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Transferring Ultimate Rewards Points to IHG

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All award travelers should earn transferable points, as they give you great flexibility in your redemptions. They also shield you from any potential devaluations, since the ability to transfer to other programs means you’re not locked into one currency. Chase Ultimate Rewards are some of the best transferable points out there, and TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen explains how you can transfer them to IHG for hotel redemptions.

In order to even think about redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value, you first need to know the actual process for transferring them to partners. Today, I’ll continue our series that looks closely at the process for transferring points to each Ultimate Rewards partner. So far I’ve looked at Hyatt Gold Passport, United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, British Airways Executive Club, Singapore KrisFlyer and Korean SKYPASS, and now I’ll take a look at another one of the program’s hotel partners: IHG Rewards.

General Set-Up

Before you think about transferring Ultimate Rewards points to IHG, you’ll need to complete a few basic steps. For starters, you need to set up online access for your Ultimate Rewards-accruing credit card (like the Ink Plus Business Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred). To do this, simply go to www.chase.com and look for the “Not enrolled? Sign-up now” link at the right-hand side:

Chase online access enrollment

Then simply enter in the required information to complete your online enrollment.

If you already have an online credit card account with Chase, you can add a new card to it by clicking Manage Accounts in the Customer Center and then selecting Add Accounts at the top.

The other important thing to do is to sign up for the IHG Rewards Club (though if you’ve read my points and miles mistakes post, hopefully you’ve already done this!). To do this, just visit the page to join the program and enter your information.

Once these two things are complete, you’re ready to start transferring!

Transferring to IHG

The actual process for transferring Ultimate Rewards points to all partners starts the exact same way:

1. Log in to your Chase account and click on the Go to Ultimate Rewards link at the top right.

Ultimate Rewards balance

(1a. If you have more than one card account, choose your desired one from the next page.)

Ultimate Rewards select account

2. Hover over the Use Points drop-down menu and select Transfer to Travel Partners.

UR transfer

3. Scroll down the list of airline partners and click Transfer Points next to IHG Rewards Club.

UR Hotel Partners IHG

4. Select you or an authorized user from the drop-down menu, enter your member ID, then click Continue.

Add IHG to UR

5. Enter the number of points you want to transfer (must be in increments of 1,000) and click Continue.

UR to IHG

6. Review your details on the next page and then click Confirm & Submit.

UR to IHG confirm

The next screen should confirm that the transfer was successful.

UR to IHG confirmation

Last year we tested how long Ultimate Rewards transfers take for each of the program’s 10 partners, and unfortunately IHG transfers will generally take a day or so to show up.

Program Transfer Time
British Airways Instantaneous
Hyatt Instantaneous
IHG 1 day
Korean Air Instantaneous
Marriott 2 days
Ritz-Carlton 2 days
Singapore Airlines Same Day
Southwest Instantaneous
United Instantaneous
Virgin Atlantic Instantaneous

There are a few important things to keep in mind with these transfers:

  • The transfers are nonrefundable, so be certain you want to make the transfer before you click Submit.
  • You can only transfer to yourself or an authorized user.
  • You can combine points from your different cards or transfer points between your account and that of your spouse/domestic partner. For complete details, check out my post on combining Ultimate Rewards points.
A room with a view at the Intercontinental Sydney.
The Intercontinental Sydney is a terrific property at which to redeem your IHG points.

Booking with IHG

Now that you’ve made the transfer, it’s time to actually book with IHG. The program has more than 4,900 hotels in nearly 100 countries around the world, so the geographic coverage is much broader than that of Hyatt and even wider than Marriott. However, IHG Rewards points don’t rank as high as Hyatt in TPG’s monthly valuations, which were pegged at just 0.7 cents in his most recent version. That being said, there are some definite values to be had, especially the program’s quarterly PointBreaks properties and the occasional promotion (like March’s Venetian and Palazzo flash sale, which was repeated last month).

Here’s a step-by-step process of how to actually book these awards with IHG:

1. Start by visiting IHG’s homepage and click on Sign In at the top right-hand corner:

IHG homepage

2. Enter your e-mail address or member number and password and click Sign In:

IHG sign in

3. Enter your desired destination and dates, select Reward Nights from the Rate Preference drop-down, then click Find a Hotel:

IHG Reward Night search

The site provides many ways to organize, filter and view the results. The search will default to a list view, but you can change it to see the available properties on a map:

IHG Paris search map

If you’re searching for a particular brand (like InterContinental), you can also narrow the properties down that way:

Paris InterContinental results

You’ll also notice that you have three different awards listed. The top option is the standard award rate and will vary from 5,000 points (for PointBreaks properties) to 50,000 points (for top-tier Category 9 hotels). However, you also have three Points + Cash rates:

For the first award, you’re essentially paying 0.8 cents per point saved, while the second option brings the price down to 0.7 cents per point saved. The third, however, has you paying just 0.6 cents per point saved, which falls right below TPG’s valuation, so it many cases this last option may be worthwhile.

4. Once you’ve chosen your property and Reward Night option, click Check Rates:

InterContinental Paris Le Grand award room

The following page will display your room options and will also list revenue rates and packages (in case you decide to pay for a better room or package):

IHG revenue rates

5. Select your room and award option and click Book This Room:

InterContinental Paris Le Grand award room option

6. Ensure all of your details are correct, choose a saved credit card (or enter a new one) to reserve the room, check the box for the Terms and Conditions and then click Confirm Reservation:

IHG confirm reservation

The next page will display your confirmation.

IHG has some terrific award redemptions on both the high end and the low end of the spectrum, and the program regularly offers promotions that can be quite lucrative (like last fall’s Accelerate promotion through which TPG contributor Eric Rosen earned more than 17,000 points for a one-night stay). You’ll also see frequent offers to purchase IHG points at significant discounts; the most recent option expired in December and gave you a 100% bonus when you purchased at least 26,000 points. This dropped your purchase price down to a very intriguing 0.575 cents per point.

In addition, you may want to consider opening the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which is currently offering 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening (though the bonus has gone higher in the past). This haul is worth $420 based on TPG’s valuations, and the card also comes with added benefits like 5x points on IHG purchases, automatic Platinum Elite status, a free night every year on your cardmember anniversary and no foreign transaction fees.

You could even stay at the IHG Bora Bora with your free night certificate
Though it may not be the most valuable Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, IHG Rewards can still offer some great value.

Bottom Line

Ultimate Rewards points regularly appear near the top of TPG’s monthly valuations (and for good reason). With a number of valuable transfer partners, you can get a ton of value and flexibility by collecting these points and then putting them toward a variety of different redemptions. I’ve never had a reason to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to IHG, but given the right redemption, it could make sense.

For additional information about Ultimate Rewards and redeeming IHG points, check out the following posts:

What are your experiences transferring Ultimate Rewards points to IHG?

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