These days, frequent travellers are well versed in maximising loyalty program benefits to get a better bang for their buck. Travel dollars fly further when you’ve got the know-how to swiftly navigate the realm of points, rewards and benefits that save you time and money. For those in the know, hotel reward programs are seriously underrated travel hacks – largely untapped tools that are quite easy to use.
Flexibility is always the key with hotel rewards programs, which makes the IHG Hotels & Resorts’ newly refined, free-to-join IHG One Rewards program such a compelling prospect. Particularly for guests looking to stay in some of the world’s greatest hotels, from brands like Six Senses, Kimpton, Hotel Indigo and the iconic InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in locations like Hayman Island, Mornington Peninsula, Fiji, Rome and Tokyo.
After all, IHG has 18 distinctive hotel brands across no less than 6,000 destinations, making IHG One Rewards the ultimate tool to unlock a seamless journey, whether it’s for business or leisure.
Using the revamped IHG One Rewards, the wide-reaching hotel group has unlocked a seamless way for guests to master the art of simply being a guest. That is, guesting exactly the way one wants and being rewarded for it across a ladder of five tiers that kicks off with Club Membership and reaches all the way up to Diamond Elite status.
Stay Your Way – The Value Of IHG Milestone Rewards
There are plenty of ways to stack those points and spend them on the things you care about. But IHG has gone a step further as well, introducing IHG Milestone Rewards so you can customise which additional rewards you can receive to complement your travel style and needs.
The way this new flexible benefits program works is rather straightforward. Members are presented with different perks each time they stay 10 elite nights in a single calendar year. The count starts at 20 nights and caps at 100 nights, with each 10-night interval earning you another suite of benefits to choose from.
For example, say you’ve stayed 40 elite nights in one calendar year. You’ll have Platinum Elite status by this point, which means you’re going to earn 60% bonus points, a welcome amenity and a relaxed 2 PM check-out.
With IHG Milestone Rewards, you’ve also got the choice between additional perks, ranging from up to 10,000 bonus IHG One Rewards Points, restaurant and bar credit, and confirmable suite upgrades all the way to annual club-lounge membership.
At 40 and 70 nights, you’ll also be able to choose two benefits instead of one from the range of choices, so you could, for example, grab those 10K bonus points as well as an annual club-lounge membership.
Those top-tier Diamond Elite members open up even richer benefits, such as free breakfast across the entire stay.
Now that IHG has put some serious polish on its loyalty program, it’s wise to take a closer look at all the perks available for guests to play around with. And that goes beyond just the free nights and the lush 2 PM check-out, which is even available for the entry-level Club Membership.
Let’s break down the five IHG One Rewards tiers and what it takes to reach them.
For those who aren’t already IHG members, joining the new loyalty program – remember, it’s free to join – will start you off here. It’s the lowest rung but still comes with some awesome perks. You’ve got an automatic 2 PM late check-out (pending availability) included, which is incredibly rare for an entry-level membership.
Not only that, at this base level, members get access to discounted rates and complimentary WiFi. Whether you’re maxing and relaxing in Six Senses Fiji or taking a break closer to home with InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula, these basic perks can easily make a stay much more comfortable and convenient.
Silver Elite is the second tier up, and to reach this, you’d typically need to stay at least 10 nights within one calendar year. With this status, you’ve got all the benefits of Club membership mentioned above, as well as priority check-in, no expiry on points and 20% bonus points earned on stays, making it much easier to jump up to Gold Elite.
You’re playing in the big leagues now. You’ve likely reached Gold Elite by accruing 20 nights under the IHG One Rewards program, and this is where Milestone Rewards will start building up value for your stay.
With Gold Elite, you’ve got 40% bonus points to help swell that account fast, in addition to all the perks from lower tiers and the option to have extra nights roll over, so it’s easier to maintain status year on year.
You’ve stayed 40 nights or racked up 60,000 points to reach this coveted tier, which is where some of the more luxurious base perks start kicking in. And that’s not even getting to those additional benefits offered by Milestone Rewards.
Platinum Elite can help make a stay that much better with perks including exclusive access to discounted reward nights, room upgrades subject to availability, the very rare early check-in and a welcome snack or drink upon arrival.
The apex offering for IHG One Rewards is reached after staying 70 qualifying nights or racking up 120,000 points. You’ve got all the perks of the lower tiers here, as well as 100% more points earned.
Although the real seller here is two exclusive perks that could make or break a stay. You’d no longer have to pay for breakfast to be included in your room rate. You’ve got that free morning fuel to start the morning fresh each and every day of your stay. Considering something like a Six Senses hotel would have an outrageously lush breakfast offering, the value cannot be overstated.
IHG has also introduced a dedicated support team for Diamond members. Think of it like a private concierge that’s a step above the rest, unlocking those parts of each destination that are often tough to experience for guests, especially when it comes to last-minute bookings.
Earning Airline Miles
Remember, flexibility will always be key here. IHG gives you the choice of earning points towards hotel stays or earning airline miles. So if building up your frequent flyer balance takes priority, you’ve got the option to earn miles directly as well as converting your IHG One Rewards points into airline miles from the group’s extensive list of 44 airline partners.
This can boost your desired frequent flyer program considerably, making it one of the smartest ways to turn your well-deserved relaxation into reward seats.
IHG partner airlines include
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Virgin Australia Velocity
- Emirates Skywards
- Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
- Air New Zealand Airpoints
Other Ways To Use Your IHG One Rewards Points
While using your IHG One Rewards points to add to your Frequent Flyer Points is tempting, there are plenty of other ways you can spend your points to make your life more seamless.
Spending your points on free reward nights is the most obvious one, and with 6,000 hotels globally, it’s valuable having a bank of points you can redeem for free accommodation wherever life takes you.
You can also use your points to shop IHG’s rich online catalogue of brand-name products, experiences and gift cards, opening you up to names like Apple, Dyson, Nespresso, Sony PlayStation, Samsung and LG.
Choosing content over products? Use your points for various magazine subscriptions, eBooks, games, music, movies and more, widening your scope, so inspiration and entertainment are always at your fingertips.
There’s a charitable angle to earning IHG One Rewards Points as well. Members can simply choose to donate their points to help support people and communities through the IHG’s numerous non-profit partners.
As above, it’s all about flexibility here and having those options, so you have better control over where your points go and what perks you receive makes IHG One Rewards a compelling reason to stay your way.
This article is sponsored by IHG. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.