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IHG One Rewards

7 mistakes to avoid when booking an IHG hotel.

Updated: Apr 6, 2024. Walter Ray.
7 mistakes to avoid when booking an IHG hotel. - Cover Image
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Maximizing your returns, maintaining your elite status, and earning lots of reward points with IHG One rewards is not that difficult. Primarily because IHG is one of the largest and most popular hotel chains globally, with a massive footprint worldwide.

They come up with tonnes of promotions, tie-ups, strategies, and other opportunities to make your stay at IHG hotels even more rewarding. In fact, IHG is one of the most active loyalty program when it comes to frequent promotions.

IHG promotions are generally universal in nature and applicable across all IHG brands. Including the budget hotel chains like Holiday Inn Express, with occasional exceptions.

IHG Brands

  • Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
  • Regent Hotels & Resorts
  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • Vignette Collection
  • Hotel Indigo
  • HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts
  • EVEN Hotels
  • voco Hotels
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Avid Hotels
  • Atwell Suites
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Candlewood Suites

But with so much going on, it’s pretty easy to lose out on some excellent opportunities for something as simple as not registering for a promotion.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid in order to make the most of your IHG stay.

#1: Not booking direct

There are several aggregator sites (OTT apps) that make it easy to compare and find hotels.

However, most of the bookings through such sites are not considered for member offers, points, and discounts. Why? Because hotels have to pay a huge commission to these sites.

Booking directly on IHG’s website or app is the best option, most of the time. Even if you are getting a slightly lower rate on aggregator sites.

With promotions, you can get a free night for every 4–5 nights spent at IHG hotels. That’s a significant value for any loyalty program.

Add to that the benefit of reduced member rates, status benefits, and the best rate guarantee. There’s hardly any reason to not book direct.

#2 Missing out on promotions

IHG is super active when it comes to promotions. From bonus points to discounts to perks, there’s always something extra with IHG. And that’s what makes it such a fun program.

To benefit from these promotions, you have to either register for, use a code, or simply use a dedicated promotion page to book your stay. Unfortunately, the extra step required is the reason we often tend to forget about these promotions.

At MilesCop, we keep a track of all current IHG promotions. Checking for promotions before booking is a good idea.

You can also subscribe to IHG promotions updates via our newsletter.

Update: Our new Telegram Channel is the quickest and easiest way to track IHG promotions.

#3 Leaving status points on the table

IHG Rewards has an outstanding rate available at several (most) of its hotels – It’s called Bonus points Packages.

With bonus points packages, you can choose to add 1000 to 5000 points to your booking per night (or per stay in certain cases) for a few bucks extra.

What’s remarkable about these packages is that these points are elite-qualifying. That means they count towards your next IHG Gold, Platinum, or Spire elite status upgrade.

It’s the easiest way to get IHG status. Adding a few dollars to your booking can land up a gold status in just 1 stay (if a 5000 per night package is available).

The only catch is how much you are paying extra for these points. Unfortunately, there is no fixed rate. It varies from hotel to hotel and season to season.

The good news is that there are some excellent deals always available at certain properties, especially in the Asia Pacific. You will have to do a bit of homework on this to find the right bonus points package.

Typically, this is the cheapest way to buy IHG points as well.

Even if you are not looking for a status upgrade, these points are generally worth much more than what you pay for them when buying a bonus points package.

Note that if you are booking multiple rooms, you will get only one set of bonus points. But you would be paying the increased rate for all rooms. Makes no sense. Better to make a separate reservation for the primary room with Bonus Points package.

#4 Booking multiple rooms from one account

In most cases, it’s better to put each room to a separate IHG Rewards account. Here’s why.

  • In several countries, IHG doesn’t offer points and/or promotional points on multiple rooms. You only get those for 1 room. It’s heartbreaking to see so many points getting wasted. Especially since you are paying the same rate for the second room.
  • All the bonus points promotions (including bonus points packages above) are applicable to one room only. So if you are booking 2 rooms, you pay the extra amount for bonus points twice, but you earn them only once. It’s unfair, right? That’s why using a different account is the solution.
  • Complimentary upgrades are generally offered for one room only. Therefore, one room per booking increases your chances for an upgrade. Even for multiple rooms.

There could be a few drawbacks to this strategy as well. e.g., if there is an availability issue at the property, you might end up getting one room and the rest at some other nearby property. Although, this is very rare.

Important: Don’t create multiple accounts in your name. Instead, use your spouse’s or some other guest’s account for multiple bookings. They should be traveling with you. Multiple accounts for the same person can lead to the closure of all accounts and forfeiting of all points.

#5 Not buying Ambassador membership

IHG’s InterContinental Ambassador Program is meant for people visiting the InterContinental brand of hotels frequently.

However, the membership also gives you IHG Platinum status for as long as your Ambassador membership is active.

The membership costs $200 per year or 40,000 IHG Reward points.

Along with 50% bonus points on every stay, IHG Platinum Elite Status also offers several other benefits like room upgrades (based on availability), extended checkout, etc.

Even if you stay 8–10 nights a year at IHG hotels, the benefits you get out of IHG Platinum status are worth a lot more than the 200 dollars you pay for the membership.

I have received numerous complimentary upgrades in my 5+ years of elite status with IHG. Some were worth over $600 per stay.

The other hidden benefit of IHG Ambassador program is for Diamond Elites. In you are an IHG Diamond Elite, your status gets extended by one year on purchasing IHG Ambassador. I am not sure how long this will last. But it can’t get better than just $200 to extend Diamond status.

Update: IHG no longer extends Diamond status on purchasing IHG Ambassador membership.

#6 Forgetting your cashback, every single time

We all use rebate programs like TopCashBack for rebates on online shopping.

In the same way, you can earn a rebate on hotel bookings as well. With promotions, rebates on IHG hotel bookings can be sometimes as high as 8-12%.

These rebates add up quickly and at times are more valuable than the points you earn on your stay.

And you aren’t losing on points or promotions, either.

These sites redirect you to official IHG sites to make your bookings. Therefore, all the promotions, points, offers, etc. can be used even with TopCashBack.

#7 Booking Points+Cash

I never recommend making bookings with part points and part cash, ever. Of course, there might be cases where it is a practical option, but mostly it isn’t.

The primary reason being that you pay cash, yet you don’t earn any points.

If you have a multi-day stay, the solution is pretty easy – book 1 night on 100% cash and 1 night on 100% points. Simple. If not, you will have to figure out a more rewarding solution for your particular case.

#8 Not using the right credit card.

IHG has a long-standing partnership with Visa, and Mastercard in several countries.

These offers are generally renewed every year and are excellent for last-minute booking with flexible cancellation.

You can check the current IHG credit card offers here.

However, this promotion doesn’t show up in regular search on the site or app. It’s only available through the promotion link. That’s why it’s so easy to forget.

If you are in the US, get any of these IHG credit cards, even if you stay with IHG only a few times in a year.


The loyalty program offered by IHG is outstanding in many ways. Nonetheless, to fully capitalize on your membership, it’s essential to understand the best ways to use it. Actions like booking directly, monitoring promotions, using an appropriate credit card and so on can significantly enhance the benefits you reap from the IHG One Rewards program.

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