Some 62% of global travellers say it 'feels like a dream come true' when redeeming points from their loyalty programme all in one go, resulting in 65% of them increasingly turning to loyalty programmes to help fund their holidays and 37% even organising an entire holiday using points alone, according to research by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The research by IHG Rewards Club surveyed more than 10,000 of its members across 13 countries to reveal further insight into both the emotional and practical benefits that members get from their loyalty programme. Some 69% of the respondents felt that points were a reward in exchange for their loyalty, whilst half (49%) even said that the personal welcome they received from IHG hotels, was the top reason they choose to be part of IHG Rewards Club.

In addition to making holidays a reality for many, the study also found that rewards programmes are increasingly used to enhance travellers' holidays. Some of the top choices for point redemptions include holiday accommodations (70%), hotel upgrades (32%) and even booking an extra week on an existing holiday (24%).

"Loyalty programmes play an important role in helping guests enjoy and get the most out of their holidays. But this research shows that there is an emotional attachment too, in helping dreams become a reality," said said Susanna Freer Epstein, senior vice president of customer loyalty marketing for IHG. According to psychologist, Art Markman, "Most people talk about wanting to find moments of joy in their lives when most of what they feel is stress, anxiety and the pinch of pressing budgets. The way you remove stress is to pursue the wonders of life, to seek and attain your desires. Fulfilling your dreams through travel is a good way to find joy and stay happy."

As part of its global survey, IHG Rewards Club launched a 'rewarding experiences' online hub which showcases the experiences available to programme members around the world, ranging from cultural experiences to family celebrations and relaxing spa experiences. The hub also includes reviews from members and travellers from all around the world.

Additionally, from July 2014 onward, members also earn more IHG Rewards Club points when they stay at any of the 178 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts worldwide. For every US$1 of qualifying spend during these stays (including food and drinks) members now earn 10 IHG Rewards Club points.

IHG Rewards Club currently claims nearly 79 million members worldwide, and is available in over 4,700 hotels around the world (including a family of 9 hotel brands). The programme offers perks such as free internet access for all IHG Rewards Club members worldwide, and no blackout dates on reward nights.