Engaging in a juggling act with multiple hotel loyalty programs might not result in a call from your divorce lawyer, but it does require some serious multitasking skills. You’ll need to keep an eye on all your accounts, monitor (and avoid) frequent devaluations, and make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck (seriously, it’s like herding cats).
And, most importantly, keeping a track of points expiry.
With IHG’s deluge of promotions, you can pile up points faster than a squirrel hoarding acorns for winter. Thankfully, with a little know-how, keeping your hard-earned IHG points from going the way of the dodo isn’t too tough.
When do IHG points expire?
IHG points expire if there’s no activity in your account for a year straight. So you’ve got to either earn some more points, or spend some to keep them alive.
However, If you’re part of IHG’s elite squad (we’re talking IHG Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond Elite status), then you can sit back and relax. Your points aren’t going anywhere as long as you keep your elite membership.
Your IHG points will not expire if you maintain an elite status with IHG, or have at least one activity in your account during the prior 12-month period.
What happens when you get downgraded from your elite status?
If you drop to the rank-and-file IHG Club level from an elite status—your 12-month countdown begins from the day of downgrade.
That gives you one whole year to make one single activity happen in your account and keep those precious IHG points from expiring.
How to extend your IHG points expiry?
Even if staying at an IHG property isn’t on your travel radar before those points expire, there are plenty of other ways to extend their lifespan. All IHG needs is one little earn or redeem activity every year to keep your points ticking along.
Here are some strategies that don’t require checking into an IHG hotel:
- Transfer some credit card points into your IHG rewards account. American Express and some other big-name cards are on friendly terms with IHG and will allow you to convert your credit card points into IHG One Rewards points.
- Rent a car and flash your IHG Rewards number to earn points. Car rental companies like Avis, Budget, and Hertz are in on this deal.
- Drink and dine to extend your points. You can earn points for dining at most IHG properties worldwide. The program or requirements may differ, depending on your location. You can read more about IHG Dining Rewards here.
Heads up though—these methods can take a while for points to show up in your account. Make sure you have a few weeks before your points expire.
If you’re down to the wire with your 12-month expiry period, here are some quick fixes:
- Buy some IHG points online. Even a measly 1000 can do the trick.
- Use a small chunk of points for IHG experiences. Not the best value, but it might just save the day (or your points).
- Convert a few of your IHG points to air miles with partner airlines. This might feel like getting short-changed, but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.
- Transfer Points. Send or receive IHG points to another IHG account and extend the validity of points in both accounts. If you know someone who is an IHG Diamond Elite, or has a Business Rewards account with IHG, they can transfer points for free to you.
There are a few more options listed by IHG here. However, not all of them are worth the cost or effort.
Got some IHG stays lined up? Here’s a pro tip.
IHG has an ace up its sleeve called InterContinental Ambassador—a paid program that sets you back $200 or 40,000 reward points yearly but also rewards you with complimentary Platinum Elite status (read: no point expiration).
If you’ve got a few stays in the pipeline or a ton of points at stake, this could be worth every penny.
And the best part? The status upgrade is typically instant.
Losing your valuable IHG points would be like throwing away good money (or good vacations). But, thankfully, it’s not too hard to keep them from expiring. There’s no shortage of ways to earn or spend them before their time runs out.