Is IHG loyalty program for you?

It is by pure coincidence that so many of my recent posts are about IHG. They happen to have a new Accelerate promo which netted me a lot of points in the past. They released what is definitely the cheapest award nights promo, PointBreaks, which I have used over and over. And they are selling their points at one of the lowest prices ever.

Curiously my loyalty started with IHG Rewards Club  so it may be the program I have a soft spot for.

But is IHG Rewards Club right for you?

It, of course, depends.

If you happen to be staying in Holiday Inns or Crowne Plazas  by booking it through third-party websites (booking.com, hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz and various others online travel agents, OTAs) then YES!

Why?

Firstly, IHG Rewards Club guarantees the lowest price. If you are like me you would check the offers on Trivago and work out the lowest price available. IHG’s price should be no higher.

By booking via IHG website you earn loyalty points – 10 points per every U$1 spent on the nightly rate (excluding taxes). Remember that 1,000 IHG Rewards Club is worth about U$7 so a U$100 stay will effectively net you 7% rebate. This is not as good as the 10% you get with hotels.com but bear with me.

You can only earn points if you book via IHG. Stays booked via OTAs won’t get you any points.

Members of the IHG Rewards Club who book via IHG website or using the IHG app get free internet. It breaks my heart when I see people who booked via OTAs pay for hotel internet during the check-out.

You cannot earn any bonus points through Accelerate or any other IHG promos unless you book direct.

And finally, by being loyal you can earn elite status.

After 10 stays you become IHG Gold member. Further stays will get you Platinum status. And the ultimate status in IHG is Spire.

This table illustrates the perk which come with the IHG status.

I happen to be a Platinum Elite. I always book the cheapest room knowing I get an upgrade. I get 500 welcome points and 50% bonus points. There is nothing in particular about the Spire Elite which would make me go out of my way to choose IHG as opposed to Hilton, Starwood or Marriott given I hold top status in each (Hilton Diamond, SPG Platinum and Marriott Platinum, respectively). Ultimately I compare the value proposition of staying at an IHG property with whatever else is available. I factor in the location, lounge access, points earnings and nightly rate and make a decision where to stay.

Perhaps my adventures in award travel started with the IHG because they offered a short-cut to status – I became Gold Elite after my first stay.

Until end of August you can get IHG Gold Elite too without a need for 10 stays – see the offer here.

Good luck and see you!

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