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IHG has finally unveiled its new IHG One Rewards program. While we reported on the coming changes in January 2022, IHG was scant on the details. Now that the full details have been unveiled, we are presently surprised.
The new and improved IHG One Rewards program offers a very strong set of features and benefits and looks to heavily reward loyal fans, especially those who spend a lot of time in IHG properties. So here is our complete guide to the new IHG One Rewards program.
New Levels and Qualification Requirements
The new IHG One Rewards program features a host of changes to the levels and names of levels as well as the qualification requirements. While some qualifying requirements have been made easier, the perks have been increased. Some, on the other hand, are now much harder. IHG has also added a new tier of status and renamed its top tier status to reflect the program naming convention better.
New Silver Elite Status
The new IHG One Rewards program has gone from having 4 tier levels to 5 levels with the addition of a new elite status level. Now the first step up the elite status progression ladder is the Silver Instead of Gold.
Historically (in 2021), you needed 10-night stays or 10,000 points to qualify for gold. The stay requirement is now what is needed for the Silver level, although the points earning option has now been removed.
Unfortunately, qualifying for Gold status got harder, with the new requirements being 20 nights or massive 40,000 base points. The fourfold increase in points requirements is sending a clear message that IHG is looking for people to earn status through stays. However, if they want to earn it through spending, it will be expensive.
Spire is Now Diamond
IHG has renamed its top-level elite status from Spire Elite to Diamond Elite. This is a positive change and keeps the IHG naming convention consistent. The old status levels were club, gold, platinum, then spire, which was odd since it was not clear where spire fit in the order. Now it is abundantly clear where the top tier Diamon status fits in. Going forward, the new levels are Club, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.
The new IHG One Rewards program has updated its qualification requirements. In most cases, it seems that IHG is trying to reward members who are regular guests as opposed to those who have fewer stays, even if they are at more valuable properties.
Clearly, the introduction of the new silver level has led to it becoming much more challenging to reach Gold status. Historically you needed 10,000 points or 10-nights to reach gold. The requirement to achieve gold has gone up substantially and is now 20 nights (an increase of 100%) or 40,000 points (a whopping 400% increase)
If you stay 10 nights, you will now receive silver instead of gold, and while it is elite status, the entry-level status is a little lacking when it comes to valuable perks and benefits.
Looking at top-tier diamond stays, it’s a mixed bag. The stay requirement actually dropped to 70 nights from 75 nights. However, a 5 night reduction out of 75 nights is to that great an improvement. If you were used to getting top-tier status via a two-week vacation in the Maldives that cost several thousand dollars, you will now need to spend substantially more.
Historically you needed to earn 70,000 points to reach spire elite status. This has now increased enormously, and to reach status through spending, you will need to earn a vast 120,000 points. This represents a considerable devaluation and makes hitting status through points very challenging!
New Diamond Benefits
Top Tier Diamond Elite members are in line to receive a slew of new benefits that are pretty valuable. The first and one of the most convenient is the introduction of a new dedicated customer support line.
By far, the most valuable new perk for Diamond members is the addition of complimentary breakfast as a welcome amenity. Now when checking in, Diamond members can choose a welcome amenity from one of the following 3 items.
- Free breakfast.
- Bonus points.
- Complimentary drink.
If you make lots of one-night stays and keep picking up complimentary breakfast, this can soon add up to several hundred dollars worth of value over a year.
Both Diamond and Platinum Elite members will now be eligible for new special rewards night discounts. While at this point in time, what the level of discount will be or whether both tiers will receive the same level of discount. Any discount is welcome news, and we expect IHG to be offering discounts in the 10-25% range.
Other Positive and Negative Changes Benefits
There are several other changes that affect the new IHG One program. By far, the most negative is that spending on co-brand credit cards will no longer count towards elite status. In addition, many top-tier members choose the 25,000 bonus point option as an achievement reward for renewing top-tier status every year.
On the other hand, the new IHG One Rewards program has extended the late checkout perk. The new program allows all levels except the entry-level Club level to benefit from a late checkout (2 PM).
IHG has set its sights on rewarding loyal guests and has kept some of the best perks and befits of the new program for those staying multiple nights per year regardless of their status. The new Milestone Rewards give you a choice of benefits and perks every time you reach a stay milestone. You earn a Milestone Rewards when you reach 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 nights.
The rewards are variable, and you will typically be allowed to choose between one or more of several options on offer (depending on the milestone). Rewards you can choose from include but are not limited to:
- 5,000 Bonus Points.
- 10,000 Bonus Points.
- Food & Beverage Rewards.
- Confirmable Suite Upgrades.
- Annual Lounge Membership.
These rewards are fantastic value, especially items like the suite upgrade. Which can be tremendous if you are staying a night or two at one of IHG’s luxury Intercontinental properties. The value of these Milestone Rewards makes it clear that if you are a loyal IHG guest, then IHG One is looking to look after you and reward you beyond the usual perks associated with status (which can still be obtained via credit card membership without spending a single night in an IHG property)
IHG Status Via Credit Cards
One of the biggest hits to the new IHG One Rewards program and arguably its biggest downside is that points earned from spending on any IHG co-branded credit card will no longer count towards elite status.
This is a huge blow to those who hold cards like the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card or the IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card. Since both cards earn you up to 26 points per dollar spent at IHG properties. This meant if you spent $4,650 or more at IHG properties in one year, you would earn over 120,000 points giving you top-tier elite status.
Sadly, this will no longer be the case, and while you will still earn a ton of points with either card, it will not earn you elite status.
That being said, both cards still have a lot to offer, including the fact that as long as you maintain your card account, you will receive complimentary Platinum Elite status. This can be highly valuable, especially since IHG has announced that it will be paying more attention to the complimentary upgrades.
One of the benefits of Platinum status and above is complimentary upgrades subject to availability, although historically, this has never been enforced rigorously. However, as part of the program’s launch, IHG has let it be known that they will be monitoring these upgrades and ensuring properties implement them.
Bothe the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card or the IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card provide a wide range of features and befits, including:
- Earn up to 26 points per $1 on stays at IHG properties worldwide.
- Earn 5 points per dollar on purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations.
- Earn 3 points per dollar on all other purchases.
- Receive a free night certificate every account opening anniversary. The certificate is redeemable at properties costing up to 40,000 points per night.
- Receive complimentary Platinum Elite Status with IHG as long as your account is active.
- For award stays, receive your fourth reward night free when you redeem points for a stay of 4 nights or more.
- Receive a $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✔ Fee statement credit once every 4 years.
- Use your card to purchase IHG points and receive a 20% discount.
- The card has no foreign transaction fees.
- The card comes with a $99 annual fee.
If you are in the UK and hold one of IHG’s co-branded credit cards, you are in luck. IHG has made an exception for spending on the UK cards, and all spending on the UK IHG co-brand cards will still earn points that count towards elite status.
New App On the Way
As part of the revamp of the IHG loyalty program, IHG announced that a new app would be on its way later this year. While the previous App was good, it did have some quirks that could mean that it is a pain to use.
While IHG has not announced any details about the new App, we can only hope that they have listened to the feedback of the many users, and the new App will be a marked improvement with lots of added functionality.
The new program is exciting and is a serious upgrade to the previous loyalty program. Clearly, IHG spent some serious time studying the competition, including Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt and tried to figure out what makes their programs tick and incorporate them into the New IHG One Rewards program.
Like all these changes, there are some negatives, and we will miss the 25,000-point bonus for renewing top-tier status. Still, the improved offering, additional perks and benefits, and the fantastic new Milestone Rewards will more than makeup up for any negative changes. We can’t wait to see what IHG has to offer when the App and more are revealed later this year!
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