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For most travelers, earning elite status with IHG requires staying numerous nights in its hotels or earning enough points. A quicker path to IHG elite status is getting a status match. Status matches provide immediate elite status and require meeting certain hurdles to retain status beyond an introductory period.
If you're interested in earning IHG One Rewards elite status through a status match, here's everything you need to know.
IHG One Rewards elite status tiers and benefits
With the revamped loyalty program, IHG One Rewards now has four levels of elite status.
Depending on your elite status level, you can expect to receive benefits that improve your stays, save money and increase the points you earn at IHG hotels. The following benefits may be available based on your level:
Up to 100% bonus points.
Rollover nights for next year's status.
Exclusive member rates and promotions.
Early check-in and late checkout.
» Learn more: The complete guide to IHG elite status
What to know about IHG status matches
Before applying for an IHG status match, it pays to understand the fine print so that you can follow the rules of the promotion.
What is it?
The IHG status match challenge allows you essentially take IHG elite status for a test drive before fully taking the plunge. For example, the last time the challenge was offered — which expired July 31, 2022 — participants in the challenge would automatically be vaulted to IHG One Rewards Platinum status for 120 days.
Once enrolled, you had a small window to earn status with IHG moving forward. Your status would be extended if:
If you stayed five qualifying nights within 120 days of registration you would retain Platinum Elite status through December 2023.
If you stayed 15 qualifying nights within 120 days of registration your status would be upgraded to Diamond Elite status through December 2023.
It normally takes 40 nights to obtain Platinum Elite status, and 70 nights to earn the highly coveted Diamond Elite status, making this expedited route through a status challenge hard to pass up when it's offered to you.
Status matches are limited-time offers
IHG periodically offers limited-time promotions where members can receive a status match. These offers are available only for a short period of time, and you must meet the "challenge" within a certain number of days. To find out if there are any status match offers available, visit the IHG member offers page or contact customer service. StatusMatcher.com is also a good source that shares recent status match attempts from people within the travel community.
You may not need elite status with another hotel to qualify
Status matches are generally targeted at elite status members of other loyalty programs. However, IHG allows its members to apply, even if they don't have elite status with another loyalty program. This strategy encourages existing members to stay more frequently at IHG properties instead of other hotel brands.
You must register ahead of time
For your IHG stays to count for the status match, you must enroll in a status match challenge before your stay. Most challenges don't count prior stays.
Only qualifying stays count
Not all stays qualify for status match promotions. In most cases, award nights or paid stays under a certain dollar amount are excluded. Additionally, there may be geographic exclusions where stays in certain countries don't count for the challenge.
Milestone Rewards are also earned
After staying 20 nights, IHG One Rewards members can earn Milestone Rewards for each subsequent 10 nights they stay at IHG properties, up to 100 nights. While you may earn IHG elite status through a status match that's equivalent to staying a number of nights, you won't receive the Milestone Rewards until you've actually earned those nights.
» Learn more: Your complete guide to earning IHG Rewards points
Who should consider an IHG status match?
While elite status should be a goal for anyone whose favorite hotel brand is IHG, requesting a status match is a different story. Status matches often require a high number of stays within a short period of time. Because of that, you should request a status match only if you are planning to stay at IHG hotels frequently over the next few months.
Additionally, consider the elite status available through the status match. If you can get the same level of elite status by holding an IHG credit card or buying InterContinental Ambassador status, does it make sense to pay for the required stays to meet the status match challenge?
How to earn IHG One Rewards elite status (the old-fashioned way)
These are the most common methods of earning elite status with IHG One Rewards:
Stay at IHG hotels. Whether you're paying cash or booking an award stay, those nights count toward earning elite status.
Earn IHG points. Receive elite qualifying points by paying for hotel stays, spending with select partners or booking a bonus points package.
Buying elite status. IHG members can purchase InterContinental Ambassador status for $200 or 40,000 points and receive Platinum Elite status automatically.
Getting a status match. Receive elite status based on your status with a competing program or by performing specific activities within a short timeframe.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
IHG status matches recapped
Getting a status match is a quick way to achieve elite status before a big trip. You'll receive your upgraded status to start enjoying premier benefits right away. However, you'll need to meet the challenge's requirements in order to keep the status for a longer period of time. If you don't qualify for a status match or can't meet the challenge in time, consider getting an IHG credit card or buying Ambassador status to receive automatic elite status.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card