IHG Introduces New Elite Benefits, Renames Loyalty Program

IHG's rewards program revamp significantly enhances the perks for frequent travelers.
Apr 13, 2022

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In early 2022, IHG emailed members with teasers about new changes coming to its loyalty program. On April 13, 2022, IHG finally unveiled these new upcoming elite benefits. Along with revamped earning rates and benefits comes a new loyalty program name: IHG One Rewards.

Elite members can start enjoying higher earning rates today. Other benefits — such as free breakfast and new milestone rewards — will take effect in early June 2022. Here's what you need to know about all of the changes to the newly minted IHG One Rewards hotel loyalty program.

New elite status tiers and requirements

While the program formerly offered members four levels — Club, Gold, Platinum and Spire — the overhauled edition shakes it up a bit.

There are now five elite status tiers for members to work towards:

  1. Club.

  2. Silver.

  3. Gold.

  4. Platinum.

  5. Diamond.

As part of this program revamp, IHG One Rewards added a new elite status tier — Silver. This level is now the second-to-lowest tier rather than Gold. Meanwhile, the highest elite status level has been dubbed Diamond (the former Spire tier has officially retired). Platinum remains the second highest tier, and Gold works its way to the middle of the pack.

IHG One Rewards is increasing elite status requirements from what we've seen over the past few years. Members still start at the Club level. After 10 nights, you'll be elevated to Silver. Further tiers can be earned either through nights stayed or eligible points earned:

  • Gold: 20 nights or 40,000 points.

  • Platinum: 40 nights or 60,000 points.

  • Diamond: 70 nights or 120,000 points.

New earning rates

Starting April 13, 2022, IHG One Rewards elite members start earning points at a higher bonus rate when staying at IHG hotels. These elevated earning rates match what IHG shared in January 2022.

Standard IHG One Rewards members will continue to earn 10 points per dollar spent at most IHG hotels and 5 points per dollar spent at Staybridge Suite and Candlewood Suites. However, IHG increased the points bonus rate for most elite status tiers:

Details on shift in IHG elite tiers.

Previous Tier Name

New Tier Name

Previous Bonus Rate

New Bonus Rate

Gold.

Silver.

10% bonus.

20% bonus.

N/A.

Gold.

N/A.

40% bonus.

Platinum.

Platinum.

50% bonus.

60% bonus.

Spire.

Diamond.

100% bonus.

100% bonus.

While the earning rate takes effect on April 13, 2022, IHG notes that members may not see the new earnings reflected in their accounts until April 17.

New elite status benefits

As part of its redesigned program, IHG is introducing new perks at every level of membership — from space-available late check-out for every member to free breakfast and dedicated support for top-tier elites.

Late check-out

All membership tiers — even non-elite, entry-level Club members — will be eligible to request space-available 2 p.m. late check-out. Unfortunately, late check-out won't be guaranteed to any elite status tier. However, hotels will be instructed to prioritize higher-tier elites when determining availability.

Reward night discounts

High-level Platinum and Diamond members will soon receive access to reward night discounts. Rather than offering an ongoing discount, this perk will take the form of periodic promotions.

It seems likely that these will be similar to recent promotions offered to IHG credit cardholders, like a 20% discount on award night stays between one and three nights.

Free breakfast option for top-tier Diamond

IHG understood that top-tier members expect free upgrades and breakfast. Indeed, IHG lagged other hotel loyalty programs — including Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt — in not offering free breakfast as an elite perk at any tier. Thankfully, IHG is rectifying that in its updated program.

Starting in early June, Diamond members will get another welcome amenity option at check-in. Instead of getting bonus points or a free snack/drink, Diamond members can opt to receive free hot breakfast for up to two guests.

This free breakfast benefit will apply at most IHG hotel brands — including Six Senses, Regent, InterContinental, Hualuxe, Hotel Indigo, voco, Crowne Plaza, Even, Holiday Inn and select Kimpton properties.

However, Diamond members will not be able to choose a hot breakfast as a welcome amenity at Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, select Kimpton properties, InterContinental Alliance Resorts (found in Las Vegas and Macau), or Mr. and Mrs. Smith properties.

Enhanced room upgrades

Long-time IHG elites know that room upgrades can be inconsistent and are at the discretion of the individual hotel. As part of the program relaunch, IHG is advertising "more opportunities" for upgrades for Platinum and Diamond members, including upgrades to suites or other premium room types.

However, the new terms and conditions still leave upgrades completely to the discretion of the hotel and state that "upgrade benefits may not be available at all brands."

Dedicated Diamond support line

The last new perk is enhanced support for top-tier Diamond members: a dedicated support phone line.

New milestone rewards

IHG One Rewards is also adding a new benefit that we are familiar with from other hotel loyalty programs: milestone rewards. For those unfamiliar with the idea, milestone rewards offer members incremental reward choices each time they reach a set threshold number of nights stayed.

IHG One Rewards members will start earning milestone rewards upon reaching 20 nights for the year and then every 10 nights after that up to 100 nights for the year.

To give you an idea of what rewards you can rack up, let's take a look at the first three offerings.

Upon staying 20 nights, IHG One Rewards members will be able to choose one of the following rewards:

  • 5,000 bonus points.

  • Two food and beverage rewards.

  • One confirmable suite upgrade — up to five nights.

At 30 nights, you'll get another choice. This time between 5,000 bonus points or two food and beverage rewards.

Upon reaching 40 nights, you can select two options from the following:

  • 10,000 bonus points.

  • Five food and beverage rewards.

  • One confirmable suite upgrade (limit one).

  • Annual lounge membership (limit one).

Members will continue to get a choice of rewards every 10 nights — with a second bonus choice at 70 elite nights (similar to the 40-night threshold).

Food and beverage rewards will be issued based on the member's country of origin. Rewards issued to U.S. members will be valid for up to $20 each. Note that these credits are one-time-use, so if you only charge $15 in food and beverage to your room and apply the voucher, you won't be able to use the $5 difference in the future.

Limitations and validity of milestone rewards

Once achieving an elite night milestone, members will have 90 days to make a selection from the list of options, otherwise the benefit is forfeited. IHG says that members will get plenty of reminders to choose an option before this deadline.

Confirmable upgrades and food and beverage credits will be valid for one year from selection. Annual lounge membership will be valid through the end of the calendar year selected plus another 12 months. Bonus points will only be subject to the standard IHG point expiration policy.

Note that you won't be able to use confirmable suite upgrades at the following brands:

  • Avid hotels.

  • Atwell Suites.

  • IHG Army Hotels.

  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations.

  • InterContinental Alliance Resorts.

  • Six Senses Hotels Resort Spas.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Final thoughts on the IHG One Rewards announcement

IHG finally unveiled its teased, and slightly-delayed, improvements to its loyalty program. And there's a lot to like. IHG is clearly leaning into personalization in this new program.

IHG One Rewards offers new elite status tiers, requirements and benefits. The new milestone rewards offer members self-determined perks along the way towards top status tiers. The new free breakfast benefit to Diamond members and option for late check-out (subject to availability) to members at all levels sweeten the deal.

These program improvements certainly elevate the IHG One Rewards program. However, the verdict is still out on whether it's enough to entice travelers away from other hotel loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors or World of Hyatt.


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