Cheapest IHG hotels to earn points (Plus a trick to buy points for less!)

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Travel credit cards are far from the only way to earn miles and points.

Pre-coronavirus, hotel chains would occasionally publish fun and lucrative promotions to help you earn points and reward nights quickly. Much of them revolved around completing a certain amount of nights. A few hotel chains have begun flexing those muscles again — and hopefully, we’ll see all hotels bounce back with promotions like these in the near future.

This post is about IHG hotels. One of the best ways you can prepare for future IHG promos is with this post. You can pick up dirt cheap reward nights at oodles of hotels — though most of them aren’t anywhere near the U.S. Keep them in mind if you’re jonesing for a cheap vacation.

You can also “buy” IHG points for ~0.6 cents per point by taking advantage of a quirk with the IHG website. This isn’t a trick everyone’s comfortable using, so do what works for you.

(Photo by Brian Biros/Million Mile Secrets)

Every IHG hotel under $50

You might not find the same hotel at the same rate. Many of the hotels were surprisingly consistent in price, but some of these hotels have way lower rates in off-peak. Like one of the hotel locations on the cheaper end in Sanya, China… But that’s a beach resort area near Vietnam, and the price ranged from $39 to $140.

Again, most do not vary that much, but the point is that this is the lowest rate we found

“We found” also means that there could be lower rates out there on dates we didn’t check. This is a good resource, but not a perfect one. These are also standard rates, and there may be even cheaper rates with whatever code you use.

It may go without saying, but each of these hotels would be terrible redemptions. If a hotel is this cheap, better to pay cash and save your points for a more expensive hotel.

Before I go over best hotels and strategies, let me start with the list of the cheapest 228 hotels, with every hotel that we found at $50 or under.

