How can you earn 75,000 base points for the new IHG Rewards Club ‘Spire Elite’ tier?

The new IHG Rewards Club (the loyalty scheme for InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Indigo etc) top tier launched this morning.

The existing top tier, Platinum, will be effectively downgraded by the addition of this new top tier, called Spire Elite.  I wrote more about the changes here.

Spire Elite will require you to earn 75,000 base points or stay 75 nights in a calendar year.

If you’ve always wanted a bright red membership card, this could be something to aim for!

IHG has been making various changes over the last couple of years as to what counts as a ‘base point’.  If you are interested in pushing for the new tier, this is what you need to know:

IHG Rewards Club 350

Let’s look at the various scenarios you have for earning points, and see if they do or do not count as ‘base points’:

ROOM SPEND – yes, it counts.

You earn 10 base points per $1 on your bill at IHG hotels, as long as your room was booked directly (not via Expedia etc) and was not heavily discounted (a rule of thumb is more than 30% from the Best Available Rate).

STATUS BONUSES – no, they don’t count

Gold members receive a 10% bonus on base points.  Platinum members receive a 50% bonus.  The new top tier members will receive a 100% bonus.  These are not treated as base points.

AMENITY BONUSES – no, they don’t count

Platinum members in Europe and some other regions are offered a choice of a free drink or snack or a few hundred points (500 at a Holiday Inn).  If you take the points, they do not count for status.

POINTS FROM A ‘BONUS POINTS’ PACKAGE – yes, they count

Some hotels offer room rates which offer bonus points if you are prepared to spend more.  These bonuses can be as high as 5,000 points per night or more.  Sometimes it works out cheaper than buying points directly, sometimes it doesn’t.  However, as these points DO count as base points, these rates are now more attractive if you are chasing status.  You can find hotels which offer these rates here.

CREDIT CARD SIGN-UP BONUSES – no, they don’t count

This is a very recent change.  Any bonus you get for signing up to the IHG Rewards Club credit card will no longer be treated as base points.  This is a shame as the UK Premium card was offering 60,000 points earlier this year!

CREDIT CARD POINTS FOR SPENDING – yes, they count

Whilst sign up bonuses no longer count, points from your day to day spend DO qualify.  A heavy credit card spender could achieve the new top tier by spending £37,500 on the IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa without setting foot in a hotel.

BONUS POINTS RECEIVED FROM AN IHG PROMOTION – no, they don’t count

If IHG sends you a code for 1,000 bonus points on your next stay, or if they offer a global points promotion, those points are not treated as base points.  The 5,000 bonus points you receive when joining the InterContinental Ambassador programme are also not treated as base points.

BUYING POINTS – no, they don’t count

These definitely don’t count towards status.  That would be too easy!

CREDITING A CAR RENTAL – good question

IHG is a partner with Hertz, Avis and Budget as you can see here, as well as airport transfer group Groundlink.  You can earn points by crediting your rentals to IHG Rewards Club instead of to an airline loyalty scheme.  My gut feeling is that these would count for status.

TRAVELLING CONNECT (points from mobile calls) – yes, they count

I wrote about Travelling Connect here.  You earn points in various airline and hotel programmes when your mobile phone is used on specific networks outside the UK.  It is no-brainer to register your mobile for this if you travel.  Travelling Connect would prefer you to manually change your mobile network when abroad in order to pick one that earns points – I don’t do this, but if my phone just happens to connect to a TC partner then I get some points for absolutely no work whatsoever.  I know from my own recent transactions that these count for status.

POINTS.COM CONVERSIONS – no, they don’t count

I wrote about points.com here.  It is a website which allows you to transfer points from some airline and hotel programmes into some other airline and hotel programmes.  I don’t mention it much because neither Avios or Virgin Atlantic are partners.  IHG is a partner.  Last year I converted some unwanted Virgin America miles into 7,500 IHG points.  These did not count as base points.

E-REWARDS – yes, they count

According to a comment below, transfers from the e-rewards market research scheme (invitation only, you need to be opted in to marketing email from IHG partners to get an invite) do count towards status.

I hope you found this a useful summary.  The easiest way to speed your way to the new top tier status – assuming you don’t plan to have $7,500 of base spend this year – is by booking ‘bonus point’ packages.  You can find more details of those here.

I have, however, found a loophole in this new structure.  It worked, overnight, and when I got up a few minutes again (this edit is being typed at 6.20am!) I WAS ‘Spire Elite’ (actually ‘Spire Ambassador’).  Details of how and why I did this will follow next week.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. My account has updated since I first checked this morning, I am now Spire Elite.

  2. Transfers from Virgin Atlantic count, I did that 3 weeks ago.

  3. I think that whether the benefits – 25,000 points or a gift of Platinum status to someone else – are worth it depends on how much effort is required for you to achieve it.
    Because I had a 60,000 IHG visa card, with other points earned I only need 4,000 more points. If I had to earn 50,000 it would be a different matter.
    Also, surely Aspire holders will go to the front of the queue for upgrades (except Ambassador od course). But free breakfast would have been good too.

  4. Thunderbirds says:

    My account shows 38K of 75K points required but I have just been upgraded from Platinum to Spire Elite. Probably on the basis of 136 of 75 nights for Spire Elite, most of these collected from last year and carried over.
    Maybe their IT department are upgrading based on nights first and will get around to upgrading on points when they run that database script tonight…

    • Thunderbirds says:

      Interestingly the upgrade to Spire Ambassador hasn’t (yet) involved a reduction in my qualifying nights as happened at the beginning of the year when my Platinum was renewed.

  5. What's the Point says:

    I have been moved to Spire status, pretty much all from the credit card bonus and putting through a stack of spend to the free night voucher.

    For me, Spire would be worth aiming for if it just gave free breakfast along with the double points.

    I would certainly start swapping all my stays out of Hilton if this was the case.

    • It might happen. What other meaningful benefit could they offer?

      • Thunderbirds says:

        Ahh the list is long…. guaranteed upgrade of room by two categories rather than existing one and perhaps larger Ambassador rebate than existing 10%, free lounge access, free breakfast, free parking….

      • Waribai says:

        For what it’s worth, I’ve just got back from 10 days at IC Mar Menor. As a Gold Ambassador, I was upgraded to an Executive suite which changed to a slightly more dated junior suite but the latter has a separate living room. Anyway, we had breakfast every morning and were not charged for it upon check out. Not sure if this is an official policy or poor accounting!

        • Waribai says:

          Forgot to say that this was a reward stay. 25k per night with a really good kids activities programme. Flights were £99 rtn on BA. We got a decent break for peanuts relatively speaking!

      • Just to chip in with my most recent experience as a IHG Plat. I had a redemption booking in Singapore at the HI Orchard Road. At check in I was advised that my upgrade to a suite wasn’t ready yet, so by way of apology they would provide me with free breakfast! So, upgraded to a suite and free breakfast for duration of stay. I was also given a late checkout, I asked for 1pm, so they made it 2pm. Clearly a great hotel! If it was a UK stay I expect, and usually get, nothing.

      • What's the Point says:

        Lounge access where available to match Hilton Diamond status would be nice!

  6. any idea whats happening to the existing credit cards and their sign up bonus’?

    still just giving plat or is the top credit card likely to give spire?

  7. Am I right in thinking that the IHG credit card is separate from status i.e. I do not have to retain the Premier card to keep Spire Elite status?

  8. Just for clarification. I got my 60k sign up points early of this year, would these points count for the Spire Elite status if I achieved the 75k point by end of the year with credit card spending?

    • That’s what I did.
      If you look on your Rewards Club account and it will tell you – xxx points of 75,000 for Spire Elite

  9. When do points, from credit card spend, get added to your IHG account.
    I’ve got the premium card and the 60k bonus, I’ve also received the free night email for spending 10k. I’ve had a statement for the £10k but no sign of any points. Payment isn’t due until,August though.

    • sandgrounder says:

      Takes getting on for a month to travel from Barclaycard to IHG in my experience.