ProTips: How to earn more points, more quickly with IHG Rewards Club

You are a member of IHG Rewards Club and want to earn more points or more quickly to redeem for free hotel nights? I’ve been a member of IHG Rewards for years and earned and redeemed 100s of thousands of points, so check out my ProTips how to earn more IHG Rewards Points more quickly!

1 Sign-up for IHG Rewards MasterCard
This is the easiest and quickest way for US Residents to earn lots of IHG Points in a hurry: You can currently earn a sign up bonus of 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. That’ll get you 16 free nights during the PointBreaks promotions or 8 nights at a category 1 hotel. Each card anniversary (after paying the annual fee of $49), you’ll also earn a free night certificate, valid at any IHG Hotel worldwide, like the fantastic InterContinental Bora Bora!
Of course, if you are a couple, you can each sign up for the credit card to get a total of 160,000 points for signing up – and 2 free night certificates each year! That’ll take care of a 2-night stay each year to celebrate a special occasion at a luxury hotel!

2 Use your IHG Rewards MasterCard at IHG Hotels
The IHG Rewards MasterCard doesn’t charge a foreign exchange fee, so you should use it every time you stay at an IHG hotel to pay your bill. You earn 5 points per $1 you spend, in addition to the 15 p/$ you earn at most hotels as a Platinum member.
I don’t recommend to necessarily use the IHG MasterCard for other spend, unless it is your only reward card – credit cards like the Citibank Prestige offer more value for spend outside IHG hotels!

3 Participate in IHG Accelerate Promotions
IHG runs quarterly promotions tailored to each member, called Accelerate. They take your personal profile (for example Corporate Rates), your stay history and travel patterns into account, to create a personalized promotion. You have to meet certain goals, like staying at a specific brand, staying a number of times/nights, using your credit card or rate or even just using the IHG mobile app or redeem points to complete.
While these goals can be tough to achieve for frequent business travelers, they can be very, very easy to achieve for infrequent guests: In the Accelerate 2017 Q1 promotion, I earned 32,500 points (worth $160) by staying 1 night for only $67, using my IHG MasterCard to pay and downloading a song! That’s a great promotion!

4 Participate in other targeted promotions
While Accelerate has become the main promotion IHG continues to run, they also still offer targeted promotions, for example to return to IHG after not staying or a while, to stay at specific brands or in defined regions. While these promotions might only offer a few thousand points each, they can add up when combined with Accelerate or others! Follow me on Twitter, sign up for my newsletter or check the IHG Forum on FlyerTalk to find out what promotions are around.

5 Buy points during promotions
In addition to the point-earning promotions, IHG also runs promotions to buy points at a discount, for example during the Travel Daily Getaway or as recently as in May 2017. The price is typically between 0.5-0.6 cents/point. While I value IHG Reward Points at 0.5 cents/point, you can frequently find higher value redemptions of 0.7-1cent/point, giving you a “discount” on the regular rates of up to 40%!
I don’t recommend to buy points speculatively – IHG manages the reward point value tightly and you don’t want to sit on a large pile of points without a high-value redemption in mind!

6 Buy points at a price of 0.6cents/point every day
You can always purchase IHG Rewards Points on their website for 1.15-1.35 cents/point – that’s very expensive and I don’t recommend to do that!
Instead, there is a trick to purchase them at a much lower price of only 0.6 c/pt by using the IHG points & cash rates, as long as you have a minimum of 5,000 points in your account!
Search for hotels with the “Rewards Night” rate selected and availability at a random date in the future. You will see the “free night” option at the reward rate for that category of hotel, as well as one or multiple options to use cash and points. By picking for example the InterContinental Bali (free night at 40,000 points) at 20,000 points +$120, you will purchase 20,000 points for $120 or 0.6 cents/points and make a reward night reservation with 20,000 points from your account and the 20,000 points you purchased for a total of 40,000 points/night. Once you cancel that reservation, you will not receive your cash back, but will have a total of 40,000 points returned to your account!
If you only have 5,000 points in your account, you’ll have to look for cheaper hotels in the lower categories, like this Holiday Inn Express Bali, where you can purchase 5,000 points for $30!

Bottomline: IHG Rewards Club is one of the easiest hotel programs to get high-level status and earn lots of points and free nights! With these ProTips you can earn even more points by leveraging the IHG Rewards MasterCard and promotions like Accelerate and top of your account with purchased points! I hope this ProTips will help you to get to a free dream-stay sooner!

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