Hotels Reviews

Review: Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin – under 40k IHG points a night

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A quiet refuge in the heart of the Shanghai’s French Quarter

The Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin is centrally located in the French Quarter along Ruijin Er Road near fine shopping, restaurants, and offers an up and coming bar scene. It was formerly the State Guest House of Shanghai, having served Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai, and was once the headquarters of the Communist Party of Shanghai.  All of this history makes for good conversation, but the aspect of the hotel that I enjoyed the most was the setting. Unlike the Andaz ( where we stayed our first two nights) the Intercontinental provides refuge in a city that boasts nearly 24 million inhabitants. Once you duck behind the brick wall that surrounds the property, you quickly forget that you’re in a major metropolis. The hotel is comprised of multiple buildings, giving it a compound feel, with the main hotel overlooking it all. It really feels as if you’re in a small neighborhood with European influence; whereas The Bund feels very touristy, and Xintiandi feels almost manic with shopping and foot traffic.

A little backstory:

If you read the blog much you know that my buddy Dave and I take quite a few trips together. We’d been planning a crazy #weekendwarrior trip to Asia, but hadn’t settle on where. Shanghai had long been on our list of cities to check out, and when AA econ prices fell below $400 we bought. But we were never going to fly econ across the Pacific and luckily I still had a couple System Wide Upgrades. They cleared ( about 5 days prior to take off), and we flew on AA’s 787-8 from Chicago to Shanghai. Originally, I had planned to spend 2 nights at the Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin using a BOGO Ambassador certificate. However..the welcome pack never came, the hotel wouldn’t honor any sort of electronic version – this was confirmed literally hours before I could cancel without penalty. We reshuffled, putting the Andaz first, and the Intercontinental second. I real bummer as I’d locked in a cool suite for us to stay in with the BOGO as well. Maybe next time around.

It’s also worth noting that the Intercontinental costs just 35k a night ( which is under the 40k limit on Annual Free Nights certs)

The Deets:

  • When: November 2017
  • Where: Shanghai
  • Room: Deluxe
  • Loyalty: IHG
  • Status: Platinum Ambassador
  • Rate: Paid, but could redeem at 35k a night at time of publishing


The hotel lobby is massive. Marble. Chandeliers. Atrium. It has an old school luxury feel. We checked in via the Ambassador lane and were given an explanation of benefits, as well as an upgrade to a deluxe room. There are club rooms available, but seeing as though we were there for just a night and were planning on being out on the town as well as leaving prior to breakfast…we didn’t think it worth the upgrade price. Roughly $60

The Room:

Our room was in the main building, in the atrium, and had a great view of the property. If you’re looking for rooms with an immense amount of space…this is your hotel. Dave immediately declared this the winner over the Andaz. It won me over as well. Is it as cool? No, but it’s not trying to be cool. It offers a ton of value whether you’re redeeming points ( 35k ) or paying outright, which we did, roughly $200 all in.

The double beds are larger than you’d find in the States as well, nearly Queen size.

Bathrooms have large soaker tubs, separate showers, and dual vanities.

Work out facilities and grounds

I was up super early the morning we left and took the time to walk around the property. I’d love to come back, redeem a BOGO for one of their suites located in the stand alone buildings, and enjoy the tranquility of the grounds ( and club access).


We grabbed lunch in La Rue which offers a la carte options as well as the buffet. Food was good, quick, and service was attentive.


I enjoyed my stay here, and would recommend it as an option to anyone visiting Shanghai. It should be known that the hotel is not near the Bund, but offers serenity, access to shopping, nightlife, and dining options in the French Quarter. It’s roughly a 45 min walk to the Bund, but the hop on hop off bus stop is within about 10 mins walking from the hotel. We made use of this during our stay and found it to be a convenient way to see the city, and get around.

The IHG Rewards Select card from Chase has devalued their annual night certificate, but that doesn’t mean the card should immediately be cancelled. With hotels like this, and the 10% refund, I find it still holds a tremendous amount of value. The annual fee is just $49 a year, but offers access to redemptions at $200.

We checked out of the Intercontinental and headed to the Airport where we hopped on a Cathay Dragon flight to Hong Kong…if you wish to follow along – check out the following reviews:

Wish to read more of my WeekendWarrior Trip to Asia?

 Affiliate link via Card Ratings

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


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