Maximizing redemptions with the IHG One Rewards program

IHG One Rewards is a loyalty program offered by IHG Hotels and Resorts. While it may not be as popular among points and miles enthusiasts as programs like Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt, it still offers great value for travelers looking to earn and redeem points. IHG hotels and resorts are available in many destinations, making it easy to find a property that suits your needs.

Earning IHG points is relatively simple, especially for new applicants of the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card. By spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, new applicants can earn 165,000 bonus points. Similarly, new applicants for the no-annual-fee IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months.

To maximize IHG One Rewards redemptions, it’s important to calculate your redemption rate. IHG introduced dynamic award pricing in 2020, meaning the number of points required for a stay can vary based on various factors. While the value of IHG points is generally estimated at 0.5 cents each, it’s possible to get a higher redemption rate when redeeming points. By comparing the cash rate to the points rate and calculating your redemption rate, you can determine if it’s worth redeeming points or paying for the stay.

Flexibility is another key factor in maximizing IHG points. By being flexible with your travel dates or even the location of your stay, you may be able to redeem fewer points. For example, shifting your stay a few weeks later or choosing a property outside of the city center may result in lower redemption rates. Being open to different options can help you get the most value out of your points.

Checking Points & Cash rates is another strategy to consider. This option allows you to combine IHG points and cash to stretch your points further. By selecting “Points + Cash” when searching for a hotel, you can see the different redemption options available. It’s important to run the numbers and compare the redemption rates to determine if a Points & Cash booking makes sense for you.

IHG One Rewards credit cardholders can also take advantage of the fourth-night-reward perk. This perk applies to stays of four nights or more when booked entirely with IHG points. The cost of every fourth night on these award stays is reduced to zero points, allowing you to save on longer stays.

Periodically checking for price drops is another way to maximize your IHG points. By doing a new award search for your upcoming stays, you can see if the rates have decreased. If they have, you can cancel your existing booking and rebook at the lower rate. Unfortunately, there is no way to re-price IHG stays without making a new booking.

Knowing when to buy IHG points is also important. While IHG offers the option to purchase points, it’s best to wait for promotional periods where you can buy points for as little as 0.5 cents per point. Buying points at this rate matches the estimated value of IHG points and allows you to save on future redemptions.

Earning IHG elite status can provide additional perks and benefits during your stays. Diamond Elite members, the highest tier, enjoy perks like choosing breakfast as a welcome amenity at select IHG properties. Platinum Elite status is more easily attainable and can be obtained through various means, such as credit card perks or staying a certain number of nights. Having elite status can enhance your overall experience and make your IHG One Rewards points go further.

In conclusion, while IHG One Rewards may not be as well-loved in the points and miles community as other programs, it still offers great value for travelers. By calculating your redemption rate, being flexible with your travel plans, checking Points & Cash rates, utilizing the fourth-night-reward perk, monitoring for price drops, knowing when to buy points, and earning elite status, you can maximize your IHG One Rewards redemptions and make the most of your points.

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