Hotels often have so many rates that it can be confusing picking the right one for your stay. Some are cheaper but ultra-restrictive, while the flexible rack rates may be prohibitively expensive for your needs.

Using their loyalty points to book a room is often a great idea as bookings are flexible and points can sometimes be purchased at a discount. IHG has also introduced a limited-time ‘Book Now Pay Later’ rate which combines flexibility with savings.

We take a look at the main room rates offered through the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and its loyalty program, IHG Rewards Club.

What are the IHG room rates?

The four main cash rates available at most IHG hotels worldwide are:

  • Advance Purchase
  • Stay Longer Pay Less
  • Book Now Pay Later (temporary new rate)
  • Best Flexible Rate

Keep in mind that IHG is no longer waiving change or cancellation fees on new bookings since April 2020. Therefore, it is strongly recommended guests book a flexible room rate in case of future disruptions.

‘Book Now Pay Later’ is the newest rate created during these uncertain travel times. Guests get free cancellation, but also at least 5% off the usual flexible rate. It’s only offered on bookings made up to 3 September 2020 and for stays up to 31 December 2020.

The actual savings will vary from hotel to hotel. For example, we found a great ‘Book Now Pay Later’ offer at the Crowne Plaza Sydney for a stay in September, which was only $4/night dearer than the lowest rate.

Yes, the cheaper non-refundable rate includes breakfast, but having flexibility for $4 more/night is arguably a better choice.

Conversely, other properties such as the Intercontinental Sydney has its ‘Book Now Pay Later’ rates about $56/night higher than the base-level Advance Purchase non-refundable rate.

In addition to the cash rates, there is also the IHG Rewards Club nights offer which are bookings made with IHG Rewards points. These can be changed or cancelled with no penalty prior to the cut-off time.

Note that Reward Nights can be part-paid in US dollars. However, any cancellations will see you refunded in points only — cash co-payments will be converted to points.

Many hotels will have additional promotional rates such as all-inclusive packages. Some of these might prove to be a better fit for you than one of the ‘rack rates’, so be sure to do your research accordingly.

How do the IHG room rates compare?

Here is a brief comparison of the different IHG rack room rates in terms of flexibility and other key benefits.

 Deposit required?Discount availableCancellation policyPenalty beyond cancellation window
Advance PurchaseYes, whole stayDeep discountFull stay non-refundableWhole stay forfeited
Stay Longer & SaveYes, first nightMinimum 10% off "Book Now Pay Later" rateDeposit non-refundableFirst night forfeited
Book Now Pay LaterNoMinimum 5% off "Best Flexible Rate"Free cancellation before 6pm the day beforeEntire stay charged
Best Flexible RateNoNil — least restrictive rateFree cancellation before 6pm the day beforeFirst night charged
IHG Rewards NightYes, whole stayN/AFree cancellation before 6pm the day beforeFirst night forfeited

Summing up

The best sweet spots with IHG’s current rates are probably the ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ cash rate and the ‘Reward Nights’ option with points.

‘Buy Now Pay Later’ combines full cancellation flexibility with a discounted rate — remember to sign in as an IHG Rewards Club member to get a better rate. The only catch is that after the cancellation window closes, you will forfeit the entire stay for any no-shows or cancellations.

‘IHG Rewards Night’ has always been a reliable option, particularly when you can buy points at a discount. Keep in mind that IHG now has dynamic pricing, so be sure to check how many points each night will need.

If you do want to buy points — which is charged in USD — also compare that cost to the standard cash rates to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a deposit for ‘Book Now Pay Later’?

No, you don’t need to pre-pay anything for a ‘Book Now Pay Later’ rate. However, you will need to confirm the reservation via credit card in case any penalties are charged for no-shows or late cancellation.

What is the best contact number for IHG Rewards Club?

See the Customer Care contact page to view the best number for your region. Alternatively, try Live Chat through the lower-right corner.

Your guide to IHG ‘Book Now Pay Later’ and flexible rates was last modified: July 22nd, 2020 by Brandon Loo