A little known secret about InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is their publicly available Friends and Family rate. While most hotel chains have some sort of friends and family rate, it typically requires you to actually know an employee to reap the benefits. Not with IHG though. Everyone is their friend and can book the discounted IHG Friends and Family rate at over 5,500 IHG properties. No hookups needed!
To book an IHG Friends and Family rate, you first have to find an employee who has made their corporate page publicly available. You can find this through Google search, LinkedIn, Flyertalk and even through many social media pages. Once you find an employee, all you have to do is print out the voucher, fill it out and give it to the hotel upon check-in (if they ask for it). The voucher does not require an employee ID or any formed to be signed.
While getting an extra discount is great, there are some things to know. First off, you might be able to find a better discount by using a corporate or members only rate, such as AAA. Since the friends and family rate is more widely available than other hotel chains, the discount is not always as good. Make sure to rate check to ensure you are getting the best available deal. Also, from my experience, the friends and family rate is non-refundable which means you cannot cancel if your plans change. Another big disadvantage is that you will not earn points or stays towards status. Since this is not a point earning stay, you also will not be eligible for any promotions at the given time.
Putting the IHG Friends and Family Rate to Practice
Just recently I was looking to stay in Boston for the night. I compared many rates and found that the Friends and Family rate is actually offering the best discount at $17 less than the member exclusive rate for advanced bookings. While this locks me into a non-refundable room, so does the next best rate. Of course I will forgo earning my 10x points per night, which will be about 1,590 points on this particular reservation, I’d prefer to save the $17. This would also mean “buying” points at over a penny a point and I can always purchase points at $0.7 cents a point, if needed. IHG frequently runs promotions where you can even purchase points at a low rate of half a penny per point.
I personally have used the IHG Friends and Family rate many times in the past and it has always worked out well. Of course the IHG Friends and Family rate does not provide as much of a savings as some of the other hotel programs — some savings is better than nothing. This is also available on all properties under the umbrella, including Kimpton Hotels and Resorts.