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      IHG One Rewards Loyalty Program Benefits – How to Earn Elite Status (November 2022)

      Josh Patoka
      IHG Rewards Club Loyalty Program Review

      Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired.

      The IHG One Rewards loyalty program includes popular hotel brands such as Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites, and Kimpton. You will find over 6,000 locations at many destinations across the United States and the world plus a multi-tier rewards program. 

      This IHG benefits guide can help you learn more about this comprehensive hotel loyalty program popular for leisure, luxury, and business travel.

      IHG One Rewards At A Glance
      Loyalty ProgramIHG One Rewards
      Cost to JoinFree
      Membership TiersClub, Silver Elite, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Diamond Elite
      Total Destinations6,000+
      Number of Brands17
      Popular BrandsHoliday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, avid, InterContinental, Kimpton
      Average Point Value0.6 cents
      Point Expiration PolicyClub Members: 12 months of inactivity
      Elite Members: Never
      Points Needed for Reward Nights10,000-100,000
      Point Redemption OptionsReward Nights, Gift Cards, Digital Rewards, Airline Miles
      Number of Co-Brand Credit Cards (Accepting New Applications)3

      Here is everything you need to know about the IHG Hotels & Resorts loyalty program.

      IHG Hotels is easy to join online as you only need to provide your name and address to receive a membership number.

      It’s also possible to join at a local hotel or resort when you check-in.

      As an IHG Club member, you can start enjoying these benefits:

      • Member-only rates
      • Earn points on each paid stay
      • No blackout dates when redeeming points for reward nights
      • Free on-property WiFi

      You can also begin enrolling in limited-time offers to earn bonus points on qualifying stays.

      After joining the program, you can check your points balance, see member-only rates, and change your stay preferences through the IHG website or mobile app.

      IHG One Rewards Loyalty Tiers

      There are five different status tiers in the IHG loyalty program:

      • Club
      • Silver Elite
      • Gold Elite 
      • Platinum Elite 
      • Diamond Elite 

      Unless you have a co-brand IHG Credit Card, you must meet the qualifying night or qualifying points requirement each calendar year to have Elite status for the current year and all of next year.

      The Vacationer Tip – Automatic Elite Status With an IHG Credit Card

      Those holding the following IHG credit cards are automatically given elite status:

      IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card: Silver Elite Status – (Learn How to Apply Here)
      IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card: Platinum Elite Status – (Learn How to Apply Here)
      IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card: Platinum Elite Status – (Learn How to Apply Here)

      For example, getting Platinum Elite status in July 2022 means retaining this tier through December 31, 2023.

      New members start at the Club level and start climbing the ladder by earning qualifying points and nights during the calendar year.

      See the table below for current requirements.

      Elite TierQualifying NightsQualifying Points
      ClubN/AN/A
      Silver Elite10N/A
      Gold Elite2040,000
      Platinum Elite4060,000
      Diamond Elite70120,000
      IHG One Rewards Program Requirements

      You can also earn status simply by holding or meeting spending requirements on IHG-branded credit cards.

      • Silver Elite – Automatic status via the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card.
      • Gold Elite – Spend $20,000 in a calendar year (and make one additional purchase) on the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card.
      • Platinum Elite – Automatic status via the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card.
      • Diamond Elite – Spend $40,000 in a calendar year on the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card.

      Learn more about the loyalty tiers here.

      Here is a closer look at the benefits for each reward tier along with the points and night requirements.

      Club Member

      Once you open an IHG One Rewards account, you automatically have entry-level Club status.

      If you don’t maintain your Elite status when the calendar year ends, you revert back to Club.

      Benefits include:

      • No blackout dates for rewards nights
      • Reward nights count toward Elite status
      • Member rates and promotions
      • Free internet
      • Late 2pm check-out (when available)

      As a basic member, your points expire after 12 months of account inactivity. Earning or redeeming points renews your balance. Please note, point expiration for Club members has been paused through December 31, 2022.

      Points for Elite members do not expire.

      Silver Elite

      Club member can earn Silver Elite status by staying 10 qualified nights in a year. Silver Elite status can only be earned via qualified stays as there is no qualified points options.

      Benefits include:

      • Earn 20% bonus points
      • No blackout dates for rewards nights
      • Points don’t expire
      • Member rates and promotions
      • Free internet
      • Late 2pm check-out (when available)

      Gold Elite

      You can upgrade to IHG Gold Elite status after 20 qualifying nights or earning 40,000 points in a calendar year.

