IHG Rewards

7 mistakes to avoid when booking an IHG hotel.

Tue Oct 23 2300 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
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IHG is one of the largest and most popular hotel chains globally. However, just like any other chain, there are some little ways to maximize your returns and overall experience at IHG hotels.

When we talk about booking an IHG hotel, it generally means that the same promotion, offer or tip is applicable to all the brands that come under the IHG umbrella.

This even includes the budget hotel chains like Holiday Inn Express as well.

  • 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

#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 5-6 nights spent at IHG hotels. That’s a great 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 so much of a fun program.

In order to benefit from these promotions, you have to either register for, use a code, or simply use a dedicated promotion page to book. Unfortunately, that makes it too easy to miss out on 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 via our newsletter.

#3 Leaving status points on the table

IHG Rewards has an amazing rate available at several (most) of its hotels - 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 amazing about these packages is that these points are elite-qualifying. That means they count towards your next IHG Gold, Platinum, or Spire elite 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 depends 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.

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.

#4 Booking multiple rooms from one account

In most cases, it’s better to put each room to a separate IHG Rewards account. Some of the benefits are:

  • 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 exactly 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 rest at some other nearby property. Although, this thing is a little rare.

Important: Don’t create multiple accounts. Instead, use your spouse’s or some other guest’s account for multiple bookings. 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 several complimentary upgrades in my 5+ years of elite status with IHG. Some were worth over $600 per stay.

#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 can be sometimes as high as 8-10%.

Good thing is that 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 good 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.

Maximize your IHG Rewards points.

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