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Everything you need to know about IHG One Rewards’ annual lounge membership

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

With the launch of the IHG One Rewards program in 2022 came IHG’s Milestone Rewards program. You can earn IHG points or food and beverage rewards at most Milestone Rewards tiers. You can also choose an IHG annual lounge membership at the 40-night and 70-night tiers.

Most IHG hotels and resorts don’t offer club lounges, but if you want to access the club lounge at IHG properties that do have one, you’ll need to do one of the following:

  • Book a room that includes lounge access or purchase lounge access during your stay
  • Have an IHG annual lounge membership
  • Stay at an InterContinental property while having Royal Ambassador status

Also, keep in mind that even if an IHG property upgrades you to a club-level room, you won’t automatically get access to the lounge. At IHG club lounges, you typically get complimentary breakfast and nonalcoholic drinks throughout the day. You will sometimes even get afternoon tea, evening drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

Here’s everything you need to know about IHG’s annual lounge membership, including how to earn and use it.

Related: The 19 best IHG hotels in the world

Club InterContinental Lounge at the InterContinental Cartagena de Indias
Club InterContinental Lounge at the InterContinental Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

What is IHG annual lounge membership?

IHG’s annual lounge membership — which you can earn through IHG’s Milestone Rewards program — provides lounge access for one member and a guest, if you stay at an IHG property with a club lounge.

An annual lounge membership gets you access to the club lounge and its amenities during your stay. However, IHG’s terms and conditions allow for lounge access to be restricted “due to renovations, closures, or other facility limitations.” This membership also doesn’t include Club Regent or Club InterContinental amenities or services beyond the physical lounge.

According to IHG’s terms and conditions, an annual lounge membership provides access to club lounges on qualified stays, including reward nights, free nights and stays booked through online travel agencies. During stays at participating Iberostar Beachfront Resorts, an annual lounge membership gives you access to the Star Prestige facilities and services (but not to Star Prestige rooms). However, an annual lounge membership doesn’t provide lounge access at InterContinental Alliance Resorts in Las Vegas and Macau.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick way to determine which IHG hotels in a particular city have club lounges. Instead, I’ve found it most efficient to simply check whether a specific hotel displays rooms with lounge access in the room’s name or description.

IHG lounge access room
IHG.COM

Related: The top InterContinental hotels across the world

How to earn an IHG annual lounge membership

The only way to earn an IHG annual lounge membership is to select it as a 40-night or 70-night Milestone Reward. You’ll earn IHG Milestone Rewards as you reach the following tiers each calendar year:

  • 20 nights: 5,000 bonus points, two $20 food and beverage rewards or one confirmable suite upgrade
  • 30 nights: 5,000 bonus points or two $20 food and beverage rewards
  • 40 nights (choose two): 10,000 bonus points, five $20 food and beverage rewards, one confirmable suite upgrade (limit one) or one annual lounge membership (limit one)
  • 50 nights: 10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards
  • 60 nights: 10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards
  • 70 nights (choose two): 10,000 bonus points, five $20 food and beverage rewards, two confirmable suite upgrades (limit one) or one annual lounge membership (limit one)
  • 80 nights: 10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards
  • 90 nights:10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards
  • 100 nights: 10,000 bonus points or five $20 food and beverage rewards

Once you select an annual lounge membership as a Milestone Reward, it will be valid through the end of the following calendar year. So, if you select an annual lounge membership at any point this year, the pass will be valid through Dec. 31 of next year.

Since you have 90 days to select a Milestone Reward after reaching a specific milestone, Frequent Miler discovered you can earn an annual lounge membership valid for almost two calendar years if you reach the 40-night or 70-night milestone on or after Oct. 3 and select an annual lounge membership at the beginning of January.

Related: How much value does IHG One Rewards status provide when you book directly?

Club InterContinental Lounge at the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort
Club InterContinental Lounge at the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort in Australia. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

How to use an IHG annual lounge membership

Between earning an IHG annual lounge membership and its expiration, there’s no limit to the number of times you can use your membership.

When you check in to an IHG hotel or resort with a club lounge, show the front desk staff your annual lounge membership. You can find your memberships in your IHG account’s Rewards Wallet under “Rewards to enhance your stay.” Click “Redeem,” and show the resulting page to the front desk staff. The staff will then add club lounge access to your room key or tell you how to access the lounge.

IHG lounge membership screenshot
IHG.COM

You can only use your annual lounge membership if you are the primary member of a qualifying stay. An IHG spokesperson told TPG that the member with the annual lounge membership must be the primary member on the reservation so “the hotel will be able to confirm the existence of the Annual Lounge Pass in the account.”

In addition to brands like InterContinental, where you might expect to find a club lounge, you’ll occasionally find that other IHG brands (like Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn) offer lounges.

Related: Best IHG beach hotels ranging from family-friendly resorts to luxury stays

Executive Lounge at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
Executive Lounge at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium in Singapore. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Is it worth earning an IHG lounge membership?

So, should you select an annual lounge membership at the 40-night or 70-night milestone? And should you strive to stay 40 nights at IHG hotels to earn an annual lounge membership as one of your Milestone Rewards choices?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always a clear “yes” or “no.” My husband redeemed an annual lounge membership in early 2023, and I’ve gotten to experience a few IHG lounges since then. All the club lounges I’ve visited offered a good selection of food and drinks, including complimentary alcoholic drinks in the evenings. So, I’ve been satisfied with our decision to select an annual lounge membership at the 40-night Milestone Rewards tier.

However, you’ll also want to consider how much you think you’ll use an IHG annual lounge membership. Specifically, you may want to consider how important club lounge availability is to you in the destinations you’ll visit. For example, we chose the InterContinental Cartagena de Indias in Colombia and the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium in Singapore primarily because their award rates were reasonable and we knew the properties had club lounges.

Once you decide the value you think an annual lounge membership would provide, consider the value you’d get from the other Milestone Rewards choices at the 40-night or 70-night tier. For example, at the 40-night milestone tier, would you value having 10,000 bonus points, five $20 food and beverage rewards or one confirmable suite upgrade more than an annual lounge membership? TPG’s June 2024 valuations peg the 10,000 bonus points at about $50, while five $20 food and beverage rewards will be worth around $100.

Related: What credit card should you use for IHG stays?

Bottom line

I’ve been very happy with IHG’s annual lounge membership. If you stay at several IHG hotels with club lounges each year, I expect you’ll also find it worth selecting an annual lounge membership through IHG’s Milestone Rewards program after staying 40 or 70 nights in a calendar year.

However, if you rarely stay at IHG hotels and resorts with club lounges, frequently travel with more than one other person or don’t value lounge access, you might not get enough value from an annual lounge membership to justify selecting it over other Milestone Rewards at the 40-night or 70-night tiers.