Intercontinental Hotels Group has named the new top tier membership level for its IHG Rewards Club loyalty scheme - Spire Elite.
To be eligible for the top level, which launches this week, members will need to earn 75,000 points or stay at IHG hotels for 75 qualifying nights over a year.
IHG said in a statement: "Spire is derived from the old English word 'spir' - a shoot or a stalk of grass standing out amongst the others.
"It is awe-inspiring, exceptional and a symbol of prestige. It conveys a sense of dedication and an aspirational attitude: going above and beyond; the sky is the limit.
"The name connotes a strong sense of prestige, elevated stature, and worthiness of admiration, along with a sense of dedication and an aspirational attitude, which is in line with how IHG Rewards Club sees its most loyal members who would qualify for this tier."
To promote the new tier level, IHG enlisted travel photographer Steve McCurry "to capture how a moment of recognition is brought to life"
IHG Rewards Club previously had three levels of membership — club, gold and platinum.
Now top tier Spire Elite members will receive 100 per cent extra bonus points for qualifying stays and will be able to choose between receiving 25,000 points or upgrading a friend or family member to Platinum status.
IHG is also restructuring the qualification requirements for gold and platinum membership levels. To achieve gold status, members need to earn 10,000 points or stay at IHG hotels for ten nights in a year; platinum status is awarded at 40,000 points of 40 IHG hotel stays.
From May 2016, all IHG Rewards Club points will expire for any member who has not earned or redeemed any points in the previous 12 months.
Announcing the changes earlier this year (see news, April 14), IHG said in a statement: "IHG Rewards Club members will continue to maintain their point balances simply by completing a qualifying stay at one of IHG's 4,800 hotels or redeeming some of their existing points during a membership year."
Susanna Freer Epstein, IHG senior vice president of customer loyalty, said today: "The feeling that you’re recognised for being special is what IHG Rewards Club aims to deliver to with the launch of Spire Elite.
"It's our way of saying thank you to our most loyal members, who from today will benefit from ability to earn 100 per cent extra bonus points on all qualifying stays across the IHG hotel portfolio – an industry first."