IHG Spire Elites: Remember to claim your choice benefit by Dec. 30

Dec 25, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

If you reach IHG Rewards‘ top-tier Spire Elite status, you get a few perks over Platinum Elite members:

  • 100% bonus earnings on top of base points
  • Choice benefit upon receiving status
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star upgrade upon receiving status

If you earned Spire Elite status in 2020 — through stays or an extension — you may still need to select a choice benefit. The deadline is Dec. 30, 2021, so it’s worth double-checking whether you’ve made your selection yet. If you haven’t, now is an excellent time to do so.

Typically, you can earn Spire Elite status — IHG’s top-tier elite status — by completing 75 qualified nights in a calendar year or earning 75,000 qualifying points. However, you only needed 55 nights or 55,000 points to qualify in 2020 and 2021. And IHG Rewards has extended elite status several times throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the most recent extension through February 2023. So, even if you earned Spire Elite status through stays back in 2019, you might have a choice benefit election to make.

Today, I’ll discuss how Spire Elite members can claim their choice benefit and the Hertz status.

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Spire Elite choice benefit

You can select your choice benefit — or double-check that you’ve already chosen your choice benefit — on IHG’s website. To do so, log in to your account and then browse to this page. Alternatively, you can click “Explore Your Benefits” under Spire Elite on the left-hand side of your account homepage.

Selecting IHG choice benefits
(Screenshot from ihg.com)

If you’ve selected your choice benefit already, you’ll see something similar to the following:

Choice benefit made
(Screenshot from ihg.com)

But, if you haven’t selected your choice benefit yet, you’ll see something similar to what I saw earlier this year before I made my selection:

IHG spire elite choice benefit selection
(Screenshot from ihg.com)

Related: Why I often choose IHG and Choice hotels, despite limited elite perks

Choice benefit options

As you can see in the above screenshot, Spire Elite members have two choice benefit options:

  • 25,000 bonus points: These will post immediately to your account.
  • Gift Platinum Elite status: Your recipient must be a member of the IHG Rewards but can’t currently have Platinum status. You’ll only need to provide the recipient’s last name and member number.

At current TPG valuations, IHG Rewards points are worth 0.5 cents each, which is also the purchase rate at which you can occasionally buy IHG Rewards points. That makes the points option worth $125.

Meanwhile, TPG senior editor Nick Ewen values IHG Platinum Elite status at $880. However, Nick’s valuation comes with a big caveat: He assumes you will stay at IHG properties for 48 nights with this status. All of the benefits are stay-based, including bonus points on paid stays, room upgrades, late checkout and early check-in. But, there’s one benefit that Nick doesn’t assign a value to: matching this elite status to another program.

Related: 13 ways to stock up on IHG Rewards points

Which choice benefit is better?

InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

On paper, the elite status gift may seem like the obvious choice. However, it’s easy to get IHG Platinum Elite status without spending a single night with IHG. Instead of earning status through stays, you can sign up for the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card and enjoy IHG Platinum Elite status for just an $99 annual fee. Or, you can get Platinum Elite status by purchasing an InterContinental Ambassador membership.

In my opinion, the IHG Premier Card is a no-brainer even for infrequent travelers. In addition to automatic Platinum Elite status, you can snag a sign-up bonus of 140,000 bonus points + 1 free night after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Plus, you get an anniversary night certificate each time you renew and you’ll automatically get a fourth night free reward on award stays.

Since I’ve already convinced all of my family and close friends who might want IHG elite status to sign-up for the IHG Premier Card, I opted to take the 25,000 points:

IHG spire elite choice benefit selection
(Screenshot from ihg.com)

The confirmation noted that the “points have been deposited into your account.”

IHG spire elite choice benefit selection
(Screenshot from ihg.com)

Sure enough, the points were posted to my account immediately as “Spire Elite Choice Benefit Redemption.”

Related: Why I’m happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Premier Card

Enroll in Hertz status

Although it’s not clear by the verbiage on IHG’s website, you can select Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status in addition to the bonus points or gifted status.

The stated benefits of Five Star status aren’t too exciting: You get upgrades when available and 25% bonus points. However, in practice, I’ve enjoyed being able to skip the counter at some Hertz locations and choose from a section of cars dedicated to Five Star elites. Plus, since it’s an included perk, it’s worth taking advantage of it.

To do so, click on “select” and IHG will submit a request to Hertz. I enrolled in this perk a few years ago, but here’s what it looked like when I submitted my request:

IHG Spire Elite benefits choices
(Screenshot courtesy of ihg.com)

Related: Earn extra points at your favorite restaurants with IHG Rewards Club Dining

Bottom line

If you’ve earned IHG Rewards Spire Elite status, take a few minutes to enroll in Hertz status and ensure you don’t still have a Spire Elite choice benefit to select. You can enroll in Hertz status at any point, but you’ll only have until Dec. 30, 2021, to choose the choice benefit you earned in 2020.

TPG values the elite status option at $880 and the points option at $125. However, the points option will be the better choice for most elites unless you have a friend or family member who can’t get the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card and doesn’t want to pay for an InterContinental Ambassador membership.

Additional reporting by Katie Genter.

Featured photo of IHG’s Six Senses Laamu by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.

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