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A few days ago, the news came out of IHG that they were making some changes to their IHG Rewards club program. There was the introduction of a new top tier (above the current Platinum), but the big news was that IHG Rewards expire now – after 12 months of inactivity.
There are more details in the full press release, but what they said was:
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.
Oh yes, yes, it’s to “reward our guests”…. 😀
Do IHG Rewards expire for everyone?
One interesting tidbit in the email I got with the change was that “IHG Rewards points won’t expire for current elite members”
I wasn’t quite clear about what exactly that meant, so I reached out and asked: “When you say points will not expire for elite members, is that for ANY elite status, and does that mean that they will NEVER expire if you have elite status? Or is it just for the time being?”
The response I got was:
No, points won’t expire for current elite members. Elite members who do not earn enough qualifying nights or points to maintain elite status will become a Club level member. Points will expire 12 months after becoming a Club level member for those who neither earn nor redeem at all during this time.
So that would seem to indicate that IHG Rewards expire EXCEPT if you are a current elite member.
IHG Rewards elite levels
Besides the new top tier level that IHG Rewards is introducing later this summer, there are 3 levels of IHG Rewards member.
You’re a “Club” member if you stay fewer than 15 nights a year. At 15 nights you become “Gold” and then at 40 you earn Platinum status. From what I am reading, Gold and Platinum members will NOT have their points expire, even after 12 months of inactivity.
The easy track to Platinum status
The easy way to get Platinum status is to sign up for the IHG Rewards credit card! This is one of the better cards out there, and one of the few that I would recommend paying the annual fee on. The current best offer that I see gives 70,000 points after meeting $1000 of spending in the first 3 months, but the real benefit is that each year on your anniversary, after you pay the $49 annual fee, you get a free night certificate to ANY IHG hotel worldwide!
(SEE ALSO: Why you should get 2 IHG cards at the same time)
It also comes with Platinum status, which doesn’t get much (it didn’t even get me breakfast at the Chicago Holiday Inn!), but you won’t have your IHG Rewards expire!
Maybe I’m the only one who was confused by the new policy, but hopefully this helps someone out there! Let me know – are you a current IHG elite member already? Or if not, what you’re going to not have your IHG Rewards expire?
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I assume that an elite member’s reward points will not expire however the elite status is obtained, i.e. just by having a linked credit card.
I just wanted to comment that at 99 % of IHG hotels I have stayed at I have been upgraded as a Platinum member. Even on award stays, examples Holiday Inn Paris booked standard room upgraded to top floor with view of Eiffel tower award stay. Holiday Inn Armacao de Pera, Portugal Algarve booked standard room got Executive 2 room suite with ocean view and buffet breakfast. Award stay. Inter-Con Budapest standard room upgraded to River view superior room, annual free night. Being polite and respectful yields these results. Let’s see what happens to our status after this change.
I don’t have a ton of stays at IHG but my experience has not been like yours (although I too am Platinum due to the IHG CC). When I was staying at a mid-tier Holiday Inn in Chicago, I couldn’t even get breakfast!
I’ve had similar luck. I got upgraded in the intercontinental magnificent mile using my free night. They also generally honor my weird check in and check out times. More of a mix of experiences at holiday inn express locations.
Why didn’t I receive notification of my points expiring? I was not aware of this program change.