Is IHG Business Rewards – the small business and PA scheme – worth a look?

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Not many people know that IHG – owner of the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc hotel brands – has a scheme aimed at travel bookers and small businesses, IHG Business Rewards.

IHG Business Rewards was launched four years ago and replaced the old UK IHG Meeting Rewards scheme as well as three other regional schemes used elsewhere in the world.

Full details can be found on the IHG website here.

It is a very simple scheme but operates in a slightly odd way.

The person who makes a hotel or meeting room booking – but who cannot be the traveller themselves (unless as part of a multi-room booking) – earns 3 IHG Rewards Club points per $1 spent. 

IHG Business Rewards 2

These are deposited into the personal account of the booker.  Accounts cannot be opened in the name of a company.  There is a cap of 60,000 points per event but, given that you would need to spend $20,000 to hit this, it is unlikely to be a major problem.

The rules state that points may take up to 45 days to arrive.

So far so simple.  If you work for yourself, it should be easy enough to have your partner sign up and make your bookings for you.

The list of participating hotels in IHG Business Rewards is here.

However, here is the snag:

You do NOT receive points for booking rooms onlineYou can only get them by ringing the IHG Business Rewards service centre, by booking directly with the hotel by phone or in person or by using a GDS directly.  You cannot earn points by booking via ihg.com.

This seems too painful, to be honest.  What is the point of doing this for standard room bookings?  Assuming an average spend of £200, your travel booker would be earning 750 IHG points which I value at around £3.  Is it really worth ringing up IHG Business Rewards to make the booking for such a token gesture?

This may also fall foul of any booking arrangements you have with a corporate travel agency.

For meeting rooms, of course, it is different.  This will always need some personal contact with the property to arrange so it will not require any extra effort to claim your points.

IHG Business Rewards is bolted on to an existing IHG Rewards Club account, so a travel booker does not need to have two separate account numbers.  You can sign up via the IHG Business Rewards website here.

(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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Comments

  1. Plus you’d not be able to hit any targets for booking via the app is that is what you need to do.

  2. What a lot of bookers do is to simply input their BR number in the “additional request” field of the booking on IHG.com or the app. In the rare cases where the hotel doesn’t pick it up, a quick email to them will sort it. 🙂

    • Ever tried in on a booking for yourself?

      Entering BR number online when booking just means no points for anyone as far as I can tell!

  3. I’m a member of business rewards but I can’t remember why. Did they run a bonus promo in the past?

  4. Deleted

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Even the T&C says the fruit platter is now for greater China only.

      Strange changes. Delivery of the one night voucher extronically is a genuine improvement the rest looks like a BA style enhancement

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Maybe I misread or it’s the way it’s worded. In Greater China the fruit platter is for plat or spire only. Which is odd clarification as all ambassadors will get Platinum

    • Wow. Remind me never to book into an IHG clinic if they every open one for cosmetic work! I don’t like their definition of enhancements! 😱

  5. I know there are various opinions on morality regarding flyers getting “miles” when it is someone else paying, but this seems a step worse – explicitly rewarding a individual, not the company, for bookings where they are generally not present.
    I would not be pleased to find that the reason one of my staff had booked me at a particular hotel was because they got points!

    • I agree. Imagine if it was a group booking for a medical training conference, so hotel costs coming out of the NHS budget. Now the booker is getting a personal quasi-cash kickback for spending public funds, and chooses IHG over a marginally cheaper or ore suitable property as a result. That seems to be sailing very close to being vulnerable to bribery/corruption charges. Anyone still feel comfortable with this?

      • You seem to be on the wrong website, since the fundamental underpinning of ALL airline and hotel loyalty schemes is to change the behaviour of the traveller via inducements at the expense of the employer who pays for the travel.

        Virgin Atlantic used to run a very obvious promo – get yourself booked into Upper Class and we’ll give you a £200 John Lewis / Waitrose gift card. They didn’t bother to hide the bribe behind miles.

      • And why only the concern about this being for the public sector/NHS budget? If you think this is a bribe then the Bribery Act is very clear that it doesn’t matter if it’s public or private cash. E.g. If you have a private pension then a travel booker using this in a company you are invested in is doing you out of income as much as the NHS booker is misallocating your tax.

        • “You seem to be on the wrong website, since the fundamental underpinning of ALL airline and hotel loyalty schemes is to change the behaviour of the traveller via inducements at the expense of the employer who pays for the travel.”

          @Rob this is a reasonable point but not quite ta full picture. There are a heck of a lot of people here (me included) collecting points/miles using their own spend, or that of their own business. Probably the high majority I’d wager, as regular corporate business-class travel paid for by others is an activity only engaged in by a very tiny fraction of the whole population, while paid-for-by-self travel that may accrue loyalty rewards is engaged in to some degree by 90%+ of the population, and spending on cards by basically 100%. Are we all on the wrong site too?

          • I would say that premium class travel (the only sort which accrues noticeable loyalty rewards) is 90% corporate and 10% leisure. Getting 125 Avios for flying BA in Economy to Amsterdam doesn’t count. So, yes, you’re wrong – I would imagine that 90% of flown Avios (remembering that a flex Business ticket earns 10x more than a cheap Economy ticket) are earned by corporate travellers.

      • the_real_a says:

        It would depend if the cost of the rooms would be less by booking in a different way. If not then i would have no issues. My employer specifically calls out that points/miles can be kept provided you are booking the lowest cost provider. Having said that, i thought most public sector expense policies prevent anyone form claiming personal points/miles?

    • Lady london says:

      Lots of PA’s apparently use things like toptable to book restaurants their bosses would book anyway.

      Avios can mount up with schemes like these.

      IHG has a better business scheme though that they’re not promoting much.

      I tried Accor’s this year and did not really notice much. The vaunted 10% is only 5% every time and dividing 5% of average room rate into number of nights at Accor (and I gave them quite a lot this year) still meant the scheme wasn’t really worth bothering with. Plus, emails to customer service are still ignored by Accor… ! I am really doubtful I will sign up for Accor’s version next year – but might give IHG’s a try instead.

      What I won’t be signing up for is IHG Ambassador as there are at least 2 hotel programs that give same level of benefits at 2 levells of membership or so, lower.

  6. OT ish. I have just earned 15000 unexpected IHG bonus points from a stay, titled “Cyber Sale – 50% More”. No idea why really but a nice surprise given the problems I have had getting to the 15,000 base points for this quarter’s accelerate. Looks like due to IHG’s incompetence in not crediting F&B I’ll be about 60 quid short to get the 32,400 achievement bonus. Not sure I can be bothered to fight those morons any more so might have to resort to a mattress run.

    In total this period, Mrs W and I should earn at least 180,000 points for around $2000 spend. Not bad I guess that should be around 50% rebate.

  7. I book hotels for myself and occasionally my colleagues (for trade shows etc), and we usually go with HIX or other IHG properties. I usually book my own room via IHG and my colleagues’ on hotels.com. I can’t see anything in this scheme that would make me change that!

  8. youngtraveller says:

    Hey just wanted to point out to a new offer from IHG, think it is doable for anyone on here if they are passing any of the towns. I haven’t seen it posted on the website but I only received it two hours ago. The offer is stay two nights at the new IHG properties and receive a free night any where in thew world. The two nights do not have to be consecutive. Not sure if offer is targeted. (https://www.ihg.com/content/gb/en/deals/partner-offers/principal-offer?promoCode=65351&offerId=UK034&cm_mmc=EMAIL-_-LC_HRG-_-EMAIL_PRINCIPAL_EU_ONE_IHGRC_20181217-_-EUEN-_-A1-_-PRIMARY_CTA)

    • RussellH says:

      Both myself and my partner got this too.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Not had the email (yet) but registered vi link and received the registration email.

    • Thanks, registered although unsure if I’ll be able to make use of it given the existing travel plans I have.

    • the_real_a says:

      I got the email this morning. Stay 2 nights at the new UK hotels and then get a free night certificate for any IHG hotel worldwide.

      Kimpton Fitzroy London
      The Met Hotel, Leeds
      Principal York
      Principal Manchester
      voco™ St David’s, Cardiff
      Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square
      Principal Edinburgh George Street
      Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow
      Wotton House, near Dorking, Surrey

  9. The IHG Business Rewards T&C’s do not appear to mention that bookings must be made “by ringing the IHG Business Rewards service centre, by booking directly with the hotel by phone or in person or by using a GDS directly”

    From experience, IHG Business Rewards can be booked online. Having chosen Hotel-Room-Rate the “Let’s Reserve It” page gives the option of using your IHG Business Rewards membership for the booking. If you select Yes a new section opens to Select or Create an Event, then another section to enter the Guests details. Once the booking is complete the confirmation page indicates how many points you will earn as a booker.

    I have used this before for family travel when booking an extra room via my wife’s IHG account (and have received the points).

  10. Lady london says:

    If anyone wants to stay at a Kimpton then this is the time of year to do it.

    I’m seeing some stunning rates now everywhere for them. On a par that would normally be charged by a HIX in a business area. The regular bookings pages on IHG are throwing them up.

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