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IHG One Rewards: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

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IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) may not have the instant brand recognition of Hyatt or Hilton, but it sure has the presence. With 6,200+ properties worldwide (compared to Hyatt’s ~1,300), it’s a massive player in the hospitality space comprising everything from a humble Holiday Inn to the lavish Six Senses. 

With a corporate umbrella like that, you’d probably assume IHG would have a pretty generous hotel loyalty rewards program. And you’d be right in some ways, wrong in others. 

Let’s dive in to see what IHG One Rewards has to offer in 2024 and how it compares to rival programs like Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.

Pros

  • 10X per dollar spent means you can earn your first free night after spending just $500.
  • Basic members instantly earn 2pm checkout when available.
  • IHG has a relatively large presence of 6,200 properties worldwide.

Cons

  • Very little difference between Member, Silver Elite and Gold Elite tiers.
  • You won’t earn free upgrades until Platinum Elite (40 nights/60k points) and free breakfast until Diamond Elite (70 nights/120k points).
  • Only Qualified Nights count towards Milestone Rewards, which is a bummer for anyone staying relatively infrequently at more expensive properties.

What is IHG One Rewards? 

IHG One Rewards is the loyalty rewards program for the InterContinental Hotels Group, awarding you points, status and other benefits each time you stay at an IHG property. 

For context, IHG comprises the following 19 brands in 2024, representing over 6,200 properties worldwide. Unfortunately, The Continental from John Wick isn’t one of them… yet:  

  • Atwell Suites
  • Avid
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Covo
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Even
  • Garner
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Hualuxe
  • Iberostar 
  • InterContinental
  • Kimpton
  • Regent
  • Six Senses
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Vignette

IHG One Rewards is free to join online, and even as a base “Club Member” you’ll instantly gain some benefits like lower member rates, free Wi-Fi and 2pm checkout when available. 

Unfortunately, after that you have some real dedication to show before IHG One Rewards becomes as… rewarding as its competitors. You’ll have to reach Platinum Elite status (40 nights/60k points) to start receiving free room upgrades, and only those who achieve the exalted Diamond Elite status (70 nights/120k points) will earn free breakfast. That said, many of IHG’s chains on the lower end, such as Holiday Inn Express, have free breakfast for everyone so this might not be as big a deal for you depending on how you travel. 

Thankfully, the program offers Milestone Rewards every 10 nights to break up the long and relatively uneventful journey to Platinum Elite. Starting at 20 nights you’ll have a choice of 5,000 bonus points, a pair of Food & Beverage Reward tickets or one Confirmable Suite Upgrade. By 40 nights, one of your choices becomes an Annual Lounge Membership (to the select group of IHG properties that have lounges). 

So do the Milestone Rewards truly make up for mediocre status benefits? Or should you pledge your fealty to a different hotel chain in 2024? 

How do I earn IHG One Rewards status? 

First off, let’s discuss how to earn status in the first place. 

Like many other hotel rewards programs, IHG One Rewards tracks two currencies: 

  • Qualified Nights – You’ll earn these for each night you book at a participating IHG property. FYI, if you book two rooms in the same night you’ll only get one Qualified Night.
  • Qualified Points – You can earn these through: 
    • Paying Qualifying Rates for hotel stays
    • Spending with IHG One’s travel and retail partners (listed below)
    • Choosing bonus points as a Milestone Reward
    • Qualified spending through IHG Business Rewards
    • You can earn non-Qualified Points (that won’t count towards status but are still good for redemption) in the following ways:
      • Purchases on IHG One Rewards credit cards
      • New cardmember bonuses
      • Points or bonus points from partner promotions (not purchases)
      • Elite Tier Bonus Points
      • Point vouchers, purchases, deposits etc.

Once you rack up enough Qualified Nights or Qualified Points, you’ll reach new status. 

However, only Qualified Nights count towards Milestone Rewards, which means it doesn’t matter whether you spend $5,200 a night at the InterContinental Bora Bora or $88 per night at the Holiday Inn Express in Olathe—nights are nights. 

This system seems oddly unfair to IHG’s luxury travelers, so keep that in mind if you were hoping to reap in Milestone Rewards for staying at one of IHG’s nicer properties. At least high-dollar hotel guests will earn points faster towards status.

While it may seem stingy that IHG One Rewards credit cards don’t offer qualified points towards status with credit card spend, the cards do all offer a status boost when hitting a spending threshold. Spending to reach Gold Elite status rarely makes sense, but spending to reach Diamond Elite might if you are a luxury traveler. 

  • IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card: Each Calendar Year you make purchases totaling $20,000 or more, you, as the primary cardmember, will qualify for Gold Elite Status through December 31 of the following year. 
  • IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card: Each Calendar Year you make purchases totaling $40,000 or more, you, as the primary cardmember, will qualify for Diamond Elite Status through December 31 of the following year. 
  • IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card: Each Calendar Year you make purchases totaling $40,000 or more, you, as the primary cardmember, will qualify for Diamond Elite Status through December 31 of the following year. 

To learn more about these cards, check out our IHG One Traveler Card and IHG One Premier Card reviews.

Now that we’ve covered how to earn status, is it worth the effort in the first place? 

Is IHG One Rewards status worth it? 

