Home | Deals | News | Store | Community   Search our site:


 Bonus Promotions
 DealWatch
 Mileage Mall
 Frequent Flyer T-Shirts


 Award/Upgrade Index
 Head2Head
 Mileage Converter
 Program Guide
 Program Questions
 Program Timeline
 Ratings & Reviews


 Flight Schedules
 Flight Tracking
 Glossary
 Mileage Calculator


 Ask Randy
 Late-Breaking News
 Travel Information
 View From the Wing


 AirPoll
 Community


 Funnies
 Postcards



WebFlyer Home > Programs > Ratings & Reviews

Ratings & Reviews

(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)


IHG Rewards Club


5.58
(214 ratings)

7.76

This program was reviewed and rated by our editors in March 2014. Changes in the program past this date are possible, especially program partner information. We recommend you subscribe to the #1 source of frequent flyer information, Inside Flyer Magazine, to get the most current information possible.

First and Largest

IHG Rewards Club dates back to 1983 and has the distinction of being the first hotel loyalty program in the world.

It currently includes over 76 million members, which makes it the world’s largest hotel loyalty program. InterContinental Hotels Group is comprised of over 679,000 rooms in more than 4,600 hotels in nearly 100 countries. IHG brands include InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. Two new brands include EVEN Hotels, aimed at health-minded business and leisure travelers, and HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts, the first international upscale hotel brand designed specifically for Chinese guests. Currently, four EVEN Hotels and 21 HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts are planned, with the first properties scheduled to open soon.


EARNING ABILITY:

6.03
Our
Rating:

8.50
Members can choose to earn either IHG Rewards Club points or airline miles for their stays. Stays at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts earn 2,000 points at properties outside the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Latin America and Caribbean or 10 points for every dollar spent on eligible charges within these locales. Stays at all other brands earn 10 points per dollar spent, except for Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites where members earn five points per dollar. Members earn 600 to 2,000 points per stay at ANA Hotels in Japan depending on the hotel, or members may opt for airline miles. Eligible charges include food and beverage, telephone, laundry and in-room movies charged to the member’s room.

If you enroll at the time of your first stay at any IHG-branded hotel worldwide, excluding ANA partner hotels, you’ll earn 1,000 points for the stay. Members also can collect points or miles for multiple hotel rooms (fewer than 10) in the U.S. provided the rooms are used in conjunction with the member’s stay at the same hotel and under the member’s hotel bill.

Members can earn additional points through partnerships including a co-branded credit card, car rentals, dining, cruises, retail, energy services, Diners Club, e-Rewards and e-Miles.

Through IHG Meeting Rewards, meeting planners can earn three points per dollar spent on qualifying meetings at over 3,800 hotels worldwide. Active meeting planners receive Gold Elite status when hosting one qualified meeting, or Platinum Elite status when hosting two or more in a calendar year.

As an IHG Rewards Club member, you can pay to join InterContinental Ambassador, a program that offers special benefits at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. InterContinental Ambassadors can earn 20,000 IHG Rewards Club bonus points for every 15 qualifying nights at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts properties.

^top
AWARD CHOICES:

5.79
Our
Rating:

8.50
Award nights start at 10,000 points for Category 1 hotels, up to 50,000 points for Category 9 hotels. In the past, the points required for a redemption were tied to the brand, but that’s no longer the case. All-inclusive resorts require an additional 10,000 points.

PointBreaks awards offer a good value by requiring only 5,000 points per night. PointBreaks are available at select locations for a limited time. Find current offers at http://www.ihgrewardsclub.com/pointbreaks. Another way to save points is through Last-Minute Reward Nights. These are nights at select IHG properties offered at 50-percent fewer points during the first full weekend of each month. Find details at http://www.ihgrewardsclub.com/lastminuterewardnights. Additionally, limited-time Flash Sales offer award night discounts of 25 to 75 percent.

Points & Cash is another option, which allows members to redeem points from their account plus cash for a variety of awards. For hotel stays, members can purchase 5,000 points for $40 or 10,000 points for $70 to reach the total required for an award night.

IHG Rewards Club members also can take advantage of Hotels Anywhere awards with redemption rates starting at 10,000 points per night at thousands of competitor hotels. Our search for one night in a London hotel in May resulted in options from 25,000 points for a three-star hotel to 593,000 points for The Savoy.

You can use your points for an Any Hotel, Anywhere Prepaid MasterCard, which is a prepaid card valid for checkout at any lodging establishment that accepts MasterCard (35,000 points for $100 card).

You can use points or points plus cash for Flights Anywhere awards, starting at 20,000 points, on over 250 airlines worldwide. In most cases, you also can earn frequent flyer miles on these flights. Cars Anywhere allows members to use points for car rentals for as few as 5,000 points. Members can convert their IHG Club Rewards points to airline miles/points on more than 30 airlines, such as 10,000 IHG points for 2,000 miles in United MileagePlus, US Airways Dividend Miles, Lufthansa Miles & More, Delta SkyMiles and other programs.

Merchandise Rewards offer members the ability to turn their points, or points plus cash, into brand-name merchandise. For example, you can redeem 25,000 points for a cordless driver drill or 12,500 points plus $36. Members can redeem points for gift cards, such as 10,000 points for a $25 iTunes card, or for digital awards like music, e-books, software and games starting at 300 points.

IHG also offers Experience Rewards with options to spend points for exclusive experiences like a golf lesson with a pro or a picnic in a vineyard. And if you still can’t find what you wish for, an IHG Rewards Club Concierge can assist you in finding items like sporting event tickets or the latest electronic gadget, starting at 35,000 points.

IHG Meeting Rewards members can redeem their points for Meeting Credits—prepaid MasterCard cards valid toward future meetings.

Charitable members can donate points, starting at 2,500 points, to the IHG Shelter in a Storm Program established in 2011 to enable IHG hotels to help communities affected by disasters.

^top
PARTNERSHIPS:

5.32
Our
Rating:

8.00
Members who choose to earn airline miles for IHG stays can earn them in over 45 frequent flyer programs. The amount earned per stay varies by airline, but for Aeromexico, Alaska, American, Delta, LAN, United and US Airways, the rate of earning is two miles per dollar spent on most IHG hotel stays. Missing from the list of airline partners is Southwest Rapid Rewards, JetBlue True Blue and Virgin America Elevate (Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are both partners).

The IHG Rewards Club Credit Card is available to members in the U.S. The card currently offers 60,000 bonus points when spending $1,000 in the first three months, Platinum Elite status, annual free-night certificate upon card anniversary, up to five points per dollar spent at IHG hotels, two points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. There is an automatic point rebate of 10 percent when redeeming awards, even for PointBreaks awards, and there is no foreign transaction fee. There is no annual fee for the first year, and subsequent years are $49. Other cards are available for residents of Canada, the U.K. and Asia. The program does not offer a co-branded business card.

Members can earn points at participating IHG Rewards Club Dining establishments or when buying wine through Vinesse, flowers with FTD, Teleflora or 1-800-FLOWERS.com, shipping with FedEx, and various gift and retail items through IHG Rewards Club Shopping online. Members can earn points through IHG Rewards Club Cruises, starting at 3,000 points for cruises of one to five days, up to 20,000 points for cruises of 13 or more days.

Avis, Budget and Hertz are car rental partners and members earn 125 base points per rental day. Members earn 500 points for rides with Groundlink and also earn through e-Rewards and e-Miles. Members can transfer 1,250 Diners Club points for 1,500 IHG Rewards Club points. American Express Membership Rewards is not an IHG Rewards transfer partner.

^top
ELITE-LEVEL PROGRAM:

5.27
Our
Rating:

7.00
IHG Rewards Club has a two-tiered elite program offering Gold Elite and Platinum Elite status. Gold Elite members are those who stay a minimum of 15 nights or earn at least 20,000 elite qualifying points during a calendar year. Members can fast track to Gold Elite by staying 10 qualifying nights with stays at three different IHG brands. Gold Elite members receive a 10-percent bonus on base points for stays, priority check-in and an exclusive customer service phone line.

Members who stay a minimum of 50 nights or earn at least 60,000 elite qualifying points in a calendar year receive Platinum Elite membership. Members can fast track to Platinum Elite by staying 40 qualifying nights with four different IHG brands (or three brands if you live in Africa, the Middle East, Asia or Oceania.) Another way to attain Platinum Elite status is by having the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card. Platinum Elite members receive a 50-percent bonus on base points, complimentary room upgrades, guaranteed room availability with 72-hour advance notice, an exclusive customer service phone line and priority check-in.