Hotel nameLocalityCountryAverage lowest cash price
ANA Crowne Plaza HiroshimaHiroshima-shiJapan$24.36
Holiday Inn Suites HulunbuirHulunbuirMainland China$25.58
Holiday Inn Express Yancheng City CenterYanchengMainland China$26.32
Holiday Inn Express Foshan NanhaiFoshanMainland China$29.77
Holiday Inn Express Jakarta MatramanJakartaIndonesia$29.78
Holiday Inn Express Weihai Economic ZoneWeihaiMainland China$29.90
Holiday Inn Express Baoji City CentreBaojiMainland China$30.92
Holiday Inn Express Ordos DongshengOrdosMainland China$30.92
Holiday Inn Express ZhangyeZhangyeMainland China$30.92
Holiday Inn Express Semarang Simpang LimaSemarangIndonesia$31.37
Holiday Inn Express Hefei High TechHefeiMainland China$31.47
Holiday Inn Express Panjin DowntownPanjinMainland China$31.54
Holiday Inn Express Yangzhou City CenterYangzhouMainland China$32.40
Holiday Inn Express Chifeng HongshanChifengMainland China$32.45
Holiday Inn Express Hefei ShushanHefeiMainland China$32.45
Holiday Inn Express Jiujiang Bali LakeJiujiangMainland China$32.55
Holiday Inn Express Luoyang YichuanLuoyangMainland China$32.56
Holiday Inn Express Dubai – JumeirahDubaiUnited Arab Emirates$32.85
Holiday Inn Bandung PasteurBandungIndonesia$33.30
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu DafengChengduMainland China$33.64
Holiday Inn Express Hefei DowntownHefeiMainland China$33.64
Holiday Inn ChiangMaiChiangmaiThailand$33.68
Holiday Inn Express Jakarta Pluit CitygateJakarta UtaraIndonesia$33.75
Holiday Inn Express Hefei SouthHefeiMainland China$34.34
Holiday Inn Express Yingkou Onelong PlazaYingkouMainland China$34.36
Holiday Inn Express Handan EastHandanMainland China$34.73
Holiday Inn Resort Hainan Clear Water BaySanyaMainland China$34.77
Holiday Inn Moscow – SeligerskayaMoscowRussia$34.88
Holiday Inn Express ChangshuChangshuMainland China$34.97
Holiday Inn Express Weihai Hi-tech ZoneWeihaiMainland China$35.09
Holiday Inn Express Surabaya CenterPointSurabaya, Jawa TimurIndonesia$35.10
Holiday Inn Bur Dubai – Embassy DistrictDubaiUnited Arab Emirates$35.17
Holiday Inn MelakaMelakaMalaysia$35.25
Holiday Inn Express Lhasa Potala SquareLhasaMainland China$35.35
Holiday Inn Express Bradford City CentreBradfordUnited Kingdom$35.46
Holiday Inn Express Tianjin DongliTianjinMainland China$35.82
Holiday Inn Express Zhangjiakou Park ViewZhangjiakouMainland China$35.83
Holiday Inn Express Leshan City SquareLeshanMainland China$35.89
Holiday Inn CuiabaCuiabaBrazil$36.10
Holiday Inn Express Dujiangyan Ancient CityDujiangyanMainland China$36.20
Holiday Inn Express Moscow – KhovrinoMoscowRussia$36.24
Holiday Inn Express Bengbu DowntownBengbuMainland China$36.26
Holiday Inn Express Changzhou CenterChangzhouMainland China$36.26
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai ChongmingShanghaiMainland China$36.46
Holiday Inn Express Shaoxing PaojiangShaoxingMainland China$36.55
Holiday Inn Express Langfang Park ViewLangfangMainland China$36.66
Holiday Inn Express Langfang New ChaoyangLangfangMainland China$36.84
Holiday Inn NatalNatal – RNBrazil$36.86
Holiday Inn Express Yantai YEDAYantaiMainland China$36.91
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai NanhuizuiShanghaiMainland China$36.93
Holiday Inn Express Nantong XinghuNantongMainland China$37.00
Holiday Inn Cikarang JababekaCikarangIndonesia$37.13
Holiday Inn Express Tuxtla Gutierrez La MarimbaTuxtla GutierrezMexico$37.14
Holiday Inn Express Jakarta International ExpoJakarta PusatIndonesia$37.19
Holiday Inn PermPermRussia$37.38
Holiday Inn Express Hyderabad Banjara HillsHyderabadIndia$37.63
Holiday Inn Express Shenyang North StationShenyangMainland China$37.81
Holiday Inn Express Nantong DowntownNantongMainland China$37.81
Holiday Inn Express Tangshan DowntownTangshanMainland China$37.81
Holiday Inn Gaziantep – SehitkamilGaziantepTurkey$38.02
Holiday Inn Express Belém AnanindeuaBelemBrazil$38.19
Holiday Inn Express Emei MountainEmeishanMainland China$38.29
Holiday Inn Express Bengaluru Whitefield ITPLBengaluruIndia$38.36
Holiday Inn Express Hyderabad HITEC CityHyderabadIndia$38.36
Holiday Inn Express YopalYopalColombia$38.48
Holiday Inn Express Jakarta ThamrinJakartaIndonesia$38.70
Holiday Inn Express Kuala Lumpur City CentreKuala LumpurMalaysia$38.73
Holiday Inn Express Nantong Textile CityNantongMainland China$38.96
Holiday Inn Express Linyi RiversideLinyiMainland China$38.98
Holiday Inn ManausManaus – AMBrazil$39.01
Holiday Inn Express & Suites CelayaCelayaMexico$39.04
Holiday Inn Express Dubai AirportDubaiUnited Arab Emirates$39.05
Holiday Inn Express Zhangjiagang EastZhangjiagangMainland China$39.09
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai New JinqiaoShanghaiMainland China$39.09
Holiday Inn Express Sanya BaySanyaMainland China$39.25
Holiday Inn Express Haikou West CoastHaikouMainland China$39.34
Holiday Inn Zhongshan DowntownZhongshanMainland China$39.35
