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Earning IHG’s Top-Tier Spire Elite Status with a Card Sign-Up

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TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig discusses his experience earning IHG Spire Elite status without completing a single hotel stay.

This morning, I woke up to find a surprise email from IHG welcoming me to the program’s new top tier, Spire Elite. Naturally, I was a bit puzzled by the promotion — I’ve never credited a stay to this account, though the welcome email said “You’ve chosen IHG many times along the way, and we appreciate that more than you know.” Well, no, I haven’t, but you’re welcome?

My welcome to IHG Spire Elite.
My welcome to IHG Spire Elite.

I scrolled down a bit in the email and learned that not only would I receive a 100% bonus on all of my IHG stays, I had also earned a gift: Either 25,000 points or Platinum status to gift to a friend. I headed straight to my IHG account and selected the points option. Assuming this was a mistake, I wanted to accept the gift just in case Intercontinental wised up and rescinded the status.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 5.14.52 PM
Spire Elites can choose a gift every year they qualify.

After doing some digging through my account, I figured out what had happened. The 80,000 points I had earned from a recent IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card sign-up bonus were counted as elite points, bumping me past the 75,000-point qualification level.

I had earned 81, elite-qualifying points without staying a single night.
I had earned 81,417 elite-qualifying points without staying a single night.

It’s unclear whether or not this is a fluke, but if this was intentional on IHG’s part, it’s a very generous way of showing appreciation for credit cardholders. The card normally comes with Platinum status, which is a nice perk, but it’s hard to beat earning top-tier status in a major hotel program without a single qualifying stay.

Did you get a surprise upgrade to Spire Elite?

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

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  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Enjoy a free night each year of card membership at over 4,900 hotels worldwide
  • Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
  • Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a credit cardmember
  • $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24% -23.24% Variable $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49 0% Excellent Credit