The number of nights required to qualify for elite status is higher than Marriott and Hilton (who each require only 10 nights), the same as Hyatt Gold Passport, but far fewer than Starwood which requires 25 nights (or 10 stays) for the first elite status level. The Gold Elite bonus of 10 percent is lower than other first-level elite programs, but the 50-percent bonus for Platinum Elite is more generous than the second level elite at Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt.

For $200, members can purchase Ambassador Status, a recognition program for guests of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. There is also an invitation-only Royal Ambassador status with no published criteria for the invitation. InterContinental Ambassador members are privy to additional benefits at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, such as room upgrades, complimentary use of health club facilities and free beverages from the hotel room mini-bar.

^top
RULES AND CONDITIONS:

5.24
Our
Rating:

7.50
Members do not earn points for stays prior to membership, and must be at least 18 years of age to join.

You must choose between earning IHG Rewards Club points or airline miles, but can switch your choice online at any time. Points do not expire. Awards can be issued in anyone’s name.
IHG Rewards Club points are not awarded for cash spent on taxes, service charges and gratuities; however, expenses charged to the room such as food and beverage, telephone, laundry and in-room movies will earn points.

At U.S. and Canadian hotels, members can collect points or miles on all eligible charges for up to nine rooms with restrictions, excluding InterContinental Hotels and Resorts; globally, members earn for the room they occupy only.

Members can buy points in 1,000-point increments with a maximum of 60,000 points per year. The cost per thousand points decreases as you buy more. Buying 1,000 to 10,000 points costs $13.50 per 1,000 points; 11,000 to 25,000 costs $12.50 per 1,000 points and 26,000 to 60,000 is $11.50 per 1,000 points. You can also transfer points between IHG Rewards Club accounts for $5 per 1,000 points.

When an IHG Rewards Club member dies, the member’s points may be transferred at no cost to the account(s) of the member’s beneficiary(ies) within one year of the date of death.

^top
SERVICE SUPPORT:

5.42
Our
Rating:

8.00
On the IHG Rewards Club website, members can access Frequently Asked Questions or submit a concern. They also can reach customer service via email, a toll-free number, or Twitter.

We emailed customer service at 2pm on a Friday asking if the option to purchase Gold Elite status was still available. We received a reply in two days, but the response was, “For this transaction, may we request you to call the service center so we may advise you accordingly.” Our call was answered almost immediately and the representative was able to answer our question—the option is no longer available. IHG Rewards Club received a 2013 Freddie Award for Best Customer Service in Europe and Africa.

^top
ONLINE SERVICES:

5.98
Our
Rating:

7.50
The IHG Rewards Club website allows members to manage their account, book reservations, track promotions and redeem awards. The site is optimized for mobile devices and offers apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Android Tablets. An online community called IHG Rewards Club Connect allows members to share information and comment in an online suggestion box.

^top
PLUS FEATURES:
Members like the fact that many IHG promotions are stackable. The credit card offers a free hotel night upon card anniversary, which easily is worth more than the $49 card fee. Availability of award stays is good.

^top
MINUS FEATURES:
The elite program is not as robust as some others, especially compared to what members are promised for award stays. Members also cannot spend their points for guaranteed suite stays. Changes to the award chart in recent years saw higher-end hotel award redemptions rise by about 10,000 to 20,000 points per night.

^top
INFORMATION:
(877) 424-2449
ihgrewardsclub@ihg.com

http://www.ihgrewardsclub.com

IHG Rewards Club
3 Ravinia Drive, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30346-2149

  Earning Ability Award Choices Partnerships Elite-Level Rules & Conditions Service Support Online Services Overall Rating
Our
Rating:
8.50 8.50 8.00 7.00 7.50 8.00 7.50 7.76
Member
Rating:
6.03 5.79 5.32 5.27 5.24 5.42 5.98 5.58

(214 ratings)

^top

About Us | Advertising | Contact Us | Copyright | Help | Privacy Policy | Products | Legal

A Frequent Flyer Network site. All rights reserved.