IHG Spire Elites: Remember to claim your choice benefit by Dec. 30
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current details.
One of the benefits of hitting IHG Rewards Club‘s top-tier Spire Elite status is a choice benefit of either 25,000 IHG Rewards Club points or the chance to grant Platinum Elite status to a friend or family member. And, if you earned Spire Elite status in 2019, you may have a deadline approaching on Dec. 30, 2020. However, as I found from experience, IHG doesn’t make it especially easy to find and claim this reward.
But first, what is Spire Elite status, and how do you get it? You can usually earn IHG’s top-tier elite status by completing 75 qualified nights in a calendar year or earning 75,000 elite-qualifying points. However, you only need 55 nights or 55,000 points to qualify in 2020. Plus, IHG Rewards Club automatically extended elite status earned in 2019 through January 2022.
My wife Katie and I have traveled the world for over three years as global digital nomads. So, we’ve racked up quite a few nights at the various brands in the IHG family — including 89 nights in IHG hotels in 2019 alone.
I’ve previously explained why I earn top-tier elite status with IHG. And Katie recently discussed why we often choose IHG and Choice hotels despite limited elite perks as well as six ways IHG Rewards Club should improve its loyalty program. But today, I’ll walk you through the steps of claiming all of your Spire Elite status bonuses.
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Spire Elite choice benefit
Once you surpass one of the thresholds to qualify, you’ll get a letter in the mail with your Spire Elite membership card. Inside the somewhat minimal packet, there’s a mention of the Spire Elite gift benefit. “Spire Elite members get the choice of a special benefit every membership year. See your options at ihgrewardsclub.com.”
However, when you go to that website, there’s no mention of the Spire Elite gift — even when clicking through the “Redeem Points” and “Member Benefits” links.
Instead, to find and claim your gift, you need to log into your account and then browse to this page. Alternatively, you can click “Explore Your Benefits” under Spire Elite on the lefthand side of your account home page.
Note that this page will look a bit different if you’re a new IHG Spire Elite or an existing elite that hasn’t already linked your IHG account to Hertz:
Timing of the choice benefit
As I earned status in 2019 for the 2020 elite status year, I have until Dec. 30, 2020, to choose the bonus points or elite status gifting option. Plus, an IHG Rewards Club spokesperson confirmed that members who earned Spire Elite status in 2019 would get another choice benefit for 2021 due to IHG’s status extension. However, IHG doesn’t plan to award this 2021 choice benefit until early 2021.
But, if you earned Spire Elite status through qualified night or points in 2020, you’ll already see a 2021 choice benefit in your account. You’ll have until late 2021 to make your choice for 2021 choice benefits, though.
Choice benefit options
As noted above, there are two reward options:
- 25,000 bonus points: These will post immediately to your account.
At current TPG valuations, IHG Rewards Club points are worth 0.5 cents per each. And 0.5 cents per point is the purchase rate at which IHG often sells its points. That makes the points option worth $125.
Meanwhile, TPG senior editor Nick Ewen values IHG Platinum Elite status at $880. However, that comes with a big caveat: Nick assumes you 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 check-out and early check-in. But, there’s one benefit that Nick doesn’t assign a value to: Being able to match this elite status to another program. For example, IHG Platinum Elites can match to Hilton Diamond status.
Which Choice benefit is better?
On paper, the elite status gift may seem like the obvious choice. However, it’s incredibly easy to get IHG Platinum elite status, even without spending a single night at an IHG property. Instead of earning status through stays, you can sign up for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and enjoy IHG Platinum status for just an $89 annual fee (waived for the first year). Katie previously explained why she is happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Premier.
In my opinion, the IHG Premier Card is a no-brainer even for infrequent travelers. In addition to automatic Platinum status, there’s a solid 150,000 bonus points 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. You’ll also automatically get a fourth night reward on award stays and earn up to 25x total points on IHG stays when combining credit card earnings with elite bonuses.
Since I’ve convinced all of my family and close friends to sign-up for this card — or at least keep the discontinued IHG Rewards Club Select Card (no longer available to new applicants) — I opted to take the 25,000 points:
The confirmation notes that the “points have been deposited into your account”:
Sure enough, the points posted to my account immediately:
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. Five Star status is typically earned by making 12 rentals or spending $2,400 in a calendar year.
The stated benefits aren’t too exciting: you get a one-class upgrade 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. However, it may take up to three weeks to receive a response:
If you’ve earned IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite status, you should ensure you choose your Spire Elite choice benefit and enroll in Hertz status. You can enroll in Hertz status at any point, but you’ll only have until Dec. 30, 2020, to choose a choice benefit earned in 2019.
The elite status option is valued at $880 and the points option is worth $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 Club Premier Credit Card.
Additional reporting by Katie Genter.
Featured photo by Hero Images/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
- Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
- Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
- Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
- Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
- IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®