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IHG extends loyalty benefits again, continues pause on point expiration

May 19, 2021
5 min read
Mr & Mrs Smith Anahita Golf & Spa Resort
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Like most hotel programs, IHG Rewards extended any status held in 2020 to 2021. The program also extended anniversary award night certificates and lowered elite qualification requirements for this year. It's been running some enticing promotions, too, including the opportunity to fast-track elite status. And finally, it issued yet another round of extensions this week for certain loyalty perks, which members should begin noticing in their accounts now.

There are many changes to keep track of, so here's a complete guide with everything you need to know. We'll update this page as more changes are announced so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for new information.

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Elite status extension

Last year, IHG announced that it would automatically extend all elite status levels through January 2022 — regardless of how many nights you completed in 2020. This was similar to Hilton and Hyatt's previously announced moves and is slightly more generous than Marriott's announcement. It even includes extensions for members who earned status via a status match.

This means elite members have a full additional year to enjoy benefits like complimentary room upgrades and late checkout. For Spire Elite members, this includes the choice benefit of 25,000 bonus points or gifting of Platinum Elite status to someone each year. InterContinental Royal Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle members will maintain their memberships in the invite-only programs.

Related: Best hotel credit cards

A room at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

IHG extending reward night certificates, points expiration

In addition to extending status, IHG has now once again extended the validity of anniversary award night certificates earned with the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.

Existing certificates set to expire March 1, 2020, or later were originally extended through Dec. 31, 2020, and then again to at least Aug. 31, 2021. Now, they've been extended once again, and any certificate issued in 2020 will expire on Dec. 31, 2021. Members should begin noticing new expiration dates in their accounts in the coming days.

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Related: IHG emailed cardholders regarding expiring reward night certificates

Points never expire for elites — which includes holders of the IHG Premier card thanks to the automatic Platinum status it confers. However, IHG paused points expiration (points normally expire after 12 months of inactivity) for all other members — first through at least June 30, 2021, and now once more through Dec. 31, 2021.

Reduced 2021 IHG elite requirements

IHG also offers a helping hand for general members chasing status or current elites hoping to move up a tier. Like last year, it has reduced the requirements for earning elite status by roughly 25%.

These are the revised requirements for reaching 2021 elite status tiers with IHG. (Photo courtesy of IHG)

Additionally, all qualifying nights earned by elite members in 2020 have been rolled over into 2021 — so you should see those reflected in your IHG Rewards account.

If you are concerned about meeting these requirements, do note that having the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card conveys IHG Platinum elite status without any stay requirements. Holders of the IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card can earn IHG Gold Elite status by spending $10,000 or more each calendar year.

Related: All of the elite qualification changes you need to know about for 2021

Status fast track opportunity

Through Aug. 31, 2021, any traveler can register for a fast-track promotion that allows members to earn Platinum status after just five nights. Or, you can get Gold status with just two nights.

Here is the breakdown:

  • Stay 5 nights within 90 days of registration to earn Platinum Elite status until December 2022
  • Stay 2 nights within 90 days of registration to earn Gold Elite status until December 2022

If you're interested in taking advantage of this promotion, you must register before checking into your first eligible stay. The promotion is valid for stays between March 8, 2021 and Nov. 29, 2021 and the nightly rate needs to be at least $30. Best of all, the offer can be combined with other IHG promotions currently available.

Related: Fast track now open for IHG elite status

Bottom line

Despite the travel industry having begun its recovery in earnest, earning elite status the normal way this year could still be a challenge for most people. So, it's great to see that IHG is yet again adjusting the validity of elite status, upgrade certificates and other expiring perks. Time will tell whether any other competing programs will follow IHG's lead in issuing a further round of loyalty benefit extensions.

Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh and Katherine Fan.

Featured image by The Mr & Mrs Smith Anahita Golf & Spa Resort. (Photo courtesy of IHG)
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.