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IHG One Rewards is here – what do we think? (Part 1 – earning points and status)

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IHG, the hotel chain behind InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo etc, has launched IHG One Rewards.

This is the long awaited relaunch of IHG Rewards (nee IHG Rewards Club, nee Priority Club etc).

Quick summary – it’s hugely impressive compared to what I was expecting. In one swoop, IHG has gone from bottom of the pile, by a long way, to level pegging with Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt. In some ways, IHG One Rewards is better than those programmes.

IHG has also been very clever. The benefits you get from simply having status (which is free from a credit card in some countries, or from buying Ambassador status) are modest. You need to do the equivalent number of ‘heads in beds’ nights to get real value.

If you do enough nights, the benefits include:

  • guaranteed lounge access
  • free breakfast at all brands which currently charge for it
  • suite upgrades which are confirmed 14 days before arrival and are guaranteed if a standard suite is being sold for cash (valid on ‘pay on departure’ cash stays)

The lounge and suite upgrade benefits are ONLY available if you earn your status via stays, not via getting comped status.

One piece of good news is that you CAN continue to earn status points via the UK IHG credit cards, albeit these are now closed to new applicants. This benefit has been ended for US credit card holders, so if you see any online comments to the contrary then this is why.

If you want top tier Diamond status, you are going to need to fully commit to IHG, whether that be through $12,000 of annual pre-tax spend or 70 nights.

IHG Rewards planning a major relaunch in March

How do you earn status in IHG One Rewards?

The programme has gained an additional tier – Silver.

The confusing Spire name for the top tier has been retired, in favour of Diamond.

The new status levels, from 17th April, are:

  • Silver – requires 10 nights
  • Gold – requires 20 nights or 40,000 base points
  • Platinum – requires 40 nights or 60,000 base points
  • Diamond – requires 70 nights or 120,000 base points

At most IHG brands, you earn 10 base points per $1 of pre-tax spending.

For comparison, here are the old levels, albeit these numbers were lower in 2021 due to covid mitigation measures:

  • Gold – requires 10 nights or 10,000 base points
  • Platinum – requires 40 nights or 40,000 base points
  • Spire – requires 75 nights or 75,000 base points

Reward nights will continue to count towards status and also count towards the new Milestone Rewards (see Part 3).

How many bonus points will I earn per stay?

These are the new base point bonuses earned on paid stays, which kick in from 17th April:

  • Silver – 20%
  • Gold – 40%
  • Platinum – 60%
  • Diamond – 100%

Here are the old rates:

  • Gold – 10%
  • Platinum – 50%
  • Spire – 100%

Here is a graphic provided by IHG summarising the new structure – note that the top tier is now designated by black imagery and not red:

New IHG One Rewards chart

In general, bonus levels at the bottom end are increasing. The biggest difference comes for people who do 20 nights per year, who will now be getting a 40% Gold bonus rather than a 10% bonus under the old programme.

A few thoughts about qualifying for status ….

The base point requirement increases sharply

As you can see, qualifying via base points has become substantially more difficult.

This is reflected in the new benefits, however, as Part 2 of this article will show.

IHG Rewards is planning a major relaunch in March

Credit card points will no longer count towards status

Historically IHG Rewards was very liberal in the type of points which counted towards status.

I used to earn Spire Elite status by transferring points from Virgin Flying Club to IHG Rewards. It was a good deal, especially as one of the benefits of earning Spire Elite status was 25,000 bonus points.

At one time, credit card sign-up bonuses also counted towards status. This was removed a few years ago.

From early June, points from credit card spend will no longer count towards status.

Earning top tier status via spend is going to be difficult

Take Diamond. Based on 10 base points per $1, you’d need to spend $12,000 to earn status via spend. The alternative is completing 70 nights. You’d need to average more than $171 per night excluding taxes before you’d earn Diamond based on spend rather than nights.

You don’t want to be earning status via spend

As we will show in Part 3, the real benefits in IHG One Rewards come from the number of nights you do each year and not your elite status.

Someone who earns Diamond status via $12,000 of spending over a couple of weeks at InterContinental Maldives will be a lot worse off than someone who earns it via 70 nights at a Holiday Inn Express.

Intriguingly, the nights requirement has come down

The new top-tier Diamond status will ‘only’ require 70 nights per year. This is a drop of five nights on the old threshold for Spire, albeit that for 2020 and 2021 this was reduced to 55 nights as a covid measure.

This may be reflection of the fact that, post the pandemic, the number of people doing 70 nights per year in hotels – in total, let alone at IHG – is going to be smaller than it was.

IHG Rewards is planning a major relaunch in March

The top tier 25,000 points achievement bonus is going

Under IHG Rewards, you received a 25,000 point bonus when you achieved or renewed Spire Elite status.

(You had to request this online, it was not automatic. There was a Plan B alternative of giving Platinum status to a friend.)

This benefit has now been dropped. However, as you will see in Part 3, it has been replaced by Milestone Rewards – click here.

