Oyster Decodes Hotel Points Programs Part 2: IHG Hotels
The IHG Priority Club Rewards is the world’s largest loyalty program and, luckily, one of the easiest to decipher: There are no tiers, no categories, no blackout dates for redeeming points, and points never expire. The rewards program covers all of the brand’s nearly 4,500 hotels worldwide, which include InterContinental Hotels, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Hotel Indigos, Crowne Plazas, Holiday Inns, Holiday Inn Expresses, Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites.
But benefits don’t end there -- points can also be used for stays at more than 70,000 properties outside the brand, as well as to buy gift cards and to enroll in a myriad of leisure activities, such as hot air balloon rides and golf lessons with a pro. And just like with most other major loyalty programs, members can also earn miles that can be redeemed on over 400 airlines, including most major U.S. carriers (such as Delta and American Airlines), British Airways, Air China, Air France and Aeromexico. Check out some of our favorite hotels in each IHG brand (both luxury and value) and start planning your next trip with all those points you've earned!
InterContinental Hong Kong
Luxurious rooms feature 24-hour butler service, and most have harbor views.
The 590-room InterContinental is one of the most luxurious hotels in Hong Kong, conveniently situated in Kowloon within walking distance of numerous sights. Its claim to fame is that over two-thirds of the rooms have harbor views, but the hotel has plenty else to brag about, including seven dining options (including NOBU and an Alain Ducasse restaurant), a rooftop pool, a top-notch spa, and gorgeous rooms featuring 24-hour butler service. Rooms are decorated with Asian accents -- such as tasseled gold and brown bed throws with calligraphy print -- and also feature large flat-screen TVs with DVD players, iPod docks, and marble bathrooms with separate showers and tubs.
Crowne Plaza London - The City
Rooms have comfortable beds with special "sleep" packets curated by a New York doctor.
With its corporate identity and awkward placement in London's financial district, the upscale London Crowne Plaza is best fit for business travelers. But its chic modern rooms, proximity to popular sites, and unique perks -- such as a special "sleep packet" curated by a New York doctor to aid in a good-night's sleep -- make for a good value stay for leisure travelers, as well.
Hotel Indigo San Antonio at the Alamo
Brightly decorated rooms have hardwood floors and original historic details.
Housed in a 100-year-old bank building, the 98-room Hotel Indigo San Antonio at the Alamo manages to preserve its historic originality while offering modern amenities and decor. Its prime location -- right next to the Alamo -- makes it a great mid-range pick for travelers who prefer the uniqueness of a boutique hotel.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Myrtle Beach-South Beach
This Holiday Inn has excellent indoor and outdoor pools, and large villas with full kitchens.
This 256-room hotel is located in a quiet area in south Myrtle Beach, conveniently close to the airport. Its spacious one- and two-room "villas" (with full kitchens) are among the best accommodations in the area, with cute, beach-y decor -- white woods, and a color palette of blues, greens, and yellows. The property offers lots of family-friendly perks, including a game room, daily activities for the kids, several pools, and a beach club right on the sand with a lounge and two more pools. But the main building is not directly on the beach (it's across the street), and some buildings get noise from the airport.
Holiday Inn Apex Vail
The lobby has cozy mountain lodge decor and a fireplace.
The Holiday Inn Apex is a bit more luxe than you might expect from the chain, with cozy mountain lodge decor in public spaces. (Rooms, however, are for the most part typically chain-like, and could use an update.) The indoor whirlpool, year-round outdoor pool with beautiful views, and three solid on-site restaurants are all perks, but the location a few miles from Vail and Lionshead Villages is slightly inconvenient for skiers and shoppers.
Holiday Inn Express Chelsea / Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
Some rooms have a whirlpool, which is a rare luxury for a Holiday Inn Express.
Located on a side street, a bit cut off from most major attractions (though they are all accessible by subway), this 228-room Holiday Inn Express is significantly cheaper than its sisters, and just about every other hotel in New York. Given its free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and 24-hour gym (not to mention it's cute outdoor courtyard), it's an incredible value.
Staybridge Suites Corpus Christi
Spacious rooms with fully equipped kitchens are great for families and extended stays.
The Staybridge Suites Corpus Christi caters to families and business travelers on extended stays with its spacious, clean rooms and full kitchens. Its central location in a commercial district puts guests midway between downtown Corpus Christi’s cultural attractions and the beaches to the southwest. The surroundings aren’t the most glamorous, and you’ll need a car to get most everywhere -- but there are plenty of perks to staying here, including lots of dining and shopping options nearby.
Candlewood Suites New York City - Times Square
All rooms have fully equipped kitchens.
More of an apartment building than a hotel -- there's no daily housekeeping, but there is a gym and free laundry room -- Candlewood Suites is a comfortable option for those wanting to save some money by cooking "at home." But in this location, just outside Times Square by the Port Authority bus depot, there are no glittering lights.