Official: here are the IHG Rewards Club welcome benefits by hotel and tier level

One of the few guaranteed status benefits in IHG Rewards Club – if you are staying in Europe – is the ‘welcome amenity’ which is offered at check-in.  These are rarely anything to set the pulse racing but they are a gesture, especially at hotels where the rooms are virtually identical and there is little scope for upgrades or special treatment.

There has been some confusion in recent months about what is offered where.  In particular, some Crowne Plaza hotels have been offering club lounge access to Spire Elite guests.  Some, but not all.

A HFP reader was at a UK Crowne Plaza last week and complained that he was not offered an upgrade to the lounge, even though the hotel was willing to sell him access.  The hotel gave the reader a copy of its internal IHG guidelines to prove that it was not obliged to offer lounge access.   He passed it on to me and it is worth a look.

Here is the chart (click to enlarge) which came into effect in January 2017 in Europe:

IHG status levels and welcome amenities

As you can see, IHG is attempting to vary the offering by both brand and by membership tier.  This leads to 15 possible combinations of welcome amenity!

Top left is the most interesting.

A Crowne Plaza in Europe is meant to offer Spire Elite members 600 points or a drink and snack voucher or club lounge access.

This is a slightly odd choice, since the points are worth around £3, the drink / snack around £5 and club lounge access – based on the upsell price – around £50!

Here’s the catch though.  The hotel is allowed to make the lounge access benefit ‘subject to availability’ which could mean anything.  Hotel staff are told that they should always use the phrase “on this occasion” when offering club lounge access.

Importantly, lounge access is only for the Spire Elite member personally.  If you are sharing your room with your partner, they will not receive access.  You also cannot bring any guests into the lounge.  (Not all hotels will follow this rule, of course, but this is IHG’s suggested position.)

Other Spire Elite benefits are slim

Looking down the chart, there isn’t a lot else on offer for Spire Elite members on top of the Platinum Elite benefits:

At a Hotel Indigo, you can have a cocktail as your welcome drink – Platinum members cannot

At Staybridge Suites, you will get two drink and snack vouchers instead of one

At Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels, whilst there is technically no difference between the Spire Elite and Platinum Elite amenities, Spire Elite members are meant to be offered a better choice of drinks at the point of redemption

Many hotels, of course, will go further for Spire Elite members.   These guidelines don’t cover room upgrades, which can be decent at a Crowne Plaza.  I booked a Junior Suite in Salzburg in February and ended up with a 2-bedroom suite, for example.  You also need to remember that Spire Elite members receive a 100% bonus on base points, which allows you to rack up free nights quickly.

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

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Comments

  1. I am a spire member. Checked into Holiday Inn Sheffield Victoria was only offered points or free drink.

  2. Mr Dee says:

    If they offered free breakfast then I would likely be more interested in collecting and redeeming points vs Hilton as it can easily stack up when staying in the Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental brands over a few days of more than 1 person.

    • Indeed. It was a joy to pay a £90+ breakfast bill for 2 adults and 2 kids at the InterContinental O2 last year …..

  3. Mr Dee says:

    BTW in your example of the person who was inquiring about the lounge access, I assume he wasn’t Spire Elite and Platinum or below?

  4. Andrew says:

    I’m Spire, at CP they rarely give lounge access – I’ve stayed at a Heathrow, Gatwick and Kings Cross – they sometimes upgrade you to Clib room but still don’t give you access to Lounge. Last night I asked if I could have lounge access as the room was not upgraded as they were “full” (yet website said they still had 4 for sale) receptionist said this was not a benefit.

    • It depends, check out the threads on FT and choose your CPs wisely. Newcastle, Glasgow, Copenhagen, Athens are good.

      • RussellH says:

        I am happy to second the recommendations for CP Newcastle and Copenhagen.

        By contrast, I always thought the rooms at CP Manchester Airport were the smallest possible you could get away with at a CP until we stayed at CP Gatwick a couple of weeks ago – barely room for two people and four suitcases (we were en route to a wedding in California).

        Restaurants at both Manchester and Gatwick were pretty good, though.

  5. Ramones says:

    I have been very lucky with IHG Ambassador Platinum. Have had some amazing room upgrades and complementary club lounge access a number of times so far this year. No complaints whatsoever with IHG rewards club.

    Thanks Rob for all the great advice and tips.

  6. RussellH says:

    At least a Gold menber at IHG gets something, at least here in Europe. Only Accor matches that for Silver, with drinks vouchers only, no points.

    Hilton Honors, Club Carlson, Marriott Silver and SPG plus all give you nothing apart from a few extra points, though if they are feeling kind you might get a bit of an upgrade if the place is half empty. (We did get a surprise upgrade to the “Golden State Suite” at 4 Points in San Jose last weekend. Nothing was said at the front desk, so it was only when we saw the little notice by the room number and opened the door that we realised!!)

  7. As a Platinum I got that strange offer of a drink or lounge access at a recent stay in CP Harrogate…of course 3 nights in lounge was a no-brainer, but I was slightly surprised by the offer !!

  8. Alex W says:

    Instead of 100% bonus points they should offer Spires lounge access and/or free breakfast. That would certainly increase my loyalty to IHG.

    • RussellH says:

      Free breakfast could be worth having – unless the only hotel for miles around is a HIX. Do all CPs have lounge? The only one I have been in is Manchester Airport, which was paid for on a special offer. Pretty poor as I recall; breakfast would have been far preferable.

  9. I’ve recently stumbled upon some additional IHG points and thought I would share it with you on this excellent site…
    Having moved to the new creation credit card (the free white one) I realised that I would be able to make spire status by year end (card spend plus some stays) if I switched to the black credit card. It transpired that you can’t upgrade the card and have to apply from scratch. This has triggered all of the benefits again in the same year so I’m well chuffed.

    It begs the question how many cards they will issue to a person but do the maths and get applying if you’re close to an upgrade!

  10. IC Al Jubail KSA 600pts or a drink voucher

  11. I have previous IC weekend certificate version not in-use if anyone interested.

  12. Graham Walsh says:

    Has anyone stayed at the David IC in Tel Aviv? I’ve booked a Cash+Points stay for the end of this month with my 2 boys. Wondering if I’ll get lounge access being Platinum Elite? I had great recognition in CP Times Sq and CP in Woburn MA with discounted breakfast/free for the kids in Times Sq and then lounge access in Woburn (basically free breakfast and snacks all day).