Click here for Part 2, which looks at the new status benefits of IHG One Rewards.

Learn more

The IHG website for IHG One Rewards is here.

The terms and conditions for the various member benefits are here. You need to scroll down to the IHG One Rewards section.

IHG One Rewards update – September 2023:

Get bonus points: IHG One Rewards is not currently running a global promotion.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One 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 (152)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Mark Wilson says:

    My status has already changed to Diamond Elite in the app, and I’m not impressed that the re-qualification criteria has been reset at the same time. I was 41,000 elite points into a 55,000 renewal target, and now find myself only a third of the way to re-qualifying.
    I’m not sure it’s worth the effort and I might just forget about IHG and focus on retaining Hilton Diamond.

    • Rob says:

      To be fair this was made clear in January. If you’d hit 55k by Monday you’d have requalified.

      • Greg Grant says:

        I hit 55k on 2 April but my status hasn’t been updated. Mmmm.

      • Greg Grant says:

        Easter homework! The IHG T&Cs state clearly that if you have 55 nights or 55k points by 12 April 2022 you will re-qualify for the following calendar year, i.e. 2023. From the 13 April 2022 the new qualification nights/points apply (120k points or 70 nights). So, having achieved this on 2 April I should have had Spire re-qualification until 31/12/23. This would have then converted to Diamond on 13 April 2022, the start of the new programme. IHGs response to my enquiry didn’t address the issue (not even close) so yet another email sent off today.

        • greggrant says:

          After being told twice that I was wrong IHG have finally acknowledged that I did indeed re-qualify for Diamond until 31/12/23. Their email responses beggar belief – they don’t come close to addressing the issue. This took me 4 attempts so if you’re in the same boat don’t give up. Just quote their own T&Cs as mentioned above and persevere!

  • MD says:

    Rob, I appreciate you have already said it isn’t clear what will happen to the Ambassador scheme, but just wondering what the best guess is as to what might happen to it? If it will continue to provide Platinum status, would it be a decent way to just buy status, now that the Creation card has been nerfed as a route to top level status ?

    • Rob says:

      Ambassador generally stands or falls on the use of the weekend 241 voucher. Arguably Platinum may be worth $200 if upgrades become meaningful, and of course the welcome drinks and snacks keep coming which will cover your $200 fairly quickly.

      • MD says:

        I guess the status might be worth $200 on its own, that’s the key question for me. Of course, if it doesn’t keep giving platinum status then it becomes a pretty easy question for me, then they might as well scrap it.

  • Aston100 says:

    I have 3 rooms booked for the same 7 nights at an IHG property.
    On points and I’m Diamond.
    Would these count as 7 nights, 21 nights or nothing in regards to status progress?

    Also, I guess breakfast would officially be free for the guests in only one of the rooms, right?

    • NorthernLass says:

      I think under the rules breakfast will be for the member who books + 1.

      I can’t decide what award stays count for, either, but I have several points AND cash stays over the next couple of months so I guess I’ll see what happens in my account afterwards.

      I am also wondering now if this will affect bookings via Emyr as breakfast is one of the best perks there (and I imagine IHG knows this!).

  • Holgs says:

    Well that’s me done with IHG as I cannot get enough stays to get to their top tiers where it counts without credit card point spend. Shame. Back to Hilton then.

    • Harrier25 says:

      I agree with you @Holgs. There isn’t much delight here for the casual leisure traveller. Although there’s no need for me to go back to Hilton because for many years I’ve always preferred the majority of their mid-priced properties over IHG’s anyway.

  • Barry cutters says:

    I’ve got 28 nights already this year – does this count to the milestone bonus ?
    I’m very happy with the new diamond . Plus It’s the easiest scheme to earn in for me – sitting on over 1.2million points at the moment so all in all very happy with IHG – they will continue to be my go to chain .

    Just need a few better redemption opportunities . The city hotels are great but somewhat limited in Caribbean and high end European beach

  • Vin says:

    Does the free breakfast for Diamond apply to 2-4-1 (Amb weekend) stays at IC’s ?
    If so is it only for the member or do both persons in the room get the breakfast (like Hilton status) ?

    • Rob says:

      Two people. Can’t imagine why it wouldn’t apply on an Ambassador weekend rate.

  • Leo says:

    Spire and prior to that platinum for many years largely through paying my tax via the credit card. That route was whipped away and then the credit card went the way of all flesh too last December. I’ve been loyal to IHG staying in a good many ICs over the years. I have to say though I don’t actually feel sad that I’ll never be top tier again because save for the few exceptional ICs they are a very dull chain. I’ll carry on with Hilton gold when using chains- the gold comes via the Plat Amex which I don’t rinse…I feel a sense of liberation.

  • Jase says:

    Has IHG Free night redemption changed, room showing on points but not bookable when i try and use the free night

    • Rob says:

      It has always been the case that, for some reason or other, there isn’t a perfect match between the two. I’ve never found out why.

      • Thegasman says:

        Normally it’s much better availability for the free night than points. It is a strange situation though.

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