Why you should avoid IHG’s gift catalogue of non-hotel redemptions

For as long as I can remember, IHG Rewards Club and its predecessor, Priority Club, has offered a small range of ‘real’ goods for points redemption.  There was also a modest range of retailer gift cards.  For people who earned huge amounts of IHG Rewards Club points and couldn’t face another night in a hotel, even a free one, it gave them an option for cashing out.

Over the years, the range of items offered has grown and there is now a mini-Argos catalogue of potential redemptions for your IHG points.

You will find the IHG gift catalogue here.  There is a drop down menu to select your country of residence – they appear to have a different range of gifts for virtually every country.

The big question, of course, is whether IHG’s gift catalogue offers good value or not for your hard-earned points.

The easiest place to check out the value proposition is with gift cards.  IHG has always offered to redeem points for gift cards.  Occasionally they discounted the points price and they would look like ‘just about acceptable’ value.  About 10 years ago they offered gift cards at half price for a few weeks and everyone, including myself, redeemed their entire collection of points.

InterContinental Times Square

No longer.  The current prices are poor value although, oddly they are a better deal than they used to be.

Two years ago IHG wanted 67,500 points for a £100 UK shopping voucher.  It seems that even IHG realised what a poor deal this was as the cost is now 53,500 or 54,000 points for £100.  Options include Amazon, Mango, Debenhams, M&S, Currys, Argos, B&Q, Gap, Harrods and many more.

Even at this level, I can’t recommend it.

I tend to value IHG points at £4 – £5 per 1000 when used for hotel redemptions.  You are trading off £220 – £270 of free hotel stays for £100 of shopping voucher.   This isn’t great.  You get a similar loss of value compared to what happens when you convert IHG points into airline miles at the poor 5:1 rate.

Deals involving physical goods are even worse.  Looking at ‘real’ goods which are easy to price, an iPad Mini 4 (128GB, wi-fi version) costs 291,500 points.  That would be £479 at John Lewis, but you are trading off 5 nights at the finest InterContinental hotels in the world.  It equates to just £1.64 per 1,000 points!

Let’s see.  5 nights at the InterContinental New York Times Square (above) or a £479 iPad.  The choice is yours.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. I would seriously take the iPad!

  2. Same principle for Amex MR 50,000 points for £100 voucher or 50,000 Avios?

  3. I’ve not considered gift catalogue in the past but they do represent possible value for someone who finds redemptions difficult, either on the basis of availability or room size restrictions. I recently traded a large number of IHG points to Avios under the BA 25% promotion because I was struggling to find rooms that accommodate a family of 4 particularly above the HI brand. Unless your willing to take the risk of sandwiching revenue and redemption nights the only option is to redeem points for 2x rooms a night and that isn’t great value either.

  4. Slightly off topic but can a single stay count to multiple accelerate targets? For example, if I stay somewhere next week, can that count towards stay once, stay once in september, book two stays via our app, stay five nights and stay in three of our brands? Its very easy for me to hit all the targets if so.

    Also, if I booked two seperate nights in the same hotel, presumably that just gets combined as one stay? But a stay in say the crowne plaza one night then the holiday inn the following night will count as two stays? Tempted to do this as it will help me hit the targets and I dont mind changing hotels, they are only a mile or so away from each other.

  5. Has anyone else’s free night(s) disappeared from their IHG account? I earned a free night from staying 3 nights at the Palazzo Las Vegas and it has disappeared from my account! I am sure there used to be a “free night status” link, but can’t see that either…

    • Hmmm Free Night Status is there on the left side of the account page and my barclaycard night is there….

      • Hmm you’re right, my “free night status” menu item has disappeared too, nor are they on a separate tab on “my offer status” like they used to be. However on the summary page when first logging in it still shows my 2 nights; so I think it’s just a website glitch rather than something more sinister. Probably when they removed the Q2 accelerate or something!

        • Now this is getting annoying. I need to book my free night from the accelerate this time last year, it’s valid until the end of December but the option to book has disappeared from the menu, and I can’t even find the option to email (fill in a form) for customer services!

          • I have now found the customer service forms by going to offer status, “report a points discrepancy” and then choosing other options from there. The website is a mess!!

            • Grrr. Now I’ve got a bounce message because the web form is going to an invalid address !!! Absolutely useless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. ankomonkey says:

    I had a slew of Finnair points many years ago and found redemption mileage requirements and fees very unattractive. Finnair have a shop for redeeming points. We ended up with two sets of Moomin kids duvet sets and a family set of Moomin beach towels (all wife’s choice). The towels are pretty big and became my kids’ home bath towels. Can’t vaguely remember what sort of value I got – probably not great but Finland is expensive anyway.

  7. I have an accelerate target to redeem some points for anything, and I also need to book another night and book via the app. Since redemption bookings don’t count for anything else, I think I do need to “waste” a few points on something like an mp3 download as reward bookings don’t count for anything.

  8. Really? Do redemption night bookings not qualify for the redeem points task? That would explain why my Pointbreaks reservation did not trigger the task.

    • Sorry, I meant redemption nights don’t count as nights. It should count as a redemption. But as I need nights as well and don’t have any other spare weekends for a night away, i need to redeem on something else.