Once upon a time, I would have never considered the IHG Rewards Club.  IHG, otherwise known as InterContinental Hotels Group, is the parent company of the Holiday Inn. I know, I know! You immediately think of the reputation that the Holiday Inn had. None of us want to be associated with the 90’s low-budget borderline motel full of a clientele. I was a bit leery at first, but things have changed!

IHG Rewards Club

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I spent a summer in Sioux Falls on business a few years ago. The hotel of choice was the Holiday Inn because the Hilton was overpriced. I was impressed by my first stay at a Holiday Inn in years!

Holiday Inn has come a long way over the years. Modern, spacious rooms and resort amenities. Lush bedding and premium toiletries. What more can you ask for?  Best of all, affordable. Given that I stayed there for almost an entire summer, I signed up for the IHG Rewards Club and racked up many points.

Join IHG Rewards Club to earn and redeem points!

Then, once I understood the ease of accumulating and redeeming points, I also signed up for the HG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. To this day, it’s one of my favorite travel credit cards.

IHG Rewards Club Vs. Hilton Honors

Now comes the cool part! The point redemption of IHG is a lot less than Hilton.  I was able to stretch my redemptions using IHG.

For example, 30,000 points for an oceanfront room at the beach vs. Hiltons is now 50,000 to 60,000 for comparable properties.  Additionally, the office I work from in Chicago moved out of the loop. The closest hotel is Kimpton, which IHG also owns.  Kimpton properties are divine and will give any luxury chain a run for its money!

You may not have heard of Kimpton, so here are a few photos from one property in Chicago.

IHG Rewards Club

The Switch from  Hilton Honors to IHG Rewards Club 

A die-hard Hilton fan, it took me a couple of years to make a full transition, but I did.

I use Hilton occasionally, but they are no longer my first choice.  My issues with Hilton are:

Some people claim to have had sucess using the best price match – I never have.

  • Point redemption for Hilton properties has skyrocketed. Gone are the days when you could get a room for less than 30,000 points. Long gone are the days of 30,000 at the beach.
  • I rarely got upgraded, and it’s become more and more challenging to acquire Diamond status.
  • The room prices have increased significantly.

I still think Hilton’s only remaining unbeatable benefit is the 5th-night free opinion when redeeming a point stay. This can be lucrative if you use it at higher-end properties.

Combining the IHG credit card and being a member of the IHG Club became a game changer for me. The IHG credit card is not the one you hear everyone talking about. In my opinion, it gets overlooked because of the Holiday Inn’s reputation. And because people don’t know which brands are part of the family.

Join IHG Rewards Club to earn and redeem points!

The IHG Brands

Look at all the choices that the IHG brings us! Check some of these out. As with all brands, they range from budget to luxury; there is something here for everyone.

  • Regent® Hotels & Resorts
  • InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts
  • Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants
  • HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts
  • voco™
  • Hotel Indigo®
  • EVEN® Hotels
  • avid™ hotels
  • Holiday Inn, Express® Resort®, and Club Vacations®
  • Staybridge Suites®
  • Candlewood Suites®

IHG Brands

IHG Rewards Club Credit Cards Compared

Chase offers two IHG cards: IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

Both are fantastic cards, but in my opinion, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is worth the $89 annual fee for two key reasons:

  • The annual free night
  • The automatic Platinum Elite Status

Here are the two cards compared side by side:

What Does Platinum Elite Status Get You?

If you try to earn the Platinum elite, you must stay 40 nights or earn 40,000 base rewards each calendar year – not an easy task for most. And it’s worth having.

From personal experience, I can tell you that I have received a room upgrade from over a hundred stays every single time except for once. The room upgrades are game-changers. You go from the cheapest available room to the lushest of suites available. I’ve had two-bedroom suites that were bigger than some houses, over 1,000 square feet!

Platinum Elite Benefits:

  • Bonus point earnings on IHG stays.
  • Room upgrades
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Spa, minibar, or dining credits
  • Priority check-in
  • Late check out
  • Welcome amenity

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

If you are considering a credit card, this should be on your list!  I earn tons of points that equal free stays, and I get Platinum status just for having the card. Here are the highlights:

  • It has an $89 a year annual fee. In return, you get a free anniversary night. I stayed at the Holiday Inn at Vero Beach during my free night.
  • In 2018, Chase introduced the new IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. The new card offers an annual free night certificate but caps the redemption value at 40,000 points. This applies to all reservations on or after January 25, 2019.
  • This year 2020, I used my free night at InterContinental The Clement Monterey. This hotel sells for an average of $312, which more than takes care of the $49 annual fee. I used this during spring break, which is also a prime time for travel.
  • Earn 25 points for the IHG Rewards Club per dollar spent.
  • Automatically become Platinum Elite within the IHG Rewards Club. This more or less guarantees you upgrades galore! If an upgrade is available, you automatically get it.
  • The fourth night is free when you redeem points for four or more nights.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $100 towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • 80,000 Bonus points sign up. Enough for an entire week if you play your cards right.

Closing Thoughts:

There is no going back for me!  IHG is officially my brand of choice. I’ve stayed in IHG properties in New Zealand, Australia, Florida, and Chicago. 90% of the time, I get upgraded to a suite, and the suites are luscious in all brands. I love the bedding, and I love the amenities. Most importantly, I love earning and favorably redeeming points as a member of the IHG Rewards Club.

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