Well, it’s a mixed bag. For context, let’s go ahead and cover what’s new at each tier: 

  • Club Member (0 nights/0 points)
    • 10X on IHG purchases
    • No blackout dates on reward nights
    • Member rates and promotions
    • Free Wi-Fi
    • 2pm checkout (when available)
  • Silver Elite (10 nights/no points option at this tier)
    • 12X on IHG purchases
    • Points don’t expire
  • Gold Elite (20 nights/40k points)
    • 14X on IHG purchases
    • Rollover nights for next year’s status
  • Platinum Elite (40 nights/60k points)
    • 16X on IHG purchases 
    • Complimentary room upgrades when available
    • Welcome amenity
    • 72-hour room availability 
    • Reward night discounts
    • Early check-in
  • Diamond Elite (70 nights/120k points)
    • 20X on IHG purchases
    • Dedicated Diamond Support
    • Welcome amenity (options now include daily free hot breakfast for two)

As you probably noticed, the only substantial benefits you get at Silver Elite and Gold Elite levels are better point multipliers. You won’t start getting unlimited upgrade eligibility,  early check-in, or really any other special treatment until you reach Platinum Elite (40 nights/60k points). 

Withholding all the “good stuff” for Platinum Elite feels stingy. For comparison, Marriott Bonvoy starts offering free room upgrades at Gold Elite (25 nights) and World of Hyatt starts offering “preferred room” upgrades (e.g. corner, quiet, better view) after just 10 nights. 

Now let’s see if Milestone Rewards can make up for the disappointing shortage of perks before Platinum Elite status. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 20 Nights – Choice of:
    • 5k Bonus Points
    • Two Food & Beverage Rewards
    • One Confirmable Suite Upgrade
  • 30 Nights – Choice of:
    • 5k Bonus Points
    • Two Food & Beverage Rewards
  • 40 Nights – Choice of:
    • 10k Bonus Points
    • Five Food & Beverage Rewards
    • One Confirmable Suite Upgrade
    • Annual Lounge Membership
  • 50 Nights – Choice of:
    • 10k Bonus Points
    • Five Food & Beverage Rewards

Nights 60 through 100 are generally repeats of earlier tiers, though at 70 nights you can choose up to two Confirmable Suite Upgrades. 

Overall, these Milestone Rewards are a welcome addition that make the long trek to Platinum Elite status a little more rewarding. 5k bonus points is enough to redeem for a free night at select properties/dates. Plus, Hilton and Marriott don’t offer milestone rewards at all until you reach 40 and 50 nights, respectively. 

Speaking of redemption, how much are your hard-earned IHG One Rewards points even worth? 

How can I redeem IHG One Rewards points? 

IHG One Rewards offers the following ways to redeem your points (without affecting your running total towards status): 

  • Reward nights – starting at 5,000 points but more often 20,000-40,000 for mid-level hotels, higher for luxury properties on peak dates
  • Points and cash
  • Transfers to one of IHG’s 41 airline partners
  • Trip enhancements (aka tours, excursions etc)
  • IHG One Rewards Access events
  • Online shopping
  • Points donations
  • Digital Rewards (e.g. eBooks and magazine subscriptions)

As is typical for a hotel rewards program, it’s really only worth redeeming points for more free nights and upgrades. IHG One Rewards points are worth roughly 0.7 cents a pop when redeemed for IHG stays, but their value plummets to 0.5 or less with other options. Most airline transfers, for example, happen at a dismal 5:1 ratio. 

But that’s totally OK, because IHG One Rewards points were never supposed to be as versatile as a transferable currency such as Chase Ultimate Rewards. For the primary purpose they serve—raking in free nights— they do an excellent job. Earning 10X as a base member means you’ll earn free nights in as little as $500 worth of spending, and if you get an IHG credit card like the IHG One Rewards Traveler, you could earn up to 17X on every stay with the card and tier multipliers. But dynamic pricing means that redemption values will vary by property or even night-by-night in a single stay.

So far, I’d give IHG One Rewards a 4/10 for status, 6/10 for Milestone Rewards and 8/10 for point redemptions. Before we wrap up, let’s see how IHG stacks up to its hospitality rivals. 

How does IHG One Rewards compare to other hotel rewards programs? 

If you’re considering which hotel brand to pledge fealty to based on their rewards program, you should know that IHG One Rewards comes in roughly average:

  • World of Hyatt offers better status benefits, milestone rewards and awards free nights more often. Overall, it’s a more generous program across the board – but Hyatt only has ~1,300 properties compared to IHG’s 6,200.
  • Hilton Honors offers a Redeem-Four-Get-One deal on reward nights once you reach Silver (10 nights) and daily food/beverage/hot breakfast credits once you reach Gold (40 nights) and unlimited lounge access when you reach Diamond (60 nights). Milestone rewards don’t start until night 40, though. But if you’re keen on free breakfast at higher-end, it’s the better choice.
  • Marriott Bonvoy offers the same Redeem-Four-Get-One deal on reward nights to all members and unlimited room upgrades starting at Gold Elite (25 nights) but you also won’t get late checkout until you reach Gold Elite, either. So if you’d prefer upgraded rooms to the option to sleep in, it’s the better rewards program. 

Another notch in IHG’s column appears when you add in the IHG Rewards credit card portfolio’s Redeem-three-get-one-free benefit which tops its competitors as long as you are willing to hold an IHG credit card. 

All things considered, IHG One’s ho-hum Milestone Rewards barely make up for its stingy status benefits, so it’s a good thing the points you earn along the way are so valuable towards free nights. But before you commit to a single hotel brand in 2024, be sure to consider which hotel rewards credit card is a fit for your wallet. 



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