Related article: IHG® launches great value all-inclusive holiday packages across Australia and New Zealand

IHG Rewards is the loyalty program of IHG Hotels & Resorts: one of the world’s largest hotel companies with nearly 6,000 properties around the globe.

IHG owns a range of hotel brands that cater to almost all types of travellers. These brands include:

  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • Regent Hotels & Resorts
  • Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
  • Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts
  • EVEN Hotels
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Hualuxe Hotels & Resorts
  • voco
  • avid Hotels
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Resort
  • Staybridge Suites

Given IHG’s vast presence, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself staying at one of its properties sooner or later. It’s therefore worth joining the IHG Rewards program. Membership is free and you can access special room rates, earn reward points and enjoy other benefits during your stay.

Here’s an overview of how the program works.

Membership Tiers

IHG Rewards has four membership tiers – Club, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite and Spire Elite – plus a paid program called InterContinental Ambassador which has an annual fee of US$200.

Upon joining IHG Rewards (which is free), new members receive Club status and can then move up to higher tiers by earning:

  • Qualified Nights, which are earned on every eligible paid rate or award stay at an IHG property, and
  • Elite Qualifying Points, which are earned when you pay for eligible charges at an IHG property.

Here’s what you need to earn to attain a higher membership tier:

  • Gold Elite: 10 Qualified Nights or 10,000 Elite Qualifying Points per calendar year
  • Platinum Elite: 40 Qualified Nights or 40,000 Elite Qualifying Points per calendar year
  • Spire Elite: 75 Qualified Nights or 75,000 Elite Qualifying Points per calendar year.

Member Benefits

As you’d expect, the higher your status the more benefits you enjoy. The full range of benefits can be viewed on IHG’s website, but here’s a quick overview.

At the entry-level Club tier, members can:

  • earn points with IHG and its partners
  • redeem points for Reward Nights, with no blackout dates, as well as other rewards
  • access exclusive rates (“Your Rate”)
  • earn bonus points with Your Rate
  • receive complimentary internet access
  • get support via a dedicated customer service phone line
  • save and earn 1,500+ points with Hertz Car Rental.

Gold Elite Members enjoy all of the Club tier benefits plus:

  • priority check-in
  • late check-out, when available
  • a welcome amenity (e.g. a complimentary drink)
  • 10% bonus earnings on top of base points
  • no points expiry.

Platinum Elite members receive all Gold Elite benefits plus:

  • complimentary room upgrades, when available
  • guaranteed room availability, 72 hours in advance
  • 50% more points earned on top of base points
  • elite roll-over nights.

Spire Elite members receive all Platinum Elite benefits plus:

  • early check-in, when available
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star Status
  • exclusive choice benefits upon receiving status (e.g. bonus points or gifting Platinum Elite status to a friend)
  • 100% more points earned on top of base points.

InterContinental Ambassador members receive:

  • Platinum Elite status and corresponding benefits
  • single room rate for double occupancy
  • guaranteed one category room upgrade
  • guaranteed extended 4pm check-out
  • complimentary weekend night
  • dedicated check-in area
  • complimentary mineral water
  • restaurants and bars credit of up to US$20 for every stay.

Earning points

For their stays, members can choose to earn either IHG Rewards Points or airline miles/points with a number of airline partners, including both Qantas and Virgin Australia.

If you opt to earn IHG Rewards Points, you’ll receive 10 points per US$1 on eligible charges at all properties except Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites, where the earn rate is 5 points per US$1 spent.

If you take advantage of one of IHG’s regular bonus points promotions, you could earn even more points.

You can also earn points when travelling, shopping or dining with a range of IHG partners. And if you need to top-up your balance, you can also buy points.

Points don’t expire if you hold Gold Elite status or higher. For IHG Rewards Members, points won’t expire so long as you keep your account active by earning or redeeming some points within a 12-month period.

More information about earning IHG Rewards Points is available here.

An alternative to earning IHG Rewards Points is earning airline miles/points. For example, Qantas Frequent Flyer members can receive 5 Qantas Points per AU$1 paid on eligible charges within Australia, while in other countries the earn rate is 500 Qantas Points per qualifying stay.

Velocity Frequent Flyer members earn 3 Velocity Points per $1 AUD paid on eligible charges within Australia, while overseas they receive 600 Velocity Points per qualifying stay.

More information about earning airline miles/points is available here.

Note that if you opt to earn IHG Rewards Points, you can also manually transfer them to an airline partner. The transfer rate from IHG to both Qantas and Velocity is 5:1.

Redeeming Points

IHG offers several ways to redeem points.

First up, members can redeem points for Reward Nights, which is an ideal way to save money when travelling. You can use points to stay at any IHG property worldwide, with no blackout dates. Prices start at 10,000 points per night. From 2020 Rewards Nights now also work on a dynamic pricing model which means if a hotel is quieter then you’ll be paying fewer points to redeem your stay.

You can also combine points and cash, in which case you only need 5,000 points to book.

Reward nights count towards elite status, which is an added bonus.

You can also redeem points for shopping and gift cards, experiences like concerts and sporting events, and donations to charities. More information about rewards is available here.

Summing Up

IHG Rewards is a useful loyalty program to join if you’re considering staying at an IHG property. Given IHG’s large global presence, it’s likely you’ll come across its properties when researching and booking trips for either work or leisure.

By joining IHG Rewards you can enjoy benefits from your very first stay. And if you travel frequently, elite perks like late checkouts and complimentary room upgrades can provide a lot of additional value.

To join IHG Rewards, click here.

Related article: IHG® launches great value all-inclusive holiday packages across Australia and New Zealand

This article was produced in partnership with IHG.