IHG Hotel Loyalty Program is Underrated

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I’ve expressed in previous posts that I’m a big fan of Hyatt and Starwood’s hotel loyalty program.  Hyatt is probably the best program to redeem points for top-tier hotels at only 22,000 points per night (some hotels soon to be 25,000 or 30,000 points).  You can easily earn Hyatt points from transferring Ultimate Rewards from Chase Ink or Chase Sapphire Preferred credit cards.  SPG points are not too hard to obtain by churning the business and personal AMEX SPG card back and forth.  However, my new favorite hotel loyalty program may be IHG. Not many people like the IHG loyalty program, but I do.  I think the IHG hotel loyalty program is underrated.

The Intercontinental Hotels Group or IHG is made of the following brands:

IHG Hotel Brands

IHG Hotel Brands

IHG gets a lot of negativity because its hotel loyalty program is quite vague.  The biggest negative feature about the IHG loyalty program is that it does not give benefits if you are staying on points, unless you are lucky.

IHG’s elite status is based on whether you have an Ambassador membership with IHG.  You have to buy the Intercontinental Ambassador status for $200 a year.  The highest level of IHG status is Royal Ambassador, which is invite only and usually awarded if you are Ambassador and you have a significant amount of stays. IHG Ambassador status includes the following perks:

  • Guaranteed room upgrade
  • Fresh fruit upon arrival
  • Mineral water in room, replenished daily
  • In-room gift
  • Single-room rate for double occupancy
  • Extended checkout—up to 4pm
  • Dedicated Ambassador check-in area
  • Complimentary pay-TV film per stay
  • Complimentary newspaper, delivered daily 
  • Complimentary weekend night certificate*
  • Elite status in IHG® Rewards Club
  • 5,000 bonus IHG® Rewards Club points

The buy one get one free certificate can make the membership worth it already.  Keep in mind that these perks are not guaranteed with staying on points.  Also, I value 5,000 points at a minimum $50.

If you do not buy into the IHG Ambassador program, you can obtain IHG Platinum status easily by applying for the Chase IHG credit card.  This is one of the best hotel credit cards because the sign up bonus is 80,000 points via Flyertalk and a free night is given at any IHG property for only the $49 annual fee.  This credit card is constantly underrated and I think everyone should have it because $49 for a night in Bora Bora is just crazy.

The best and my favorite feature about the IHG loyalty program is the ability to stack and apply multiple promos to your IHG account.  Here are some basic steps on how to input multiple promos:

  1. Follow this link to input promo codes. 
  2. Insert all the promos found here on Milepoint.  Might take a while to input all of them.  There aren’t that many details on every promo, but it doesn’t hurt to add it to your account.
  3. Check your account after your stay.  Points may take 4-5 days to post.  IHG is known to be slow in posting points.

    Example of my stacked offers!

    Example of my stacked offers!

It’s very lucrative right now to stay at IHG hotels by stacking offer codes along with participating in IHG’s Big Win promotion.  I am on my way to completing the IHG Big win promo by doing 2 additional Saturday stays.  I was thankful that I had a 5 day work stay in Atlanta earlier this month.  I earned a ton of points from the stacked promos.  Actually initially my work stay was non-qualifying, but I was able to have it fixed by contacting @IhgCare on Twitter.  Their twitter is extremely helpful and responseful, thanks IHG!  I earned 40,000 points just for my 5 night stay, and that doesn’t include the IHG Big Win promotion.  My plan is to try getting 100,000 points for a future stay at a far off resort in the Pacific Ocean.  Of course I am a little biased because I have a travel goal in the future staying at Intercontinental hotels :). With the ease of collecting points through stackable promos and it’s current Big Win promotion (until Dec 31), I think you might want to consider IHG right now.

IHG Points Stacking Bonanza!

IHG Points Stacking Bonanza!

What are your thoughts about the IHG hotel loyalty program? Do you think it’s underrated or overrated? 

14 comments for “IHG Hotel Loyalty Program is Underrated

  1. Maury
    November 25, 2013 at 5:27 am

    I am staying in the IC Thalasso in Bora Bora this coming July with points. I may throw in a another night with the free annual night certificate.

    • November 25, 2013 at 8:07 am

      Awesome that’s some great value right there

  2. November 25, 2013 at 6:38 am

    I completely agree that it is under-rated. Also, there is a way to essentially buy IHG points for 0.7 cents per dollar with no yearly limit. Many rooms are often only 10k points, which can save you some money if you had to purchase a room outright at other places. Their points break promo is usually a very good deal if you happen to find one in the place you’re traveling to that quarter of the year.

  3. Jason
    November 25, 2013 at 7:37 am

    My points just posted for this 2-night stay. I stacked promos for the first time and ended up with 35,570 points, before Win Big promo. Not a bad weekend’s worth!

    • Jason, part 2
      November 25, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Rom or anyone who knows- With the above points I got, how often do those codes go away? Jan 1st? I’m considering doing another weekend with my wife’s account and don’t want to miss out on another 35K point weekend. Thank you!

      • November 25, 2013 at 9:26 am

        It just depends.. Go into your account and check each promo. Some come and go. There’s a lot of ambiguity in the promos. It’s kind of a gamble :).

  4. Gaurav
    November 25, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Rom, did you buy the ambassador status?

    • November 25, 2013 at 11:46 am

      I haven’t yet because still trying to plan future travel. Seeing where I could use the BOGO. I might buy it just to see if it does anything in Bora Bora on points stays.

      • Gaurav
        November 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm

        I guess I am a little confused by their Elite levels. Is it Gold>Platinum>Ambassador>Royal Ambassador? Or is it Gold and Platinum based on stays and Ambassador something you buy for extra amenities? Any insight?

        • November 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm

          It is that order. You can skip to ambassador by paying. Not sure it makes a difference if you are platinum ambassador vs ambassador. The hotel card is worth getting regardless.

  5. ZR
    November 25, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Rom, I heard IHG is known for closing account and confiscating points if you use targeted code you are not entitled to.
    Any concern about that? Thanks!

    • November 25, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Haven’t heard any recent reports.. I know somebody got shutdown for doing best rate guarantee about 25 times. I think we are fine.

  6. al613
    November 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I think you can score big on your first stay after registration esp. if its a few night stay, but on the next one same codes will not work for a while. Some codes are active for years and you can earn only once on them.

    • November 25, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      Yeah I can see I fulfilled some of the offers already.

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