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Comparison of IHG points rates to paid rates USA summer 2023

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The Brice Savannah, a Kimpton Hotel – Savannah, Georgia

For the past few years my strategy with IHG hotels is buy points when they are on sale for $5.00 per 1,000 points and book hotel stays with points rather than pay cash rates. I generally save 35% to 50% on the lowest flexible rate redeeming points for IHG hotels using IHG Chase MasterCard 4th night free benefit. On one or two night stays I usually save more than 20%. Even when earning 30 points per dollar on IHG hotel spend as a Diamond elite member, the 3,000 points earned on a $100 paid room night are only worth $15. I prefer a 20%-40% discount by redeeming points on a $100 per night IHG hotel rate.

IHG One Rewards has a summer 2023 promotion offering 2,000 points every 2 nights or 10,000 points every 4 nights for IHG stays worldwide through August 31, 2023. Members must choose only one of these offers when registering for this IHG promotion.

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IHG 2K EVERY 2 NIGHTS  or 10K Every 4 nights summer promotion to August 31, 2023.


My general advice is simply buy IHG points for reward nights to get a better value room rate deal.

Cash vs. IHG Points rate comparisons

For this analysis I picked 5 hotels in five summer vacation destinations in the USA to compare cash rates to reward rates for a 2-night stay. Summer dates vary due to limited room availability at this time for these vacation destinations. Each of these rooms allow at least 4 persons so as to accomodate a family of 2 adults and 2 children or 4 adults with two beds.

  1. Anaheim, California
  2. Bend, Oregon
  3. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  4. Mackinaw Island, Michigan
  5. Savannah, Georgia

Analysis Methodology:

  • Rate comparisons shown are for only two-night stays.
  • All cash rates shown below include taxes and fees.
  • One can assume if buying IHG points at $5 per 1,000 points is lower than cash rate shown for a 2-night stay in these hotel examples, then Chase IHG 4th night free stay will be even more favorable by another 25% or so savings.

Analysis limititaions:

  • Points rates only apply to standard rooms, so this analysis is not valid for someone wanting a premium room at these hotels, like a larger room, specialty room or suite.
  • For someone with IHG Diamond elite status and suite upgrade certificates, these factors weigh more heavily toward paid room nights than points room nights. Suite upgrades are only valid on paid nights.

Anaheim, California

Staybridge Suites Anaheim at the Park (2-night stay August 7-9)

Good to Know Tip – IHG Rate Calendar

Most of the hotels below did not have nights for points available on the first summer dates I chose. When there is no availability for an IHG hotel on the dates you pick, this provides a valuable opportunity to link to an IHG rate calendar showing points rates for other dates. Often I search for a date with no reward night availability so I can access the Points Rate Calendar and find when the lowest rates are available.

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IHG Anaheim Staybridge Suites August 8-10.


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Anaheim Staybridge Suites 2Q suite 75K.


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IHG Anaheim Staybridge Suites cash rate = $576 for Aug 8-10 stay in suite.


Better Deal: Points rate = 75,000 points = $375 to buy points at $5 per 1,000 points.

Cash Rate = $288 per night = $576 for 2-night stay in suite after taxes and fees.

Buying IHG points saves $201 on this stay for Staybridge Suites Anaheim at the Park.


Bend, Oregon

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bend South – Every weekend for Bend, Oregon is already booked for June, July and August.

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The points rate calendar shows August 6-8 is only 40,000 points per night.


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HIX Bend 40K/night = 80,000 points Aug 6-8.


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HIX Bend South $285 per night August 6-8


Cash vs. IHG Points Comparison Holiday Inn Express Bend South

Better Deal: IHG Points rate = 40,000 per night = $200 per night x 2 nights = $400 to buy 80,000 points.

IHG cash rate = $285 per night = $570 for 2 nights.

Points save $170 on this 2-night stay at Holiday Inn Express Bend South. You would need to earn 34,000 points on stay to make cash rate a better deal.


Gatlinburg, Tennessee

There are several IHG hotels in and around Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This town is close to the western entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg Downtown, Tennessee June 27-29, 2023.


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HIX Gatlinburg Downtown $338 per night June 27-29.


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HIX Gatlinburg Downtown is 53K points rate per night June 27-29.


Cash vs. IHG Points Comparison Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg Downtown June 27-29, 2023

Better Deal: IHG Points rate = 53,000 per night = $265 per night = $530 to buy 106,000 points.

IHG cash rate = $338 per night = $676 for 2 nights.

IHG Points save $146 on this 2-night stay at Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg Downtown.

*Note: The reason the 53,000 points rate is grayed out is due to my account not having 106,000 points at the moment. I redeemed 168,000 points last week for 8 nights in European hotels next autumn.

My plan is to replenish my IHG account buying IHG points during the June 2023 Daily Getaways sales by U.S. Travel Association.


Mackinaw City, Michigan

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HIX Mackinaw City, Michigan July 18-20 $281 cash rate
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HIX Mackinaw City 49K per night July 18-20.


Cash vs. IHG Points Comparison Holiday Inn Express Mackinaw City July 18-20, 2023

Toss-Up: IHG Points rate = 49,000 per night = $245 per night = $490 to buy 106,000 points.

IHG cash rate = $281 per night = $562 for 2 nights.

IHG Points save $72 on this 2-night stay at Holiday Inn Express Mackinaw City.

As an IHG Diamond member I could earn 30 points per $1 paying the flexible rate with my IHG Mastercard for 10, 412 points on base rate $520.60 x (10 base points + 10 Diamond elite points) + 5,622 IHG credit card points + 2,000 points with IHG Earn 2K every 2 nights = 18,034 IHG points worth $90.

As an IHG Diamond member I could conserve 98,000 points ($490 value) by spending $562 while earning another 18,000 points to have 116,000 points for some other better value redemption.

The analysis favors redeeming IHG points for a base member only earning 5,206 points ($26 value) + 2,000 points ($10 value with IHG 2K for 2 nights) on $562 cash rate. Paying 98,000 points ($490 cost) is better than paying $562 to earn $36 in IHG points for $526 equivalent value. Using points saves $72 on cash rate, unless you want to conserve IHG points for another redemption or you have a plan to earn 10,000 points with 4 IHG nights this summer.


Savannah, Georgia

Kimpton Brice Hotel

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Kimpton Brice Hotel, Savannah, Georgia July 18-20
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Kimpton Brice Hotel Savannah $213 rate July 18-20.


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Kimpton Brice Hotel Savannah 71K for July 18-20.


Cash vs. IHG Points Comparison Kimpton Brice Hotel, Savannah July 18-20, 2023

Better Deal: IHG Points rate = 35,500 per night = $177.50 per night = $355 to buy 71,000 points.

IHG cash rate = $213 per night = $426 for 2 nights.

IHG Points save $71 on this 2-night stay at Kimpton Brice Hotel, Savannah. Still a 20% savings on cash rate when earning IHG points is not a consideration.

Bottom Line: I generally find buying IHG points at $5.00 per 1,000 points offers better savings than paying cash rates for most of my stays. This analysis ignores the benefit of 4th night free on points stays for Chase IHG Premier Mastercard members planning extended stays this summer.

Chase IHG Mastercard 4th night free is the benefit that allowed me to pick up 40 nights in 2022 and earn sevral IHG Milestone Awards like IHG lounge access through 2024 and 2 suite upgrade certifcates. Word of warning on suite upgrade certificates. Kimpton Brice offered the opportunity to buy bonus points per night when booking a cash rate.

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Kimpton Brice bonus points offer on $213 rate.


Last December I was denied a suite upgrade when I applied my certificate to Hotel Indigo Krakow, Poland. The reason given was I had booked a bonus points package rate and that was considered a ‘hotel special rate’ preventing the use of the IHG suite upgrade certificate.

When it comes to the IHG Summer Promotion for 2,000 points every 2 nights or 10,000 points for every 4 nights, a leisure traveler on summer vacation is likely better off simply buying IHG points for $5.00 per 1,000 points during next month’s Daily Getaways sale and redeeming IHG points for award nights. USA and Europe hotel prices are insanely high this summer.




  • jfhscott May 24, 2023

    “This analysis ignores the benefit of 4th night free”

    It also ignores two other important factors:

    (1) the cash rates you identify are subject to some nasty taxes, which makes cash rates even less attractive; but

    (2) the cash rates earn points, including elite points and credit card points (which can be considerable if using an IHG card.

  • Mary May 24, 2023

    Thank you. Very helpful.

    I am glad the article mentions the credit card benefits of 4th night free on reward nights and point awarded for paid stays.

  • Ric Garrido May 24, 2023

    @jfhscott – Thanks for the criticism to help me clarify some uncertainty in methodology.

    I added methodology points to this article to explain
    “One can assume if buying IHG points at $5 per 1,000 points is lower than cash rate shown for a 2-night stay in these hotel examples, then Chase IHG 4th night free stay will be even more favorable by another 25% or so savings.

    1) Cash rates shown for rooms in this article include taxes and fees.

    2) Under the HIX Mackinaw City I showed how many points would be earned by an IHG Diamond member like me using IHG credit card (earning total 30 points per $1 on base spend) and IHG summer bonus points promotion earning of either 2,000 or 5,000 points on a 2-night stay, which is why I stated that hotel example is a toss-up for whether cash or points rate is better value. Anaheim, Bend, and Gatlinburg points redemption saves far more compared to IHG points earned paying cash rate. Kimpton Brice, Savannah would come close to a toss up for an IHG Diamond member.

    Points earned using a different card might have greater value that can be transferred to other loyalty program currencies, like air miles, than points earned paying with Chase IHG MasterCard. That scenario is beyond scope of this analysis.

  • bluecat May 24, 2023

    You mention “USA” clearly in the title. Is this done for a reason? IOW, will the outcome be different in other regions? (Maybe this is the meat of another, future post?)

    Did you pick the 5 vacation spots “at random”? The data is almost too good to be true.

    Do you have any experience of this technique working at other chains?

  • bluecat May 24, 2023

    Wanted to add a few variables that may pertain only to a few of us, but it can effect the math for some.
    (1) I am able to take advantage of a corporate rate, which often allows me to cancel the day before or even the day OF the reservation. For me, this is valuable, even if I don’t use it all that often.
    (2) That same corporate rate typically includes breakfast, which my award stays rarely do.
    (3) I almost always book via a shopping portal and always get about 10% back (not including taxes)–this works on corporate rates too.
    (4) Even if you can’t use a corporate rate, AARP rates are often pretty close.

  • Ric Garrido May 25, 2023

    @Bluecat – good questions.

    I picked these 5 U.S. cities at random simply because I thought they might be popular places people visit in summer. I did not know Bend, Oregon and Mackinaw City would have only one IHG property. I also focused on USA because I think hotel prices are insanely high-priced this summer based on my observations of hotel rates here in Monterey and looking at Seattle a few days ago where numerous hotels are priced over $400 per night.

    In my travel planning for my next vacation in Europe, I changed my preferred dates from September to October due to significant drop in points rates for IHG hotels from mid-September to mid-October.

    As far as these 5 US hotels, I did not look for what I consider to be the best points redemption value at an IHG hotel in Anaheim, Gatlinburg or Savannah. I chose Anaheim Staybridge Suites due to being a hotel with suites and 4 people traveling. In Gatlinburg I chose a hotel in Downtown Gatlinburg and Savannah I chose Kimpton to have one upscale hotel in the mix and I once visited that hotel. These were not cherry-picked samples for better results.

    My objective was to see and show IHG points rates are generally a better value than paid rates, even considering points earned on paid rates for someone like me, who is an IHG Diamond member.

    AAA and AARP rates may have offered lower rates. I did not check. I specifically chose 2-night stays to avoid the extra points discount of 4th night free rates. My thought was to provide a comparison that would apply to an IHG member with no status, no credit card and possibly no points. Daily Getaways in June 2023 is a chance to buy tens or hundreds of thousands of IHG points and this analysis was meant to show that buying IHG points can potentially save money on summer 2023 hotel rates in the USA, or elsewhere.

    Best Western can offer $20 to $30 per night savings at many hotels if buying points during Daily Getaways at $5.50 per 1,000 points. BWR rates have increased over the past 5 years and I would say there are specific hotels where they are a good deal, but hit or miss.

    Choice Privileges points are a great deal for many hotels in California.
    Choice Privileges points provide great value for my travels in certain cities and countries in Europe – Czechia, Bratislava, Venice, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, France, Germany and UK. That is why I tend to buy 200,000 or more Choice Privileges points each year in Daily Getaways.

    Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott rarely have good deals buying points at lowest rates, except for lowest category hotels.
    Hilton $5.00 per 1,000 points are a good eal at hotels going for 10,000 points.
    Hyatt $18 per 1,000 points can be good deal for category 1 and some category 2 hotels.
    Marriott $8.93 per 1,000 points are hardly ever a better deal than cash rate. For Marriott my advice is buy gift cards when 20% off in Daily Getaways and pay cash rates.

  • Ric Garrido May 25, 2023

    Here is an update with regard to AAA or AARP rates at these 5 hotels. I honestly overlooked these discount rates since it has probably been 5 years since I actually booked a cash rate in the USA and AAA rates generally offer no discount at European hotels.

    Staybridge Suites Anaheim – AAA/AARP rate for same room and dates = $267/night. The $534 rate for this 2 night stay is $42 less than member best flexible rate used in this article with same flexible cancellation. IHG points booking for 80,000 points or $400 still saves $159 on 2-night stay.

    HIX Bend South – AAA/AARP rate = $288/night when member best flexible rate used in this article was $285/night. No additional savings using AAA rate.

    HIX Gatlinburg Downtown – AAA/AARP rate and Best Flexible rate are same = $326/night. There was a $12 rate drop for same room from $338 seen yesterday.

    HIX Mackinaw City – AAA/AARP rate = $285 and is $4 more per night than $281 Member Best Flexible rate used in this article.

    Kimpton Brice Savannah – AAA/AARP rate = $229 compared to $246 Member Best Flexible. This hotel room increased from $213 yesterday to $246 today. AAA rate yesterday would have brought the $71 difference seen in this article down to a points or cash rate where the hotel would be a toss up for using points or paying published rate.

    Of note is rates at Kimpton Brice are quite low for mid-summer. The hotel rates here double in price for late September and October to $400+/night.

  • […] Comparison of IHG points rates to paid rates USA summer 2023 […]

  • bluecat May 25, 2023

    Thanks for the additional information. In past years—and thanks to your past analyses–I have eagerly bought points during the Getaway sales. I find that I can often get great value at IHGs (especially for my travels in Europe) but it really needs to be looked at versus a paid corporate/AARP/AAA rate (and 10-15% back via portal). It’s a PITA to do these comparisons, especially when I also look other chains and include those in the mix.

    For my upcoming big trip to Central Europe next month, I booked the following:
    — Budapest was a great deal when using my corporate rate (includes breakfast) and 10% portal rebate
    — Gdansk IHG 4th night award was a winner
    — Almost ALL other bookings were done with Hilton points. Hilton points, when acquired via card signups, has proven to be a great value
    — However, in Transylvania (and in the Hebrides in Scotland), there was a distinct lack of chain hotels. I think this will be great because I found some (hopefully) wonderful charming boutique hotels that were relatively cheap. I used for these. I stupidly forgot to use a portal on these and may need to go back and rebook, especially if the payback percentage hits >10%.

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