IHG Rewards further extends elite status, free night certificates

Nov 3, 2021

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

A number of rewards programs across the travel industry have extended elite status to its most loyal customers during the pandemic. With travel still in the process of getting back to normal, TPG has confirmed that IHG Rewards is extending elite status through February of 2023 and extending the expiration of 2021 anniversary night certificates through December 2022.

The company posted the updated information on its travel advisory page.

(screenshot courtesy of IHG.com)

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Like many hotel and airline rewards programs, IHG also lowered its thresholds for qualifying status in 2022. Those lowered qualifying levels remain in place, meaning achieving Spire Elite status, which TPG values at $2,185 annually due to the room upgrades and bonus points, can be reached with just 55,000 qualifying points or 55 qualifying nights.

Of course, this status extension may not affect you. After all, many U.S.-based IHG Rewards loyalists rely on the IHG Platinum Elite status provided by the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card. But, IHG Rewards members with top-tier Spire Elite status and people without an IHG credit card can rest assured that their status is valid through 2022 at least.

InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort in Vietnam
InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort in Vietnam (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

TPG also received word from IHG that the expiration date for points for Club members has also been extended.

Club level points normally expire after 12 months of inactivity, but IHG has extended the expiration date until Dec. 31, 2022. As always, points never expire for IHG Gold, Platinum and Spire status holders.

As for free night certificates that were set to expire, IHG also posted the following updated details:

  • All anniversary night certificates due to expire in 2021 (including those from IHG Premier and IHG Rewards Club Select cards) can be redeemed until the end of the year.
  • Any anniversary night certificates awarded in 2021 can now be redeemed through Dec. 31, 2022.
  • Free nights earned through the InterContinental Ambassador enrollment promotion this summer will expire on Nov. 30, 2021.

“With travel plans impacted for much of 2020 and 2021, we understand some of our IHG Rewards Club credit card holders have been unable to use their awarded anniversary night certificates,” an IHG spokesperson told TPG. “At every turn, we look to further support our members with their future travel plans.”

The accounts of IHG rewards members should be updated within the next few weeks to reflect these changes.

Because IHG Rewards has a global membership, I expected we may see more extensions on points expiration and free nights earned. But because U.S. residents have opportunities to travel and use expiring certificates, I didn’t expect to see across-the-board extensions, including for free nights gained by using credit cards available to U.S. residents.

Because of this, my husband and I redeemed all of our IHG free and anniversary nights that expire before the end of 2021. Of course, we’ll see whether IHG Rewards has any additional announcements before the end of the year.

Extending elite status for another year is the right move for IHG. After all, the value of retaining customers who were loyal to IHG prior to the pandemic provides more value than the additional cost the program bears to provide elite perks to these members on upcoming stays.

Additional reporting by Mike Avila

Featured image of the Mr. & Mrs. Smith Kvosin Hotel in Reykjavik by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy.

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