October 3, 2022

Olympia Travel

Olympia Travel Tips

The best ways to redeem your IHG One Rewards points for free nights

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The IHG Hotels & Resorts loyalty program underwent a major refresh in April 2022. The new IHG One Rewards program comes with new elite status levels, additional benefits and more. Plus, IHG revamped many of the benefits on its IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and also added a business version to its credit card suite in the IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card.

Along with the new benefits of the IHG One Rewards program, including free breakfast for Diamond Elites, milestone awards, more opportunities for early check-in and late checkout and more, both IHG credit cards now come with increased sign-up bonuses. Now, with both the IHG Premier Card and IHG Premier Business Card, you’ll receive 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

With this high offer, there’s a good chance you’re wondering how far those 140,000 points can take you. With many people rearing to go on that much-needed vacation, fortunately, these points can get you there. Whether you’re looking to go hiking in the country, relax on the beach or explore your favorite city, you can count on the IHG points earned from these sign-up bonuses to give you a memorable vacation.

But before you start, there are a few things you’ll want to know about redeeming IHG points. The IHG One Rewards program no longer has a fixed award chart, meaning there’s a dynamic pricing model where peak travel dates will typically require more points. If you’re able to travel during off-peak times, you’ll be able to redeem fewer points for your vacation. Additionally, a great perk of both the IHG Premier Card and IHG Premier Business Card is that you’ll receive your fourth night free on award stays. This means during a four-night — or more — stay, you won’t have to redeem any points for the fourth night of the booking.

With nearly 6,000 IHG hotels around the world, there are plenty of opportunities to redeem the 140,000 points earned from the sign-up bonus on either the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card or IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. Here’s a sampling of 11 hotels where you can use those points.

If you prefer an all-inclusive vacation, the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay will allow you to use your IHG points while still receiving all of the property’s all-inclusive benefits. The hotel is located right on the beach, offering an array of activities — for both adults and kids — and five on-site restaurants.

And best of all, this property has a fixed redemption rate of 50,000 points per night, regardless of the time of year you visit. This means a family of four can stay in an ocean view room with two double beds without any upcharge — even over the holidays.

You’ll find that many other chain all-inclusive properties only include the first two guests when redeeming points, but not with this property. Here, you can book a vacation for up to four guests solely on points without having to take out your wallet for many extras while at the resort.

With the fourth night free benefit from either the IHG Premier Card or IHG Premier Business Card, this resort will cost 150,000 points for a four-night stay. With either of the current sign-up bonuses, you’ll actually end up with 149,000 points — 140,000 points from the sign-up bonus plus at least 9,000 points upon meeting the minimum spend requirement since you earn 3x points per dollar spent on non-category purchases. You can then earn the remaining 1,000 points with additional credit card spending. Ultimately, a free four-night stay at this property for the whole family is well within reach.

Located on the beaches in Cancun’s hotel zone, the InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort is one of the nicer IHG resort properties on the Caribbean seas. And since the property is on the northern part of the strip, you’ll find calmer waters with fewer waves.

Although you may never want to leave the beach, pool, on-site restaurant or the spa, you’re perfectly situated for day trips to popular destinations such as Xcaret, Isla Mujeres, Tulum and Chichen Itza.

But luxury doesn’t always have to come with a high price tag. Nightly rates at this property typically hover around the $150-$200 mark. However, it typically ranges between just 26,000 and 35,000 IHG points per night, meaning you can use your points and save cash for delicious food and activities when you arrive. With 140,000 points in hand from the IHG Premier Card, you’ll be able to stretch your points for a five-night stay — even on the more expensive nights.

The Holiday Inn Resort Aruba is right on beautiful Palm Beach — one of Aruba’s most popular beaches. As a true resort property, there’s a large beachside pool with a hot tub, a kids activity center and beautiful grounds. And right outside the resort’s front door, you’ll find many shopping, nightlife and dining options.

While the rooms are slightly dated, it’s by far one of the most economical properties for using your points while staying in Aruba — especially when you have access to a terrific beach, nearby restaurants and plenty of activities.

Although the pricing changes based on the time of year, there are some dates you can book a free night at this property for as few as 40,000 points. With the fourth-night free benefit from both the IHG Premier Card and the IHG Premier Business Card, the 140,000 points earned from the sign-up offer will land you a free four-night stay — with points to spare for your next trip.

Arguably, one of the nicest resorts in the Cayman Islands is the Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa. This resort, located right on highly desirable Seven Mile Beach, is a top-notch beach vacation for those looking for a Caribbean getaway.

Between the beachside pool and the ocean, there’s plenty of space for splashing or lounging, for an adults-only trip or a family getaway. The resort also provides access to many non-motorized water sports, such as kayaks, standing paddleboards, water tricycles, floating rafts and sailboats. There’s also snorkeling gear for you to borrow to navigate the crystal clear blue waters.

If you’re on a family vacation, the resort also offers a camp seafire for kids between the ages of 5 and 12. While this comes with a fee, it could be the perfect solution for some adult-only time and for your children to connect with other kids.

But as you can imagine, this resort comes at a cost — typically around $600 to $700 per night. Alternatively, you can redeem 70,000 IHG points for a vacation that might have otherwise been unobtainable. Although you’ll only be able to redeem points for a two-night stay with the 140,000 points earned from the sign-up bonus offer on the IHG cards, IHG also has a Points + Cash redemption option where you can redeem fewer points with a small cash outlay. And if you’re still shy some points, IHG typically runs promotions throughout the year where you can purchase points with a 100% bonus — meaning you’re purchasing points at an extremely reasonable rate.

Clearwater Beach is one of our favorite beach destinations in Florida. Located on the West Coast of the state, it’s a slightly more laid-back destination but still offers an abundance of activities. Although the Holiday Inn & Suites Clearwater Beach S-Harbourside is a trolley ride away from Clearwater Beach and Pier 60, the property is still on the water and next door to the kid-friendly Splash Harbour Water Park. You’re also only a short walk away from Indian Rocks Beach.

The hotel also offers a pool and hot tub, an 18-hole mini-golf course and a game room. Right outside of the hotel, you can rent a boat, go fishing or embark on a dolphin-watching tour.

Unfortunately, the number of points required for a free night varies vastly depending on the time of year. During peak season, the number of points required runs between 40,000 and 60,000 points per night. But if you’re flexible with your dates, you can also stay for as few as 30,000 points per night, allowing the points earned from the sign-up bonus from the IHG Premier Card to go much further. In fact, at the 30,000-point per night rate, you can get five nights for free — and likely more once you’ve earned additional points by spending on the card.

Summer is almost here, and there’s truly nothing better than a trip to New England. With sand between your toes and lobster rolls readily available, you can experience Cape Cod on points at the Holiday Inn Cape Cod-Falmouth. Although you can’t see the water from your hotel room window, you’re just two miles from Surf Drive Beach.

You’re also less than a mile to downtown Falmouth, a quintessential strip made up of boutique clothing stores, restaurants and ice cream shops. The Shining Sea Bikeway, where you can ride your bike (or rent from a local bike shop) to Woods Hole, is also nearby.

And with many other accommodations costing a pretty penny in the Cape — especially during the summer — the Holiday Inn Cape Cod-Falmouth is much more affordable at around 24,000 points per night. There’s also no minimum night stay like you might find with other properties during peak dates. With 140,000 points earned from the IHG Premier Card or IHG Premier Business Card, you can afford nearly a weeklong stay at this property for free.

There’s no shortage of opportunities to use your IHG points in Orlando, Florida, but one of the best values is at the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark. With rooms that can fit up to six people, with points, your family can spread out in a two-bedroom suite, featuring one king bed, a bunk bed and a pull-out couch.

