IHG Relaunches Loyalty Program as IHG One Rewards

Intercontinental Hotel, Wellington
Intercontinental Hotel, Wellington. Photo: IHG Hotels & Resorts.

For many years, the loyalty program of IHG Hotels & Resorts was relatively uncompetitive when it came to status perks. Its former IHG Rewards program was fine as a program for accumulating points and burning them for free nights – especially back in the days of PointBreaks. But the benefits of IHG elite status were largely underwhelming – particularly at the higher tiers.

This has now changed. Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has overhauled its loyalty program, and the changes go beyond just a new name in “IHG One Rewards”.

After teasing major changes to its loyalty program in January, the new IHG One Rewards program is now live and the changes appear better than expected.

There haven’t been any changes to the way points are redeemed since IHG introduced dynamic reward night pricing in 2020. Instead, the biggest changes coming with the launch of IHG One Rewards concern elite status qualification and benefits.

The new criteria for earning status with IHG have already come into effect, and the new IHG One Rewards status benefits will be implemented in early June 2022. At a minimum, all existing IHG Rewards members will retain their current status level until next year.

New IHG One Rewards status tiers

As part of the new IHG One Rewards program, IHG has added a new “Silver Elite” status tier between the base-level Club and Gold Elite membership. At the same time, it has become harder to earn Gold Elite status.

IHG’s former top-tier “Spire Elite” status has also been renamed as Diamond Elite – perhaps to make the name less confusing.

IHG status can still be earned either by staying a minimum number of nights at IHG hotel brands or by earning a minimum number of qualifying points during a calendar year. However, the thresholds have changed.

These are the new IHG One Rewards status qualification thresholds:

  • Silver Elite (new tier): 10 nights
  • Gold Elite: 20 nights or 40,000 points (previously 10 nights or 10,000 points)
  • Platinum Elite: 40 nights or 60,000 points (previously 40 nights or 40,000 points)
  • Diamond Elite: 70 nights or 120,000 points (previously 75 nights or 75,000 points for Spire Elite)

Notably, it has now become a lot harder to earn IHG status based on qualifying points. It is also not possible to earn the new Silver Elite status tier on qualifying points – only nights.

Changes to IHG One Rewards status benefits

There have been a few changes to the benefits offered at each tier.

Interestingly, late checkout until 2pm (subject to availability) is now being offered even to Club members with no status at all. This was previously only available to Gold Elite members and above.

The number of bonus points earned at most tier levels has increased, while IHG has introduced a new Reward Night Discount benefit for Platinum and Diamond members. Diamond members will also soon have access to a dedicated phone support line.

Perhaps one of the most exciting new benefits for Diamond Elite members is the option for free breakfast at most IHG brands, instead of the usual welcome points or drink. Unfortunately, Gold Elite members will no longer be given any welcome amenity at all.

Here’s a summary of the new IHG One Rewards elite status benefits, which take effect from June 2022:

Club member benefits (base level)
  • Exclusive member rates
  • Late check-out to 2pm (subject to availability)
  • Free internet
Silver Elite benefits
  • All Club benefits
  • 20% bonus points
  • Points do not expire
Gold Elite benefits
  • All Silver benefits
  • 40% bonus points
  • Rollover nights for next year’s status
Platinum Elite benefits
  • All Gold Elite benefits
  • 60% bonus points
  • Choice of welcome  amenity (drink or points)
  • Reward night discounts
  • Complimentary room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • Guaranteed room availability
  • Early check-in (subject to availability)
Diamond Elite benefits
  • All Platinum Elite benefits
  • 100% bonus points
  • Option for free breakfast (instead of welcome points or drink) at most brands
  • Dedicated Diamond support
  • Complimentary Hertz Five Star status

All upgrades, as well as the late check-out and early check-in benefits, unfortunately remain subject to availability – even for top-tier Diamond Elite members.

Milestone Rewards

While the changes so far aren’t all that revolutionary, IHG has also added another facet to its status tiers which is perhaps the most interesting part of its new IHG One Rewards program.

After staying 20 nights in a calendar year, IHG One Rewards members can now choose from a selection of Milestone Rewards. From 20 nights, a new Milestone Reward is then available for every additional 10 nights stayed per year, up to 100 nights. Upon reaching 40 or 70 nights (the thresholds for reaching Platinum Elite and Diamond Elite status), members can even select two Milestone Rewards.