      Benefits include:

      • Earn 40% bonus points
      • No blackout dates for rewards nights
      • Member rates and promotions
      • Rollover nights for next year’s status
      • Points don’t expire
      • Free internet
      • Late 2pm check-out (when available)

      The rollover nights benefit applies any excess nights from this year to next year’s qualifying nights credit. 

      Platinum Elite

      Platinum Elite is the second-highest loyalty tier and requires 40 nights or 60,000 points in a calendar year.

      Benefits include:

      • Earn 60% bonus points
      • No blackout dates for rewards nights
      • Member rates and promotions
      • Rollover nights for next year’s status
      • Space-available room upgrades
      • Reward night discounts
      • Guaranteed room availability (72 hours)
      • Welcome amenity at check-in
      • Points don’t expire
      • Free internet
      • Early check-in (when available)
      • Late 2pm check-out (when available)

      Tip: You can get instant IHG Platinum Elite status with the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card – (Learn How to Apply Here).

      Diamond Elite

      Spire Elite is the highest tier and requires 70 nights or 120,000 points. 

      Benefits include:

      • Everything included in Platinum Elite
      • 100% bonus points
      • Dedicated support
      • Potentially upgraded welcome amenity

      The potentially upgraded welcome amenity is a free breakfast. You can also opt for points or a drink/snack.

      Milestone Rewards (New for 2022!)

      IHG One Rewards members are now eligible for various rewards after staying 20 qualified nights in a year. New rewards are available every 10 nights until you hit 100 for the year.

      • 20 Nights – Choice of one of the following rewards: 5,000 Bonus Points, 2 Food & Beverage Rewards, 1 Confirmable Suite Upgrade
      • 30 Nights – Choice of one of the following rewards: 5,000 Bonus Points, 2 Food & Beverage Rewards
      • 40 Nights – Choice of two of the following rewards: 10,000 Bonus Points, 5 Food & Beverage Rewards, 1 Confirmable Suite Upgrade, Annual Lounge Membership
      • 50 Nights – Choice of one of the following rewards: 10,000 Bonus Points, 5 Food & Beverage Rewards
      • 60 Nights – Choice of one of the following rewards: 10,000 Bonus Points, 5 Food & Beverage Rewards
      • 70 Nights – Choice of two of the following rewards: 10,000 Bonus Points, 5 Food & Beverage Rewards, 2 Confirmable Suite Upgrades, Annual Lounge Membership
      • 80 Nights – Choice of one of the following rewards: 10,000 Bonus Points, 5 Food & Beverage Rewards
      • 90 Nights – Choice of one of the following rewards: 10,000 Bonus Points, 5 Food & Beverage Rewards
      • 100 Nights – Choice of one of the following rewards: 10,000 Bonus Points, 5 Food & Beverage Rewards

      InterContinental Ambassador

      InterContinental Ambassador is an optional loyalty program open to all IHG members. Consider this program if you stay at the 200+ InterContinental Hotels and Resorts across the globe.

      You pay $200 per year or 40,000 IHG points for a 12-month membership.

      Benefits at the InterContinental properties include:

      • IHG Platinum Elite status
      • Guaranteed one category room upgrade
      • 4pm extended checkout
      • Up to $20 in restaurant and bar credits per stay
      • Complimentary mineral water and internet
      • Single room rate for double occupancy
      • Complimentary weekend night (terms apply)
      • And More

      The above perks don’t apply to IHG portfolio stays, but you get automatic IHG Platinum Elite loyalty benefits.

      IHG Status Match

      Periodically, IHG offers status match challenges if you have elite status with competing programs. You can check their status match page and current offers to search for opportunities.

      IHG Brands

      IHG Holiday Inn Express Honolulu

      Photo: ihg.com

      The IHG portfolio consists of 17 brands and over 6,000 mid-tier and luxury properties across the world. 

      Many hotels and resorts are in the United States but you can find them on most continents.

      The loyalty program divides its portfolio into four different mid-tier and luxury categories.

      Essentials

      These mid-tier properties include:

      • Holiday Inn Express
      • Holiday Inn
      • Avid

      Suites

      For an extended stay, you might consider these brands:

      • Atwell Suites
      • Candlewood Suites
      • Staybridge Suites
      • Holiday Inn Club Vacations

      Check this out: Compare these chains with the best mid-tier hotel brands.

