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IHG points expire surprisingly quickly, after just 12 months of inactivity. So to keep them active you typically need to earn or redeem points on your account. Even if you don’t plan on any hotel stays in the near future, there are easy and sometimes unique ways that you can keep the points active.
The simplest method is to by having the IHG® Rewards Club Premier card. As long as you hold this card, your points won’t expire because you’ll have automatic elite status and which keeps points from ever expiring.
The IHG Rewards Club Traveler requires minimum spending to achieve elite status, but each time you earn IHG points from spending on the card, you’ll extend your points expiration.
Using any of the tips below, you can keep your IHG points from expiring.
9 Easy Ways to Keep IHG Points From Expiring
IHG points expire 12 months after the last activity on your account. “Activity” could mean earning or redeeming points in any way. While staying at an IHG hotel is the obvious way, there are many other ways to push back the expiration of your points without staying at a hotel.
Earn IHG Points by Spending on Chase IHG Cards
It’s easy to earn points on every purchase you make with an IHG credit card.
These cards earn you points from everyday spending, meaning that as long as you use the card, you will continually be earning points and resetting the expiration date.
The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier also includes the benefit of automatic Platinum Elite status. Anyone who maintains elite status at IHG will not have their points expire while they are an elite member. Since this card offers you elite status as long as you keep the card open, you don’t even need to make purchases to keep points from expiring. This card offers a free night stay (40,000 IHG points or less) every cardholder anniversary, which more than offsets the $89 annual fee.
The Chase IHG Traveler offers Gold Elite status for cardholders who spend a minimum of $10,000 per calendar year. This card has a lower annual fee of just $29, but does not include the valuable free night stay each year.
Stay at an IHG Hotel
It might seem obvious, but of course you can always stay at an IHG hotel to extend your points. This means either redeeming points for a free award stay or buying a stay at an IHG hotel to earn points.
IHG hotels include:
- avid Hotels
- Candlewood Suites
- Crowne Plaza
- EVEN Hotels
- Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
- Holiday Inn Express
- Holiday Inn Resorts
- Hotel Indigo
- InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
- Staybridge Suites
Don’t forget that IHG also offers a Points + Cash option. I actually really enjoy this option because it allows you to use points to get a significant discount on your stay. I have found that points can go almost twice as far if you are willing to pay a little cash with them.
As you can see above, by using just 5,000 IHG points I was able to cut $93 off the cost of my stay. That makes each point worth ~1.9 cents each (~$94 savings / 5,000 points) compared to ~1.2 cents each (~$174 value of stay / 15,000 points) if I used straight points to get it for free. And by doing this, I will also extend my points another 12 months.
Because I don’t need to save up as many points to use Points + Cash, I find I am redeeming points constantly and I never really need to worry about point expiration.
For as little as ~$14 you can actually just purchase points outright to add to your account. Especially if you know you have a trip coming up soon that you want to use the points for, you can top off your account with a few extra points. And keep the others from expiring before you have a chance to use them.
To buy points, log into the IHG points purchase page. From there you have the option to purchase points and add them to your account. The minimum is 1,000 IHG points for ~$14, and you can buy (or gift) a maximum of 100,000 IHG points per calendar year.
From time to time, IHG runs promotions with discounts for purchasing points.
Rent a Car
IHG partners with rental car companies, so that you can actually earn quite a few points from renting a car. By booking a Hertz rental through IHG you can get up to a 35% discount, 3,000 IHG Rewards points, and 500 points per day for elite members (club members earn 125 points per day).
Just out of curiosity I looked up a car rental at my nearby Hertz dealer through IHG and could rent a 4-door SUV for 1 day for $53, and earn 3,500 IHG Reward points!
You can also earn points by renting through Dollar and Thrifty rentals, but you only earn 125 points per day. If you are renting a car in the future and just want to keep your IHG Rewards points from expiring, this would do the trick.
Answer Some Questions
This might sound too good to be true, but it actually does work. IHG has partnered with survey company Opinion Check-In to allow you to earn points by answering surveys. You can earn 1,000 IHG points per survey, and some surveys take as little as 8 minutes to complete.
