IHG Hotels and Resorts has unveiled what it says is “the first of many changes that will be introduced in the coming months” to its IHG Rewards loyalty programme.
These changes – which will go live in March 2022 – relate to the scheme’s elite tier statuses, and include the introduction of a new Silver tier, and the renaming of the Spire Elite tier as the Diamond Elite tier, “to simplify member recognition and understanding of our highest tier”.
Gold Elite tier members will now earn a 40 per cent bonus on base points for paid stays (up from the previous 10 per cent), but going forward members will need to complete 20 nights or earn 40,000 base points to reach Gold Elite status (up from 10 nights and 10,000 base points respectively).
The new Silver tier requires ten nights (no points requirement), and offers 20 per cent bonus points on paid stays.
To reach Platinum status members will need to complete 40 nights (as per the current requirement), but the base points requirement is rising from 40,000 to 60,000, and for Diamond (formerly Spire) status members will need to complete 70 nights (down from the current 75) or 120,000 base points (up from 75,000).
Note that due to Covid-19 there are currently reduced earning requirements in place, which will remain until the changes go live on March 1, 2022 – these are as follows:
- Gold Elite qualification by earning 7,000 points or staying seven nights
- Platinum Elite qualification by earning 30,000 points or staying 30 nights
- Spire Elite (soon to be known as Diamond) qualification by earning 55,000 points or staying 55 nights
IHG recently extended all member statuses within its IHG Rewards programme until the end of February 2023 – but the frequently asked questions section on this page outlining the changes confirms that “once the new programme has launched, if you did not reach the qualified nights or points threshold between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022, your status will be downgraded in early 2023”.
It’s not clear what the changes will mean in the long term for existing IHG Rewards credit cardholders in the UK – currently holders of the free version of the credit card get Gold Elite status, while holders of the paid-for Premium card enjoyed benefits including Platinum Elite status, a welcome bonus, free night voucher and bonus points on spending.
Note that both cards are currently closed to new applicants, and it remains to be seen whether IHG will launch new UK branded credits cards in the future.
So what other changes can IHG Rewards members expect? Well, the group is giving little away at present, other than to say that the above changes are “the first in a series of enhancements”. This page includes fairly vague phrases including:
“That’s why we’re launching a best-in-class loyalty programme that’s centred around YOU.”
“This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for the official launch of the new IHG Rewards programme in a few months. You’ll hear more about our new benefits and all the updated ways to earn and redeem. And when it comes to picking perks, the choice is all yours.”
Meanwhile IHG’s CEO Keith Barr, commented:
“If there’s anything that has united the world in the last two years, it’s the realization that no virtual platform can replicate the value of travel and making memories with those we love. Travel is its own biggest reward, and that’s really at the heart of what we’re doing with our loyalty programme.
“Each time our members choose to stay at our hotels, we are increasing their opportunity to travel more, experience more, and reap benefits they won’t get anywhere else. Our distinct portfolio of brands recognizes no two travellers are the same, helping guests and members make the right decision for all their travel needs.
“We’ve made a lot of developments in the loyalty space over the years, but travel and hospitality have evolved considerably, and our guests’ needs are changing. These changes are just the start as we prepare to fully relaunch a truly transformed programme later this year.
“ We’ll continue elevating and enhancing our loyalty offerings with iconic brand partnerships and extensions, tailored experiences for our customers, enhanced benefits and so much more.”
Business Traveller will report on further changes to the programme as they are confirmed.