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The IHG loyalty program has always been a bit of an odd bird. On the one hand, the IHG credit cards are one of the few cards that I will pay the annual fee on, thanks to the free night certificates. On the other hand, it has historically been hard to get any value out of the loyalty program itself. Unlike Hyatt (or even Hilton), where having elite status can actually be good for something, IHG sits along with Marriott (and Best Western, and Choice, and Radisson, and Wyndham) where even top-tier status is not worth much. There is a reason I hate staying at Holiday Inns after all.
New IHG One Rewards Program
Earlier this year, IHG announced that their IHG Rewards program was changing to IHG One. Along with the name change comes some updates to their benefits, including the addition of a new Gold status tier. There are also additional benefits like the ability to (finally!) get free breakfast, though only as a welcome amenity, late checkouts and confirmed suite upgrades. It was nice to see a benefits refresh that had almost exclusively GOOD news, instead of the devaluations that we are so used to…
Those changes are life (as of this week), so I thought I would give a brief overview in case you missed that.
New IHG Status Tiers
There is now an additional tier, for a total of 5 tiers including the base “Club” status that is free to join. Spire Elite is now called something normal (Diamond Elite). You can see here the number of nights / points required for each status level, as well as the bonus points you’ll get for each level of status.
Remember that you can get complimentary IHG Platinum Elite status with the IHG Premier card. The IHG Premier card has an all-time high welcome offer (more on that below), so it’s definitely a card to consider getting.
Free Breakfast and Other Perks
There are a few other perks that come with Platinum or Diamond elite status
- Reward Night Discounts
- Guaranteed Room availability at 72 hours
- Complimentary upgrades (subject to availability)
- Late checkout (subject to availability)
- Welcome Amenity at check-in – Platinum members can choose points or a drink / snack (similar to the IHG Rewards program) while Diamond Elite members can choose hot breakfast as their welcome amenity
Additionally, you can now earn Milestone Rewards every 10 nights you stay with IHG, starting at 20 nights:
- 20 nights – your choice of 5,000 bonus points, 2 food & beverage rewards or 1 confirmable suite upgrade
- 30 nights – your choice of 5,000 bonus points or 2 food & beverage rewards
- 40 nights – choose 2 of 10,000 bonus points, 5 food & beverage rewards, 1 confirmable suite upgrade or an annual lounge membership
- 50 nights – your choice of 10,000 bonus points or 5 food & beverage rewards
- 60 nights – your choice of 10,000 bonus points or 5 food & beverage rewards
- 70 nights – choose 2 of 10,000 bonus points, 5 food & beverage rewards, 2 confirmable suite upgrades or an annual lounge membership
- 80 nights – your choice of 10,000 bonus points or 5 food & beverage rewards
- 90 nights – your choice of 10,000 bonus points or 5 food & beverage rewards
- 100 nights – your choice of 10,000 bonus points or 5 food & beverage rewards
All-time High Credit Card Offer
Coupled with these IHG loyalty program changes is an all-time high credit card offer on the IHG Premier credit card.
- You can get 140,000 IHG points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- 1 free night certificate after each anniversary
- 4th night free when redeeming points
- 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants.
- 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- IHG Platinum Elite status
- Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Statement Credit of up to $100 every 4 years
- $99 annual fee
I think this is a keeper card (both my wife and I have it) for the free night certificate alone (though I tend to spend it in stupid places). And it’s certainly worth getting for the 140,000 IHG points as that would easily be worth at least 5 or 6 free nights depending on where you use it (remember you get the 4th night free). You can find the card on my top credit cards page.
The Bottom Line
IHG has made some intriguing updates to its loyalty program, including the potential to get free breakfast, milestone awards and other perks. Coupled to that is the all-time high offer on the IHG Premier credit card, and it’s definitely worth taking a second look.
What do you think of these IHG loyalty program changes? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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The numerous restrictions on the suite upgrade make it useless, IMHO. You have to book a higher rate with absolutely no certainty of getting an upgrade. You have no idea until two weeks before, and the entry level suite could be the same price booked at a lower rate as your lower room at a flex rate. And we all know how often Ihg upgrades in the US!
Ugh. As always, the devil is in the details. I guess it looks like the IHG loyalty program lags behind the other chains…