How to Get the Most Travel From the Chase IHG Rewards Club Card

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How to Get the Most Travel From the Chase IHG Rewards Club Card

Million Mile SecretsHow to Get the Most Travel From the Chase IHG Rewards Club CardMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader Gracia writes:

I am new to this hobby and I just got approved for the Chase IHG Reward Club credit card.  Are there any great tips for using this card?

Do IHG points transfer from 1 credit card to another?  Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or US Airways Premier World MasterCard?

The 70,000 point bonus on the Chase IHG card is a great deal, Gracia!

How To Get The Most Travel From The Chase IHG Rewards Club Card
You Could Stay at the Intercontinental Resort and Spa in Moorea With the Chase IHG Rewards Club Card

Let’s see how Gracia can make the most of this card!

Big Travel With the Chase IHG Card

Link:   Chase IHG Rewards Club Card 70,000 Point Offer

Until May 31, 2015, the sign-up bonus on the Chase IHG Rewards Club card has been increased to 70,000 IHG points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

Normally, the sign-up bonus is 60,000 points, so this is a better deal!

This card also gets you:

  • Free Platinum elite status (free upgrades, priority check-in, and elite rollover nights)
  • A free night at any IHG hotel worldwide on each card anniversary
  • 5 IHG points for every $1 you spend at IHG hotels
  • 2 IHG points per $1 you spend at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations
  • 1 IHG point per $1 you spend on everything else
  • 10% rebate on redeemed points (up to 100,000 IHG points a year)
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee of $49, waived for the 1st year

The free night on each card anniversary more than makes up for the annual fee!  And it can be used at IHG’s top resorts, like the Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa.  Paid nights at this resort can cost over $700!

How To Get The Most Travel From The Chase IHG Rewards Club Card
You Could Stay in an Overwater Bungalow Like We Did at the Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa

Emily and I stayed here using IHG points on our 2nd honeymoon in the South Pacific!

3 Tips for Using Your IHG Card & IHG Points

1.   Use Your Free Night for an Otherwise Expensive Stay

The free anniversary night from the Chase IHG Rewards Club card can be used at any IHG hotel, including their top category hotels and resorts!

So it makes the most sense to use your free night at a hotel which would otherwise be very expensive or cost a lot of points. 

For example, the Intercontinental London Park Lane normally costs 50,000 IHG points per night (their highest tier).

How To Get The Most Travel From The Chase IHG Rewards Club Card
Make Your London Visit Memorable by Treating Yourself to a Stay at the Intercontinental London Park Lane

A paid night in July costs 379 British pounds, or ~$566!

How To Get The Most Travel From The Chase IHG Rewards Club Card
For Paying the $49 Annual Fee on the Chase IHG Card, You Could Get a Hotel Night Worth ~$566!

Note:  The free night must be used within 12 months of being issued, so you can’t accumulate them for a longer stay.  But you could book more nights with points!

2.   Use Points for Cheap PointBreaks Rooms

IHG award nights normally cost 10,000 to 50,000 points per night.  But there are heavily-discounted award rooms through the IHG PointBreaks promotion.

With PointBreaks, you can book certain hotels for only 5,000 points per night.  Participating hotels are listed on the IHG website, and change every few months.

How To Get The Most Travel From The Chase IHG Rewards Club Card
Bargain Alert! Stay at IHG PointBreaks Hotels for Only 5,000 Points per Night

This is a great way to get the most nights from your points.  And if you use the IHG Points + Cash trick to buy points for 0.7 cents each, it’s like getting the hotel for $35 per night!

3.   Stretch Your Points Further With Points & Cash

IHG Rewards Club also has a Points & Cash option for award stays.  This allows folks to use fewer points for award nights by combining points with cash.

You can reduce the number of points required for an award night by:

  • 5,000 points for $40
  • 10,000 points for $70

For example, the Hotel Indigo – New York City Chelsea normally costs 45,000 points per night.  But using Points & Cash, you could choose to pay:

  • 40,000 points plus $40, or
  • 35,000 points plus $70
How To Get The Most Travel From The Chase IHG Rewards Club Card
Reduce the Number of Points Required per Night by Combining Points & Cash!

This can help get Gracia a longer stay (or a room at a nicer hotel) for a relatively small amount of cash.  That’s Big Travel with Small Money!

Transferring IHG Points

In addition to earning points from the Chase IHG Rewards Club card and staying at IHG hotels, Gracia can also earn IHG points in another way.  IHG is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so Gracia can transfer Chase points to IHG at a 1:1 ratio.

So 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points can become 1,000 IHG points.

