There are several great ways to redeem your IHG Rewards 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.
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.
Or the hotel could cost 55,000 points or several other points levels (42,500, 45,000, 47,500, etc.).
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.
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).
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 it would be best if you always did 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 many points on your trip.
The credit cards that offer this fourth night free are:
Chase IHG Premier– This card has an $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.
Transfer IHG Points to Airline Partners
You can transfer your IHG Rewards 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||Air Canada Aeroplan|
|Air China||Air France - KLM Flying Blue|
|Air New Zealand||Alaska Airlines|
|Alitalia||All Nippon Airways (ANA)|
|American Airlines||Asiana Airlines|
|Avianca LifeMiles||British Airways|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||China Eastern|
|China Southern||Delta SkyMiles|
|Etihad Airways||Gulf Air|
|Hainan Airlines||Hawaiian Airlines|
|Iberia Airlines||Japan Airlines|
|Singapore Airlines||South African Airways|
|TAP Air Portugal||Thai Airways|
|United Airlines||Virgin Atlantic|
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:
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:
- A free weekend night on a paid stay.
- A guaranteed room upgrade
- 4:00 p.m. late checkout
- IHG Platinum elite status
- $20 food and drink credit for each stay
- Premium internet
- A dedicated check-in area
- Hertz Five Star elite status
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.
You can get good value for a small number 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 point ($20 / 1,500 points).
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.
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 best way to use your IHG 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.