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.
So with all of the major brands to choose from, which one have I found to be best to fit our travel needs? Hilton? Marriott? Hyatt? Nope.
It’s Holiday Inn.
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) owns 13 hotel brands, including the iconic Holiday Inn. Their hotel portfolio includes Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Kimpton and Intercontinental Hotels.
The IHG Rewards Club loyalty program allows you to redeem points for free nights or combine cash and points to make your points go farther. 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 end up staying at IHG hotels so much. First, they simply have hotels everywhere. At last count, IHG has over 5,300 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 any other hotel chain, at all different price levels, I’ve used more for different types of hotel stays than IHG.
I also like to stay at IHG hotels because they occasionally run really good promotions. I’ve written about past Accelerate promotions here, here and here. A recent promo gave you bonus points and a discount on gas. There are also extra promotions like the time Sharon and I each wrote 188 postcards to get free points.
IHG also offers a credit card through Chase. The current bonus is pretty good; it gives you 80,000 points for signing up and spending $2,000 in 90 days. I used miles from my sign up bonus for 2 nights at the Hotel Indigo Kensington, in London). The annual fee for this card is $89. 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). While this is a nice perk, I don’t give it a whole lot of value since in some of the hotels we’ve stayed, the upgrade wasn’t worth much. One example was the “club” room we were given at the Holiday Inn London Mayfair which I couldn’t imagine being much better than a regular room.
There are great values available however, if you’re able to catch one of the IHG PointBreaks promotions. These offers come out every quarter and are for a VERY limited amount of hotels. If you can manage to snag one of them, you’re able to stay at an IHG hotel for only 5,000 to 15,000 points a night. Even if you are buying points at 0.7 cents, the hotel room is costing you $35 to $105 a night. I’ve only been able to take of advantage this deal ONCE and it was for staying a night at a Candlewood Suites in El Paso, TX for 5000 points. The hotel was out of the way and it was clean for the equivalent of $35, but nothing writing home about.
I’m also partial to IHG’s program because IMHO I’ve gotten my best redemption ever by using their points. I used some tools by Wandering Aramean to find a room during Desert Trip in Palm Desert, CA so we could 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.
@WandrMe AWESOME! Thanks to Hotel Hustle alert, I grabbed a $400 room for a concert weekend in Palm Desert, CA for 20K IHG points/night.
While not as impressive as a redemption, I am able to get a room at our favorite Candlewood Suites near Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, TX for 20,000 points when rooms were going for close to $200 a night for a weekend in the summer.
So while IHG hotels may not be the most aspirational point redemptions out there, they can be amazingly functional and a great value, particularly if you have the IHG credit card. I’ve read many bloggers write about stays in suites at Hyatt or Hilton properties using upgrade certificates but for us normal travelers, a simple Holiday Inn Express often fits the bill just fine.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary