Credit Cards

How Do IHG Points Work

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

It’s worth it to pay Chase’s $99 annual fee for the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, a hotel rewards credit card. The InterContinental Hotel Group has thousands of hotels under the Holiday Inn, Staybridge Inn, and Candlewood Suites brands, making this program a great value for frequent fliers.

Your points will accrue at a rate of between $0.005 and $0.01 per point for every dollar spent, and you may redeem them for stays at any of the hundreds of IHG hotels across the world. 

For cardholders in good standing, IHG offers a number of valuable benefits, including one reward night per year and an automatic upgrade to Platinum Elite status, which expedites point accumulation and allows members to complimentary room upgrades.

Consider hotel-specific rewards cards like the Marriott Bonvoy BoundlessTM Credit Card from Chase as an alternative to the IHG Rewards Premier. Credit cards designed for specific airlines, like the United MileagePlus Explorer, and those designed for travel in general, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, are also options.

Key Characteristics

These are the primary benefits of having an IHG Rewards Premier card.

Login Bonus

Spend $3,000 on your new card during the first three months, and you’ll get 140,000 bonus points and a free night’s stay. That’s good for more than 10 free stays at hotels operated by IHG.

IHG Rewards Points Earning

Earning rewards with this card is as follows:

  • It’s possible to earn up to 26 points for every dollar spent at IHG establishments.
  • Unlimited 5 points per $1 on all travel, dining, and petrol station purchases.
  • You can earn an infinite number of points on all other purchases, including stays at hotels that are not part of the IHG family.

IHG Rewards Points Redeeming

It only takes a minimum of 10,000 points for stays at lower-tier IHG properties or 70,000 points at the chain’s top-tier hotels to be covered by your loyalty points. 

In the event that you don’t have enough points to cover an entire night’s stay, you can use IHG’s Points & Cash feature to buy up to 10,000 additional points for $0.007 each ($70 total). The minimum amount needed to redeem a reward may increase or decrease at any time.

Points are worth anything from $0.005 to $0.01 when redeemed. If you use your points (either to make a purchase or as payment for a hotel stay) or earn more points (via card purchases or hotel stays) within a 12-month period, your points will not expire.

Free fourth reward night

You are entitled to a free reward night whenever you book a reward stay of 3 nights or more and use all of your reward points to cover the cost of your stay.

An annual spending bonus

You’ll get an extra 10,000 bonus points if you spend at least $20,000 and make a second purchase in the same calendar year.

Subsidy for Point of Purchase

With the IHG Rewards Premier credit card, you can save 20% on all IHG point purchases.

Anniversary Celebration Night

You are entitled to 1 free night each year at any of the thousands of hotels we partner with. There is no point deduction for using a reward night, but there is also no point accrual for staying in the room.

Upgrade to Platinum Elite Status

Your IHG Platinum Elite status will stay active as long as you are a paying card member. It’s free to apply for permanent resident status after you’ve received your card.

Being a Platinum Elite member has many advantages:

  • Priority check-in
  • Complimentary room upgrades whenever available
  • Guaranteed room availability with at least 72 hours advance notification
  • 50% point-earning bonus for all IHG hotel stays – for instance, a stay that would have earned 2,000 points earns 3,000 with Platinum Elite status

Significant Fees

The cost is $99 per year. All foreign exchange transactions are free of charge. The fee for a balance transfer is $5 or 5% of the transferred amount, while the fee for a cash advance is $10 or 5% of the advanced amount.

Credit Required

For approval, your credit score must be above average.

Pros

  1. Excellent New Member Bonus. At this low cost, this card offers one of the best hotel rewards sign-up bonuses available.
  2. It’s an instantaneous promotion to Platinum Elite. When you sign up for the IHG Rewards Premier Card, you’ll immediately be upgraded to Platinum Elite status, IHG’s second-highest tier of frequent guest benefits. With Platinum Elite, you may earn points at IHG hotels twice as quickly, get free room upgrades if they are available, and book a room within 72 hours of making your reservation. This perk doesn’t come at any additional cost, but it could be worth a lot to frequent fliers. However, cardholders of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless receive only Silver Elite status, which does not entitle them to free room upgrades, assured room availability, or a doubling of their point earnings rate.
  3. When you buy points with your card, you’ll get 20% off your purchase total. Your card will save you 20% off the face value of any more IHG points you buy with it, which is a nice subsidy toward your reward stay.
  4. Gain a Multiple of Five Points. The range of categories is extensive. The five categories that award 5 points for every dollar spent on the IHG Rewards Premier Card are convenient and widespread. For frequent fliers looking for a budget-friendly boost, this is a major perk.
  5. There is no additional charge for a foreign transaction. No additional fees will be assessed for any purchases made abroad by cardholders of the IHG Rewards Premier credit card. That’s fantastic news for cardholders who frequently visit other countries. Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature, on the other hand, charges a 3% fee on all international transactions.

Cons

  1. Charges a yearly fee of $99. Due to the high annual charge of $98, this card may not be appealing to frugal vacationers.
  2. Limited Redemption Opportunities. The only real use for IHG Rewards points is to stay at one of their more than 5,000 hotels across the world. Participating hotels will not accept them for incidental or other purchases, such as items, statement credits, gift cards, or gift cards. U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards can be redeemed for everything from general products to cash equivalents like gift cards and statement credits in addition to travel. Citi Hilton Honors Reserve is only good for hotel incidentals.
  3. There aren’t many opportunities to get out of town and see the world. While the IHG Rewards Premier Card does include a complimentary upgrade to the Platinum Elite level, it doesn’t provide many other travel and experience perks beyond those offered by IHG hotels and the rewards program. Unlike Platinum Elite members, you won’t receive a personal concierge, travel insurance, or invitations to private events. Citi Hilton Honors Reserve, on the other hand, provides its members with round-the-clock trip booking support in addition to admission to a wide variety of VIP events, including concerts and sporting competitions.
  4. Values at Redemption for Accumulated Points May Be Low. IHG Rewards points can be redeemed for hotel stays ranging in price from $0.005 to $0.01, with IHG charging $0.007 per point when bought through Points & Cash. Points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be redeemed for up to $0.0125 each toward travel purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, while U.S. Bank FlexPerks points are always worth $0.02.

Bottom Line

Some of the hotel brands owned by InterContinental Hotel Group are more well-known than the parent company itself. You have stayed at an IHG hotel if you have ever stayed at a Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, or any other hotel in the Holiday Inn family. 

If you use another product, like an airline rewards or cash back rewards card, this could be a potent rewards card to keep in your wallet, depending on how regularly you travel and how often you encounter IHG-branded properties along the route.

But the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card isn’t a good fit for those who don’t travel much, don’t like paying annual fees, want more versatile rewards programs with more flexible redemption possibilities, and are searching for value-added amenities like concierge service and VIP access. 

Even if you don’t particularly like Starwood hotels, you can choose from a wide variety of hotel rewards credit cards, including those issued by Hilton and Marriott.

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