Best Ways to Use IHG Rewards Club Points

There are several great ways to redeem your IHG Rewards Club points including hotel stays, transfers to airlines, magazines, and InterContinental Ambassador status.

This post will cover everything you need to know about using your IHG points. 

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    Redeem IHG Points for Hotel Nights

    IHG recently eliminated their award chart in favor of dynamic pricing.

    Dynamic pricing allows IHG to price hotels at different rates based upon demand for your dates.

    Your hotel could cost 40,000 points.

    Or the hotel could cost 50,000 points.

    IHG higher pricing awards

    Or the hotel could cost 55,000 points or several other points levels (42,500, 45,000, 47,500, etc.).

    Marriott IHG pricing highest level

    The only way to know how much a hotel is going to cost for your dates is to do a search on IHG.com and selecting “Reward Nights” from the “Rate Preference” drop down.

    IHG Reward Nights Search

    Points + Cash

    You can also redeem a combination of Points and Cash to book a reward hotel night. 

    In the example below, you would be effectively buying points at 0.6 cents per point for the top two options ($30 / 5,000 = 0.6).

    IHG’s Points and Cash is also effectively buying points, because if you cancel your booking, the cash portion of the booking is refunded in IHG points, not cash. 

    IHG points and cash

    The Points and Cash rate will fluctuate, even for the same hotel based on your dates.

    In the example below, the Points and Cash rate for the top two options at the same hotel jumped to 0.78 cents per point ($39 / 5,000 = 0.78). 

    IHG points and cash example 2

    When you are “buying” points for a Points + Cash booking, you always want the cents per point number to be as low as possible.

    But you should always do the math to determine whether redeeming a combination of points and cash is worth it.

    Fourth Night Free

    IHG credit card members get the fourth night free on reward stays, which can be a great way to save a lot points on your trip.

    IHG Fourth Night Free

    The credit cards that offer this fourth night free are:

    Chase IHG Premier– This card has a $89 annual fee, but it comes with nice perks such as IHG Platinum Elite status, 10x points at IHG Hotels, cell phone insurance, valuable travel protections, and a free night certificate (up to 40,000 points) every account anniversary.

    Chase IHG Traveler– This no annual fee card earns 5x points at IHG, and comes with valuable travel protections. 

    Chase IHG Premier Credit Card

    This benefit is better than hotel chains such as Hilton or Marriott, who only offer the fifth night free on award stays.

    Transfer IHG Points to Airline Partners

    You can transfer your IHG Rewards Club points to airlines at a ratio of 10,000 IHG points to 2,000 airline miles.

    Two airlines have different ratios: 

    • Air New Zealand = 10,000 IHG points to 25 Airpoints.
    • El Al = 10,000 IHG points to 40 El Al points.
    AEROMEXICO LOGO AeroMexico Air Canada Air Canada Aeroplan
    Air China Air China Air France Air France - KLM Flying Blue
    Air New Zealand Air New Zealand Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines
    Alitalia logo Alitalia ANA All Nippon Airways (ANA)
    American Airlines American Airlines Asiana Airlines Asiana Airlines
    Avianca Avianca LifeMiles British Airways British Airways
    Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific Asia Miles China Eastern China Eastern
    China Southern China Southern Delta Air Lines Delta SkyMiles
    El Al El Al Emirates logo Emirates
    Etihad Etihad Airways Gulf Air Gulf Air
    Hainan Airlines Hainan Airlines Hawaiian Airlines logo Hawaiian Airlines
    Iberia logo Iberia Airlines Japan Airlines Japan Airlines
    Jet Airways logo Jet Airways JetBlue JetBlue
    LATAM Airlines LATAM Malaysia Airlines logo Malaysia Airlines
    Qantas Logo Qantas Saudia Airlines Saudia
    Singapore Airlines Singapore Airlines South African Airways South African Airways
    TAP Portugal TAP Air Portugal Thai Airways logo Thai Airways
    United Airlines logo United Airlines Virgin Atlantic logo Virgin Atlantic
    Virgin Australia logo Virgin Australia

    IHG’s 5 to 1 ratio is not as good as Marriott’s 3 to 1 transfer rate (or 2.4 points to 1 mile with a bonus), but it can still be a decent deal if you need some extra airline miles.

    The best airlines to transfer to would be: 

    InterContinental Ambassador

    You can redeem 40,000 IHG points for the InterContinental Ambassador program, which typically costs $200 per year. 

    That is equivalent to 0.5 cents per point in value, which is quite good for IHG.

    The benefits of the IHG Ambassador program at InterContinental Hotels are:

    Free Weekend Night– You can get one free weekend night that is valid on the second night of a paid weekend stay. It is essentially a buy one get one-night free certificate each year.

    Guaranteed Room Upgrade– Ambassadors are guaranteed a room at least one level higher than the category purchased. The other upgrades for IHG elites are “space available” upgrades, so this is a nice perk of the program.

    • If a room upgrade is unavailable, you are entitled to a restaurant or spa credit of $50 or 10,000 IHG points.

    4 p.m. Late Checkout- Ambassadors enjoy a 4:00 p.m. late checkout, which is a very nice perk if you need to freshen up after a meeting or day exploring a city.

    • If late checkout is unavailable, you are entitled to a restaurant or spa credit of $50 or 10,000 IHG points.

    Platinum Elite Status– Ambassadors automatically get IHG Platinum Elite status, which allows you to enjoy elite benefits at all of IHG’s hotels.

    $20 Food and Drink Credit– You can enjoy a $20 restaurant and bar credit each stay.

    Free Mineral Water– Bottled water is costly at hotels, but Ambassadors get free mineral water each day.

    Premium Internet– Ambassadors receive upgraded internet where available, which is great for streaming video or video chatting.

    Dedicated Check-In Area– You can bypass the long check-in lines as and head straight for the Ambassador check-in desk when arriving.

    Hertz 5 Star Elite Status– Ambassadors get Hertz Five Star elite status, which gets you 25% more points on rentals and upgrades as available.

    IHG's Digital Store

    You can redeem IHG points at their digital store to stream movies, read e-books or magazines, video games (playable on Steam), and software.

    Movies were the best deal at 0.6 to 0.3 cents per point, with the remaining options typically 0.2 to 0.3 cents per point.

    Renting a movie with IHG points could be a good option if you don’t have enough points for a free night.

    IHG Digital Store

    Magazines

    You can get good value for a small amount of points by using them for magazine subscriptions

    A ten issue magazine subscription to Bon Appetit is about $20 at most discount magazine websites, so using 1,500 points would net you 1.33 cents per points ($20 / 1,500 points). 

    IHG Use points for magazines

    Online Shopping

    Another way to use your IHG points is for merchandise at IHG’s Online Shopping store.

    You can shop a variety of items including electronics, kitchen items, luggage, fashion, etc.

    IHG Shopping Portal

    However, we do not recommend using your IHG points for merchandise because the redemption rate is very low.

    For example, the wireless mouse above retails on Amazon for $11.59, which means that each IHG point would only be worth 0.14 cents.

    You should be able to easily get 3 to 5 times that value when redeeming for hotel stays.

    Gift Cards

    You can also redeem IHG points for gift cards, but the rate is also very low.

    Most gift cards are priced at:

    • $10 gift card for 5,500 points (0.18 cents per point)
    • $25 gift card for 13,000 points (0.19 cents per point)
    • $50 gift card for 25,000 points. (0.2 cents per point).

    The Verdict

    The best way to use your IHG Rewards Club points is by redeeming them for hotel stays with the fourth night free with the Chase IHG Premier card or the  InterContinental Ambassador program.

    Or if you only have a few points, magazine subscriptions can be a good option.