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How to earn IHG points via stays, credit cards and more

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

I typically redeem a lot of IHG One Rewards points each year. Despite IHG’s shift to dynamic award pricing in 2020, you can still find excellent value when redeeming IHG points.

All these redemptions mean I also have to earn a sizable amount of IHG points each year. There are many ways to earn IHG points, so you have options whether you need to top off your account or substantially boost your balance. In this article, I’ll describe how to earn IHG points.

Earn IHG points by staying at hotels

As you might expect, you can earn IHG points when you stay at participating IHG hotels. However, the exact number of points you’ll earn on stays depends on a few factors:

  • The IHG brand
  • How much you pay for your stay
  • Your IHG elite status
  • Any active promotions for which you’ve registered
  • Whether you book a qualifying rate

You’ll only earn IHG points and get access to elite benefits when you book a qualifying rate through a qualifying method. Your stay will usually qualify if you book directly with IHG. If you book through an online travel agency, your stay usually won’t be eligible.

Related: The 19 best IHG hotels in the world

Some IHG brands earn differently

Your earning rate for qualifying stays will vary based on the IHG hotel brand. Specifically, you’ll earn points as follows:

  • Most IHG hotels: 10 points per dollar spent
  • Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites: 5 points per dollar spent
  • IHG Army Hotels: 3 points per dollar spent
  • IHG-branded Residence properties (excluding voco residences): 2.5 points per dollar spent
  • The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and The Palazzo at The Venetian Resort: 2,000 points per stay

You’ll generally earn points on qualifying room rates and additional purchases charged to your room, including food and beverages. However, at some brands and locations, you may not earn points on other purchases charged to your room.

Except at InterContinental Alliance Resorts, you can earn points on up to nine hotel rooms. Your IHG One Rewards account number must be associated with each room reservation, and you must stay at the property.

IHG elite members earn more

IHG One Rewards elite members earn additional points on IHG stays. As you’d expect, the higher your elite status tier, the more points you’ll earn on your stay. Here’s how many bonus points IHG elite members will earn:

  • Silver Elite: 20% bonus
  • Gold Elite: 40% bonus
  • Platinum Elite: 60% bonus
  • Diamond Elite: 100% bonus

Here’s an example of how these bonus points can add up. If you’re a Diamond Elite member staying at a Kimpton hotel for three nights at $200 per night, you’ll earn the following:

  • Base: $200 at 10 points per dollar for three nights equals 6,000 points
  • Bonus: 100% bonus on 6,000 points equals 6,000 points

As a result, you’d take home 12,000 IHG points from your three-night stay — and potentially more if you made any qualifying charges to your room. Based on TPG’s valuations, 12,000 IHG One Rewards points are worth $60.

Related: The best IHG all-inclusive resorts, from Jamaica to Mexico

Choose points as Milestone Rewards

When IHG launched its new IHG One Rewards program in 2022, one new perk was Milestone Rewards. Starting at just 20 nights a year, IHG members earn a choice of Milestone Rewards for every 10 nights (up to 100 nights per year).

IHG gives its elite members various rewards to choose from at each milestone. But if you’re primarily interested in earning IHG points, you’ll be happy to learn you can choose points at each milestone. Specifically, you can earn points through Milestone Rewards each calendar year as follows:

  • 20- and 30-night milestones: 5,000 points
  • 50-, 60-, 80-, 90- and 100-night milestones: 10,000 points
  • 40- and 70-night milestones: 20,000 points (if you choose points for both of your Milestone Rewards choices at these tiers)

Related: IHG Milestone Rewards: Earn confirmable suite upgrades, points and more

Earn bonus points through promotions

IHG One Rewards frequently offers promotions that let you earn additional points on your hotel stays over the standard earning rates. However, you usually need to register for IHG bonus points promotions before completing your stay.

On IHG promotions that offer multipliers (such as double points), the multiplier typically only applies to the stay’s base earnings. So, if you are an IHG elite member, your elite bonus usually won’t be multiplied.

