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For 2021, we’ve seen Hilton take significant steps to make earning elite status easier, we’ve seen Hyatt make earning top-tier status easier than it has ever been before, and we’ve recently even seen Marriott making Bonvoy status relatively simple to earn, so it was only a matter of time before IHG followed along and that’s exactly what has now happened.
IHG Rewards Reduces Elite Status Requirements
The meeting in which IHG Rewards Executives decided on the new elite status targets for 2021 must have been a pretty short one because they’ve simply copied the decision they took back in March 2020 when it first started to become obvious that the travel world was collapsing. For 2021, the requirements for IHG Rewards Club elite status have been dropped by between 25% and 30%.
As usual, IHG still doesn’t appear to have sent out emails to IHG Rewards Club members to inform them of this news (we’ll probably get told sometime in May!) but you’ll find this confirmed on IHG’s COVID advisory page.
Note: Don’t forget that award nights count towards IHG elite status.
Elite Nights From 2020 Will Roll Over
In addition to reducing the number of nights and the number of points required to earn/maintain elite status in 2021, IHG has also announced that any elite nights earned in 2020 will count towards status earning this year.
“For Gold, Platinum, and Spire Elite members, all qualifying nights stayed in 2020 will be rolled over into 2021 and count towards status earned in 2021.”
Personally, I didn’t have any stays at IHG properties in 2020 so my elite nights tracker for 2021 still looks like this…
…but if you had any qualifying activity at IHG properties in 2020 your tracker should have been updated (or will be updated in the next few days).
Earn Bonus Points Towards Elite Status
Not only has IHG Rewards rolled over elite nights from 2020 into 2021 and reduced its elite status targets by 25%, but it has also announced a Q1 promotion (discussed yesterday) in which it is offering bonus points that will count towards IHG Rewards Club status.
Ordinarily, only base points earned from spending with IHG properties count towards the elite status targets (10 points/dollar at most properties), but the new 1Q promotion is offering 2,000 bonus points for every 2 nights that an IHG Rewards Club member stays at an IHG property between 20 January and 31 March 2021 (up to a cap of 70,000 bonus points) and these points will also count towards IHG elite status in 2021.
To give an example: A 4-night stay (during the 1Q promotion) at the InterContinental Dallas costing $1,000, would earn an IHG Rewards Club member 14,000 points towards elite status (10,000 base points & 4,000 points from the promotion).
I offered up my thoughts on IHG elite status yesterday so if you read the post discussing the 1Q promotion you can move on. For anyone who didn’t read that post, here’s what I think.
While it’s good to see IHG taking some kind of action to make earning elite status easier in 2021, it’s hard to escape two very important thoughts:
- A lot of people will still find it easier to earn status with Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton (based on what those chains have done with regards to their elite status requirements for 2021).
- IHG elite status isn’t very useful or rewarding so does this latest move by IHG make any real difference?
Even if you ignore the fact that a large proportion of IHG’s customer base can enjoy IHG mid-tier Platinum status courtesy of an $89/year credit card, you have to wonder who’s going to get excited about earning IHG Rewards Club status when the benefits on offer at Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt are (mostly) considerably better.
Speaking as someone with IHG Platinum Elite status (courtesy of my IHG Rewards Club co-branded credit card), I can attest to the fact that I cannot remember a time where my Platinum status made any significant difference to a stay at an IHG property anywhere in the world so while you can earn Hyatt top-tier status with remarkable ease, while Hilton’s elite status requirements have been halved and when even Marriott is offering double elite night credits and giving its members a huge boost to retaining status, why would anyone focus on IHG Rewards Club status over status with one or more of those chains?
Sure, it’s nice to see IHG reduce elite status requirements by 25% (others have reduced them by 50%) and it’s nice to see IHG roll over nights from 2021 (Hilton has done the same and Marriott is offering its elites 50% of the elite nights they need to retain status this year), I can’t see how this will make much of a difference to the vast majority of travelers.
Undoubtedly there will be some big fans of IHG who are happy with this news (I’m genuinely happy for them), but for most of us, this is closer to a “who cares” moment than it is to a “this is great news” moment.
IHG is helping its Rewards Club members to earn/retain status in 2021 by reducing the number of nights and points needed to earn status, by rolling over elite nights earned in 2020 into 2021, and by offering bonus points that will count towards elite status in its upcoming 1Q promotion.