Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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 are the IHG Rewards Club welcome benefits by elite status level

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.)

What are the other Spire Elite benefits?

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.


IHG Rewards update – June 2021:

Get bonus points: The current IHG Rewards promotion is ‘Triple Your Points’ – our full article is here. It runs from 15th May to 16th August. You receive double base points on your second stay and triple base points on your third and subsequent stays. You can register on this page of ihg.com.

New to IHG Rewards?  Read our two-part overview of IHG Rewards here and here and our article on expiry rules here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards points, you can buy them here.

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

Comments (109)

  • Robert says:

    Interesting, thanks Rob.

    I realise you’re referring to Europe only here, but In the US at least I’ve noticed recently that despite choosing the drink vouchers (good for anything from a glass of house wine to a $20 cocktail depending on the property) I’ve always received the 600 welcome point too.

    • Tariq says:

      I recently got an email telling me that welcome points had been credited before I’d even checked in! So of course I took the drink voucher when I got to the hotel!

      • RussellH says:

        Both my partner and I have had this this year. And then got two drinks vouchers rather than the official one. Indeed, in the UK, only the CP Gatwick has refused me two drinks vouchers this year, the other 9 IHG places we have stayed have all given out two.

    • Sean says:

      I had the same experience in Portugal recently!

  • Paul says:

    IHG continue to be incredibly mean in terms of recognition and this chart reinforces my belief that Spire is pretty worthless for those spending their own buck. Don’t get me wrong, collecting points for stays at Intercon remains attractive but my decision to move to Hilton is vindicated by this chart. I simple get more as a Holton gold member and substantially from diamond.

    • Cate says:

      Forced to agree. We have no status with Hilton and still end up with upgrades with them. With IHG we only ever get what we buy.

      • RussellH says:

        Sorry, but I have Silver at Hilton and have never got anything above what I pay for there. The DoubleTree Las Vegas we stayed at a week ago has not even given me a single point, though the stay is listed on my points account.

        Outwith the USA even the lowest of the low at IHG gives me something!

    • ankomonkey says:

      +1. Rob often refers to points collecting and chasing status as a means to get to aspirational redemptions and outsized value. I find nothing aspirational about IHG and their rewards scheme. With Hilton and Marriott I genuinely look forward to stays as I know there’s a pretty good chance I will be surprised by receiving something I didn’t book. A high proportion of our stays are with Hilton as a result. Their rewards scheme drives loyalty. IHG are a last resort for me.

      • Scallder says:

        Agree with Marriott – I booked a week’s stay at the Renaissance hotel in Tuscany using the hotel + flight package (courtesy of 100k SPG points as Category 6) for April next year. Having booked a normal room on points, which doesn’t take a crib, I called the hotel yesterday and mentioned we’d have a 6 month old so wanted to know whether could get a confirmed upgrade to a room that does take a crib (even the next level room up does) as a gold member (courtesy of SPG gold from Plat Amex). The person I spoke to has confirmed that the booking will be upgraded and would be done for free.

        Haven’t yet stayed in a Marriott property (as focused on IHG and SPG), however plan to have 2 more hotel and flights packages earned by late next year, so just this one gesture has already made me think of looking at more Marriott stays in the future, on top of the fact they’ll have the SPG brands…

  • joe says:

    Just checked in to CP Riyadh Minhal, took the 600 pts, posted same day, not much available in the way of drinks…

    The chart is not a true reflection of all IHG properties globally, in various cities in China/South Korea and Vietnam, as a Spire I get lounge access in HI’s and CP’s plus upgraded to suites when available. I think that IHG Asia looks after its top tier better than Europe.

  • Roger says:

    What’s the point in aiming for spire elite?

    • Genghis says:

      If the maths works out, the 25k bonus points, 100% bonus points, I’ve said before that it helped get points as service recovery on a cheap stay… Occasional room upgrade and lounge access (I had one that essentially served breakfast, lunch and dinner so saved me a few quid)

      • Paul says:

        Well worth it for me as offered 600 points or drink voucher when checked in to CP Geneva yesterday …..or lounge access. After enjoying a bit of food & drink last night and breakfast this morning I am quids in!

        • Rob says:

          2-bedroom suite in Salzburg for a start …….

          • HiDeHi says:

            Room upgrades are very reliable in North America for Spire Elites even on award stays. I would say 80% of the time you will be upgraded. Even the Holiday Inn Expresses in North America often have suites so the upgrades are not bad.

  • Alan C says:

    Then you tell your Spouse that they are not allowed into the Lounge with you!

    • Paul says:

      I would do but she’s in the lounge enjoying herself whilst I am in my meetings in Geneva town – both cards work the door to get in!

  • James A says:

    Wow, is IHG the stingiest for elite benefits on property? I realise some schemes are better for points/free nights and others better for on property benefits, but this kind of makes spire seem a bit crap.

  • Nigel Proctor says:

    I note it doesn’t mention intercontinental hotels on this list. What benefits would you expect at an intercontinental hotel – in line with crowne plaza or worse as they have their own scheme?

    • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

      I thought zero unless you have ambassador?

      • Rob says:

        Le Grand in Paris gives special benefits to IHG elites without Ambassador …. 2pm check out etc. I am sure other hotels do the same.

        You need to remember that upgrades do the hotel a favour. How many companies allow staff to book a room more luxurious than a standard room? Very few. It makes sense to keep selling standard rooms as long as there is space and then upgrade as many as necessary …. status just puts you at the top of the list.

        • Andrew says:

          IC Tokyo this week I got a room upgrade, £12 cocktail in the bar and 2pm checkout for being Spire.

    • George says:

      Just checked out of IC Park Lane and got 600 points (as platinum) without even saying anything… They didn’t mention anything at checkin either, but got the email after checkout…

  • Simmo says:

    Based on this I will let my Spire expire and concentrate on Hilton!
    No breakfast, only 1 person in lounge and only 1 drink? What’s the point!

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.