Here are the Milestone Rewards as listed on the IHG website:

IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards
Coming soon: IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards.

The new Milestone Rewards offers will go live in June 2022. After earning a Milestone Reward, you would need to select your preferred choice within 90 days (or it will be forfeited).

 

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: New IHG Rewards structure from March 2022

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
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Community Comments

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A bit more info and some speculation here

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It will be interesting to see what other “enhancements” are in store.

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Will be interesting to see what really changes and whether it's an "enhancement" in the true sense.

It's clear that the tier benefits of IHG status are currently lacking when compared to other programs. They really need to increase the status benefits, but I suspect they'll probably end up just making it harder to get the same benefits as before or remove benefits from lower-tiered members.

Interesting to note that Head for Points says hotels have been told these changes will make it cheaper to service IHG Rewards members in the future.

Reply 2 Likes

Will be interesting to see what really changes and whether it's an "enhancement" in the true sense.

It's clear that the tier benefits of IHG status are currently lacking when compared to other programs. They really need to increase the status benefits, but I suspect they'll probably end up just making it harder to get the same benefits as before or remove benefits from lower-tiered members.

Interesting to note that Head for Points says hotels have been told these changes will make it cheaper to service IHG Rewards members in the future.

The concerning line I read in the announcement is "And when it comes to picking perks, the choice is all yours".

Unless one of the choices is breakfast, I expect this will be a net loss for most members.

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I would think that @TonyHancock would see the retirement of the Spire name as a positive enhancement :)

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I would think that @TonyHancock would see the retirement of the Spire name as a positive enhancement :)

The uninspired status level….

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Does any one know how this may impact the current IHG WP offer if you stay 5 nights. The best I have ever been with IHG is gold and that was via Amex and never used it. I have HH D (8-9 years), PGR Black, Shangri-La Jade and after reading this am wondering if staying 5 nights in the IHG chain is actually worth it. The IC is the biggest drawcard, however the benefits of IHG WP do not seem to be at the same level as HH D and comparable to Shangri-La Jade (which still maybe better) or BGR Black. Am I missing something?

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Does any one know how this may impact the current IHG WP offer if you stay 5 nights. The best I have ever been with IHG is gold and that was via Amex and never used it. I have HH D (8-9 years), PGR Black, Shangri-La Jade and after reading this am wondering if staying 5 nights in the IHG chain is actually worth it. The IC is the biggest drawcard, however the benefits of IHG WP do not seem to be at the same level as HH D and comparable to Shangri-La Jade (which still maybe better) or BGR Black. Am I missing something?

The benefits of IHG Platinum really aren't great. IHG is making some changes to its program in the coming months which may or may not improve things.

I personally found it worthwhile to do this challenge because I stay often enough at IHG properties and value things like late checkout. But if you're used to Hilton & Shangri-La benefits, IHG status will be a disappointment.

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Does any one know how this may impact the current IHG WP offer if you stay 5 nights. The best I have ever been with IHG is gold and that was via Amex and never used it. I have HH D (8-9 years), PGR Black, Shangri-La Jade and after reading this am wondering if staying 5 nights in the IHG chain is actually worth it. The IC is the biggest drawcard, however the benefits of IHG WP do not seem to be at the same level as HH D and comparable to Shangri-La Jade (which still maybe better) or BGR Black. Am I missing something?

Current assumption is that fast track goes ahead (and still worth it if you stay at sub IC properties).

If you’re planning IC stays, then the Ambassador offer might work out better.

TBH, I’ve never understood the parallel universes of IHG status programs…

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Does any one know how this may impact the current IHG WP offer if you stay 5 nights. The best I have ever been with IHG is gold and that was via Amex and never used it. I have HH D (8-9 years), PGR Black, Shangri-La Jade and after reading this am wondering if staying 5 nights in the IHG chain is actually worth it. The IC is the biggest drawcard, however the benefits of IHG WP do not seem to be at the same level as HH D and comparable to Shangri-La Jade (which still maybe better) or BGR Black. Am I missing something?

The draw of the IHG programme used to be that it was relatively easy to burn and decent value (esp with pointbreaks) to redeem.

Status benefits were minimal (the odd CP lounge maybe)

If you are in the market for IC then I would favour buying Ambassador as you get Plat thrown in with that

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