I tried this out myself, and getting signed up was pretty easy. All-in, it took me ~10 minutes to actually start answering my first survey. Once you have your account set up you can earn 1,000 IHG points per survey, and up to 5 surveys a day.
What’s actually really cool is that even if you do not qualify for a survey, you still earn 5 IHG Rewards points. So if your goal is simply to keep your points from expiring, this is a free way to do that.
Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards
Folks with annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred can transfer points directly to IHG from their Chase Ultimate Rewards account. This is another easy and fast way to keep your IHG points alive.
The minimum transfer amount to IHG is 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so you must be willing to transfer at least that many points to IHG. The points transfer directly at a 1:1 ratio and the transfer is almost instant.
Grab a Bite to Eat
Through IHG’s Dine and Earn program, you can earn IHG points through dining at participating restaurants. To get started, head to the IHG Rewards Dining website to register and link a card (any card, this doesn’t have to be an IHG card). Right now IHG is offering 1,000 bonus points when you spend $30 or more within 30 days of signing up.
Once you’ve enrolled your card you don’t have to do anything else! Just use your card to make a purchase at an eligible restaurant and you’ll earn hassle-free IHG points (on top of what you’ll earn for spending on your card).
There are a few ways to transfer points in order to create activity on your IHG points account and push back your point expiration.
First you can choose to transfer some of your IHG points to a friend or family member (or they could transfer you points from their account). Both parties here would extend their point expiration during this process. Transferring points to other IHG accounts requires a minimum of 1,000 points per transfer and incurs a $5 fee. But there is no maximum on the number of points you can send or receive per year.
You can also transfer IHG points to airlines, but this is rarely a good deal. IHG allows point transferring to most common airlines like United Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, and many others. They do require a minimum of 10,000 IHG points to transfer and the points are transferred at a 5:1 ratio to most airlines (this means that 10,000 IHG points = 2,000 airline miles).
The transfer requires you to call IHG and takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete.
Shop with Points
Another way to spend points and extend your expiration date is through using 1 of 2 different shopping portals that IHG offers. First is the IHG Rewards Club Catalog., which offers physical products from name-brands like Nike, Apple, and Bose. Unfortunately the point conversion on most of these don’t make it a good value. There are magazine subscriptions starting at just 800 points for Forbes, Marie Claire, or Seventeen (among many others).
IHG also offers a Digital Rewards catalog with movies, music, games, and ebooks. Similar to the Rewards Club Catalog, you use your IHG points for digital goods and download them. Again, I found the points cost to be pretty high on things like movies, but there are ebooks starting at just 150 IHG points! Unfortunately these eBooks are very random self-published titles so they might not be purchases that you treasure, but for just 150 points it can be an easy way to keep your other points from expiring.
There is no reason to let your IHG Rewards points expire. Even though they require activity at least once every 12 months, there are several ways to keep the points from expiring.
- Earn IHG Points with a Chase IHG Credit Card: These cards can earn you points with everyday spending and elite status means that your points won’t expire
- Stay at an IHG hotel: Either using cash and earning points, or redeeming points for an award stay
- Buy IHG points: For as little as ~$14 you can purchase points to add to your account
- Rent a car with Hertz: For as little as $53 I was able to rent a car for a day and earn 3,500 IHG points
- Answer questions with Opinion Check-in: a brief survey can earn you IHG points that will reset the expiration date on your account
- Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards: Cardholders of certain Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning credit cards can easily transfer points to IHG to extend the expiration
- Grab a bite to eat: Uing IHG’s Diner Rewards program you can earn points from dining at select restaurants
- Transfer points: Either to a friend / family member or to an airline mileage program
- Shop with points: You can use points to purchase physical goods, magazine subscriptions, or digital goods like eBooks (starting at 150 points), games, movies, and music starting as low as 150 points
Folks who stay at IHG hotels often should consider an IHG credit card like the IHG Rewards Club Premier which earns automatic Platinum Elite status, a free night stay each year, bonus points on all purchases and 80,000 IHG points after spending $2,000 in the first three months.
- Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Read our review of IHG Rewards Club Premier
- Chase IHG Travelers Credit Card: Read our review of the IHG Traveler card
Let us know in the comments how you like to keep your IHG points active.