IHG® Rewards Club guide

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The IHG Rewards Club is the loyalty rewards program for the InterContinental Hotel Group, which is famously known for its family-friendly Holiday Inns. In reality, though, this hotel group boasts more than 6,000 properties around the globe, spread across 16 different hotel brands.

This means that a stay with the InterContinental Hotel Group could include a luxury vacation at a Hotel Indigo, an InterContinental property or a Crowne Plaza, or a quick stop in a local property like a Holiday Inn, a Holiday Inn Express or a Staybridge Suites, among others.

This guide will explain how the IHG Rewards Club program works, who can earn points and the best ways to use them.

What are IHG Rewards?

The IHG Rewards Club is the program you sign up for if you want to earn points good for free stays in InterContinental Hotel Group properties. Like other hotel loyalty programs, the IHG Rewards Club lets you earn points on paid stays and through other strategies, which you can use for free nights, merchandise and a handful of other redemption options.

Free hotel stays within the IHG Rewards Club start at just 10,000 points, and you can pay for a redemption entirely with points or a combination of points and cash. Also be aware that, like other hotel programs, the IHG Rewards Club has its own elite status tiers you can pursue if you want luxury travel perks.

How to sign up for IHG Rewards

When you visit the IHG website, you can click on the prompt at the top right of the page to sign into your account or join the program. On the next page, you can join the IHG Rewards Club for free by offering information such as your name, home and email address and your country of residence.

Once you provide the information required to create an account, you’ll receive an email with your new loyalty number, which you can use on the IHG Rewards login page. Remember that there is no obligation required to join this free loyalty program, and that you can begin earning points on paid stays and other eligible activity right away.

Which IHG credit cards earn IHG Rewards?

There are many ways to maximize your credit card rewards, and some of them don’t require you to travel at all. Signing up for one of the IHG Rewards credit cards can give you a leg up since you can earn a sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards for each dollar you spend.

IHG Rewards offers two hotel credit cards, both issued by Chase.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

  • Earn 125,000 bonus points plus a Reward Night when you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening
  • Earn up to 25X points per dollar on IHG hotel stays (10 points as a cardholder in addition to 15 points per dollar earned as an IHG Rewards Club member), 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1X points on other purchases
  • Get a free night on your account anniversary (up to 40,000 points)
  • Get automatic Platinum Elite status, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and other perks
  • $89 annual fee

While an $89 annual fee applies, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is well worth it in terms of value—especially the first year. You get the chance to earn 125,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening, but you’ll also earn generous rewards for each dollar you spend.

Other cardholder benefits worth mentioning include the fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, the free weekend night (up to 40,000 points) you get when you renew your card each year and no foreign transaction fees. If you spend $20,000 on your card each year, you’ll automatically get a 10,000-point bonus on your card anniversary, as long as you make an additional purchase after the anniversary date.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 within three months of account opening
  • Earn up to 5x points per dollar on IHG hotel stays (or up to 15X points with IHG Rewards Club Membership), 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1X points on other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Qualify for Gold Elite status when you spend $10,000 on your credit card within a calendar year
  • No annual fee

The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is the lower tier hotel credit card offered through this program. In exchange for no annual fee, you’ll earn a smaller bonus and you won’t enjoy as many loyalty perks. However, this card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

Ways you can earn IHG Rewards

You earn IHG rewards points for paid stays in properties within the IHG Rewards catalog, although the number of points depends on the property you’re booking. Members earn 10X base points per dollar spent at all IHG hotel brands other than Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites, both of which let you earn 5X points per dollar spent.

Also note that you can earn bonus points based on your elite status. The following chart shows how many bonus points you can earn:

Membership level Club Member Gold Elite Platinum Elite Spire Elite Kimpton Inner Circle
Bonus points n/a 10% 50% 100% 100%

You can also earn IHG Rewards points with special promotions the loyalty program offers, by booking with partners or by signing up for IHG® Rewards Club Dining.

Finally, it’s important to know that IHG Rewards is a transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. This means you can sign up for an elite travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and earn points that transfer to the IHG® Rewards Club at a 1:1 ratio.

How to redeem IHG Rewards

The best redemption option within the IHG® Rewards Club is by far award nights, keeping in mind that hotel stays start at 10,000 points per night. You can also pay for your hotel stay with a combination of points and cash, and you get a 4th night free when you redeem points for a stay of four nights or longer.

Other redemptions aren’t quite as lucrative, such as the option to redeem your points for merchandise or gift cards. You can also redeem your rewards for digital books, games or music, or for magazine subscriptions, none of which would we recommend.

You can even turn your IHG points into airline miles, but again, this isn’t a good use of your points. Most airline partners let you turn 10,000 IHG points into 2,000 airline miles, which is a poor transfer ratio. However, there are quite a few airline partners to choose from, and this option could make sense if you truly need to book an award flight but you’re short on miles.

IHG Rewards elite status tiers

There are four IHG Rewards levels and a fifth, exclusive membership level available to members of the Kimpton Inner Circle. You can keep track of the IHG Rewards tiers by referring to the IHG Rewards chart and logging into your membership dashboard for updates.

The following chart shows the benefits you’ll receive with each elite status tier:

Club Gold Elite Platinum Elite Spire Elite Kimpton Inner Circle
Bonus points earned n/a 10% 50% 100% 100%
Member rates
Dedicated customer service
No blackout dates for award nights
Reward nights count toward elite status
Free internet
Extended checkout
Points don’t expire
Priority check-in
Welcome amenity
Elite rollover nights
Complimentary room upgrades
Guaranteed room availability
Early check-in
Exclusive Choice Benefit
Exclusive Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® Five Star® Upgrade upon receiving status
New hotel free night
Chef’s Taste

What are IHG Rewards worth?

According to updated valuations from The Points Guy, IHG Rewards points are worth approximately 0.5 cents each. This may seem low, but keep in mind how easy these points are to earn.

After all, you earn 10x base points on paid stays just for being a member in the program. If you were to sign up for a hotel credit card like the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and use it to pay for your IHG stays, you would earn up to 25X points per dollar spent on those purchases. This means that $3,000 in hotel spending per year would net you 75,000 bonus points in that category alone.

How do IHG Rewards compare to other points?

Among hotel loyalty points, IHG rewards points are on the lower end of average. Some hotel loyalty points are definitely worth a lot more, but they aren’t as easy to earn.

Hotel program Accor Le Club Choice Privileges Hilton Honors IHG Rewards Club Marriott Bonvoy Radisson Rewards World of Hyatt Wyndham Rewards
Average point value 2 cents 0.6 cents 0.6 cents 0.5 cents 0.8 cents 0.4 cents 1.7 cents 1.1 cents

The bottom line

After you join the IHG Rewards Club, you can get on the fast track to earning elite status and award stays in no time. This is especially true if you sign up for a co-branded hotel credit card and begin earning points on hotel stays, other travel and all your regular spending. Either way, joining this program is absolutely free and easy to do. You have nothing to lose but lots of free travel to gain.

The information about the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."
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