13 ways to stock up on IHG Rewards Club points
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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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Earning Through IHG Hotel Stays
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points
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.
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.
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.
Meetings and Events
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
- Hotel stays
- Spend on IHG credit cards
- Spend on select partner activity
- IHG Rewards Club bonus points packages
- Spend through IHG Business Rewards
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.
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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