Related: Current hotel promotions: Earn cash-back rewards and bonus points at major brands

Earn IHG points with credit cards

One of the easiest ways to earn IHG points is by spending on a cobranded IHG credit card. There are currently three options for new applicants, each offering the following sign-up bonuses:

The no-annual-fee IHG Traveler card offers automatic Silver Elite status to cardholders, while the $99-annual-fee IHG Premier and Premier Business cards offer Platinum Elite status. Cardholders of all three cards also get access to the valuable IHG fourth-night-free reward perk, which lets you redeem fewer points on award stays of four nights or longer.

Man using card

You’ll also earn IHG points on purchases with these cards, as follows:

  • IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card: 10 points per dollar spent at hotels participating in IHG One Rewards; 5 points per dollar spent on other travel purchases, at gas stations and on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services); 3 points per dollar spent on other purchases
  • IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card: 5 points per dollar spent at hotels participating in IHG One Rewards; 3 points per dollar spent on utilities, on select streaming services, on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), at gas stations and on internet, cable and phone services; 2 points per dollar spent on other purchases
  • IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card: 10 points per dollar spent at hotels participating in IHG One Rewards; 5 points per dollar spent on other travel purchases, on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), on social media and search engine advertising, at office supply stores and at gas stations; 3 points per dollar spent on other purchases

I have the IHG Premier card and frequently use it to pay for stays and incidental purchases at IHG hotels and resorts. The IHG Premier is the card I typically recommend to travelers who enjoy staying at IHG hotels and resorts, but the IHG One Premier Business card may be better for business travelers who often stay with IHG.

Related: Why you should get (and keep) the IHG One Rewards Premier card

Transfer credit card rewards to IHG

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Bilt Rewards points to the IHG One Rewards program. Points transfer within minutes at a 1:1 ratio from both programs, as indicated in our guides to Ultimate Rewards transfer times and Bilt Rewards transfer times.

However, I don’t recommend transferring points from either program to IHG. TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2.05 cents each, Bilt points at 2.05 cents each and IHG points at 0.5 cents each. You’d need to get more than four times TPG’s valuation when redeeming IHG points to avoid losing potential value when transferring Ultimate Rewards points or Bilt Rewards points to IHG One Rewards.

As such, you’ll generally only want to transfer points to IHG if you need to top off your account for a specific award. Otherwise, saving transferable points for higher-value redemptions is generally better.

Related: Should you buy IHG points or transfer rewards from Chase?

Earn IHG points while dining

There are several ways to earn IHG points while dining. In this section, I’ll take a closer look at each method.

IHG One Rewards Dine and Earn

The IHG One Rewards Dine and Earn program allows you to earn points when you dine at participating restaurants and bars. To use the program, you must sign up for an account online and link at least one credit or debit card to your account. Then, you’ll automatically earn IHG points when you use a linked card to pay at participating restaurants and bars.

The points you’ll earn vary depending on how frequently you use the program and whether you opt in for email notifications. You can earn between 1 and 8 IHG points per dollar spent on eligible purchases. These points are in addition to the rewards earned on your credit card, so consider linking and using one of the best cards for dining purchases.

Related: Can I earn points and miles from 2 dining rewards programs simultaneously?

Woman dining

Restaurant reservations

IHG One Rewards also has a partnership with OpenTable that lets you earn IHG points on OpenTable reservations you make through the IHG Trip Extras restaurant portal. You’ll earn 500 points on your first reservation and 150 on most subsequent reservations.

Earn IHG points on meetings and events

You can also earn IHG points through the IHG Business Rewards program. This program allows you to earn points when you plan a meeting or event — including a wedding — at select IHG properties.

