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One of the biggest questions for IHG loyalists is do IHG points expire?
You certainly don’t want to go through the work of earning a bunch of IHG points and then not be able to use them because they’re expire.
IHG points expire after 12 months of inactivity on an account. This means you have to either earn or redeem at least one IHG point every year for your account to remain active. The good news is there are ways for you to earn IHG points without staying at a hotel!
With the secret ways to keep your account active I’m sharing in this post, you should never have IHG points expire on you again!
As with any travel rewards program, it is super important you keep on top of expiration dates.
If you don’t stay at IHG properties all that often, be sure to mark your calendar a few months before your IHG points expire.
This will ensure you have plenty of time to come up with a plan to keep your IHG account active!
Earning IHG Points
The easiest way to keep your IHG account alive is to earn IHG rewards points.
It is certainly easier to earn points than to redeem them!
The most obvious way to earn points it to stay at an IHG property. Just make sure you’re logged in and have your points number included in your booking!
You can see a list of all the brands under the IHG banner here.
While it is the easiest way to earn points and make sure none of your IHG points expire, it isn’t the only way to keep your account alive.
In fact, IHG has some of the best policies around what is considered a points earning event compared to other travel programs.
Holding an IHG Credit Card
Holding an IHG credit card doesn’t protect your points from expiring, but it does make it extremely easy to keep your account active.
You only need to make one purchase with your IHG credit card to keep your account active.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any IHG branded credit cards in Canada, but there are a couple cards available in the US.
Just be sure to do the math and figure out whether holding an IHG card is worth the annual fee (if there is one).
There may be a better way to keep your account alive if you don’t stay at IHG properties all that often.
This is one of the generous ways IHG lets you keep your account active.
Most points programs don’t consider point transfers a point earning event, so this is a huge plus for the IHG program!
Transferring points is one of the easiest ways to ensure none of your IHG points expire.
It takes little to no effort. You just need to be sure you’ll use the points for a free hotel stay after you transfer them!
Some credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve allow you to earn the points you earn with their credit card to IHG rewards.
Most offer a 1:1 transfer ratio, which is amazing!
It normally takes a couple of days (sometimes up to a week) for your points to transfer from one program to another.
If you’re in a time crunch and your IHG points expire soon, you really need to consider the transfer time before you decide to take this route.
It would be heartbreaking to transfer points to keep your account active and still have your points expire anyways!
One important thing to note is you cannot transfer your points back once they’ve been converted to IHG rewards.
Keep that in mind when you’re considering using this method to keep your account active!
This is another category where IHG is generous in what is considered a points earning event.
It is about a 50/50 chance whether a travel points program considers buying points a points earning event.
Some do and some don’t. Always read the fine print before purchasing points!
You can buy IHG points through the IHG website. Points show up in your account immediately, so if your points expire that day, this is your best option for keeping your account alive.
There are definitely some downsides to buying IHG points.
If there isn’t a bonus event going on, you may end up paying more per point than they are worth.
You definitely need to do the math and figure out if you’re getting a good value per point when making large points purchases.
Sometimes it can be cheaper to buy points than pay the normal room rate.
If you’re using this as an expiration prevention strategy, buy the least amount of points possible.
You won’t spend a lot of money, and you won’t lose any points.
The best of both worlds!
Rent a Car
The final way to earn points and make sure none of your IHG points expire is by renting a car through the IHG website.
IHG has partnered with Hertz, Dollar, and Thrift car rental companies.
You can rent a car with any of these companies through the IHG website and earn points for your booking.
The trouble with this method of stopping your IHG points from expiring is that there is no data on how long it takes for the points you earn through a car rental to show up in your account.
You definitely need to complete your car rental before your points show up in your account, but it will still take some time (probably weeks) after that point.
I do not recommend renting a car just to keep your account from expiring. Especially if you’re nearing that 12 month point!
It is hard to know when exactly your points will arrive in your account, and you don’t want to have all of your IHG points expire because it took ages for your points to be awarded.
The other way you can keep your account active is by redeeming IHG points.
This is pretty straightforward.
You simply need to book a hotel redemption and complete your stay within 12 months of the last time you earned or redeemed IHG points.
The issue with relying on redeeming points to keep your account active is that it takes a while to earn enough points to make a redemption.
But, if you have enough points and are taking a trip, then redeeming points is a great way to make sure none of your IHG points expire.
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As you can see, IHG makes it pretty easy for you to keep your account active.
12 months is one of the shortest time frames for travel points to expire, but everything that IHG considers a points earning event makes it very user friendly.
Even if you don’t frequent IHG properties, you can still easily keep your account active by transferring or buying points or renting a car.
Just be sure to know exactly when your points expire.
Your account probably won’t notify you before they expire, so it is up to you to keep track of that.
Mark it in your calendar and give yourself a couple of months notice, so you can come up with a plan to keep your account active.
You don’t want to be scrambling the day before your IHG points expire trying to figure out how to save them and keep them alive!