13 ways to stock up on IHG Rewards Club points

Jul 6, 2020

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IHG Rewards Club points can provide great value when you redeem for free nights. Luckily, there are many ways to earn IHG Rewards Club points. You can earn points at more than 5,800 IHG properties worldwide. And, there are multiple ways to earn IHG Rewards Club points, even when you aren’t staying at an IHG property.

In this article, we’ll consider all of the ways to earn IHG Rewards Club points. This way, you can determine the best way to generate enough points for your next redemption.

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In This Post

Earning Through IHG Hotel Stays

Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.
Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.

As you might expect, you can earn IHG Rewards Club points when you stay at IHG hotels worldwide. However, the exact number of points you’ll earn on these stays depends on a few different factors:

  • The IHG brand
  • How much you pay for your stay
  • Your IHG Rewards Club status
  • Any active promotions for which you’ve registered
  • Whether you book a qualifying rate

You’ll only earn IHG Rewards Club points and get access to elite benefits when you book a qualifying rate through a qualifying method. If you book directly with IHG using a business or leisure rate, your stay will usually qualify. But, if you book through an online travel agent, your stay usually won’t qualify.

Some IHG brands earn differently

(Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)
(Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

Different IHG hotel brands provide different earning rates on qualifying stays. Specifically, you’ll earn points as follows:

  • Most IHG brands – 10x points
  • Venetian Macao and Parisian Macao – 10x points
  • Venetian Resort Las Vegas –  2,000 points per stay
  • Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites – 5x points
  • IHG Residence properties – 2.5x points
  • IHG Army Hotels – 3x points

You’ll generally earn points on qualifying room rates as well as additional purchases charged to your room, including food and beverages. However, you will not earn points on additional purchases charged to your room at Kimpton properties.

Except at InterContinental Alliance Resorts and hotels in select countries, you can earn points on up to nine hotel rooms. Your IHG Rewards Club account number must be associated with each room reservation and you must be staying at the property.

Related: Battle of the Hotels: why I stay most often with IHG

IHG elites earn more

IHG Rewards Club elite members earn additional points on all of their IHG hotel stays. As you’d expect, the higher the elite status tier, the more points you’ll earn on your stay.

Here’s how many bonus points elites will earn:

  • Gold Elite – 10% bonus
  • Platinum Elite – 50% bonus
  • Spire Elite – 100% bonus
  • Kimpton Inner Circle – 100% bonus

Here’s an example of how these bonus points can add up. If you’re an IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite member staying at a Kimpton hotel for three nights at $200 per night, you’d earn the following:

  • $200 x 10x points x 3 nights = 6,000 points
  • 6,000 points x 100% bonus = 6,000 points

As a result, you’d take home a total of 12,000 points on your stay. Based on TPG’s valuations, this equates to a 10% return.

Additionally, top-tier IHG Spire Elite members get an annual choice benefit. This choice benefit is either 25,000 bonus points applied to your account or the ability to gift IHG Platinum Elite status to a friend or family member. Based on TPG’s valuations, the bonus points choice is worth about $125.

Earn bonus points through promotions

My deluxe queen room at Nashville
Deluxe queen room at Nashville’s Kimpton Aertson Hotel. (Photo by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy)

In addition to these standard earning rates, IHG frequently has offers that let you earn additional points on your hotel stays.

IHG’s current promotion is offering up to 4x bonus points. You’ll earn the following bonuses:

  • 2x bonus points for the first and second stays
  • 3x bonus points for the third stay
  • 4x bonus points for the fourth stay and beyond

However, it’s worth remembering that you must register for most IHG promotions. And, the promotional multiplier often applies only to the base earnings from the stay. So, if you are an IHG elite, your elite bonus usually won’t be multiplied.

Related: Your complete guide to all current hotel promotions

Earn with credit cards

There are two primary ways to earn IHG Rewards Club points through credit cards. Specifically, you can earn using a cobranded IHG card or you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

IHG credit cards


One of the easiest ways to earn IHG points is by spending on a cobranded IHG credit card. There are currently two options available for new applicants: the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.

The IHG Premier Credit Card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The card earns 10x points at IHG properties; 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1x points on everything else. 

The card has an $89 annual fee but provides many perks including automatic Platinum Elite status, an anniversary award night, and reimbursement for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years.

The no-annual-fee IHG Traveler Credit Card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, you’ll earn 5x points at IHG properties; 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1x points on everything else. Beyond this, the card doesn’t offer any perks compared to the IHG Premier Card.

Related: These are the 10 best hotel credit cards for your next getaway

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the IHG Rewards Club program. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and the transfer should process instantly.

However, we don’t necessarily recommend this transfer. TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at two cents apiece, while IHG Rewards Club points are valued at just 0.5 cents apiece. This means you’ll lose a good bit of potential value when transferring Ultimate Rewards points to IHG Rewards Club.

As such, you’ll generally only want to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to IHG if you need to make up a small difference between your current balance and a desired award. Otherwise, you’ll want to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for more valuable redemptions.

Dining

There are three main ways to earn IHG points through dining: the IHG Rewards Club Dining program, restaurant reservations and food delivery to select IHG hotels.

When dining out, be sure to use a card with a bonus for restaurant purchases. Photo by Matheus Frade on Unsplash.

