While IHG Rewards Club certainly give you access to hotels in the majority of popular destinations, the points are inflated compared to other rewards program points – see how IHG points add up.
The International Hotel Group is one of the world’s largest (and oldest) hotel chains. With a large variety of hotels – ranging from budget-friendly Holiday Inns to stately InterContinental Hotels – travelers can plan everything from weekend trips to international vacations.
The IHG Rewards Club, which gives you the opportunity to earn points that can be redeemed for travel, merchandise and more, seems like a good choice for an international traveler seeking to hop between a large number of destinations – but how far can IHG points actually take you?
Our analysis shows that – while the IHG Rewards Club certainly gives you access to hotels in many popular locations – the points are inflated compared to other rewards program points, and it takes a vast number of points to score an award night in certain locales.
IHG points value
While it’s not uncommon for hotel programs to inflate their rewards points, IHG points sit near the bottom of the chart in terms of redemption value. We estimate IHG points to be worth 0.55 cents apiece, well below Marriott’s value and near the same value as Hilton Honors points.
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How we value IHG points
To estimate the value of IHG points, we’ve taken a sampling of hotels from each level of hotel across a variety of travel destinations, compared the price in dollars to points across a variety of dates, and then calculated an overall average. We find that value of IHG points is extremely consistent across hotel levels.
How to value IHG points for yourself
We’ve told you how we value IHG points, but the value of points really comes down to how each individual actually ends up using them. In trying to determine what IHG points are worth to you, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Which redemption option do you prefer? Do you prefer to use your points for standard room awards, or do you prefer another redemption option? (Note, some redemption options can severely lower the value of your points.)
- What level of hotel do you intend to stay in? Do you want to stretch your points across a lower-level hotel, or are you aiming for a weekend at a luxury resort? Check the point rate to see how many rewards you might have to earn – and check the hotel rate in dollars to see how much each of your points will be worth.
- What’s your destination? If you have a specific destination in mind, check the prices for that destination before you plunge into the IHG program – and keep in mind that those point values could change in the future, thanks to IHG’s dynamic awards system.
How to calculate your point value
To estimate your point value, you can take the value of your intended redemption option in dollars, subtract any taxes or fees that you still have to pay (note: IHG gives you the option to cover taxes and fees with points) and divide it by the number of required points:
Point Value = Rewards Value (in dollars)/Number of Points
The resulting value will be a rough estimate. There are a plethora of factors that can affect the value of an award night, such as the points lost by not paying for the room in cash, the lowest possible rate you could score on that particular room over time, the lowest rate you could get for a room in the same destination among competing hotel chains and so on. But, for a simple comparison of point values between loyalty programs, the above formula should help you along.
How flexible are IHG points?
The IHG program gives you plenty of options for earning and redeeming points, with few restrictions to get in the way of using your points. Here are some of the pros and cons of IHG points:
Pros of IHG points:
- There are many different ways to earn IHG points, from booking travel to completing IHG customer surveys. You can earn even more points by signing up for an IHG credit card and taking advantage of its bonuses and rewards
- IHG points don’t expire as long as you earn or redeem points within a 12-month period.
- IHG has one of the largest hotel networks in the world – you should be able to find redemption options in most places you want to travel.
- In case you don’t have enough points for a reward night, you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for a stay at any of IHG’s properties (however, you’ll want to check the value before you redeem this way, as it can vary drastically).
- IHG doesn’t enforce blackout dates on its awards and availability of award nights tends to be good for most destinations. As long as you check in advance, you should be able to find availability for most destinations.
- The IHG portfolio includes some very affordable hotel brands, including Candlewood Suites and Holiday Inn Express, allowing budget travelers to collect points on cheaper hotel stays and redeem those points for a reward stay at a high-end hotel.
- IHG Rewards Club members can choose between earning IHG Rewards Points and earning points or miles with more than 40 partner airlines. In many cases, you’ll earn 2 points/miles per dollar when you stay at higher-tier IHG brands and 1 point/mile per dollar on other IHG stays.
Cons of IHG points:
- In 2020, IHG switched from fixed to dynamic award pricing. This means that the number of points required for an award night can vary based on brand, hotel, day of week and more.
- Though IHG offers redemption options outside of award nights, the value is mostly poor.
- If you want to convert existing IHG points into partner airline points or miles, you can – but the transfer ratio is generally 5:1, which isn’t a great deal.
- There is no option to redeem your points for cash back.
- IHG points are very inflated compared to other programs’ points, and it can require a vast number of points to book a room award in some destinations.
- Hotel options in Hawaii are minimal – you are probably better off with another loyalty program if you want to use points for a Hawaiian vacation.
- IHG makes frequent updates to its program that decrease the value of its points.
Are IHG points worth it?
For fans of IHG brand hotels, IHG points are a no-brainer, and for a world traveler looking for points that give them a large range of options, IHG points are a viable choice. That said, if you are thinking about signing up for an IHG credit card in the hopes of earning bonus points toward a reward stay at a particular destination, you should do a careful investigation of what those points will actually get you to that destination. In some cases, you might get a few reward nights – while in other cases, your rewards may not take you very far at all.