Confirmable suite upgrades, points and more: Your guide to IHG One Rewards’ Milestone Rewards


Earlier this year, IHG launched its new IHG One Rewards program. One compelling aspect of this program is the ability to earn Milestone Rewards for every 10 nights you stay, starting at just 20 nights in a calendar year.

You can earn bonus points, food and beverage rewards, confirmable suite upgrades and even an annual lounge membership as Milestone Rewards. Here’s what you need to know about IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards.

What are IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards?

IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards are perks you earn each calendar year based on the nights you stay with IHG. Specifically, you’ll earn Milestone Rewards every 10 nights, starting at just 20 nights and going through 100 nights. Any nights that are elite qualifying, including award nights, will count.

Hotel Indigo Miami Brickell in Florida. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Here are the Milestone Rewards you can earn as you hit the following milestones each calendar year (you can choose one at each level except at 40 and 70 nights, which get two):

  • 20 nights: 5,000 bonus points, two $20 food and beverage rewards or one confirmable suite upgrade.
  • 30 nights: 5,000 bonus points or two $20 food and beverage rewards.
  • 40 nights (choose two): 10,000 bonus points, five $20 food and beverage rewards, one confirmable suite upgrade (limit one) or one annual lounge membership (limit one).
  • 50 nights: 10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards.
  • 60 nights: 10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards.
  • 70 nights: (choose two): 10,000 bonus points, five $20 food and beverage rewards, two confirmable suite upgrades (limit one) or one annual lounge membership (limit one).
  • 80 nights: 10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards.
  • 90 nights:10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards.
  • 100 nights: 10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards.

You might be wondering what some of these Milestone Rewards entail. So, here’s a look at the details of each of the four Milestone Rewards based on the IHG member terms and conditions.

Related: Last-minute strategies for earning IHG One Rewards elite status

Bonus points

Bonus points are a straightforward reward option that you can select at each level. If you choose bonus points, IHG will deposit the points into your account.

Based on TPG’s valuations, 5,000 IHG points are worth $25 and 10,000 IHG points are worth $50.

Related: 7 ways to earn more IHG One Rewards points for your next redemption

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Food and beverage rewards

InterContinental Phuket in Thailand. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Similar to bonus points, you can choose food and beverage rewards at each milestone. Each food and beverage award voucher is worth $20.

Once you select food and beverage rewards at a milestone, you can redeem these rewards against food and beverage charges during a stay. However, you can’t use food and beverage rewards on:

  • Vending machines.
  • Third-party outside food deliveries like Uber Eats.
  • Restaurants that do not allow charges to a guest room bill.
  • Gift shops.
  • Taxes associated with minibar charges.
  • Marketplaces.
  • Stays as part of a group, package tour or convention where a third party is paying charges.

You can redeem food and beverage rewards at all IHG brands except Holiday Inn Club Vacations. You also can’t use food and beverage rewards during stays at Mr & Mrs Smith properties or InterContinental Alliance Resorts in Las Vegas and Macau.

You can only use each voucher once, so be sure your food and beverage charges are greater than the value of the food and beverage vouchers. Most properties allow you to redeem vouchers to cover gratuities on food and beverage transactions — but clarify with the specific property before redeeming. You’ll earn IHG points on your food and beverage balance after vouchers are applied.

Your food and beverage vouchers will expire 12 months after you select them as a Milestone Reward. Finally, note that food and beverage rewards aren’t transferable, so you can only apply them to your room bill.

Confirmable suite upgrade

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

You can choose one confirmable suite upgrade after 20 and 40 nights in a calendar year. And you can choose two confirmable suite upgrades after 70 nights in a calendar year. However, although you can choose two rewards after 40 and 70 nights in a calendar year, you can only select confirmable suite upgrades once at each milestone.

You can apply a confirmable suite upgrade to most directly booked rates, including select corporate and package rates. However, you can’t use a confirmable suite upgrade if you booked one of the following:

  • Group rates, package tours or conventions where a third party is paying charges.
  • Reward night or free night (IHG plans to make these rates eligible at a future date).
  • Non-qualifying rates, including wholesale rates, bookings through an online travel agency and employee rates.
  • Prepaid rates if a deposit is already applied.
  • Some hotel-defined packages.

You can use a confirmable suite upgrade to upgrade one room to an entry-level suite (or a premium room if a suite isn’t available) on a stay of up to five nights. You must contact IHG customer care to apply a suite upgrade to a reservation; you should do so between 14 days and 24 hours before check-in.

If you cancel your stay after applying a confirmable suite upgrade to your reservation, IHG will redeposit your upgrade into your rewards wallet if you cancel in advance of the hotel’s cancellation policy time frame.

Confirmable suite upgrades expire 12 months after being selected as a Milestone Reward. These upgrades are nontransferable and can only be applied to the member’s room. You can use confirmable suite upgrades at most IHG properties except:

  • Avid hotels.
  • Atwell Suites.
  • IHG Army Hotels.
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations.
  • IHG Residences, including but not limited to InterContinental Residences, Voco Residences, Crowne Plaza Residences and Six Senses Residences.
  • Mr & Mrs Smith.
  • InterContinental Alliance Resorts in Las Vegas and Macau.