Kids will absolutely love the onsite amenities, which include a lagoon pool, splash pad, waterpark, nine-hole mini-golf course, arcade, outdoor basketball court and playground. There’s also a complimentary shuttle to nearby Walt Disney World, making a visit to the parks even easier.

Despite the large rooms and plethora of amenities, this property costs as few as 11,000 IHG points per night. But even if you’re looking to visit during peak times, you’re still only looking at 24,000 points per night. With the current sign-up bonus offer on the IHG Premier Card and IHG Premier Business Card, you can easily fit in a Disney trip at any point throughout the year. The one downside with this hotel, however, is that even when using points, you’re charged a $49 amenity fee per night.

A trip to the Berkshires in western Massachusetts is filled with hikes, waterfalls or skiing, depending on the season. And if you happen to visit during the fall, you’ll be in the perfect location to witness some beautiful leaf popping. With a limited number of chain hotel options available, fortunately, the region boasts one of Holiday Inn’s Club Vacation resorts: Oak n Spruce Resort Berkshires.

This resort property features an indoor and outdoor pool, a mini-golf course, playground, basketball court, arcade and even a movie theater. There’s also hiking right on the premises if you’re looking for some outdoor adventure without getting in the car.

Like most other Holiday Inn Club Vacation properties, free night awards are just 35,000 points per night — even during peak dates. And even though the resort offers your standard studio room, when using points at this property, you’re booked into a two-bedroom suite.

Looking to explore Manhattan? Although there’s an excess number of hotel options, the voco Times Square South is a great choice — especially for travelers with IHG points. This newly renovated hotel is just a few blocks from Hudson Yards, the Javits Center, Herald Square and Madison Square Garden. Voco is also one of IHG’s newer brands under its umbrella and is also known to be one of IHG’s more upscale brands with individual character.

Although the number of IHG points required fluctuates based on the time of year and day of the week, we found plenty of dates throughout the summer for as few as 30,000 points per night. Whether you’re looking for a weekend away or an extended getaway, the 140,000 points earned from the sign-up bonus offer on the IHG Premier Card and IHG Premier Business Card will allow you to enjoy your time in the Big Apple — with your hotel room not costing a dime in an otherwise expensive city.

Ski vacations can get quite expensive before you even add in the cost of your hotel. Fortunately, you can use your points at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Park City. The property is located in Kimball Junction, which gives you access to many restaurants, shops and even a grocery store — all within walking distance.

You’re then only a 10-minute drive to the base of Park City’s Canyon Village. Or, if you prefer to ski Deer Valley, you’re less than 20 minutes away. There’s also a complimentary city bus stop right across the street, which can take you to the mountains or Main Street.

Of course, peak ski season will cost you more points at around 56,000 points per night. But, if you pay a visit during shoulder season or another part of the year, rooms are available for as few as 20,000 points per night. From the points earned from the sign-up bonus offer on either of the IHG cards, this will get you at least a weekend away during ski season and even more if you’re able to find one of the less-expensive nights on points.

Located right in Fisherman’s Wharf and only a stone’s throw from the popular Pier 39, the Kimpton Alton Hotel is an ideal hotel for your next trip to San Francisco. The hotel offers great views of either the city or San Francisco Bay, and you’ll be within walking distance to many of the tourist sites including Ghirardelli Square and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The hotel also offers complimentary morning coffee and tea service and loaner PUBLIC Bikes. And similar to most other Kimpton properties, you can also bring your pets for no fee and have access to many of the hotel’s pet amenities. There are also hosted evening wine receptions, which your pets are also welcome to join.

Most nights of the year, this property only costs a reasonable 30,000 to 45,000 points per night. With the 140,000-point sign-up bonus offer on the IHG cards, you can stay and enjoy the city for up to five nights — including the fourth-night free benefit — depending on the time of the year.

Learn more about the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

Learn more about the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Business Credit Card.

Check out CNN Underscored’s guide to the best travel credit cards of 2022.