I have written about the 5 best uses of Hilton points and 4 best uses of Choice points. To continue the series, I will show you the 6 best uses of IHG points in this post. While the IHG Rewards program just recently devalued, you could still find value in the program but you have to look much harder than before.
- [Read: 3 Reasons why IHG doesn’t have a REAL hotel rewards program ]
- [Read: Clearly Chase and IHG have no idea what is going on ]
- [Read: IHG guts its free anniversary night ]
IHG points are frequently on sale with 100% bonus, with average cost as low as 0.575 cents per point. Whether it makes sense to purchase points for an award stay will depend on the cash rate of the hotel you are looking at. Clearly, you have to do the math. But often times, even at low category IHG hotels and non-fancy locations, using points purchased would still be cheaper than paying cash for the stay.
Best Uses of IHG points – IHG PointBreaks
Perhaps the very best use of IHG points is to redeem just 5,000 points for IHG PointBreaks hotels, which is like paying less than $30 per night! The list of IHG PointBreaks hotels change every quarter, and usually comes out end of January, April, July and October. Recently IHG changed the rules of IHG Point Breaks so that hotels can cost 5,000, 10,000 or 15,000, so while you can still find some good deals, it’s not QUITE as good a deal as it used to be…
Points With a Crew maintains a list of the IHG Point Breaks map and sortable table, which you can use to find where the Point Breaks hotels are. The next list should come out at the end of July.
While many of the point-breaks hotels are usually outside of U.S. and mostly lower level IHG brands, occasionally one or two InterContinental hotels are included on the list. If your travel plan happens to land you in one of the city with a PointBreaks hotel, you could save some significant cash (or points) for your trip!
Best Uses of IHG points – High-end hotels and resorts
You will find many Intercontinental resorts and hotels in expensive destinations around the world, such as New York, Paris, London, Bora Bora to name a few. Besides using your annual free IHG night at these expensive locations, you can easily extend your visit by booking an award stay using up to 70,000 points per night. You will definitely get one of the best use of IHG points at these high-end IHG properties.
Use IHG points for expensive destinations
Not all expensive destinations are necessarily bucket-list destinations. One example is Ocean City Maryland, a very popular summer beach destination, especially for folks living on the East Coast. Few summers ago, we stayed at the Holiday Inn & Suites Ocean City, right on the beach.
The hotel was not fancy by any means, but the room it all five of us just fine. It also has a kitchen, separate living area, and accommodates up to six people! The best part? The hotel costs 50,000 points a night while cash rate is well over $450 during summer! Even if you book your stay using points purchased, you can still get a substantial saving.
Use IHG points for all-inclusive resorts
IHG has three all-inclusive resorts that you can redeem points for a stay.
- Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay – 50,000 points per night
- Holiday Inn Resort Los Cabos – 40,000 points per night
- Holiday Inn Resort Ixtapa – 50,000 points per night.
Another thing about these resorts is that IHG often puts their resort hotels on sale for 50% off the points.
Use IHG points for special events
If you are planning to be in Time Square on New Year’s Eve to join millions of people counting down to the New Year, you can stay one night at the Crowne Plaza using 60,000 points for a room that cost $1,900 in cash! Is it worth buying IHG points at less than 0.6 cents per point in this case? Absolutely!
You can also use IHG points to help score Super Bowl hotel deals or World Series hotel deals. Prices for hotel rooms in college towns can go through the roof on event days, like this August weekend in Tuscaloosa, AL. But IHG points will save you a bundle!
Use IHG points for big families
Holiday Inn Vacation Clubs have two-bedroom suites that can accommodate up to 8 people. Some of these suites can be redeemed for 25,000 to 35,000 points a night. But be sure to check cash rates before redeeming points.
Taking the family to visit San Francisco Bay Area? you can consider staying at the StayBridge Suites San Francisco Airport (see Dan’s full review here). You can book a one-bedroom suite using just 40,000 points, instead of paying for almost $400 after taxes and fees. If you need a two-bedroom suite, consider calling the hotel and ask for a cash upgrade.
Just like Hilton and Choice Hotel programs, there are value to be found with the IHG Rewards Club. As always, it will take some effort and number crunching each time to see if it make sense to purchase points for an award stay.
I have purchased the IHG points packages from Daily Getaways in prior years. With the program’s recent devaluation and no plans for IHG stays in the near future, I won’t be reloading my IHG points this year.