Holiday Inn Express Dubai – Internet CityDubaiUnited Arab Emirates$39.57
Holiday Inn Express Dubai – Safa ParkDubaiUnited Arab Emirates$39.57
Holiday Inn Moscow – VinogradovoMoscowRussia$39.58
Holiday Inn Villahermosa AeropuertoVillahermosaMexico$39.75
Holiday Inn Express Shenzhen SonggangShenzhenMainland China$39.80
Holiday Inn Express Baruna BaliBaliIndonesia$39.90
Holiday Inn Express Shangqiu Ancient TownShangqiuMainland China$39.91
Holiday Inn Express Liyang HuafuLiyangMainland China$39.91
Holiday Inn Express Luoyang XiyuanLuoyangMainland China$39.91
Holiday Inn Express Pune PimpriMaharashtraIndia$40.07
Holiday Inn Express Anshan DowntownAnshanMainland China$40.11
Holiday Inn Express Liuyang Development ZoneLiuyangMainland China$40.11
Holiday Inn Express Shijiazhuang HepingShijiazhuangMainland China$40.11
Holiday Inn Express Bali Raya KutaBaliIndonesia$40.18
Holiday Inn Zhengzhou ZhongzhouZhengzhouMainland China$40.80
Holiday Inn CoatzacoalcosCoatzacoalcosMexico$40.84
Holiday Inn Express Foshan ChanchengFoshanMainland China$40.91
Holiday Inn SalamancaSalamancaMexico$40.93
Holiday Inn Express Shenyang TawanShenyangMainland China$40.95
Holiday Inn & Suites Jakarta Gajah MadaJakarta PusatIndonesia$40.95
Holiday Inn Baoji CentralBaojiMainland China$41.14
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu TianheChengduMainland China$41.15
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu JinniuChengduMainland China$41.26
Holiday Inn Gebze – Istanbul AsiaIstanbulTurkey$41.28
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu Wenjiang HotspringChengduMainland China$42.01
Holiday Inn Istanbul – KadikoyIstanbulTurkey$42.02
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu North Railway StationChengduMainland China$42.24
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu XinduChengduMainland China$42.29
Holiday Inn Express Jakarta Wahid HasyimJakartaIndonesia$42.30
Holiday Inn Express Chongqing JinxiuchengChongqingMainland China$42.41
Holiday Inn Express Ya’an City CenterYa’anMainland China$42.41
Holiday Inn Tuxtla GutierrezTuxtla GutierrezMexico$42.45
Holiday Inn Rome – AureliaRomeItaly$42.66
Hotel Indigo Veracruz Boca Del RioBOCA DEL RIOMexico$42.91
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bengaluru RacecourseBangaloreIndia$43.01
Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Soi SoonvijaiBangkokThailand$43.02
Holiday Inn Express Gurugram Sector 50GurugramIndia$43.08
Holiday Inn Express Mianyang High-Tech ZoneMianyangMainland China$43.11
Holiday Inn Express Yinchuan DowntownYinchuanMainland China$43.13
Holiday Inn Express Taian City CenterTaianMainland China$43.23
Holiday Inn Express Haining City CenterHainingMainland China$43.29
Holiday Inn Neijiang RiversideNeijiangMainland China$43.29
Holiday Inn Express Chongqing University TownChongqingMainland China$43.30
Holiday Inn Express Tianjin AirportTianjinMainland China$43.30
Holiday Inn Express Shijiazhuang High-tech ZoneShijiazhuangMainland China$43.35
Holiday Inn Express Suzhou ChangjiangSuzhouMainland China$43.44
Holiday Inn Express Fuzhou DowntownFuzhouMainland China$43.44
Holiday Inn Express ShengsiZhoushanMainland China$43.44
Holiday Inn Shaoguan DowntownShaoguanMainland China$43.44
Holiday Inn BursaBursaTurkey$43.45
Holiday Inn Venice – Mestre MargheraVeniceItaly$43.45
Holiday Inn Moscow – SuschevskyMoscowRussia$43.51
Holiday Inn Express Cd. del CarmenCiudad del CarmenMexico$43.56
Holiday Inn Express Suwon IngyeSuwon SiKorea, Republic of$43.63
Holiday Inn Express Chengde DowntownChengdeMainland China$43.75
Holiday Inn Express FarroupilhaFarroupilha, Rio GrandeBrazil$43.77
Holiday Inn Express Xiamen LushanXiamenMainland China$43.79
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Toluca Zona AeropuertoTolucaMexico$43.86
Holiday Inn Express Tianshui City CenterTianshuiMainland China$44.25
Holiday Inn Express LichfieldLichfieldUnited Kingdom$44.33
Holiday Inn Express Qingdao Chengyang CentralQingdaoMainland China$44.36
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai JinshaShanghaiMainland China$44.36
Holiday Inn MudanjiangMudanjiangMainland China$44.53
Holiday Inn Express Qingdao West CoastQingdaoMainland China$44.53
Holiday Inn Express Voronezh – KirovaVoronezhRussia$44.53
Holiday Inn Cd. del CarmenCiudad Del CarmenMexico$45.15
Holiday Inn Pune HinjewadiPuneIndia$45.22
Holiday Inn Express Zhengzhou ZhongzhouZhengzhouMainland China$45.25
Holiday Inn Express Wuxi Taihu New CityWuxiMainland China$45.34
Crowne Plaza BandungBandungIndonesia$45.36
Staybridge Suites IrapuatoIrapuatoMexico$45.38
Holiday Inn Express Zhengzhou Longzi LakeZhengzhouMainland China$45.47
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu HuanhuaxiChengduMainland China$45.47
Holiday Inn Express Harbin NangangHarbinMainland China$45.51
Holiday Inn Express Nashik Indira NagarNashikIndia$45.55
Holiday Inn Porto AlegrePorto AlegreBrazil$45.58
Holiday Inn Express Changzhou LanlingChangzhouMainland China$45.58
Holiday Inn Makkah Al AziziahMakkahSaudi Arabia$45.59
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai TangzhenShanghaiMainland China$45.62
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu WuhouChengduMainland China$45.85
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu Airport ZoneChengduMainland China$45.86
Holiday Inn Panjin Aqua CityPanjinMainland China$45.86
Holiday Inn Express Zhengzhou AirportZhengzhouMainland China$45.86
Holiday Inn Express Xichang City CenterXichangMainland China$45.86
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Jinqiao CentralShanghaiMainland China$45.86
Holiday Inn Express Shenyang Golden CorridorShenyangMainland China$45.86
Holiday Inn Express Villahermosa Tabasco 2000VILLAHERMOSAMexico$45.94
Holiday Inn & Suites Langfang New ChaoyangLangfangMainland China$46.02
Holiday Inn Express Nuevo LaredoNuevo LaredoMexico$46.18
Holiday Inn Express Suzhou Taihu LakeSuzhouMainland China$46.22
Holiday Inn Dubai – Al BarshaDubaiUnited Arab Emirates$46.32
Holiday Inn Express Zhejiang Qianxia LakeLishuiMainland China$46.34
Holiday Inn Veracruz Centro HistoricoVeracruzMexico$46.46
Holiday Inn Express Hangzhou GongshuHangzhouMainland China$46.47
Holiday Inn Resort Yichun Mingyue MountainYichunMainland China$46.47
Holiday Inn Express Suzhou Zhouzhuang Ancient TownSuzhouMainland China$46.71
Holiday Inn Express Qidong DowntownQidongMainland China$46.71
Crowne Plaza Sanya City CenterSanyaMainland China$46.71
Holiday Inn Express Dalian Development ZoneDalianMainland China$46.82
Holiday Inn Express Jinan Exhibition CenterJinanMainland China$46.82
Holiday Inn Express Xi’an Qujiang SouthXi’anMainland China$46.82
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai ZhabeiShanghaiMainland China$46.82
Holiday Inn Bangkok SilomBangkokThailand$46.84
Holiday Inn Express Stoke on TrentStoke-On-TrentUnited Kingdom$46.86
Holiday Inn UfaUfaRussia$46.90
Holiday Inn Ankara – KavaklidereAnkaraTurkey$46.92
Crowne Plaza Istanbul – OryaparkIstanbulTurkey$46.92
Holiday Inn Express Barranquilla BuenavistaBarranquillaColombia$47.03
Holiday Inn Resort Chaohu Hot SpringHefeiMainland China$47.26
Holiday Inn Jaipur City CentreJaipur, RajasthanIndia$47.61
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai New HongqiaoShanghaiMainland China$47.69
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu West GateChengduMainland China$47.69
Holiday Inn Express Krabi Ao Nang BeachKrabiThailand$47.80
Holiday Inn Express Zhengzhou ZhengdongZhengzhouMainland China$47.88
Holiday Inn Moscow – SokolnikiMoscowRussia$47.89
Holiday Inn Express Chengdu GulouChengduMainland China$47.99
Holiday Inn Express Birmingham – OldburyBirminghamUnited Kingdom$48.13
Holiday Inn Express East Midlands AirportDerbyUnited Kingdom$48.13
Holiday Inn Express Luoyang City CenterLuoyangMainland China$48.15
Holiday Inn Express WakefieldWakefieldUnited Kingdom$48.26
Holiday Inn Express Paraiso Dos BocasParaisoMexico$48.29
Crowne Plaza Zhongshan Wing On CityZhongshanMainland China$48.57
Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur GlenmarieShah AlamMalaysia$48.74
Holiday Inn Resort PenangPenangMalaysia$48.74
Holiday Inn Express Warsaw AirportWarsawPoland$48.76
Holiday Inn HefeiHefeiMainland China$48.81
Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR ThoraipakkamChennaiIndia$48.82
Holiday Inn Nola – Naples Vulcano BuonoNolaItaly$48.89
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai JinshanShanghaiMainland China$48.89
Holiday Inn Express Dalian City CenterDalianMainland China$48.89
Crowne Plaza Dubai – DeiraDubaiUnited Arab Emirates$49.09
Holiday Inn Resort Kolkata NH6KolkataIndia$49.25
Holiday Inn MoreliaMORELIAMexico$49.28
Holiday Inn Express Suzhou New DistrictSuzhouMainland China$49.29
Holiday Inn Express Nanjing Xuanwu LakeNanjingMainland China$49.30
Holiday Inn Express Ahmedabad Prahlad NagarAhmedabadIndia$49.36
Holiday Inn Express NewportNewportUnited Kingdom$49.39
Holiday Inn Nanchang RiversideNanchangMainland China$49.41
Candlewood Suites CelayaCelayaMexico$49.46
Holiday Inn & Suites Rayong City CentreRayongThailand$49.48
Holiday Inn Milan Nord – ZaraCinisello Balsamo (MI)Italy$49.57
Holiday Inn Abu DhabiAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates$49.65
Holiday Inn GoianiaGoianiaBrazil$49.71
Holiday Inn Express Aberdeen – Bridge of DonAberdeenUnited Kingdom$49.78
Holiday Inn Moscow – LesnayaMoscowRussia$49.84
Holiday Inn Express Guilin City CenterGuilinMainland China$49.87
Holiday Inn Express TapachulaTapachulaMexico$49.91
Holiday Inn Kayseri – DuvenonuKayseriTurkey$49.91
Holiday Inn Express Cabo San LucasCabo San LucasMexico$49.91
Holiday Inn Express Xiamen Airport ZoneXiamenMainland China$49.98
Holiday Inn Xining Hot-SpringXiningMainland China$50.04

