Earning hotel rewards shouldn't feel like a prison stay, which is why InterContinental's ( IHG) loyalty program starts giving away free nights with every $1,000 spent. That's easily the lowest rewards bar in the business and a much easier number to hit when you're dealing with a hospitality company with as many locations (4,400 in more than 100 countries) and brands (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood and Staybridge suites) for holiday travelers to choose from as InterContinental does. The 14 nights required for entry-level eligibility pale when compared with Hilton, Omni or Marriott's 10-night requirements, but those 5,500 points that add up to a free room can be accumulated either through stays, subscriptions to USA Today or Netflix, rentals at Hertz ( HTZ) or Avis ( CAR) and purchases through OfficeMax ( OMX) or 1-800-Flowers.com ( FLWS). They're also much easier to get when InterContinental throws them at you 6,000 at a time for stays in Las Vegas or 7,500 at a clip just for booking a winter stay in one of nine cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and Miami. Even if the hotel's accommodations don't do it for you, points that can be converted to vouchers for any hotel that takes American Express are hard to match. -- Written by Jason Notte in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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