Finally, if you use a confirmable suite upgrade to secure a club room, you won’t get club-level perks as part of your upgrade. And you can’t stack a confirmable suite upgrade with a guaranteed upgrade (like you’d get with InterContinental Ambassador). Any upgrade above the room secured with a confirmable suite upgrade is at the hotel’s discretion.

Related: What credit card should you use for IHG stays?

Annual lounge membership

Club lounge at the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort in Vietnam. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

You can select an annual lounge membership at the 40-night or 70-night milestone. If you do so, you’ll get a lounge membership through the end of the current calendar year, plus an additional 12 months. So, if you select a lounge membership as a Milestone Reward in January, you’ll keep it through the end of the following year.

If you have a lounge membership, you and a guest will get access to the hotel’s club lounge and amenities within the lounge when staying at IHG properties with a club lounge. You must be on a qualifying stay; IHG’s member terms and conditions state that reward nights, free nights and stays booked through an online travel agency are eligible. Stays at Mr & Mrs Smith properties and InterContinental Alliance Resorts in Las Vegas and Macau aren’t eligible, though.

You’ll get access during your stay or until checkout, although a property can restrict your access due to “renovations, closures, or other facility limitations.” Additionally, lounge membership does not get you club lounge amenities or services beyond the physical lounge.

Related: What is IHG One Rewards elite status worth?

Redeeming IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards

Once you reach a milestone, IHG will send you an email with “It’s time to choose your Milestone Reward” in the title. This email will note that you have 90 days to select a Milestone Reward after you earn it.

IHG

But, in practice, IHG is sometimes allowing longer for selections. The best way to determine the deadline for selecting your reward is to log in to your IHG account and click on “Choose reward” from the banner at the top of the page. You’ll see the deadline on the page that loads.

IHG.COM

You can also check your progress toward earning another Milestone Reward when logged in to your IHG account. For example, my dashboard shows I need to stay eight more nights to earn a 30-night Milestone Reward.

IHG.COM

I’d recommend waiting until the last minute to choose Milestone Rewards unless you want to apply a confirmable suite upgrade to an upcoming stay or plan to choose bonus points. After all, food and beverage rewards and confirmable suite upgrades expire based on when you select them.

Related: Choose how you earn bonus points with IHG One Rewards’ new promotion

Which Milestone Reward is best?

There’s no right answer to which IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards are best. That’s part of the value: You can choose what’s most valuable to you.

InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

It’s difficult to put a value on a confirmable suite upgrade or an annual lounge membership, as these benefits depend on how you’ll use them and how much value they’ll add to your stay.

Even the choice of bonus points or food and beverage rewards isn’t clear-cut. Although TPG only values IHG points at 0.5 cents each, I can usually get closer to 1 cent of value from my points.

I can’t tell you which Milestone Rewards will be best for you. But here’s how I’d rank the choices at each milestone:

  • 20 nights: My first choice would be a confirmable suite upgrade since it would be nice to guarantee a suite for one stay in the next 12 months. My second choice would be 5,000 bonus points since I value these points at about $50, and my third choice would be two $20 food and beverage rewards since these have a fixed $40 value.
  • 30 nights: My first choice would be points and my second choice would be food and beverage rewards for the same reason as above.
  • 40 nights: My first choice would be an annual lounge membership since I have a lot of InterContinental stays booked next year at properties with club lounges. My second choice would be a confirmable suite upgrade since if I’m staying 40 nights each year, I can likely get good value from another confirmed suite. My third choice would be 10,000 bonus points since I value these points at about $100, but I can get more value on some redemptions. My fourth choice would be five $20 food and beverage rewards since this reward has a fixed $100 value.
  • 50 nights: My first choice would be points and my second choice would be food and beverage rewards for the same reason as above.
  • 60 nights: My first choice would be points and my second choice would be food and beverage rewards for the same reason as above.
  • 70 nights: My first choice would be two confirmable suite upgrades since it’s the most valuable option at this milestone. My second choice would be an annual lounge membership if I didn’t select one as a 40-night Milestone Reward. My third choice would be 10,000 bonus points since I value these points at about $100, but I can get more value on some redemptions. And my fourth choice would be five $20 food and beverage rewards since this reward has a fixed $100 value.
  • 80 nights: My first choice would be points and my second choice would be food and beverage rewards for the same reason as above.
  • 90 nights: My first choice would be points and my second choice would be food and beverage rewards for the same reason as above.
  • 100 nights: My first choice would be points and my second choice would be food and beverage rewards for the same reason as above.

Related: Use IHG Rewards Dine and Earn to earn extra points for your next vacation

Bottom line

The new IHG One Rewards program and its Milestone Rewards have made me want to stay with IHG more.

Previously, I’d relied on the Platinum Elite status provided as a perk of the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card for as long as you’re a cardholder and didn’t worry about accruing a specific number of nights with IHG each year. But with the addition of breakfast as a welcome amenity choice for Diamond Elite members, now that’s a compelling argument for accruing nights with IHG to earn Diamond Elite status and Milestone Rewards.

Even if you aren’t going for Diamond Elite status with IHG, you may still want to aim for at least 20 nights each year to earn a Milestone Reward. After all, you can select 5,000 bonus points, two $20 food and beverage rewards or one confirmable suite upgrade after just 20 nights in a calendar year.



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