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 fit our travel needs? Hilton? Marriott? Hyatt? Nope.
It’s Holiday Inn.
IHG Hotels and Resorts owns 16 hotel brands, including the iconic Holiday Inn. Their hotel portfolio includes Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Kimpton and Intercontinental Hotels.
The IHG 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 end up staying at IHG hotels so much. First, they simply 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.
IHG also offers a credit card through Chase. The current bonus is pretty good; it gives you 125,000 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 $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, at 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.
I’m also partial to IHG’s program because IMHO 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.
While not as impressive, I can get a room at our favorite Candlewood Suites near Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, TX for 20,000 points when rooms go for $200 a night for a weekend in the summer.
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 many bloggers write about stays in suites at Hyatt or Hilton properties using upgrade certificates. For us normal travelers, I like either booking a Holiday Inn Express or splurging on a Kimpton, depending on which fits the needs for our stay the best.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary