Priority Club Makes Some Improvements And Gets New Name

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Early this morning Priority Club sent out emails related to their forthcoming benefit and program changes.  Some of the changes are real and tangible benefits, some have the potential to be good in the future, and some are just changes.  Here are the highlights:

  • Under its new program, IHG will provide free internet to all its loyalty program members, worldwide –” a first for the hotel industry” (Priority Club’s words, not mine…seems this isn’t exactly true as others have done it).  This will start this summer for elite members and will roll out to all members in 2014.  I hate having to pay for internet, and in fact the last time I did was $14 as an elite member at a IHG hotel, so this is a real and tangible benefit enhancement….though it is really just playing catch-up to the other loyalty programs.
  • As of July of this year, the Priority Club program is getting rebranding/renamed the IHG Rewards Club.  I’m not really a fan of name changes just for the sake of name changes, but if they are really going to overhaul the program along with the name then more power to them.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed it really does become a new and very rewarding program both in terms of points and elite benefits.
  • The ability to earn Elite status faster by staying in three or more of IHG’s hotel brands;
  • Reward Nights will count toward earning Elite status; and
  • Platinum Elite members’ “extra” nights will roll over toward maintaining their status in their next membership year

As a family traveler who is no stranger to hotel elite status I think these changes are nice, but still not quite what is needed to really impact my family.  Internet aside, the announced benefits just make it easier to earn and maintain elite status, they don’t actually make the reality of having elite status better.  As a family we “need” suites and breakfast.  Naturally I don’t “need” those things to live, but I do need them if a loyalty program is trying to win the bulk of my business, especially since I am already getting those benefits from other reward programs.

I will absolutely appreciate not having to spend money to use the internet when I stay at IHG hotels, but I probably be won’t be shifting any additional stays to the IHG Rewards program just for that reason (since I already get internet on my other hotel stays with Hyatt and SPG due to my respective status with those brands).  I would like for them to say that elite benefits apply to rewards stays, but as long as I am making a wish-list, I will certainly add breakfast and confirmed suite upgrades as those really would benefit families like mine.

Thumbs up to Priority Club/IHG Rewards for wanting to improve their rewards program.  Internet is a great start, but I hope we will see some other improvements that will really improve the elite experience for families in the future.

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  1. Doesn’t Club Carlsson provide free internet for all members?
    IHG seems to go a step further though, you can get internet even if not actualy staying at the hotel (kinda like a tea/coffee on us CC used to have).

  2. Lack, yes. IHG does take it a little further I guess, but others have done this before. I edited the post to clarify that being the first was their proclamation, not mine. 😉

  3. Do you think we should get the CC now to get Platinum Status in case it becomes valuable in July and they discontinue the benefit for CC holders?

  4. Great news!! These changes will make an amazing loyalty program even better. My family has always struggled with earning and obtaining elite status, so this is a real breath of fresh air for us. The free internet is really just icing on the cake (who doesn’t use wifi on the road these days?!?)! Will start shifting over a lot more of my business and leisure travel to IHG. Hat tip to MP for the head’s up. This is a bright day for points-obsessed families everywhere. =)

  5. @Chip Do you work for IHG’s advertising department? “a bright day for points-obsessed families everywhere” Huh?

    Most of this announcement is nonsense. Everyone who stays in hotels should have the PC card, because you can’t beat $49 for a room at any property. Since having the card makes you top tier immediately, who cares what the rules are for qualifying thru stays or points?

    The only valuable thing here is free internet, but with easy to get HHonors Gold status, I not only already get that at Hilton, but free breakfast too. Even the European version of Motel 6, called Ibis, offers free internet to anyone staying there, Accor member or not. All PC has done with this is try to catch up with what others have been doing for some time now.

    All of the chains are tightening up the ability to get award nights, and most likely worrying how this will affect their customers brand loyalty. So PC changes their name, and pretends to upgrade their loyalty program, without doing anything substantive at all. Apparently, they are hoping we will be so dazzled by their propaganda that we don’t notice they really haven’t done anything for us that even begins to make up for the devaluations of the award levels. That apparently worked for Chip, but it does nothing for me.

  6. I cant think of a lousy loyalty program like Priority Club taking the rebirth as IHG Rewards.

    It is the thought of IHG that makes me love my Marriott membership much more. (I have Platinum status with both and Gold Status with Club Carlson).

    What Platinum Membership offers is –
    1. Free Internet (After a long deep sleep)
    2. Room Upgrades (Based on Availability)
    3. Late Checkouts (Based on Availability)

    These are the benefits I would get even if I stay in a hotel chain for first time and request the manager. Even if you have Hotwire bookings, you will easily get these so-called benefits. I am sticking on to IHG only for the sake of their 5000 Points PointBreaks stays which is unbeatable with other programs.

  7. So they didn’t implement the one thing that would really count – honoring elite benefits on award stays? Since $49 buys you Plat status who cares about what else earns it. Free internet is nice but not a deal breaker usually. Yawn.

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