Five Things to Know About the IHG Rewards Club Changes

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Last night IHG Rewards announced a host of upcoming changes to their loyalty program.  You can view all the changes for yourself here, but to save you time, here are the five main things to know about the IHG Rewards Club changes. 

1.  The award category structure that ranges from 5,000 – 50,000 points per night is not changing. 

2.  300 hotels will be going up in points price between 5,000 – 10,000 points on May 1, 2015.  On that same date 150 hotels will be decreasing in points price by 5,000 points.  They do not plan to release a list of the hotels changing category before that date, so make any advance award reservations you can before that date just in case.

3.  IHG points will begin expiring after 12 months of no activity.  Any account activity that changes the account balance will count to extend the points another 12 months.  This means that any earning, purchasing, transferring, or redeeming of IHG points will reset the clock another 12 months.  If you aren’t already, you need to be a member of Award Wallet so you will get a warning if your miles or points are getting close to expiring. 

The first point expirations will happen in May 2016, but those who have elite status or are Holiday Inn Club Vacation owners are exempt from the expiration policy.

4.  A new highest IHG elite tier will be introduced in July 2015.  This new membership level can be reached by earning 75,000 qualifying points or by staying at IHG hotels for 75 qualifying nights in a calendar year.  This new tier does not have a formal name yet, but those who attain it will receive 100% bonus points on qualifying stays and be able to choose a gift of either 25,000 bonus points or upgrading a friend or family member to Platinum status.

IHG Changes

5.  Gold and Platinum levels are becoming easier to attain.  Gold status will require 10,000 qualifying points or 10 qualifying nights in a year (down from 15 nights or 20,000 points) and Platinum status will require 40,000 points or 40 stays in a calendar year (down from 50 nights or 60,000 points).  Of course, the easiest path to Platinum is simply having the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card .  It is also worth mentioning that the “fast track to elite status” offers are ending effective June 30, 2015.

What do you think of the announced IHG changes?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

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Comments

  1. I think IHG has one of the worst loyalty programs in terms of benefits offered to its customers. They basically offer nothing in terms of benefits during your stay. I am glad to see they won’t increase the maximum of 50,000 points for their hotels. I just bought 100,000 IHG points on Daily Getaway and would be really mad if there was a devaluation.

  2. I have the same question as Nick. Your description says that any earnings resets the clock. Does this mean earning from spending on a credit card resets the clock (i.e. I buy a pack of gum)? Does having a credit card alone restart the clock? Will transfers from UR do so (you say “transferring” so I am assuming that will at least restart the clock)? Will booking and cancelling rooms restart the clock? Or, will it actually take some other sort of redeeming/earning by booking/staying at an IHG property to restart the clock? I have a lot of IHG points, but I basically hoard them for points breaks if possible. I would hope that I wouldn’t go 12 months without a stay, but it is conceivable…especially if the lists continue like the last couple of ones.

    • Per G: “I have a lot of IHG points, but I basically hoard them for points breaks if possible.”
      IMHO, I wouldn’t hoard too many. Guess the question might be “what’s a lot of IHG points” for points breaks? Are we talking 25K, 50K, 100K or even 250K?

      • Ha. Not THAT crazy to be in the triple digits. By hoarding, I simply meant that IHG is usually not my first choice for a property (I don’t even have the card right now). But for road trips, if there is a convenient points breaks, that is a great value. So, although I don’t have hundreds of thousands of IHG points, I have quite a few for rainy days or if there is a good redemption option. Having a 12 month expiration period just makes me have to think about points in a program that are usually on the backburner when I think about redemptions.

  3. I’m curious what benefits the new top tier status will offer. 75 stays is more nights that I would care to spend @ IHG properties, but $37,500 spend @ Target 2x grocery is a piece of cake which would give you 100K points w/ the 25K bonus and top tier.

  4. I have the IHG card, but probably only stay 40 nights a year. Since the IHG gives you automatic platinum, do you foresee a situation where another 25 nights will get you to the top level? I’m just wondering if I have any chance of hitting that top tier status.

  5. Off topic : Around mid April IHG used to offer a 50% OFF points booking on Mexico and caribbean resorts (including Cozumel and Cancun). Do you hear/know anything about that ?

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