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IHG One Rewards is here – what do we think? (Part 2 – new status benefits)

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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).

In summary, I am very impressed and it moves IHG alongside Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt. In some ways, IHG One Rewards is better than those programmes.

This is Part 2 of our analysis, looking at IHG One Rewards and its status benefits. Part 1 on how to earn points and status in IHG One Rewards is here. Part 3, explaining how IHG One Rewards and Milestone Rewards work, is here.

Let’s take a look at what you get. Whilst the new tiers and points earning bonuses start on 17th April, the new benefits below will not kick in until ‘early June’.

What benefits will you get purely from your status?

The table below shows what benefits you will get purely from the colour of your membership card. None of these benefits require you to have stayed a single night this year.

If you currently have IHG status because it was rolled over from before covid, or from holding an IHG credit card, this is what you will be getting once the new benefits go live in June:

Let’s pick out the key points:

  • rollover nights will continue – if you stay more than enough nights for a certain level of status but not enough for the next level, the difference is carried forward. This is a good technique to keep people staying even when they have requalified.
  • points will not expire for status members, which is also the current policy
  • Platinum and Diamond members will receive regular discount deals on booking rewards – I expect this will be similar to the recent 20% discount given to IHG credit card holders. You can’t say that this makes your points more valuable, however, because – as reward pricing is now linked to cash rates – holding off to wait for the next discount period could result in the cost of your reward increasing.
  • Diamond members will get a dedicated telephone line. This may be more important than you think, because guaranteed suite upgrades via Milestone Rewards (see Part 3) will only be bookable by phone in the short term.
  • The upgrade policy for Platinum and Diamond members has been improved and may include suites. IHG is saying that the rules always allowed this but that hotels did not, in the main, bother to do so – IHG will now be monitoring compliance to ensure it happens.
  • Free breakfast for Diamond members. As with Marriott Bonvoy, this is an option you must choose at check-in (those on expenses may want to pay for breakfast and take the bonus points instead, plus earn more points on the breakfast spend). Unlike Marriott, the rules are simple – your breakfast is free if there is a buffet, with no restrictions on what you can have, or you get one hot item if it is a la carte. The only major brands excluded are Candlewood Suites and Mr & Mrs Smith.
  • Gold members will no longer receive a welcome amenity. Say goodbye to your 600 points or a drink and a KitKat. The amenity remains as it was for Platinum members.
  • Late check-out is offered to ALL members, even those who sign up at the front desk when they check-in. This is not guaranteed, clearly. What isn’t clear is if Platinum and Diamond members get priority for it. I would have been happier if this had been just given to Platinum and Diamond members but been guaranteed.
IHG Rewards planning a major relaunch in March

What are the key changes by status tier?

In summary, if we ignore Milestone Rewards and ignore the change in threshold requirements for each tier:

  • Gold members don’t really get anything out of these changes. You lose your welcome drink and snack or bonus points. You gain a higher (40% vs the current 10%) bonus on earned points. I’d see that as a net loss on shorter, lower value stays and a net gain on more expensive stays.
  • Platinum members get a marginally higher status bonus (60% vs 50%), should benefit from stricter implementation of upgrade rules and will get access to occasional reward discounts
  • Diamond members – which will be few in number given the $12,000 of base spend or 70 nights required – do well. You get free breakfast, hopefully decent upgrades (if hotels change their ways from current compliance), access to occasional reward discounts and a decent shot at early check-in and late check-out. The trade-off is the loss of the 25,000 points annual bonus for reaching or renewing the top tier, which I’d value at £100.

It’s evolution not revolution

The bottom line is that if you earn status via spending and not nights, or from a credit card, it is evolution and not revolution.

Currently Spire Elite with no chance of qualifying for Diamond?

A LOT of HfP readers will currently be Spire Elite – which has only required 55,000 points in the last two years, including IHG card spend – but have no chance of earning Diamond.

If this is you (and it is me), I recommend taking full advantage of your new Diamond status from June 2022 – when this kicks in – until your status expires in February 2023.

This is only half of the story though …..

Status benefits are only part of the story. ‘Milestone Rewards’ are where the action is – click here for Part 3 of this article.

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 the page to the section on IHG One Rewards.

We have closed comments on Part 2 and Part 3 to consolidate all of the discussion in one place. Please comment under Part 1 here.

IHG One Rewards update – March 2023:

Get bonus points: Click here for our article on IHG’s ‘2k Every 2 Nights’ promotion, which runs from 9th February 2023 to 14th April 2023. You can register here.

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.

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