IHG has finally launched its overhauled rewards program — and the news is exciting. Like most of these types of revamps, there is some good and some bad news. However, this time around, it seems that IHG has decided to up its game and has injected some real value into the new IHG One Rewards program.
New Levels and Qualifying Requirements
The new IHG One Rewards program has changed the names of some of its elite status levels and drastically increased the qualifying requirements for some. The new program has added a Silver-tier level that did not exist before, and the top-tier status is renamed from Spire Elite to Diamond Elite.
This is welcome news, and it keeps the IHG naming nomenclature consistent. The new program now has five levels of status:
- Club member.
- Silver Elite member.
- Gold Elite member.
- Platinum Elite member.
- Diamond Elite member.
To progress between levels, members must meet the following requirements.
In terms of points requirements and nights, the change is somewhat negative. Top tier points requirements have increased drastically, Although the night requirement has dropped slightly. To progress up the old IHG Reward tiers, you needed to meet the following requirements (these were reduced to take into account the effects of the Covid pandemic.)
- Gold Elite required 10 nights or 10,000 base points.
- Platinum Elite required 40 nights or 40,000 base points.
- Spire Elite required 75 nights or 75,000 base points.
While the decrease of 5 nights from 75 to 70 to reach Diamond Elite is not a big deal, the base points earning option jumping from 75,000 points to 120,000 points is a considerable increase and represents a 60% inflation in the required number of points required.
On paper, the worst-hit tier is the Gold Elite tier which has seen a 100% increase in the number of required stays going from 10 nights to 20 nights. However, Silver Elite has practically replaced the old Gold Elite tier — with Gold Elite now becoming the second tier of elite status.
New Elite Status Benefits
The new IHG One Rewards program has introduced several new benefits that id does not exist before, including:
- Late checkout — All members (including Club level members) will benefit from 2pm late checkout when available.
- Welcome amenity at check-in — Diamond Elite members can choose between a complimentary breakfast, points, or a welcome drink at check-in. Platinum Elite members can still choose between points or a welcome drink at check-in.
- Dedicated Diamond Support — Top-tier Diamond Elite members will now have a dedicated support line.
- Reward Night Discounts — Diamond Elite members will benefit from discounts on reward nights. While we have not seen the discount level on offer, this could be a valuable perk for Diamond Elite members.
Benefits Being Withdrawn
While IHG has added several new benefits to the program, unfortunately, it has also removed a few lucrative ones. The new program sees the following negative changes:
- Gold members will no longer receive a welcome amenity at check-in, so they will no longer be able to choose between a welcome drink or some bonus points.
- Top-tier Dimond members will no longer be able to receive 25,000 bonus points as an achievement bonus for renewing their top-tier status. This is unfortunate since 25,000 points could be leveraged for excellent value if you were strategic with your awards.
By far, the most significant negative for many IHG co-brand credit cardholders is that credit card spending will no longer count towards elite status. This is a massive hit for holders of the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card, or even the IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. Historically cardholders could have reached elite status through spending. Withdrawing the benefit represents a big dent in the value of the cards. However, they are still well worth a closer look for IHG aficionados.
Introducing Milestone Rewards
IHG One Rewards members who achieve status the old-fashioned way through stays — instead of credit card spending or as a credit card perk — have something to look forward to. IHG One Rewards announced that it would soon be introducing Milestone Rewards.
For every 10 nights you stay, you will be able to choose from several reward options. Depending on how many nights you stay, you can choose from benefits that include but are not limited to the following:
- Confirmable suite upgrades
- Bonus points.
- Food and beverage vouchers.
Marriott Bonvoy should take notice that the new IHG One Rewards program has the Bonvoy program in its sights and is trying to unseat it as the best hotel Rewards program. While IHG still lags some of the perks of the Bonvoy program, Marriott will start to look over its shoulder if IHG improves its points transfers to airline partners and introduce a few more perks and benefits.
Overall, the changes are exciting, especially if you hold elite status with IHG — either through stays or via a credit card like the IHG Rewards Premier Card. We think almost all IHG members should be pleased with the direction IHG has decided to take its rewards program.