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You can read all the details in the full press release, but here are a few highlights.
New top membership level
IHG has typically been panned as having an almost worthless elite program. You get to be Platinum for having the Chase IHG Credit card, but that doesn’t get you very much.
(SEE ALSO: Why you should get 2 IHG cards at the same time)
(SEE ALSO: IHG hotel rewards – Big Win and PointBreaks)
When we stayed at a Holiday Inn in Chicago, that didn’t even merit us free breakfast (in the US!)
So IHG is introducing a new top membership level in July of this year. See sa follows
· Introducing a new top membership level in July 2015. This new membership level can be reached by earning 75,000 qualifying points or staying at IHG hotels for 75 qualifying nights, over the course of a year.
· An industry first: IHG Rewards Club will offer its most loyal members in this new membership level 100% extra bonus points on qualifying stays. Members of this newest level will also be able to choose between receiving 25,000 points or upgrading a friend or family member to Platinum.
· The qualification requirements for all membership levels have been restructured to make it easier for members to be rewarded for their loyalty. Club members will need to earn just 10,000 qualifying points or stay for 10 qualifying nights to be eligible for Gold membership. Gold members will need to earn 40,000 qualifying points or stay for 40 qualifying nights to reach Platinum membership.
Being able to upgrade a friend is nice in theory, but Platinum status, as I just said, isn’t worth much. It will be interesting to see what the new status (Super-Duper-Platinum?) will get as far as benefits. My favorite perk is free breakfast – it’s one reason why I think “budget” hotels are WAY better than the fancy ones.
IHG Rewards Club points now expire after 12 months
To enable IHG to reward our guests who stay with us most often, starting from May 2016, IHG will expire all points for IHG Rewards Club Members if they have not earned or redeemed any points at all in the previous 12 months. IHG Rewards Club members will continue to maintain their point balances simply by completing a qualifying stay at one of IHG’s 4,800 hotels or redeeming some of their existing points during a membership year.
In the email I got with the notice, it said that points won’t expire for current elite members. I’m not quite sure what that means. What level do you need to be at to not have your points expire, and is that an ongoing thing, or just at first?
Needless to say, it’s not super egregious to have points expire, and it’s generally pretty easy to both redeem and earn points.
Earning points can be done through signups (like 1000 points for watching a video which is a deal that comes around pretty often, or buying through shopping portals, or actually (gasp!) staying at IHG, though watch out for signing up for promo codes)
The best way I’ve found to redeem points is through IHG Point Breaks, which is a program where a certain set of hotels are released for redemption for only 5000 points a night. Here is a map of the current IHG Point Breaks hotels, which are good through the end of April.
View from the Wing also has some analysis of the changes – what do you think of these new changes to the IHG Rewards Club program?