Registering on IHG Rewards Club will make you a Club member. From this point you can start earning points. These points can be used to redeem:
- Reward Nights (~ Most interesting part)
- Points & Cash booking (similar to reward nights, but you pay a part)
- Gift certificates
- Airline miles (mostly not interesting because of low redemption)
- Intercontinental Ambassador Membership (instead by paying cash)
- … and more
As a member you want to get a status to earn even more points and benefits. 10 qualified nights, 10,000 elite qualifying points (= EQP) or Ambassador Membership will get you Gold Status. The most interesting benefits are:
- Welcome amenity (or drink)
- 10% bonus earnings on top of base points
- Extended check-out (if applicable in hotel)
… Not much, but given how easy it is to get Gold it is not surprising. As a gold member myself, I experience that up-on check-in they ask if I would like a welcome drink at their bar or 400 points on my account. As I was staying in Athens and needed some sleep I chose the points.
Sometimes I get offered a free drink and fruits in the room as a gold member.
Platinum is a bit more interesting. You can earn Platinum after 40 qualified nights or 40,000 EQP. People who request an IHG credit card (only for US/UK as far as I know) can get Platinum status with their credit card. The benefits are:
- Complimentary room upgrades (subject to availability)
- 50% bonus earnings on top of base points
- Welcome amenity
The highest status is Spire Elite earned after 75 qualified nights or 75,000 EQP. The perks are:
- 100% bonus earnings on top of base points
- Same benefits as platinum but probably more chance to get upgraded than Platinum
Best way to get status quickly
The amount of points you earn depends on the price of your booking and your hotel. You can also choose to book bonus points package, which are also counted as EQP. As you can see, as a Gold member I’ve got twice as much points from 2 nights, which means points are much easier to get to your higher status. Buying rates with bonus package will bring you even more quickly to your goal.
Boost your points balance with Accelerate
IHG offers their Accelerate offer frequently. It means that you have to do a certain amount of tasks that will gain you a extra points. For example, this is the first Accelerate I will be finishing:
… After 5 nights I completed the offer:
Do you stay at InterContinental? Become Ambassador
Read more about becoming InterContinental (IC) Ambassador. Paying for this status, either by points or by cash will get you a lot of benefits. Even if you want to stay 1 night and 1 free it is worth it.
Pay 1 night, get 1 free
You don’t want to stay loyal to a program like IHG? Don’t worry, you can still make advantage of this to stay one night free. If you stay one night, you will earn points as a club member, but you will also earn 10,000 welcome points. Look up for award nights for 10,000 points and voila, you have a free stay. Prefer a nicer hotel that require more than 10,000 points? Use Points + Cash to get a discount!