IHG Rewards Club Dining program

The IHG Rewards Club Dining program allows you to earn points when you dine at participating restaurants. To use the program you’ll need to sign up for an account online and link at least one credit or debit card to your account. Then, you’ll automatically earn IHG Rewards Club points when you dine at select restaurants, bars, and clubs.

The points you’ll earn vary depending on how frequently you use the program, as well as whether you opt-in for email notifications. You can earn between 1x and 8x IHG points on eligible purchases, which is a 0.5% to 4% return based on TPG’s valuations.

Best of all: these points are in addition to the rewards earned on your credit card. So, make sure to link a card that earns bonus points on dining purchases.

Restaurant reservations

The IHG Rewards Club program has an additional partnership that allows you to earn bonus points when dining out. Specifically, if you make OpenTable reservations through the IHG Trip Extras restaurant portal, you’ll earn up to 500 IHG points per reservation. But, when I searched a few different cities, I noticed that most reservations only earned 150 points.

Food delivery to select hotels

You can also earn IHG points when you order food delivery to select IHG hotels in the U.S. Just place your order through the IHG Grubhub portal and you’ll earn 500 IHG Rewards Club points for your first order and 250 points every time thereafter.

Related: 8 easy strategies to save money on food delivery and takeout

Meetings and Events

Colleagues at business meeting in conference room. (Photo by FangXiaNuo/Getty Images)
Booking a meeting at an IHG hotel can also snag you points. (Photo by FangXiaNuo/Getty Images)

You can also earn IHG Rewards Club points through the IHG Business Rewards program. This program allows you to earn points when you plan a meeting or event – including a wedding – at select IHG properties.

To earn points on meetings and events, you must register on the IHG website. Then, you can earn 3x points when you book rooms, meetings, and events for others. Qualifying spending includes:

  • Guest rooms booked for others
  • Meeting and event costs
  • Conference room costs
  • Food and beverage service linked to meetings and conferences
  • All-inclusive meeting packages

Keep in mind that IHG Army Hotels, Kimpton, and select other properties don’t participate in IHG Business Rewards. You can see the participating properties on IHG’s website. And, there’s generally a cap of 60,000 points that can be earned on an individual meeting or event.

Rental cars

(Photo by Stefan Widua via Unsplash)
(Photo by Stefan Widua via Unsplash)

You can earn IHG points when you book a rental car through Hertz, Dollar or Thrifty via the IHG Trip Extras portal. Specifically, you can get the following:

  • Hertz: Savings on base rates, 1,500 IHG Rewards Club points per rental, 500 points per day for Elite members and 125 points per day for Club members 
  • Dollar and Thrifty: Everyday savings and 125 IHG points per day for all members 

Remember to compare prices with other booking options to ensure you’re getting a good deal. And, don’t forget to pay for your rental with a card that provides coverage on your car rental.

Tours, activities and transportation services

You can also earn IHG Rewards Club points when you book Viator tours, activities, and transport services through the IHG Trip Extras portal. Specifically, you’ll earn 1,000 IHG points when you book a tour, activity or transportation through the portal. Based on TPG’s valuations, 1,000 IHG points are worth about $5.

Buy Apple products

IHG Rewards Club doesn’t have a formal online shopping portal. But, you can earn four IHG Rewards Club points per dollar spent on select Apple products. Just click through the IHG Apple rewards portal before you make a purchase and you’ll earn points automatically. Best of all, these points are in addition to the rewards earned by your credit card on the purchase.

Do note that many credit cards and airline shopping portals also give bonus points or miles when shopping with Apple. So, you may want to use a shopping portal aggregator to see which site is offering the best bonus.

Related: These credit card offers can save you money or earn bonus points at electronics stores

Buying Points

Another option for earning IHG points is to purchase them directly. Granted, it doesn’t always make sense to buy points. But, it can make sense to buy IHG points.

The normal price to buy IHG points is one cent apiece when you purchase at least 26,000 points. But, the program regularly offers bonuses of up to 100% on these transactions. This can allow you to pick up points for as little as 0.5 cents apiece, which matches TPG’s most recent valuations. Since I can usually get more than 0.5 cents of value per IHG point, I often purchase IHG points when there is a 100% bonus.

If you decide to buy IHG points, be sure to use one of the best credit cards for buying IHG points. And, note that you generally can’t purchase more than 150,000 IHG points per calendar year.

Related: All of the buy points and miles promotions worth considering

Which IHG points are elite-qualifying?

Throughout this guide, we’ve discussed earning IHG points that you can redeem for free hotel nights and more. But, for travelers looking to earn elite status with IHG, there is an additional aspect to consider: which points are elite-qualifying.

In general, the following activities produce points that are redeemable and elite-qualifying:

On the other hand, the following generally produce points that are redeemable but not elite-qualifying:

  • Points earned from promotions
  • Elite status bonuses
  • Activation bonuses or select promotions offered through IHG credit cards
  • Select partner promotions
  • Point vouchers, purchases, transfers or deposits

Luckily, if you’re only looking to earn redeemable points, the distinction between elite-qualifying and non-elite qualifying points isn’t all that important.

Related: On the hamster wheel of chasing hotel elite status? Buy it instead

Bottom line

As you can see, there are quite a few ways you can earn IHG Rewards Club points. Between cobranded credit cards, hotel promotions and IHG Rewards Club partners, you’ll be well on your way to earning enough IHG points for your next award night redemption before you know it.

Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh.

Featured photo courtesy of the InterContinental Doha

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