From elite status to award night certificates: All IHG Rewards loyalty updates for 2021

Mar 15, 2021

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information

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. Further, it’s been running some enticing promotions, including the opportunity to fast-track elite status.

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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In This Post

Elite status extension

Last year, IHG announced that it would automatically extend all elite statuses 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 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

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

IHG extending reward night certificates

In addition to extending status, IHG has extended the validity of anniversary award night certificates earned with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Existing certificates set to expire March 1, 2020, or later were originally extended through Dec. 31, 2020. However, they have since been extended further and are now valid through at least Aug. 31, 2021. The new expiration dates should show in your account now.

Related: IHG emailed cardholders regarding expiring reward night certificates

Points never expire for elites. However, IHG is pausing the expiration of points for all other members through at least June 30, 2021 (points normally expire after 12 months of inactivity).

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%.

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

Additionally, it’s in the process of rolling over qualifying nights earned by elite members in 2020. IHG says that these rollover nights will automatically appear in member accounts by the end of March.

If you are concerned about meeting these requirements, do note that having the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card conveys IHG Platinum elite status without any stay requirements. IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Cardholders 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, members 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

While we’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, 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 adjusting the validity of elite status, upgrade certificates and other expiring perks. Only time will tell whether any further extensions will be announced.

Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh and Katherine Fan.

Featured photo of the Mr & Mrs Smith Anahita Golf & Spa Resort courtesy of IHG.

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