      Premium

      These hotels are good for high-class leisure and business travel:

      • Crowne Plaza
      • Even Hotels
      • Hualuxe
      • Voco

      Luxury and Lifestyle

      The swankiest IHG hotels and resorts:

      • Vignette Collection
      • Six Senses
      • Regent
      • InterContinental
      • Kimpton
      • Hotel Indigo

      Earning IHG Points

      You will earn up to 10 base points per $1 on most IHG stays:

      • 10x at most IHG hotels and resorts
      • 5x at Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites

      If you’re an Elite member, you will also earn 20% (Silver Elite), 40% (Gold Elite), 60% (Platinum Elite), 100% (Diamond Elite) on paid stays.

      There are several other ways to earn bonus IHG points:

      • Bonus points packages: Book specials to earn bonus points instead of a base stay. These offers can be the cheapest way to buy IHG points.
      • Point promotions: Enroll in limited-time IHG promotions to earn bonus points at participating hotel brands and on multiple stays.
      • Travel credit cards: A co-brand IHG credit card earns IHG points on every purchase. You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to your IHG account with participating credit cards.
      • IHG Rewards Dine & Earn: You can earn up to 8 points per $1 (for VIP members) at participating restaurants. It’s free to join this loyalty program and 1,000 bonus points on your first $30 purchase.
      • Partner benefits: Receive bonus points through travel and dining partners like Grubhub, OpenTable, Mr & Mrs Smith, and Hertz.
      • Purchase IHG points: You can also buy up to 150,000 IHG points each year. This can be a good move when the loyalty club runs sales that match your purchase amount.

      In addition to earning points each time you pay cash for a stay or support an IHG partner, you can also transfer points and earn frequent flyer miles.

      Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to IHG

      In addition to earning IHG points through the hotel loyalty program, you can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to your IHG account in 1,000-point increments and without transaction fees.

      Currently, three credit cards earning Chase Ultimate Rewards let you transfer credit card points to IHG.

      Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

      The Chase Sapphire Preferred – (Learn How to Apply Here) earns up to 5x points per dollar spent on purchases and gives you a 10% anniversary gift of the total points you earned in the prior year.

      Other benefits include a 25% travel redemption bonus for booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and an annual $50 hotel statement credit.

      The annual fee is $95 for the first card and $0 for secondary cards.

      Chase Sapphire Reserve®

      The Chase Sapphire Reserve – (Learn How to Apply Here) is a premium travel rewards credit card that’s best for frequent flyers. Purchases earn up to 10x Ultimate Rewards on travel (after earning the $300 travel credit each year) and each point is worth 50% more when booking award travel through Chase.

      Premium benefits include a $300 annual travel statement credit, Priority Pass Select lounge access, and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credits.

      The annual fee is $550 plus $75 per authorized user.

      Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

      Small business owners carrying the Chase Ink Business Preferred – (Learn How to Apply Here) can get a 25% travel redemption bonus. You can also earn up to 3x on business purchases like online advertising, shipping purchases, and travel.

      The annual fee is $95 for the first card and $0 for additional employee cards.

      Unfortunately, the other Ink Business credit cards with no annual fee don’t support point transfers. Neither does the Freedom family of cash back rewards cards.

      Earning Airline Miles Instead of IHG Points

      You may decide to join IHG to earn frequent flyer miles on your hotel stays.

      As airline miles can be more valuable than hotel points, this earning strategy may not be as farfetched as you think. In addition, you can easily change your earning preference in your IHG member profile.

      Most IHG stays earn 2x airline miles except for Staybridge and Candlewood Suites stays only earning 1x.

      Some carriers may only award 1x miles on Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express stays, too. Some carriers may award less than 1x miles for certain hotels, so check before booking.

      Most domestic and international airlines participate, including:

      • American Airlines
      • Delta Air Lines
      • United Airlines
      • Avianca
      • British Airways
      • Singapore Airlines
      • Virgin Atlantic

      If you believe you’re going to redeem your IHG points for flights, it’s better to earn miles from the beginning. If you decide to transfer your hotel points, the conversion ratio is 10,000 IHG points for 2,000 air miles.


      You can see the complete list of the 40+ airline partners here at the IHG website.

      Pick Your Promotion (Through December 31, 2022)

      Through December 31, 2022, IHG is allowing loyalty members to pick how they want to earn bonus points. Here are the two choices:

      • 2,000 Bonus Points for Every Two Nights
      • 10,000 Bonus Points for Every Four Nights

      The choice is yours, and you only get to make it once. Which option you pick depends on how many nights you expect to stay at IHG® Hotels & Resorts through the remainder of 2022.

      Redeeming IHG Points

      IHG Holiday Inn Orlando

      Photo: ihg.com

      You can redeem your points for IHG rewards nights and a couple of other non-travel rewards.

