rooms range from 10,000 points to 70,000 points per night, and premium rooms may cost extra. IHG has some incredible hotels like the Kimpton Seafire Resort in Grand Cayman (70,000 points per night) and the InterContinental Paris - Le Grand (70,000 points per night).

Reservations booked with points count toward Elite status qualification.

Points & Cash reservations

Even with the great welcome offer and earning options through the Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Card, you may still run out of points eventually. This is where Points & Cash Reservations come in.

With these reservations, you can book hotel rooms at IHG properties even if you don't have enough points. When performing a normal search, click the "Points & Cash" button to see if your desired hotel is participating. If so, you're effectively buying the missing points for 0.72 cents each, which is lower than the price Points.com charges.

PointBreaks offers

IHG PointBreaks are limited-time offers at selected hotels where the cost is as low as 5,000 points per night. If the locations fit your travel plans, these are excellent redemptions for your points that can really stretch your balance further. These hotel rooms sell out quickly, so if you see a room you want to book, reserve it right away.

Prices for these PointsBreak offers are 5,000; 10,000; or 15,000 points per night. You’re limited to booking a maximum of two reservations at each hotel during the promotional period.

Transfer to airline partners

IHG points transfer to 39 different airlines. Most exchanges are 10,000 IHG points for 2,000 miles, but these numbers vary by airline. Some airlines you might recognize include Air France, Delta, JetBlue, and United.

Because you’re giving up so many points to receive so few miles, I recommend only transferring points to top off your account to book an award flight.

IHG Rewards Club tiers explained

There are five Elite tiers with the IHG Rewards Club, and the fifth is a paid membership. Members start out as a Club Member and can earn their way to Spire Elite status. Spire Elite members are rewarded for their loyalty with complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late checkout, and custom stay preferences.

Tier Qualified nights Elite qualifying points
Club Member 0 0
Gold Elite 10 10,000
Platinum Elite 40 40,000
Spire Elite 75 75,000


Spire Elite members also have the option to become InterContinental Ambassadors. This membership tier costs $200 per year and offers benefits for staying at InterContinental hotels, such as one free weekend night per year and complimentary breakfast each day. Additionally, Kimpton Inner Circle membership has unpublished criteria and is available by invitation only. Benefits from this program, such a customized welcome amenity, are offered for stays at Kimpton properties.

Common questions about the IHG Rewards Club program

Although the IHG Rewards Club program is pretty straightforward, questions still come up. Here are some of the most common questions we hear from travelers:

How long does it take for IHG Rewards Club points to post?

After your stay, it may take up to seven business days before the points post to your account.

How many points can you earn with the IHG Rewards Club program?

There’s no limit to the number of points you can rack up with the IHG Rewards Club. You’ll earn up to 10 points per dollar you spend at participating IHG hotels and resorts. Food, drink, and other charges to your room will also earn points (except at Kimpton).

Members who are also Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier cardholders earn 25X points for IHG hotels and resorts.

Will my IHG Rewards Club points expire?

You'll need to earn or redeem points every 12 months to keep them from expiring.

What are the benefits of enrolling in the IHG Rewards Club program?

When you join the IHG Rewards Club program, you'll earn points from your hotel stays, exclusive experiences, and more.

Is it free to join the IHG Rewards Club program?

Yes, it’s free to join IHG's loyalty program.

My account is missing credit for a recent stay. How do I claim it?

If you've recently stayed with an IHG hotel but didn't receive credit for your stay, you can search for your missing stay or submit a missing points claim to add it to your account.

Can I earn points for stays before enrolling in the IHG Rewards Club?

No. Unfortunately, you won’t receive credit for any stays prior to joining the IHG Rewards Club. Even if you don’t currently have an IHG stay planned, enroll in the IHG Rewards Club program so you don’t miss out on points in the future.

How to sign up for the IHG Rewards Club program

Signing up for the IHG Rewards Club is simple. It’s free to join and only takes a couple of minutes. Here's how to create your account so you can start earning valuable IHG Rewards Club points:

  1. Go to https://www.ihg.com/rewardsclub/
  2. Click "Join Now"
  3. Provide your personal information and create a PIN code
  4. Receive email confirmation with your member number

Now you're ready to book your first stay and start earning points with IHG and its partners.

The final word on the IHG Rewards Club program

The IHG Rewards Club program is a solid option for travelers. There are several ways to earn rewards, and you can maximize your points when you sign up for this program and open one of the best travel credit cards linked to this program, like the Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Once you’re approved for the Premier Card, you’ll automatically earn Platinum Elite status, and you'll be treated like a loyal IHG member from your first stay.

Earn an Annual Free Night

Benefits

  • 125,000 point sign-up bonus
  • Up to 25X points at IHG hotels
  • 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • Free night every year
  • Fourth reward night free