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All the uses mentioned are great however this is a warning to check very, very carefully any offer from IHG. On May 1, I got an email from IHG, as a Platinum Priority Club member, including [exact quotes]:
Your dream getaway can now be a reality. Because when you register for Accelerate, and stay at one of your favorite IHG hotels, you’ll get 2,500 bonus points for your first night’s stay. And you’ll be all set to earn even more points on additional stays between May 15 and August 31.
So relax. Whether your next trip means pitching new clients or meeting old friends, Accelerate is working hard to get you more.
How easy is this?
1. Register for Accelerate
2. Book and stay at any of your favorite IHG hotels by August 31
I registered on May 11 and immediately made a paid fully cancelable reservation for June using my Chase IHG Visa card to guarantee payment. Part of my Accelerate offer was a bonus for using the card. If I completed three of the four Bonus challenges I would also get an Incentive Bonus. Well guess what, the “small print” required the paid booking to be made after May 15 to count. Yes, you are right I didn’t read the small print just fell for the beginning of the email, “you’ll be all set to earn even more points on additional stays between May 15 and August 31.”
Now IHG as part of their dedication to long standing Elite members of their loyalty program, have told me, sorry you do not qualify because even though you stayed and paid with your card, you booked four days too early, because only bookings made after May 15 qualify. Yes, if I had realised I would of course have canceled the booking and rebooked after May 15. Seems that IHG values new loyalty but not old loyalty.
The above recommendations are great but mostly useless. To redeem ihg points at a nice popular location is all but impossible as many locations only have a small amount of rooms available for reward nights. I dont know if its true but allegedly IHG properties only have to have 5% of rooms available for reward nights. Like the intercontinental Borra Borra which I tried to book a stay at for over a year for my honeymoon, I looked literally ever day for a year and they never opened up reward nights. They had plenty of rooms available but just none for reward nights. They say they dont have black out dates but it basically the same thing if you cant use the points. I had over 700000 points at the time but couldn’t use them at any of the nicer locations. Same goes for credit card reward nights.
IHG should be more truthful with points and say use your points or reward nights anytime at any of least desirable locations like next to a airport, you want to stay at Borra Borra, well not with us but how about Detroit in the winter.
I disagree. For example, for the eclipse, there was plenty of availability for hotels in the Portland, Boise, and Kansas City areas just a few months ago. I booked a room at a Holiday Inn Express in the southern Portland area in March for the eclipse in August. You just need to plan ahead, and at least with points there is no penalty for canceling.
The eclipse is a one-off event that management may not have been savvy of, or had a policy built around. Resorts that are constantly have high room rates (i.e. Bora Bora) or routinely have dates that are super-high-demand (i.e. Holiday Inn Express State College) are stingier than properties that are struggling to fill rooms. This is only natural.
All hotel brands are guilty of this, though. It’s simply supply-and-demand creating room rates that are more lucrative for the property than the points-rates.
What IHG is uniquely guilty of is their deprivation of elite benefits on awards stays.
Hi, Dan. Thanks for the great post. I am hooked on the 5,000-point-a-night PointsBreak opportunities and am writing this from my hotel room in Krabi, Thailand where I am enjoying a week ar the beach. Last quarter I spent a week in Jakarta. I’m eagerly awaiting the new list and hoping for an InterContinental or at least a Crowne Plaza. I stopped in Bangkok on the way here and used a free night certificate at the beautifully-situated InterContinental, which I loved. Hope to see you in Chicago in October.
Point Breaks are awesome! I’ll be at Chicago Seminars so see you there!
Hasn’t it been a few quarters since they’ve had an IC on the list? Or have I simply not been checking thoroughly?
I think the hope is, now that 10k and 15k PointsBreak categories exist, more high-end properties will participate.
Sign up bonus in you post states 80k but when you click through the sign up bonus is only60k.
FYI — the max per night for to properties is now 70k — not 60k. Also, there is exactly zero availability for Bora Bora (Thalasso and Le Moana) for the next year, so they’ve kinda killed that possibility.
IHG is the old Hilton… it’s nearly impossible to find deals. Now that points breaks are no longer 5K the deals are really really rare. Just a few years ago there was always a nice out of the way or run down IC. Now that never happens and most of the hotels are quite substandard there is a complete slippage of standards if the brand. The promos are tricks and traps. For leisure travel I prefer airbnb, sure there are crappy Airbnb’s but there are a lot of crappy IHGs too.