How to Redeem IHG Rewards Points

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

Today, this post will cover everything you need to know about using your IHG points and what the best options are to get maximum value.

IHG Hotel
You can redeem your IHG Points at several IHG Hotel brands (Photo by: IHG Hotels).

Redeem IHG Points for Hotel Nights

IHG recently eliminated its award chart in favor of dynamic pricing, which has become the trend for most hotel and airline programs these days.

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

It’s a bit of a double-edged sword – booking during off-peak seasons is great for some, but not so great for those who book during peak seasons.

Take this hotel for example: the prices are different when plotted on different dates.

Your hotel could cost 40,000 points.

IHG lower pricing awards min

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 will cost for your chosen dates is to do a search on IHG.com and select “Reward Nights” from the “Rate Preference” dropdown menu.

IHG Reward Nights Search

Once you click search, your options will show and you can filter these results by amenities or brands, and sort them by distance, price, or rating.

IHG Hotels Search Bar Filter

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 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.

IHG Fourth Night Free

You can get a fourth night free with either:

I recommend the Premier cards over the Traveler card since the Premier offers Platinum Elite status and a free anniversary night.

Platinum Elite Status

card_name

  • bonus_miles_full
  • 10x Points at IHG Hotels and Resorts
  • 5x Points on Travel, Dining, and Gas
  • 3x Points on All Other Purchases
  • IHG Platinum Elite Status
  • Anniversary Free Night
  • 4th Night Free on Awards
  • Baggage and Trip Interruption/Cancellation Insurance
  • Purchase Protection for 120 Days
  • $99 Annual Fee

Click Here to Learn How to Apply

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 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).

The best airlines to transfer to would be: 

Generally, it’s better to use your IHG points for hotel stays instead of transferring them to airlines. When you transfer points, you might not get the best value.

Only transfer points if you really need those extra miles for a great flight deal.

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:

  • 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.

IHG Digital Rewards
Photo by: IHG

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.

Donate to Charity

If you feel generous enough to donate your points to charity, you can share them with several IHG partners including the American Red Cross, JA Worldwide, WRAP,and OzHarvest.

IHG Rewards Catalog

Here’s another redemption option that we don’t really recommend, but could sometimes be a good idea – the IHG Rewards Catalog.

It’s IHG’s online store where you can use your points to purchase products like shoes, jewelry, electronics, kitchen tools, gift cards, magazine subscriptions, and even event tickets.

Have a quick look at these options below.

Magazines

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). 

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 for 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).
Use IHG Points for Gift Cards min

Activities & Event Tickets

You can also use your IHG points to redeem activities, sightseeing tours, and event tickets through the IHG One Rewards catalog.

IHG Tours

The Verdict

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.

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