IHG Reward Club Guide

The InterContinental Hotel Group, better known as IHG, is a large hotel portfolio with over 5,500 to choose from. Most notably, they are the owners of Holiday Inn. Most of their hotels are economy or mid-range properties, but they have been expanding their tip-tier by acquiring some luxury hotel brands in the past few years.


InterContinental – High-end properties and brand name prestige. You can expect exceptional service and lovely rooms from their new properties. However, this is a legacy brand and many of their properties are a bit out of step with the times, at least in my own opinion.

Kimpton – Upscale – properties, generally with a modern or boutique design. Unlike cookie-cutter chains like Holliday Inn, each Kimpton has a unique design that makes it part of the destination and less of ‘just somewhere to rest my head at night’.

Six Senses Resorts – Luxury – With over-sea villas, breathtaking views, and exotic destinations, each Six Sense resort is a destination in itself.

Regent – Luxury – If InterContinental isn’t enough, Regent Hotels should suffice. Joining the IHG portfolio in 2018, these properties are the new best-in-class offering 5-star accommodations.

Voco – Mid-range – If you are abroad and looking for a nicer stay than your typical Holiday Inn this is a great option. None currently open in North America.

Hualuxe – This brand is dedicated to Chinese guests so they can feel at home wherever they are staying.

Crowne Plaza – Business Focused Built with the business traveler in mind, these are typically mid to high scale properties, many near major airports and in business hubs for convenience. You can expect to mind plenty of meeting spaces, conference rooms, and print services to keep you productive on the go.

Hotel Indigo – Mid-range – properties that have aim to be boutique but are more generic. These are kind of like a Kimpton Lite in my opinion.

EVEN – These are what I would consider an concept/trend brand. It’s a smaller chain with few locations that focus on the travelers well being. In room yoga mats, a focus on health foods, ect. This is a place where your kale loving friends will feel at home.

Avid – Economy – This is the newest addition to the IHG portfolio and is basically a revamped Holliday Inn. Cookie cutter hotels that look the same wherever you go and designed to meet the needs of families and budget conscious travelers. It really is Holiday Inn Express but with a new color theme and more modern design.

Holiday Inn Brands – Economy – These are your classic family hotels. Fairly basic, meet your essential needs, and are more comfortable than a motel. A lot of the properties are fairly old and generic, but their newly built hotels are aiming to be a step up.

  • Holliday Inn
  • Holliday Inn Express
  • Holliday Inn Resorts

Staybridge Suites – Mid-range Extended Stay – This is IHG’s higher end range of extended stay properties.

Candlewood Suites – Economy Extended Stay – Generally pretty cheap, not the best stay.

Elite Status Levels

There are four levels of status you can earn in the IHG Reward Program, Club, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, and Spire Elite. They also offer the paid InterContinental Ambassador membership with specific perks. Status is earned by accruing enough qualifying nights or points. Most paid bookings are considered a qualifying stay, with exclusions being for special discounts such as employee or crew rates. Points for regular members expire after one year, but never expire for active Elite members.

All members, even non-Elite members, get access to free internet and a $30 spa credit at participating hotels.

All Elite members enjoy priority check in, a welcome amenity (typically a free drink or bonus points), and Raid the Bar (drink credit) at Kimptons.

In response to Covid, the requirements to earn elite status have been lowered for 2020.

Club Member

This is the base tier that anyone gets by signing up and allows you to earn points.

  • Free internet
  • $30 spa credit

Gold Elite

10 Nights or 10,000 EQP (Currently 7 or 7,000)

This is the first rung on the Elite status ladder unlocking you some additional perks. You don’t unlock too much value, just a couple nice-to-have items.

  • 10% bonus points on base rate
  • Welcome amenity
  • Late check-out

Platinum Elite

40 Nights or 40,000 EQP (Currently 30 or 30,000)

Now we get into perks that are worth having. Say hello to free room upgrades and a lot more bonus points per booking!

  • Complementary room upgrade when available
  • Guaranteed room availability with 72 hours notice, excluding high demand times
  • Late Check-Out
  • 50% bonus points on base rate
  • Award Nights now count towards earning Spire Elite status
  • Elite Rollover Nights (any nights earned after your 40 qualifying nights will rollover to the next year)

Spire Elite

75 Nights or 75,000 EQP (Currently 55 or 55,000)

  • Complementary room upgrade when available
  • Guaranteed room availability with 72 hours notice, excluding high demand times
  • Late Check-Out
  • Early Check-In
  • 100% bonus points on base rate
  • Elite Rollover Nights (any nights earned after your 75 qualifying nights will rollover to the next year)
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star Status
  • Dedicated Phone Assistance

Spire Elite members also get some Kimpton Inner Circle benefits including an amenity and Chef’s Taste which is a specially prepared appetizer or desert at participating Kimpton restaurants.

InterContinental Ambassador

This is a paid program at $200 a year that gets you more benefits at InterContinental and select Kimpton hotels.

  • Guaranteed room upgrade one category
  • Extended 4pm checkout
  • Free weekend night
  • $20 Restaurant/Bar credit per stay
  • Dedicated check-in
  • Single room rate for double occupancy

Redemption Options

IHG uses categories for reward rates, but has recently started to roll out dynamic pricing. This means that a hotel will typically had a fixed rate for point redemptions, but that can now change with demand. The award rate still is not tied to the dollar price, i.e. when the hotel cost more to book in dollars, it cost more to book in points. There is still some predictability in the award pricing and great options for a good value redemption.

  • Reward nights range from 10,000 to 70,000 points per night
  • Points and Cash options available
  • Transfer points to airlines (though not at a good rate)
  • Transfer points to friends or family (for a fee)

Credit Cards

IHG offers two cards, the Premier and Traveler, both offered through Chase. Full review of both to come, but here are the basics.


This is the standard card that you will see them marketing. It has a great value proposition for those who travel.

  • $89 Annual Fee
  • Platinum Elite Status
  • Free Anniversary Night (with restrictions)
  • Fourth Night Free
  • Reward Pricing
  • TSA Pre-Check/Global Entry Fee Waiver


  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Fourth night free
  • No automatic elite status

Writing about aviation and points. Specifically interested in Australia and New England regional airports.

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