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Use IHG Rewards Dine and Earn to earn extra points for your next vacation

Oct. 02, 2022
9 min read
Food at a Miami restaurant
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If you use one of the best credit cards for dining when you eat out, you’re already earning ample rewards at restaurants. But, if you’re looking to collect a few extra points or miles, you may also want to enroll in a dining rewards program.

We’ve considered other dining rewards programs, including Hilton Honors Dining, American Airlines AAdvantage Dining, and Marriott’s Eat Around Town. But today, we’ll consider a different program: IHG Rewards Dine and Earn.

IHG Rewards Dine and Earn overview

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The IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program allows you to earn IHG points on every dollar you spend at select restaurants, bars and clubs. These points are on top of the rewards you’d normally earn through your credit card or the restaurant’s rewards program.

To get started, you need to enroll in the program and add at least one card to your account. Then you can search for eligible restaurants, bars and clubs. When you dine and pay at these venues with a registered card, you’ll earn extra IHG points.

The remainder of this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to maximize the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program.

Related: How to redeem points with the IHG One Rewards program

How to join

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You can sign-up online to join the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program. However, before doing so, it’s worth checking to see if a new member bonus is available.

As of publishing, new IHG Rewards Dine and Earn members without a dining profile could earn 1,000 IHG points when they join the program. To earn the bonus points, new members must spend $30 or more at any participating restaurant in their first 30 days with their enrolled credit or debit card, remain opted-in for emails and complete an online review within 30 days of their visit. Based on TPG’s valuations, 1,000 IHG points are worth $5.

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Whether you are signing up with a new member bonus or not, you’ll need to provide some information to join the program. First, you’ll need to provide your first name, last name, zip code and email address, as well as your IHG One Rewards number. You’ll want to opt in for email notifications, as doing so unlocks the new member bonus and a higher earning rate.

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On the subsequent pages, you'll need to create a username and password and input your home address. You'll also need to enter information for a credit or debit card that you’d like to link to the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program.

Related: Can I earn points and miles from 2 dining rewards programs at the same time?

How to use IHG Rewards Dine and Earn

Once you’ve joined the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program, you’ll want to search for participating restaurants, bars and clubs near your home, office and frequently traveled areas. To do so, log in to your account and type in your location.

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It is worth noting that some restaurants may not offer rewards every day of the week. In the example below, Chalet does not provide benefits on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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You can use a more advanced search to filter and sort based on certain criteria, including price, dining options and meal service. You can also use the advanced search to find eligible restaurants near a particular address and exclude restaurants not offering rewards today.

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Then, use an enrolled card to pay at an eligible restaurant and earn bonus IHG points on the amount paid.

IHG One Rewards points normally expire after 12 months if there’s no account activity and you don't maintain IHG One Rewards elite status. But, you can create activity by dining with an enrolled card at an eligible restaurant. So, using the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program can be a useful way to ensure your points don’t expire.

Related: 11 of the most generous airline and hotel dining rewards programs

Earning rates

Your earning rate through the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program will depend on whether you have elite status in the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program and whether you opt in for email notifications. Here are the associated status levels, earning rates and benefits:

Member levelHow to reach this levelEarning rateBenefits
VIP memberOpt in to emails and complete 11 qualified transactions in a calendar year.8 points per dollar spent.Special VIP-only offers, more bonuses and benefits and exclusive advance communications.
Select memberOpt in to emails.5 points per dollar spent.More bonuses and benefits and exclusive advance communications.
Basic memberJoin the program and opt out of emails.1 point per dollar spent.Periodic bonus opportunities.

Once you earn VIP status, you’ll keep it for the year that you earn it and the following year.

As you can see, earning and then maintaining VIP member status with the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program will allow you to maximize your earning opportunities. Plus, since the earnings through this program are on top of any rewards you earn from your credit card or the restaurant’s loyalty program, the return you earn from the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program is just the beginning.

Related: The best credit cards for dining

Which cards to use with IHG Rewards Dine and Earn

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You’ll want to use one or more of the best credit cards for dining when you set up your IHG Rewards Dine and Earn profile. Here are some cards to consider:

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

You can enroll almost any credit or debit card in the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program. If you’re looking to accrue IHG points quickly for an upcoming redemption, you might enroll an IHG Rewards credit card. If you enroll an IHG card and then use it at an eligible restaurant, you’ll earn IHG points from spending on your card plus 1 to 8 points per dollar spent from IHG Rewards Dine and Earn.

You can only enroll each debit or credit card in one Rewards Network-operated dining rewards program. So if you plan on using multiple dining rewards programs, you’ll need to use a different card for each.

Related: I tried the Amex Gold dining credit at all 6 participating merchants: Here's how to maximize it

Other dining opportunities for earning IHG points

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You can also earn IHG points through IHG partnerships with OpenTable and GrubHub when you click through from IHG's partner offers page. Specifically, you can earn up to 500 IHG points when making an OpenTable reservation. And you can earn 500 IHG points on your first food delivery and 250 IHG points on subsequent food deliveries when you order from GrubHub.

Related: Easy strategies to save money on food delivery and takeout

Bottom line

Many hotel and airline loyalty programs offer the ability to earn bonus points or miles through their own Rewards Network-operated dining rewards program. Each of these programs offers distinct promotions and slightly different earning structures.

So, before going all-in on the IHG Rewards Dine and Earn program, it’s worth considering whether it’s the best Rewards Network-operated dining rewards program for you. This is especially true since most dining rewards programs offer higher earning rates and bonuses for consumers who frequently use the program.

Additional reporting by Ehsan Haque.

Featured image by NICK ELLIS/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees