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Best IHG Rewards Category 1 & 2 Hotels

Besides IHG PointBreaks, there are a ton of ways to cheaply spend your IHG Rewards points. And surprisingly, there are a ton of awesome cities with cheap redemptions in category 1 and category 2 hotels.

In terms of earning and spending hotel points, I’ll say it again, IHG is hands down the best rewards program. Earning is easy with great promotions, and when redeeming their hotels run from 10,000 to 50,000 points. And while a lot of hotel chains (like Hyatt) mostly have mid to high category redemptions, IHG is more evenly spread out. (Although I do recognize Hyatt hotels are much nicer).

Right now this is the only thing keeping IHG a worth while rewards program – fair redemptions. So I figured I’d point out some awesome redemptions just in category 1 hotels, which are 10,000 points a night, and category 2 hotels, which are 15,000 points a night.

Best IHG Rewards Category 1 hotels

Holiday Inn : Kiev

Maybe an untimely way to start this post given the political climate. But this is a great deal. Like a heck of a deal. Kiev is an expensive city in terms of hotels (and in no other way) and this looks like a very nice hotel.

  • Price: $165/night or 10,000 IHG Rewards points
  • TripAdvisor rating: 94%
  • Location: Great – Downtown, plus taxis and transport is cheap.

Personal notes: To me, Kiev is a really interesting place just to see the aftermath of the soviet union. When we were there though, we stayed at the InterContinental (which is pretty awesome). The IC tends to join the PointBreaks list sometime in the winter. So like us, you could potentially do nicer for 5,000 points a night. But winter is quite a drab time to visit.

But regardless, this is a nice hotel in an odd city for 10,000 points.

 

Holiday Inn Lyon-Vaise

  • Price: $160/night or 10,000 IHG Rewards points
  • TripAdvisor rating: 77%
  • Location: 4 miles away from downtown. But on bus route and near tram station.

Personal notes: We’ve never been to Lyon. We spent all our France time in Paris because of another PointBreaks deal. However, this looks like a sweet deal, in a cool city. This is one of the best redemption values, both because of what it would go for and the alternative options being expensive.

 

Holiday Inn Express : Glasgow – City Ctr Riverside

  • Price: $100/night or 10,000 IHG Rewards points
  • TripAdvisor rating: 73%
  • Location: Downtown near river. 15 minute walk to the center.

Personal notes: We stayed here in the fall and while the hotel isn’t particularly stunning or anything, it’s a great value. Anytime you’re saving money in the UK, it’s a good thing. Plus it includes breakfast.

The downtown historic area is super cool, and thus being near the river isn’t the draw, it’s the proximity to the center. And it’s just having such a good redemption in such a cool city. Still, I prefer Edinburgh to Glasgow.

 

Honorable Category 1 Mentions:

  • Shanghai – $60 – TA rating: 70% – Holiday Inn Downtown Shanghai
  • Beijing – $60 – TA rating: 86% – 1.) Holiday Inn Express : Beijing Temple of Heaven
  • Porto Gaia – $85 – TA rating: 90%
  • Krabi – $75 – TA rating: 76% -Holiday Inn Resort : Krabi Ao Nang Beach
  • Istanbul – $75 – TA rating: 66% – Holiday Inn Istanbul City
  • Ft Myers – $65 – TA rating: 87% – Candlewood Suites : Fort Myers-Sanibel Gateway
  • Jacksonville – $100 – TA rating: 92% – Staybridge Suites : Jacksonville
  • Ann Arbor – $100 – TA rating: 60% – Candlewood Suites – Detroit/Ann Arbor
  • Raleigh – $100 – TA rating: 73% – Holiday Inn : Raleigh North – Capital Blvd
  • Belem, Brazil – $75 – TA rating: 95% – Holiday Inn Express : Belém Ananindeua
  • Mexico City – $115 – TA rating: 68% -Holiday Inn : Ciudad De Mexico-Trade Center
  • Monterrey – $100 – TA rating: 74% – Holiday Inn Express : Monterrey Galerias-Sn Jeronimo

 

Best IHG Rewards Category 2 hotels

Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao Beach

Crazy good deal in a big beautiful empty beach. As Platinum members we were given rooms on the first floor which have direct access to the pool, which was awesome.

  • Price:$80/night or 15,000 IHG Rewards points
  • TripAdvisor rating: 88%
  • Location: Right on the Mai Khao beach.

Personal notes: This hotel surprised me in a good way. It’s the same beach as the JW Marriott and Renaissance, but a fair bit south. The beach is again, quiet. But that’s also the downside, you’re stuck with like 3 restaurants in the area.

 

Holiday Inn Express : Cape Town City Centre

This hotel is impressive not for it’s $100/point value but in its actual value: saving you from paying for another hotel in such a location, and actually having a great location.

  • Price: $100/night or 15,000 IHG Rewards points
  • TripAdvisor rating: 84%
  • Location: Seriously downtown

Personal notes: In our visit to South Africa, we didn’t get over to Cape Town. Next time. Instead we went to the crappy city of Johannesburg, because we wanted to do a self-drive safari in Pilanesburg National Park. Cape Town is not for safaris but just a beautiful city on the coast.

 

Holiday Inn Krakow City Center

Krakow’s situation is similar to Kiev in terms of over-pricing. Its lack of competitors makes it unreasonably expensive, or something. Either way it’s a steal on points.

  • Price: $150/night or 15,000 IHG Rewards points
  • TripAdvisor rating: 85%
  • Location: The Best

Personal notes: Every time we mentioned to anyone last fall that we were heading to Warsaw, everyone would say, “why not just go to Krakow.” Well this fall we’ll be finding out in person why this is great. And also, we loved Warsaw’s Old Town! Would love to see how Krakow could be even better.

 

Holiday Inn : Villach

It’s in Austria, which must mean it’s awesome.

  • Price: $130/night or 15,000 IHG Rewards points
  • TripAdvisor rating: 90%
  • LocationThe center.

Personal notes: I know absolutely nothing about Villach, but I’m in love with Austria. So can anyone verify that this would be cool? Although not in the alps…

 

Honorable Category 2 Mentions:

  • Bangkok – $70 – TA rating: 81% – Holiday Inn Bangkok Silom
    (or Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam)
  • HI Dubai – $100 – TA rating: 53% – Holiday Inn Dubai – Downtown Dubai
  • HI Berlin – $105 – TA rating: 57% – Holiday Inn Berlin Mitte
  • HI Prague – $105 – TA rating: 70% – Holiday Inn : Prague Congress Centre
  • Amman – $140 – TA rating: 54% – Holiday Inn : Amman
  • San Juan – $100 – TA rating: 66% – Holiday Inn Express : San Juan Condado
  • Moscow – $125 – TA rating: 64% – Holiday Inn : Moscow – Vinogradovo
  • Seoul – $115 – TA rating: 86% – Holiday Inn : Seongbuk Seoul

 

Conclusion

Considering there are hotels for 50,000 points that aren’t worth much more than many of these… these are great deals. In fact, most domestic InterContinental hotels that are 50,000 or close to it, are on average close to $150.

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15 Comments

  1. Krakow is wonderful. I spent a few days there earlier this year for 0 points (stayed with a friend). Make sure to visit the salt mines.

    Reply
    • The 0 point stays are pretty great. :-p Hopefully we’ll be there in November, hope it’s not dreadfully grey.

      Reply
  2. Krakow is a wonder city to visit and couldn’t feel more different from Warsaw (Poland is huge). I rented an apartment for several days in the old city center and found there was lots to see and do with interesting, diverse dining throughout the city. If you liked Warsaw (which I did not), you will love Krakow. Safe travels.

    Reply
    • Can’t wait. I’ve also never been to Prague, so I think I’ll try to fit in both.

      Reply
  3. Nice List. A couple of additions you might find interesting, that I’m almost loath to share:

    Holiday Inn Wembley (category 1, 10,000 points) – AMAZING value if there is a big game on (or pretty much any time tbh), and only 20-30 minutes into central london as well. It’s been refurbished quite recently and has a pool which is pretty rare in london. I really don’t understand how or why this is only 10K points (The cash price is regularly around £150.00/$250), but am more than happy to accept it!

    Holiday Inn Express Windsor (Category 1, 10,000 points) – perfectly decent, relatively modern HIX about a 10 minute walk from the centre of Windsor (home to the beautiful Windsor Castle, and it’s a nice town). It’s no distance to Legoland (which my nephew loved!), a 25 minute taxi ride to Heathrow (should cost £20-£30), and 30-50 minutes on the train to central london (depending on which train you get).

    When you consider that you can end up paying 30-35k points for a not particularly good HI or even HIX in London, these two really do stand out.

    Reply
    • Guess there are many good redemption in the UK… given how the pound sterling is a painful conversion for most.

      I agree. Honestly, if you were to blow 50,000 points in Hong Kong… it doesn’t make sense. You could get 5 nights in the uk that would have been $100+. Just pay the $200+ in HKG if you really want the IC.

      Reply
  4. +1 for Beijing Temple of Heaven (though it’s really cheap as well- I spent I think $63 all in?) VERY fancy lobby, they have a huge swimming pool and gym area. The locker room has a sauna! Only thing is no benefit really for members (I got a free coffee). A little hard to find though- don’t use google maps.

    I had a really nice stay as well in J’burg at the Holiday Inn Sandton. I had a cruddy experience at the IC on point breaks and switched hotels. HUGE difference. Yeah, the room was smaller, but staff was competent, in-room electronics worked, internet was way faster, the iron didn’t wreck my clothes, better toiletries, closer to the train, substantial discount on car rentals, and most importantly, free lounge access where I was able to eat 2 meals/day and hang with Qatar Airlines staff (who get a couple free bottles of SA vino every night). 15k points well spent.

    Reply
    • While we’re talking China, Holiday Inn Gulou in Chengdu for 10k/night is also more than satisfactory. It’s a nice location maybe 10 minutes’ walk from the subway (which goes directly to the N train station, where most long distance trains come in). Lots of places to eat, shopping etc nearby, and a reasonable walk to People’s Park, museums, etc. Really nice breakfast included.

      Reply
    • I feel like China in general is full of new incredible hotels for cheap. Often on the PB list there are 10 hotels! And they’re all swank.

      I stayed at the IC (got a huge suite and lounge access, so can’t complain). But then went to the CP… wish I went to the HI based on what you’re saying. Weirdest hotel, and there were no blinds from the bathroom to the bedroom…

      Reply
  5. Excellent write-up and comments, as well. A couple of things:

    1. Don’t go to Ukraine until the violence ends. What’s happening there is very close to civil war. Expect more unrest, terrorist attacks, transport disruption, what have you. It’s serious, not like Thailand.

    2. Vinogradovo Moscow is not Moscow. It’s seriously far from the city center.

    Reply
    • I haven’t been following the Ukraine situation closely, but I sure hope things heal up. That country has dealt with too much.

      Good to know about Moscow. Never been…

      Reply
  6. Drew, forgot to ask. Would you call HI in Phucket a luxury hotel?

    Reply
    • Luxury hotel… Hmm… I mean, it is NOT at all a Park Hyatt. But it’s a solid 4 stars. If you’re on the first floor, like I said, it’s really awesome. Otherwise, it’s a nicer than normal new Holiday Inn. Probably the nicest HI I’ve been in, including the new one in Singapore.

      Think Holiday Inn trying to be a 5 star hotel.

      Reply
  7. Krakow is better – time will tell right?

    Reply
  8. Nice write up! Does the redemption come with free breakfast? Also, if I were to make bookings of IHG hotels through websites like Agoda/Expedia etc, will I still get to earn the IHG points?

    Reply

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We have spent the majority of our marriage traveling full time, living out of hotels.   All the while, we list our expenses publicly, budgeting $25,000 a year for our nomadic life while still staying in mostly 4 or 5 star hotels across ~20 countries a year.
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