The Most Useful Hotel Points Out There

by joeheg

When booking a hotel, you have many choices available and why you pick one over another can be due to location, price or reviews. If you’re into points and miles, you have to consider if you can use points to pay for the room, or if paying to stay there will earn enough points for another hotel stay.

With all of the major brands to choose from, which one have I found best fits our travel needs? Hyatt? Marriott? Hilton? Nope.

It’s Holiday Inn.


If this is what you think a Holiday Inn is, you need to get with the program – IHG One Rewards, that is. Photo courtesy of my father’s slide collection

IHG Hotels and Resorts owns 18 hotel brands, including the iconic Holiday Inn. Their hotel portfolio includes Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Kimpton and Intercontinental Hotels.

The IHG One Rewards loyalty program allows you to redeem points for free nights or combine cash and points to make your points go further. I’ve found it’s rather easy to find a room with availability on points if you plan in advance.

There are several reasons why I find IHG points useful. First, they have hotels everywhere. At last count, IHG has 6,000 properties in over 100 countries around the world. So if you’re traveling, it’s more than likely you will find one of their hotels wherever you visit. I can’t think of any other hotel chain, at all different price levels; I’ve used more for different hotel stays than IHG.

Hotel Indigo - Earl's Court London
The Willard - Washington D.C.
Times Square Crowne Plaza

IHG also offers a credit card through Chase. The current bonus is pretty good; it gives you 140,000 points for signing up and spending $3,000 in 90 days. That’s enough points for 2 nights at the Kimpton Hotel Arras in Asheville, NC. The annual fee for this card is $99. You can read my review of this card at THIS LINK.

The card also gives you automatic Platinum status with IHG. When checking in, this can give you a better room and an amenity gift (or at least not the room over the dumpster). Of course, there’s a chance a hotel will welcome IHG Platinum guests, like our experience at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport.

I’m also partial to IHG because I’ve gotten my best redemption ever by using their points. In 2016 I found a room during Desert Trip in Palm Desert, CA to see Paul McCartney, The Who, The Rolling Stones and some other classic rock and roll acts. I still can’t believe the deal I got considering most people value IHG points to be from 0.5¢ to 0.7¢ each (those decimals are intentional – less than a penny each) and this redemption was worth almost 3x that.


This might not initially appear to be the best redemption in the world but a room at this Holiday Inn Express – Palm Desert was worth over 2 Cents Per Point (CPP). Beat that for an IHG point stay!

IHG hotels may not be the most aspirational point redemptions out there. They can be amazingly functional and of great value, particularly if you have an IHG credit card.

In addition, IHG occasionally sells points for as little as 1/2 cent each. If you’d want to stay in Key West, you can pay 60,000 points per night (which you can buy for $300) or pay the $600 discounted AAA rate.

I’ve read how bloggers stay at a specific Hyatt or Hilton property because they can get a suite using upgrade certificates. For us, I like either booking a Holiday Inn Express or splurging on a Kimpton, depending on which fits the needs for our stay the best. And that’s why I think IHG One Rewards points are the most valuable for us.

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Mine Stephens August 9, 2021 - 6:37 pm

IHG points are only good if you can use them
More often than not they have no reward nights available. If you can’t use them they are worthless. I have never had an issue with the others. Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott etc.

Jim Lovejoy August 17, 2021 - 12:51 am

I agree, but I’d like to add another overlooked chain to the mix. Choice hotels.
Choice has 6 or 7 thousand hotels to their brand. And if you travel includes smaller towns like mine does, there are choice hotels where even IHG doesn’t have a presence.
Another advantage, to my mind, of Choice hotels is that their pricing seems irrational. Why do I consider it an advantage? Because if there is a hotel where the points are undervalued I’ll pay cash. But when I can get 1+ cent value for points that I value at 0.6 to 0.7 cents, I’ll jump all over it.
Like Holiday Inn, there are very few aspirational properties in the entire chain, but sometimes I just want a clean room at a good price and that’s where Holiday Inn and Choice Hotels shine.

Carl WV August 17, 2021 - 4:29 am

I’m booked to do Candlewood in Las Vegas for four nights in October. Since I get the 4th night free with the card (no points) the room will average 16K a night (total 64K), Right now the the best flexible rate would total $1,433.63 (it’s over a weekend). I wouldn’t pay that rate, but that’s what the web sites says. I.m glad I booked when I did because no point nights are available now. The cash rate then was about $1,000,. For what it’s worth they seem to have great ratings and reviews,

Luckily I have a little in excess of a million IHG points, Before I retired it was where I did a lot of my business travel stays,

MUDD July 22, 2023 - 4:47 pm

I used to use IHG as my primary “go to” chain. But this was back when they had the pointbreaks. Now that point prices have soared, pointbreaks is long gone, and prices seem exorbitantly higher even when using money and points, I find more value at the other brands/hotel chains. I ran my points down to zero, and I’m pretty much done with them. But I do use then 1X per year for the free chase night. Thumbs up to the post that found the 16K/night Candlewood. I used to like Candlewoods.

MUDD July 22, 2023 - 7:08 pm

IHG too expensive

World Traveler July 22, 2023 - 7:13 pm

I would generally agree, but would put in a caveat. If you actually have a bunch of paid stays, Bonvoy is the better program. It has better promotions and more high end hotels. The point value is actually higher than IHG Points. The downside is almost never make sense to buy Bonvoy Points. It also doesn’t make much sense to put any spend on Bonvoy cards other than when you stay at Bonvoy properties. For someone who buys and burns, IHG is the better program. For those who stay and earn Bonvoy is the better program.


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