      IHG Reward Nights

      The easiest and most valuable redemption option can be rewards nights within the IHG portfolio.

      Some of the highlights include:

      • Your points are usually worth 0.6 cents for IHG nights. This rate is competitive with most hotel programs. Periodically, you can find deals where each point is worth between 1.0 and 1.6 cents.
      • Most mid-tier brands require 15,000 to 35,000 points per night. Relevant brands include Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites.
      • Luxury brands usually cost between 30,000 and 50,000 points. These brands include InterContental, Hotel Indigo, and Crowne Plaza.
      • Can book award nights up to 50 weeks in advance. Reward night rates start appearing 50 weeks before check-in. Prices are variable and will fluctuate so you may check prices on several days to wait for the best deal.

      IHG no longer publishes an award chart. Instead, they tie the number of points needed to the nightly cash rate. 

      Some of the reward night pricing factors include:

      • Brand
      • Demand
      • Location
      • Day of the week 

      Rewards nights require between 10,000 and 100,000 points per night. In general, you can expect to pay between 11,000 and 45,000 points.

      While there are no blackout dates, hotels may sell out of award nights for your desired travel dates. Thankfully, most destinations have multiple IHG hotels but you may need to either pay more points or pick a less desirable property if you don’t want to pay cash.

      Points and Cash

      If you don’t have enough points to book a night, you can also pay with points and cash. You will redeem as few as 5,000 points and pay cash for the rest. 

      While you can conserve points, the cash requirements can be more than you’re willing to spend.

      Transfer IHG Points to Airlines

      You can transfer your points to the IHG Rewards partner airlines. In most programs, every 10,000 IHG points convert to 2,000 frequent flyer miles. That’s a mediocre 5:1 transfer ratio.

      A better alternative can be earning frequent flyer miles instead of IHG points on paid stays by switching your earning preference when logged in your account.

      Transfer IHG Points to another IHG Member

      You can also transfer your points to another member. in 1,000-point increments. 

      While you pay $5 per 1,000 points, it can be cheaper than buying points ($13.50 per 1,000 points) when you need just a few more to book a reward night.

      Gift Cards

      Gift card redemptions start at 5,500 points for a $10 reward. Your points are only worth $0.002 for these retail and restaurant rewards which may not be worth it.

      As you may receive a physical gift card, it can take up to four weeks to arrive by mail.

      We only recommend using this method if your points are going to expire and you have no other way to use them.

      Digital Rewards

      Digital rewards are another easy way to redeem a small points balance.

      Some of your options include:

      • eBooks
      • eMagazines
      • eNewspapers
      • Movies
      • Games

      The cheapest redemptions start at roughly 1,000 points for single issues of digital magazines. Movie rentals start at 1,700 points.

      IHG Credit Cards

      There are currently two IHG Rewards credit cards available for consumers. There is also one for business owners.

      IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

      The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card – (Learn How to Apply Here) offers several exclusive perks and additional ways to earn bonus points.

      Featured benefits include:

      • Earn 10x points on IHG purchases: You can earn up to 26x points per dollar spent on IHG purchases including the standard IHG One Rewards member benefits (10x points) as well as having Platinum Elite Status (6x points).
      • Earn 5x points: You will earn 5x points per dollar spent on gas stations, restaurants, and travel.
      • Earn 3x points: You will earn 3x points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
      • Platinum Elite status: You have automatic Platinum Elite status as long as your card remains active.
      • Free night award: Each card anniversary, you receive one free night reward. You can redeem it at properties requiring 40,000 points or less.
      • 4th night is free: Your fourth night is complimentary when redeeming points for 4+ night award stays. This perk isn’t available to non-cardholders with IHG elite status.
      • Free Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS: You receive an application fee credit worth up to $100 every 4 years for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS. (see the best credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck)
      • Current Welcome Bonus: Earn 140,000 Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

      The annual fee is $99 each card anniversary. There is no foreign transaction fee.

      If you stay at an IHG property at least one night a year, the anniversary night award is easily worth more than the $99 annual fee at most properties. Most IHG nights cost between $100 and $200 if you pay cash.

      IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card

      The IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card – (Learn How to Apply Here) is a $0 annual fee alternative to the more premium IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card. Since it have no annual fee, it does have fewer benefits:

      • Earn 5x points on IHG purchases: You can earn up to 17x points per dollar spent on IHG purchases including the standard IHG One Rewards member benefits (10x points) as well as having Silver Elite Status (2x points).
      • Earn 3x points: You will earn 3x points per dollar spent on gas stations, monthly bills, and restaurants.
      • Earn 2x points: You will earn 2x points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
      • Silver Elite status: You have automatic Silver Elite status as long as your card remains active.
      • 4th night is free: Your fourth night is complimentary when redeeming points for 4+ night award stays. This perk isn’t available to non-cardholders with IHG elite status.
      • Current Welcome Bonus: Earn 80,000 Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

      The annual fee is $0 each card anniversary. There is no foreign transaction fee.

      IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

      The IHG® Rewards Premier Business Card – (Learn How to Apply Here) is ideal for business owners who regularly stay at IHG hotels. While it has a $99 annual fee, it offers powerful benefits such as automatic Platinum Elite Status and employee cards at no additional costs. Here are some of the main perks:

      • Earn 10x points on IHG purchases: You can earn up to 26x points per dollar spent on IHG purchases including the standard IHG One Rewards member benefits (10x points) as well as having Platinum Elite Status (6x points).
      • Earn 5x points: You will earn 5x points per dollar spent on gas stations, restaurants, select advertising, and travel.
      • Earn 3x points: You will earn 3x points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
      • Platinum Elite status: You have automatic Platinum Elite status as long as your card remains active.
      • Free night award: Each card anniversary, you receive one free night reward. You can redeem it at properties requiring 40,000 points or less.
      • 4th night is free: Your fourth night is complimentary when redeeming points for 4+ night award stays. This perk isn’t available to non-cardholders with IHG elite status.
      • Free Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS: You receive an application fee credit worth up to $100 every 4 years for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS.
      • Current Welcome Bonus: Earn 140,000 Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

      There is no foreign transaction fee.

      FAQ

      Is it free to join IHG One Rewards?

      Yes, it’s free to join the IHG One Rewards online. It’s also possible to enroll at check-in and earn 1,000 bonus points.

      An optional InternContinental Ambassador program costs $200 per year or 40,000 IHG points.

      What are the IHG One Rewards loyalty program tiers?

      The IHG status levels are Club, Silver Elite, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, and Diamond Elite in ascending order.

      New members start at the Club tier and must earn qualifying points or nights to earn elite status.

      How do you qualify for IHG elite status?

      To have elite status, you will need to earn a minimum number of qualifying points or nights each calendar year (January 1 to December 31).

      The tier requirements are:
      Silver Elite: 10 nights
      Gold Elite: 20 nights or 40,000 points
      Platinum Elite: 40 nights or 60,000 points
      Diamond Elite: 70 nights or 120,000 points

      How can you get IHG Elite status quickly?

      Getting approved for the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card gives you automatic Platinum Elite status. The IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card gives you automatic Silver Elite status.

      IHG occasionally offers status matches if you have elite status with Hilton Honors, Marriot Bonvoy, or similar programs.

      What are IHG Elite Qualifying Points?

      Points you earn from IHG-related purchases or travel and dining partners count toward Gold, Platinum, or Spire Elite status.

      What are IHG Elite Qualifying Nights?

      Qualifying nights include are for leisure or business trips at IHG hotels and resorts. Many discounted rates are eligible too.

      Reward nights that you pay for with points or points and cash can also apply toward elite status for next year.

      How do you earn IHG points?

      You can earn IHG points by paying cash for IHG hotel nights, making travel and dining partners purchases, and using a co-brand IHG credit card.

      How much are IHG reward nights?

      IHG reward nights require between 10,000 and 100,000 points per night. So, on average, you can expect to pay between 10,000 and 45,000 points.

      Most properties also offer a points and cash payment option that only requires 5,000 points.

      What are IHG points worth?

      Points are usually worth between 0.4 and 0.7 cents for reward nights.

      Do IHG points expire?

      IHG points for Club members expire after 12 months of earning or redemption inactivity. 
      Points don’t expire for Elite members.

      The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts

      The point redemption values are competitive with most domestic hotel programs. However, the variable pricing model can make it challenging to predict the number of points you may need.

      The program offers two consumer co-brand credit cards and one business option. Each card has many attractive perks like automatic elite status and the 4th night free on four-night stays. Depending on how many nights you stay at IHG hotels, one of the cards may be worth holding if you want fast-track elite status to maximize your IHG benefits easily.

      Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

      Josh Patoka The Vacationer Bio

      By Josh Patoka

      Josh Patoka writes about maximizing travel rewards for The Vacationer. As well, he contributes to several personal finance sites specializing in making money, paying off debt, and investing.