You might think this is crazy if you haven’t stayed in these hotels in China, but the average Holiday Inn in China is much nicer than the average Crowne Plaza in the U.S. By a long shot.

Maybe you’re looking for hotels at which you don’t actually want to stay, but you’re booking it solely to complete a promotion or earn elite status. We call that mattress running. You check into the hotel and just drive back home. You don’t even stay at the hotel — the promotion payoff or elite status is worth more to you than the cash you paid for the hotel nights.

If you did want to complete a promotion while also staying somewhere interesting, there are many interesting locations. My picks are:

  • Chengdu – $34
  • Shanghai – $47
  • Moscow – $35
  • Dubai – $35
  • Bali – $39
  • Istanbul – $37
  • Bangkok – $35
  • Jakarta – $18

Many of these are a distance from the city center, which is a no-go for me personally.

Map of cheapest IHG hotels

Red indicates the cheapest IHG hotels. Just like the complete map of IHG hotels, click the top right to blow it up and see the key.

IHG Points & Cash trick

IHG allows you to book award nights using a combination of points and cash. This means if you don’t have enough points for an award night (or if you don’t want to use all your points), IHG will “sell” you the remaining points you need for your stay.

Let’s look at an example to better understand. The Holiday Inn : Chennai OMR IT Expressway costs 11,000 points per night. However, it provides the following Points & Cash option:

The key is this: No matter which option you choose, you’re still paying 11,000 points per night. IHG is simply selling you the points you need to complete your stay. If you choose 6,000 points and $30, IHG will deposit 5,000 more points into your account and immediately remove the 11,000 points it needs to complete your stay. In other words, IHG sold you 6,000 points for $30. That’s a rate of 0.6 cents each.

Here comes the trick.

After you book your stay, your reservation will appear in your account as a reward stay. If you then cancel your reservation, IHG won’t refund your $30 — instead, 11,000 points will deposit into your account (the 6,000 points from your account and the 5,000 points you “purchased” with $30).

You can repeat this over and over to purchase as many IHG points as you like. Just note that the Points & Cash rates vary, and some are a poorer deal than others.

Not everyone may be comfortable using this trick to buy IHG points at a cheaper rate. If you decide to do it, always double-check you’re making a refundable reservation (take note of the cancellation deadline!).

The IHG award chart prices the vast majority of hotel nights between 10,000 and 70,000 points (though a few select hotels price even higher). With this method, you can effectively purchase hotel nights for as little as $59 per night. And you can reserve top-tier IHG hotels for around $413 per night (often the best use of IHG points). Some of these hotels can cost over $1,000 per night!

Earn IHG points quickly with the IHG Premier Card

The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card comes with 140,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

We estimate IHG points value to be 0.5 cents each, so you should at least get $700 from this bonus — though as discussed above, it’s possible to get much higher value if you know how to use IHG points.

The card also comes with a reward night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide (again, only valid for IHG hotels that cost 40,000 points or less). Plus, you get a fourth reward night every time you book three consecutive reward nights!

You can read our full review of the IHG credit card for all the card details.

Bottom line

You can earn IHG points in a hurry if you know what you’re doing. Be it through credit card bonuses, hotel promotions, or the IHG Points & Cash trick, IHG points are easy to pick up.

IHG hotels have variable rates, so let us know if you find a hotel with an exceptional Points & Cash value, or simply a super cheap hotel not on our list! And subscribe to our newsletter for more hotel tips and tricks like this delivered to your inbox once per day.

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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