IHG rolling out ‘elite member gifts’ on every Holiday Inn etc stay

IHG Rewards Club has long been, by far, the worse major hotel scheme when it comes to actually valuing your loyalty.  There are no guaranteed benefits at all apart from free internet (and everyone gets that from June 2014 anyway).  You are totally at the mercy of the hotel as to whether you get an upgrade or any other sort of amenity.

IHG Rewards Club

Loyalty Lobby reports that IHG Rewards Club is making some progress on this front.  In an email, they told them:

IHG Rewards Club has been piloting Elite member amenity program in Europe where Gold and Platinum members have been offered extras at the check in.

This program “Surprise and Delight” is rolling to all Crowne Plaza, Indigo, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in Europe by the end of 2013.

The program is expected to roll out in the United States in 2014.

For Platinum member, it seems that the amenity will typically be your choice of 500 IHG Rewards Club points or a ‘complimentary drink or snack voucher’.  Given that the points are only worth about £2.50, the latter may be the better option.

(Or perhaps not – Holiday Inn Sheffield has always given a free Kit-Kat, value £verylittle, to elites!  Although, to be fair, that is 1 Kit-Kat more than they were obliged to give you!)

Hilton HHonors remains the gold standard for mid-tier hotel recognition.  Gold members receive free breakfast, free internet and a guaranteed upgrade.  500 Priority Club points or a Kit-Kat is not going to compete with that.

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  1. Trickster says:

    I post this from the HI Expess in Walsall, whee as a Plat I got nothing (as usual)! So it’s not rolled out here.

  2. I stayed at Holiday Inn Heathrow in July and after a mix up with my IHG Reward number not being added to my booking I was given option of either 500 points or a free drink. I thought it was due to the misunderstanding but obviously not. Good move I say

    • gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

      Heathrow Ariel HI typically have a lucky dip. I’ve previously had free desserts, free drinks or 500 points.

  3. In the Crowne Plaza international airport hotel Beijing, I have been given 1 bottle of water plus a free local beer voucher on my last 3 visits since July 2013. At the Holiday Inn Binhai Tianjin over the previous years, one free local beer a day and the same at the Holiday Inn in Nantong. Plus free wi fi and executive lounge privileges occasionally.
    I do think IHG hotels in Asia look after status customers so much better than UK and Europe.

  4. @HolidayInnBuenaPark in California, USA where I stayed for two nights and will be staying for the next two weeks, I received a welcome gift (bottle of water and bag of nuts). The weather here in CA has been 99 degrees and up, so the water was a bonus. In addition, there is a breakfast room dedicated to elite members. The breakfast is hot scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, sausage, coffee, juice, cereal, and baked pastries. Also, after being placed in a poolside room which proved a bit noisy, the hotel moved me to a junior suite. I am a Plat Ambassador. I must be lucky because in every IHG hotel I have been in upgraded and given a welcome gift. I am still debating about doing the Ambassador again though since I won’t be traveling as extensively and do not like that there is a special ambassador rate in order to use the AMB weekend certificate, which is usually higher than other rates.

    • I forgot to add that I was given a drink voucher and points at the Holiday Inn Buena Park in California. It is a very busy hotel, mainly tourists, who most likely never come back, so they are obviously trying to keep their elites happy. Oh, and I am staying on Award nights.

  5. I stopped at the Holiday Inn Central Park in Manchester last weekend. I was offered 300 points or a free drink in the bar. I’m a Gold member so they are doing it for lower tier members with a little less reward.

  6. Thunderbirds says:

    Crowne Plaza Manchester airport and Heathrow airport offering Drink & Snack or 600 points to Platinum Elite members.

  7. Rich Spencer says:

    Nothing from the Hotel Indigo in Birmingham today but the minibar is complimentary so I’m not too upset.
    Have had the choice of points or drink in the past at other properties.

  8. I’m in the HI Express Belfast tonight. As IhG Gold I was offered the choice of 200 points or a free drink voucher. I was also offered my choice of complementary newspaper and given the option of late checkout Not much but better than nothing. I also noted that they had a list of elite members due to check in and my room key envelope had a little gold star stuck to it. Perhaps a sign if things improving!

    • Trickster says:

      In the HI Walsall last night my key envelope had a ‘P’ on it, presumably for Platinum. Still no offers though.

  9. david flacks says:

    These sort of welcome gifts were very common in pretty much all the HI brands I’ve stayed at in the USA for platinum members (probably in excess of 40 properties). I’d say over 80% gave a goodie bag of some sort on check in.

    UK, not so much although the express in the canal basin always gave a kitkat (on the bed) and a beer voucher. Got 2 beer vouchers in Madrid at the express pyramides at the end of June, and I remember at the Heathrow Ariel last year getting a beer voucher plus a lucky dip draw for extra points.

    So it’s always been done at many properties, it’s just nice that they’ve upped their game.
    Almost never get an upgrade in the UK, but almost always get an upgrade in the USA.

    I get what Raffles is saying about the Hilton standard being better but generally the point redemption rates are higher for Hilton and points harder to come by from stays. IHG points for a free night are generally still much lower and they have many more opportunities for bonus point accrual. Although since their decision to stop bonus points counting towards status, it’s a lot harder to get up there. Black Credit card at £99 would now be the only way for me to stay Platinum for next year.

  10. I recently stayed at the Crowne Plaza, Liverpool airport and I got two bottles of water. Admittedly I’m Platinum through carrying the IHG black credit card, but its very poor that you’re treated like a regular member. Customers who have earned their Platinum status might wonder why they bother.

  11. HI Edinburgh (beside the zoo) gave me a goodies bag (wine and chocolate) plus a complimentary upgrade at check-in, and I was explicitly told that this was happening in recognition of my gold status. HI Glasgow airport upgraded me on several occasions. All this before the recent changes to the IHG loyalty program.

  12. pazza2000 says:

    HI Commercial Road (London) offered me a ‘drink & a snack’ voucher or 500 points as a Plat last week. 2 Kit Kats in the room, which seemed an odd welcome gift.

  13. 600 points or a Drink/Snack voucher in Birmingham city centre Crowne Plaza yesterday.