Free Hotel Rooms with the IHG Rewards Club

Luxurious Istanbul Intercontinental Hotel
Istanbul Intercontinental Hotel

I’ve long been a member of the Intercontinental Hotels Group rewards scheme. This provides free hotel rooms and other perks in exchange for points awarded for stays at Intercontinental Hotels, Crowne Plazas, Holiday Inns, Staybridge Suites and other hotels in the IHG chain. There’s 5,000 to choose from around the world.

Originally called the Priority Club, it was rebranded a couple of years as the IHG Rewards Club.

Senior travellers appreciate value for money when spending their hard earned pensions, but of course do like a bit of luxury.

Over the past few years, the IHG Rewards scheme has provided me with free stays at many hotels around the world, including Intercontinental Hotels in Paris and Istanbul, the historic Crowne Plaza Key West in Florida, the Staybridge Suite near Time Square in New York and the Holiday Inn in Fiji. This is in addition to many free stays at hotels throughout the UK.

It has also provided me with room upgrades and free drinks and WiFi, plus various other perks.

However to get the maximum benefit from the IHG Rewards Club, you need to know how to collect points effectively, including bonus points, and how to use them to maximum advantage. Below are some of my top tips.
IHG Rewards Club

Joining IHG Rewards Club

You can become a member simply by clicking on the black IHG Rewards Club icon at the top of the IHG Hotels webpage, and then selecting Join to add brief details. Membership is totally free of charge.

•Tip: Join before booking an IHG hotel so as to make certain you get points for that stay. You may also get bonus points for booking online.

View from Holiday Inn Fiji
View from the Holiday Inn in Fiji

Collecting Points

Once you’ve joined, you are awarded points for stays at hotels in the IHG chain, at the rate of 10 points for every $1 US equivalent spent.

•Tip: Remember to claim your Senior Discount room rate when booking. You’ll still get your IHG Reward points even on the discounted rate.

•Tip: The key to accumulating points is to register for special bonus point promotions such as Accelerate, which could provide you with many more extra points.

Redeeming Points

Once you have accumulated some points, you can claim free hotel rooms for 10,000 to 60,000 points per night, depending on the hotel.

But as a retired or semi-retired Senior, you probably have plenty of scope to travel relatively freely and to book special room rates at short notice. Hence my next tip.

Elite Status

Historic Crowne Plaza La Concha, Key West, USA
Historic Crowne Plaza La Concha, Key West

Once you are happily collecting points, then you can move on to become a Gold or Platinum member, so-called Elite status, giving extra benefits such as room upgrades with the higher grade.

An additional grade called Spire was introduced last year, but the 75 stays a year needed to achieve it, make it a grade too far for most senior travellers.

Tip: A short cut to Gold or Platinum Elite status is to take out an IHG Rewards Club credit card.

The IHG Rewards Club card gives you Gold Elite status for the life of the card and awards 1 Reward Club point for every £1 spent. There is no annual fee.

The IHG Rewards Club Premium card gives you Platinum Elite status for the life of the card and awards 2 Reward Club points for every £1 spent. The downside to this card is the annual fee of £99.

However, if you spend £10,000 in a year on the Premium card, you will get a free night at any hotel in the IHG chain. How about trying a top Intercontinental Hotel in London, Paris or New York? Not bad for £99 and you’ll have collected 20,000 Reward Club points along the way.