Once you register for IHG Business Rewards, you can earn 3 points per dollar when you book rooms, meetings and events for others. Qualifying spending includes:

  • Guest rooms booked for others
  • Meeting and event costs
  • Conference room costs
  • Food and beverage service costs linked to a meeting or conference
  • All-inclusive meeting packages

Some properties don’t participate in IHG Business Rewards. You can see a list of non-participating properties here. Finally, you usually can’t earn more than 60,000 points on a meeting or event.

Related: Business credit cards: What they are and how they work

Earn IHG points with travel partners

You can earn IHG points with several traveler partners; here’s how.

Earn points on rental cars

You can earn IHG points when you book a rental car through Hertz, Dollar or Thrifty via the IHG Trip Extras portal. Specifically, you can get the following:

  • Hertz: 1,500 IHG points per rental, plus 500 points per rental day for elite members and 125 points per rental day for non-elite members
  • Dollar and Thrifty: 125 IHG points per rental day for all members

Remember to compare prices with other booking options to ensure you get a good deal. Additionally, don’t forget to pay for your rental with a card that offers credit card rental car insurance.

Related: How you can redeem points and miles for car rentals

woman loading luggage into car, getting ready for a road trip

Earn points on tours, activities and transportation services

You can also earn IHG One Rewards points when you book Viator tours, activities and transport services through the IHG Trip Extras portal. Specifically, you’ll earn up to 1,000 IHG points when you book a tour, activity or transportation through the portal. Based on TPG’s valuations, 1,000 IHG points are worth about $5.

Related: The top InterContinental hotels across the world

Buy IHG points

Another option for earning IHG points is to purchase them. It often doesn’t make sense to buy points, but it can make sense to buy IHG points.

The standard price to buy IHG points is 1 cent per point if you purchase at least 26,000 points. However, IHG One Rewards offers promotions several times a year during which you can purchase points with up to a 100% bonus. If you buy during a 100% bonus, you can earn IHG points for as little as 0.5 cents each.

TPG values IHG points at 0.5 cents each. Since it’s easy for me to get more than 0.5 cents of value per IHG point, I usually consider purchasing IHG points whenever there’s a 100% bonus sale. However, you usually can’t purchase over 150,000 IHG points per calendar year.

Related: Buy bonus points and miles with these promotions

Receive points from another member

Until recently, it didn’t make sense to transfer IHG points to other members due to the fees. However, IHG members who hold Diamond Elite status — or belong to the IHG Business Rewards program — can now transfer up to 500,000 IHG points per calendar year to other members without paying any transfer fees.

If you have a colleague or family member who has Diamond Elite status or belongs to the IHG Business Rewards program and wants to transfer IHG points to you, this could be a way to earn IHG points.

Related: How to use points and miles to give gifts with zero out-of-pocket cost

Which IHG points are elite qualifying?

Throughout this guide, we’ve discussed how to earn IHG points that you can redeem for hotel stays. However, travelers looking to earn IHG elite status should also consider which points are elite qualifying.

Generally, the following activities earn IHG points that are redeemable and elite qualifying:

  • Qualifying rates paid for hotel stays
  • Spending on select partner activities, including Hertz car rentals, OpenTable reservations and Viator experiences (but excluding IHG Dine and Earn)
  • IHG One Rewards bonus points packages
  • Qualified spending through IHG Business Rewards
Holiday Inn Johannesburg Airport in South Africa
Holiday Inn Johannesburg Airport in South Africa. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

On the other hand, the following activities usually earn points that are redeemable but not elite qualifying (unless otherwise indicated):

  • Spending on IHG credit cards issued in the U.S.
  • New cardmember bonuses or select bonus points promotions on IHG credit cards
  • Point transfers to IHG One Rewards
  • Points earned from promotions
  • Elite tier bonus points
  • Point vouchers, purchases, transfers and deposits

Related: How to maximize redemptions with the IHG One Rewards program

Bottom line

As you can see, there are many ways to earn IHG points. Once you consider all the methods outlined in this guide, you shouldn’t have any issues earning the points you need.