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IHG Rewards will change its elite status tiers, including requirements and bonus earnings, this March

January 19 2022
6 min read
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Editor's Note

An IHG spokesperson told TPG on March 18, 2022, that the new tiers and earning structure will go live in accounts in April. This is a slight delay from the March launch IHG originally announced and we reported below.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Editor's note: An IHG spokesperson told TPG on March 18, 2022, that the new tiers and earning structure will go live in accounts in April. This is a slight delay from the March launch IHG originally announced and we reported below.

Some travelers have long believed that IHG Rewards needs to improve its loyalty program. Although it's possible to get excellent value when redeeming IHG Rewards points, the elite benefits aren't competitive with other top hotel loyalty programs.

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Well, IHG has told TPG it will announce several changes to its loyalty program later today. In particular, IHG Rewards members will see four primary changes to elite status this March:

  • A new mid-frequency elite status tier
  • Changes to elite status tier names
  • Increased bonus on top of base points for some elite tiers
  • Higher elite status qualification requirements, especially for members who qualify on points

Besides improved earning rates for some tiers, IHG isn't announcing any other changes to elite benefits at this time. However, IHG says these changes are just the "first in a series of enhancements." Here's what we know so far about the upcoming changes to the IHG Rewards program.

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Changes to IHG Rewards elite status

Here's the new elite tier structure that IHG will use starting in March 2022:

  • Club: Requires 0 nights
  • Silver Elite: Requires 10 nights, gives 20% bonus on top of base points
  • Gold Elite: Requires 20 nights or 40,000 points, gives 40% bonus on top of base points
  • Platinum Elite: Requires 40 nights or 60,000 points, gives 60% bonus on top of base points
  • Diamond Elite: Requires 70 nights or 120,000 points, gives 100% bonus on top of base points

IHG extended elite status through Feb. 2023 in late 2021. If you currently hold Gold Elite or Platinum Elite status (or earn it before the new tier structure begins in March 2022), you'll keep your current tier name through its expiration. Meanwhile, if you have Spire Elite status, you'll see your status change to Diamond Elite.

However, for members hoping to qualify or requalify once the new program goes live in March 2022, IHG will consider stays beginning Jan. 1, 2022, when calculating your elite status tier using the new requirements.

TPG confirmed with an IHG spokesperson that the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card will continue to offer Platinum Elite status as a cardmember benefit. This spokesperson also confirmed that IHG elites can expect their benefits to continue as usual for now. However, the spokesperson noted that IHG will provide an update regarding benefits in the "coming months."

Additionally, the spokesperson noted that IHG has no updates to announce at this time for Kimpton Inner Circle or InterContinental Ambassador.

You might notice that new elite status tiers have qualifying night requirements that correspond to pre-pandemic levels. On the other hand, qualifying point requirements are significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels. As a reminder, here are the elite status requirements that IHG members needed to meet in 2019 and 2021.

(Screenshot courtesy of ihg.com)

An IHG spokesperson had previously confirmed to TPG that IHG would offer the same reduced elite qualification requirements in 2022 as it did in 2020 and 2021. However, IHG has now told TPG that, although members can qualify for elite status under the reduced requirements until the March tier changes, members who qualify after the changes take effect will need to do so at the higher thresholds.

Related: 6 ways IHG Rewards should improve its loyalty program

Analysis of these changes

IHG's Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

A few aspects of this IHG Rewards news stick out to me. First off, these changes are positive for IHG loyalists who get their status from the IHG Premier Card. After all, IHG confirmed that the IHG Premier would continue to offer Platinum Elite status. So, Platinum Elites will soon earn a 60% bonus on top of base points as opposed to the current 50% bonus. That said, since IHG uses dynamic pricing, the program could change its calculations to decrease the value IHG members get when redeeming IHG points.

Additionally, there will be a new status level and boosted bonuses on top of base points for lower-tier elites. As such, IHG will soon break up the gap between the lowest elite tier (currently Gold Elite, soon to be called Silver Elite) and Platinum Elite. This new intermediate level may be helpful for less-frequent travelers who are loyal to IHG but don't have the IHG Premier card.

If you're looking to earn Platinum Elite status before the new qualification requirements begin in March and can't get the IHG Premier Card, consider using IHG's fast track to Platinum offer. With this offer, you'll earn Platinum Elite status through Dec. 2023 if you stay five nights within 90 days of registering for the offer.

Finally, there's the topic of IHG increasing elite status requirements -- by more than double if you planned to earn Spire Elite status this year through qualifying points -- after showing members decreased requirements in their accounts since the beginning of 2022. Considering IHG hasn't announced any improvements to its top-tier status that would make it comparable to other high-level hotel elite statuses, this news may cause some members who'd planned to strive for top-tier IHG status to reconsider.

Related: Here's your chance to earn 125,000 points and a reward night certificate with the IHG Premier card

Bottom line

This news is a net positive if you get your IHG elite status from the IHG Premier Card. After all, you'll start earning more bonus points once the new tier structure begins in March. And if you don't have the IHG Premier Card, you may benefit from the program introducing a new status tier.

But, if you planned to earn Platinum Elite or Spire Elite status (soon to be called Diamond Elite status) in 2022 through nights or points, the news of increased qualification thresholds from what you've seen in your account is likely disappointing. And members may find the tiered roll-out of the program enhancements frustrating. After all, it's difficult to put in the nights or spending to strive for Diamond Elite status without knowing what improved benefits IHG might introduce for the status later this year.

Featured photo by A pool at the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
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  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
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  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

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  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
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  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees