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Using hotel points is one of my favorite ways to travel on a budget with my family. Why pay for a vacation when your family can vacation for much, much less by leveraging points? For those who aren’t road warriors, the easiest way to increase your points balances quickly is through credit card welcome offers. Right now, with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you can earn enough points to take your family on a pretty awesome trip just with one card bonus. Here are six examples of how you can maximize your IHG Rewards Club points and credit card benefits for your next family vacation.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is offering an increased bonus of up to 120,000 IHG points— 80,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months, and another 40,000 points after spending $5,000 total in the first six months.
Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay All-Inclusive, Jamaica
I’m a big fan of all-inclusive properties as the easiest and most enjoyable way to travel with kids. There’s food and snacks for everyone at all times and I don’t have to be greeted with a large bill at the end of my stay. IHG has a few all-inclusive properties, such as the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay All-Inclusive, where you can use your points without any additional fees. At 50,000 IHG points a night, this will cover up to two adults and two kids (12 and younger). As a perk, lots of the rooms available on points can be booked with an ‘oceanview’.
Those 120,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points will get you two free nights at this resort with a little leftover, but you probably are not going to Jamaica with your family for just two nights. You can stretch your stay using Points + Cash. For the dates we searched, per-night rates were 45k points plus $40, 40k plus $70, 35k plus $99 or 30k plus $125.
Depending on the cost of the other nights, you might be better off just using full points for the first two nights and paying for the remaining nights of your stay with cash. You’ll need to do the math to determine which booking method works out to be cheapest. (The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card also has a fourth-night free benefit, which we’ll talk about in a moment.)
Holiday Inn & Suites Clearwater Beach S-Harbourside
Florida beach destinations can be a perfect fit for families who want to get away without leaving the mainland. Flights to Florida from other US gateways are typically less expensive and more plentiful than flying to the Caribbean, and there can be fewer concerns about Zika. This makes the Holiday Inn & Suites Clearwater Beach S-Harbourside the perfect destination to consider with IHG points.
At just 30,000 IHG points a night, you are at a hotel right on the water and a trolley ride away from Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach. Plus, this property is right next door to the brand-new Splash Harbour Water Park. Parking is complimentary and there are no resort fees, which can’t be said for many nearby hotels and resorts.
With the 120,000 points you’ll receive from the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, this can actually get you five nights free at this property because of the credit card’s fourth-night free benefit. On every single reservation of four nights or more, you’ll receive your fourth night free — a benefit you can use an unlimited number of times while you are a card member. This means four nights will here cost you just 90,000 IHG points.
Holiday Inn Resort Aruba
The Holiday Inn Resort Aruba is one of my favorite IHG properties to visit with points. This hotel is right in the middle of Palm Beach where you’ll find many other high-end hotels, but the other properties require significantly more points even though they are all on the exact same beach. At this Holiday Inn property, rooms cost 40,000 points for a free night stay, great for a beachfront resort.
On top of that, availability even during peak times is typically wide-open. Since the property only costs 40k a night, you can book four nights with the fourth award night free. You can also use the annual free night certificate that comes with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card at each anniversary (this free night certificate is capped at properties that cost 40k points or less).
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Orlando at Orange Lake Resort
IHG also has a ton of Holiday Inn Club Vacations where you can use your points for an upgraded suite with a kitchen. The Holiday Inn Club Vacations Orlando At Orange Lake Resort falls into that category where you can book a 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom villa that sleeps eight — all for just 40,000 points a night. This means you can stay four full nights for just 120,000 total (using the fourth-night-free benefit) and enjoy the 1,450-acre resort and visit Mickey at nearby Walt Disney World. You’ll also have a fully equipped kitchen and a washer/dryer to help pack less and keep food costs down.
While away from the theme parks, your family can spend aquatics time between seven pools, four waterslides or a lazy river. On land, you can play tennis, racquetball, basketball or golf (including mini-golf for the kids).
Holiday Inn Buena Park-Near Knott’s
If you prefer to visit Mickey on the other coast, you can stay at the Holiday Inn Buena Park-Near Knott’s. Although there are many IHG properties in Anaheim, if you are open to staying just a few more miles away, you can enjoy this property for just 25,000 IHG points a night. (All of the other nearby properties are at least another 10k points a night.)
While the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is offering up to 120,000 welcome points, don’t forget about the additional points you’ll earn from everyday spending. For example, the minimum-spend requirement of $5,000 earns you at least another 5,000 points for a total of 125k points. With the 125,000 points you receive, this can get you six free nights at this property (again, taking into consideration the fourth-night-free benefit).
Although you will not be within walking distance of Disneyland, you are only six miles away and the property provides a complimentary shuttle, saving you money on parking. And if you have kids looking for more thrills or fun, a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm, which is right down the street, might be in order. At this property, you’ll also have the largest outdoor heated pool in Buena Park, which is perfect if you decide to take a day to relax. Since you have enough points to enjoy a six-night vacation, some R&R time can easily fit in the schedule.
Kimpton Hotel Palomar Washington, DC
You can redeem your IHG points at Kimpton properties, which brings more funky and upscale options to the table. Kimpton properties are primarily in major cities such as NYC, Austin and Denver, although there are few outliers (such as the Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa in Grand Cayman, Kimpton Shorebreak Resort in Huntington Beach and the Kimpton Taconic in Manchester, Vermont).
If you are looking for a family-friendly city destination, Washington, DC, has close to a dozen Kimpton properties at your disposal, such as the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Washington, DC. This property costs 50,000 IHG points per night and puts you right in Dupont Circle, where you can take the Metro or even walk to the Zoo in Woodley Park, the National Mall and the many museums away from the mall. And after a long day of exploring, there is also an indoor pool waiting for your family.
While this list is just a small sampling of family-friendly IHG properties, it gives you a good idea on how far your IHG points can take you. Whether it is a weekend or a week away, there are many options to choose from. However, be cautious when searching IHG properties that you find award rooms that can actually fit a family. Many times, even when an IHG property offers rooms with one king bed or two double/queen beds, the two-bed option is not always available on points. This is a huge disadvantage for families, but if you are flexible and diligent with your search, you are bound to find an IHG redemption that can be covered with just one card’s 120k point welcome bonus!
Featured image courtesy of The Beach House, A Holiday Inn Resort
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Earn 80,000 points, worth up to $480 with the IHG Rewards Premier Card. With this card you'll get IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status which more than negates the value of the $89 annual fee. You'll also earn 10 points per dollar at IHG hotels, 2 points per dollar on gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening plus an additional 40,000 bonus points after spending a total of $5,000 on purchases within 6 months of account opening
- Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
- Earn 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
- Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
- IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®