IHG now has a calendar search to help you find the best cash or points rates: Here's how to use it
When you have flexibility in your travel dates, it can be helpful to check rates across a week or even a month. And while some airline and hotel programs offer a calendar search feature, IHG Rewards loyalists have long been forced to either search day by day to check nightly rates.
Thankfully, there's now a better way, though there are quirks to it. Just after writing about Marriott’s Lowest Rates Calendar, I discovered a similar feature on IHG's website. That's right; you can now see IHG Rewards paid rates and award rates in calendar form.
Let's take a closer look at the feature and how you can use it to simplify your award searches.
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Using IHG's calendar for award stays
IHG's calendar for award stays is a bit hidden away within the normal search tool on IHG's website.
To find it, first enter your destination, dates, room information and select "Rewards Nights" as your rate preference before clicking "Search."
Oddly enough, you want to find no award availability for your desired property on the next page.
Yes, you read that right — you need to find a date that doesn't have award availability to unlock the "View available dates" option.
Once you click "View available dates" for a property, you'll see the calendar with the award night prices for each date with IHG award availability.
You can click the arrows at the top of the calendar to view award availability for other months. If you find dates and availability that you'd like to book, you can click on the dates in the calendar.
This can be helpful when using the fourth-night reward perk that comes with select IHG credit cards. Just use the calendar to find periods with four or more nights of award availability in a row. When booking on high-demand dates, this is far faster than manually searching for four-day periods with award space.
Once you've found the nights you'd like to book, click "Continue" to go to the award booking page. Then you can continue as normal with your points redemption.
Unfortunately, you need to find a date that doesn't have any availability to see IHG's calendar of prices. This can be difficult at hotels that usually have availability. One technique I've found works well, though: searching for a long multi-month stay.
Of course, this technique won't work in every situation, as some hotels are bookable every night. And this approach works better for award stays than paid stays since revenue nights are often bookable when award nights aren't available.
Related: IHG Rewards will change its elite status tiers, including requirements and bonus earnings, this March
Using IHG's calendar for paid stays
You can also use IHG's calendar for paid stays. To do so, head to IHG's website to enter your destination, dates and guest information.
Once you click "Search," you'll see a list of results.
For simplicity, I filtered out every brand except EVEN Hotels for this example. And luckily, I happened to search for a date that doesn't have any availability. So, I can click the "View available dates" button to pull up the pricing calendar.
Once you click on "View available dates," you'll see a calendar with nightly rates. Note that these nightly rates don't include taxes and fees, even if you've checked the "Show prices with taxes and fees" box.
You can also click over to a different month. And, you can select new dates to book if you wish.
Once you select dates and click "Continue," you'll find yourself on the normal IHG booking page. However, you might note that none of the rates equal the promised $159.
But, once I clicked "Select room," I realized that the calendar was showing me the nonmember Standard Rate, even though I was logged into my IHG Rewards account.
I went back to the initial search page and selected AAA as my rate preference out of curiosity. Interestingly, the calendar showed AAA rates once I did so.
As you can see, the $162 rate for March 22, 2022, is indeed a AAA rate.
Related: Register now for IHG Rewards’ new double points promotion
While there are quirks, I'm still excited that IHG now has a calendar view for both award and paid night searches. This feature will allow me to find the least expensive dates to visit often-expensive properties when I have flexibility in my schedule. And I'm pleased the calendar shows AAA rates when you select that rate.
The most significant limitation of IHG's calendar is that you have to find a date without availability to see the calendar. It's also frustrating that the calendar doesn't show member rates. Ideally, I'd also like the calendar rates to include taxes and fees when a member clicks the "Show prices with taxes and fees" box.
But overall, IHG's calendar will be a useful tool for award travelers — especially when booking at high-end hotels with limited award space.