Note:   You’re allowed to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to partner airlines and hotels (such as IHG) when you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or the no-longer-offered Chase Ink Bold card.

How To Get The Most Travel From The Chase IHG Rewards Club Card
You Could Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to IHG for a Stay at the Crowne Plaza Causeway Bay in Hong Kong

That said, you’ll usually get a better value from transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to other partners, like Hyatt or United Airlines.  But do what helps you get the travel you want!

Remember, you can also buy IHG points for 0.7 cents per point using the Points & Cash trick.  But not everyone is comfortable doing that.

IHG points can also be transferred TO airlines.  However, these ratios are generally not favorable and it’s NOT the best use of your IHG points.

For example, if you transfer 10,000 IHG points to United Airlines, you’ll only get 2,000 United Airlines miles!  So while you can transfer IHG Rewards Club points to airlines, you will NOT get a very good value for your points.

Bottom Line

With the Chase IHG Rewards Club card, you’ll earn 70,000 IHG points after completing minimum spending requirements The $49 annual fee is waived for the 1st year.

Plus, you’ll get a free night at ANY IHG hotel on your card anniversary each year.  Even at the most expensive hotels!

You can get more award nights through the IHG PointBreaks program of discounted hotels.  You can also booking rooms with Points & Cash.  Or you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG.

You can also transfer IHG points to partner airlines, but that’s NOT a good deal because the transfer ratios are not good.

Enjoy your travels, Gracia!  Thanks for the question!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Two IHG successes I wanted to share with you:

1. I had applied for a 60,000 IHG Chase credit card in October 2015. On the day the 60K points were posted to IHG, I contacted Chase via online message and expressed my disappointment that I subsequently had found award offers for 70,000 or 80,000 points online. I simply (and kindly) asked whether they would be willing to post these additional points, not knowing whether I would have any success in getting an extra 10K or 20K. Within 24 hours, I received a reply that they would post an additional 20K points to by IHG account at the closing date of my 2nd month’s credit card statement.

2. In the meantime, I wanted to book an IHG stay in San Francisco that requires 35K points but my account only had 26K points remaining after making other reservations. I spoke with an IHG rep regarding the situation. I wasn’t sure whether I could use Points + Cash to use 25K points I have availabel now, plus pay $70 to get the points. That would secure my award room. Then, in theory, after the 20K points post in a month, I could cancel my Points + Cash reservation and re-book using points only. The representative explained that the Cash portion would be non-refundable. Then, because of my IHG Platinum status, he suggested that IHG could “loan” me the points (for free), in anticipation of the additional 20K points posting. So, the representative went ahead and booked the award stay using Points only, which brings my account balance to a deficit of (9,000). Within a month, my additional 20K points will post, so my net account balance will switch to being positive 11K.

Anyway, I am thrilled to have gotten the full 80K award AND to be able to “loan” points to book my award stay immediately! Thanks for this blog and all the insight and tips!

Thanks for the detailed article! I just got this card!

Just to clarrify, a new card member would receive the free night certificate after initially having the card for 12 months? In other words, you do not get the free night certificate for your first year of card membership, but you do get the certificate for year 2 and beyond? Basically you get the certificate upon billing for each annual fee, but not during the first year when the annual fee is waived?

Oops, I meant 0.8 cents per point above. Typo, all the other numbers are correct, I think.

Just a comment on transferring IHG points to airlines not being a good value. Always keep in mind that “it depends”. Generically speaking, it is probably not a good value, but I can see a way where it might be a great value, but your circumstances and redemption plans have to be taken into account. For me as an example, I need to frequently fly from EUG to SEA, which is just a short domestic hop, about 300 miles or so. If I transfer 50k IHG points to BA at a 5:1 ratio, I’ll get 10k BA points . Those 9k BA points can be used for two one-ways on my planned itinerary, Flying on AK, booked through BA, which would typically cost $180 each. So, $360 value for 45k IHG points, which is 8 cents per point, and probably better than I would get on most IHG hotel redemptions, (other than the special point breaks, or international stays, which are not a realistic redemption for me.) I usually track the value of a card application bonus based on the bonus $ value vs spend requirement. Using my EUG->PDX example, and doing the math: (60000 + 1000) / 5 * (180/4500) / 1000 = 48.8%, meaning my $1000 spend should have a 48.8 percent “travel value” return and significantly better than my overall average of about 33%.

(Formula above is: (IHGBonus + Spend) / TransferRatio * (TicketCost / BAPointsRedeemed) / Spend = PercentReturnOnSpend.)


Do you know if you can use the free night on a hotels anywhere hotel?

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