IHG One Rewards: Free Stays at Holiday Inns and Crowne Plazas

The IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group) rewards scheme provides free hotel rooms and other perks in exchange for points awarded for stays at Holiday Inns, Crowne Plazas, Intercontinental Hotels, Staybridge Suites and other hotels in the IHG chain. There are 6,000 hotels to choose from around the world and you get 10 points for every $1 US equivalent spent.

IHG One Rewards: Crowne Plaza by Liver Building Liverpool
Crowne Plaza Liverpool by the Liver Building

Originally called the Priority Club, and then rebranded IHG Rewards Club, it is now known as IHG One Rewards and there are additional perks based on number of nights stayed within a year.

The new aspect of IHG One Rewards is that rewards are gained for every 10 nights stayed from the first 20 nights onwards. The rewards, depending on how many nights, are: Points, Food & Beverage Vouchers, Suite Upgrades and Club Lounge Membership.

To get the maximum benefit from IHG One Rewards, you need to know how to collect points effectively, including bonus points, how to use them to maximum advantage and how to get the most out of 10 night stay rewards and Elite status. Here are my 8 Top Tips.

Joining IHG One Rewards and Collecting Points

You can become a member simply by clicking on JOIN next to the black IHG One Rewards icon at the top right of the IHG Hotels webpage and filling in a few details. Membership is totally free of charge.

Staybridge Suites in Las Vegas
Staybridge Suites in Las Vegas

Tip 1: 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.

Tip 2: The key to accumulating points is to register for special bonus point promotions when you are informed of them. For example: 2K Points for Every 2 Stays.

Tip 3: Although you can purchase points directly from IHG, a cheaper way to obtain points is to book a Points plus Cash night, and then cancel it. The points bought by the cash part of the booking are then added to your account.

Tip 4: If you are 62 or over then remember to claim Senior Discount when booking. This can give lower rates and more flexible cancellation, normally till the day before. Click on IHG Reservations and under ‘Rate Preference’ select ‘Senior Discount’.

Redeeming Points

Holiday Inn: Leipzig - Günthersdorf
Holiday Inn: Leipzig – Günthersdorf

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 and occupancy rates. The bookings are always on a flexible basis allowing cancellation until the day before.

Tip 5: In the UK, Sunday nights are often the cheapest in the week, with Saturday nights the most expensive.

IHG One Rewards per 10 Nights

The rewards depend on the number of nights stayed. For example at 40 nights the choice is any two of: 10,000 points, £75 in Food & Beverage vouchers, a Suite Upgrade or Annual Club Lounge Membership.

Tip 6: Annual Club Lounge Membership, offered at 40 nights and 70 nights, is by far the most valuable reward.

Club Lounges provide complimentary canapes and alcoholic drinks for a couple hours or so each evening at participating Crowne Plazas, and sometimes continental breakfast. If purchased separately it can cost about £30 per day.

Elite Status

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

IHG One Rewards: Historic Crowne Plaza La Concha, Key West, USA
Historic Crowne Plaza in Key West, USA

These grades are rewarded on the basis of number of nights stayed in a year or number of points gained, with, for example, 20 nights or 40,000 points required for Gold status and 70 nights and 120,000 points for Diamond status.

Tip 7: Watch out for special offers which give accelerated promotion to higher Elite levels for relatively few extra stays.

Tip 8: Free breakfasts during hotel stays is by far the best perk offered by Diamond Elite status. This is much better than the alternative free drink or a few hundred additional points.

POSTED 2nd MARCH 2023 by STEVE HANSON. The photographs were taken by BARBARA HANSON.