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Update: 14 January: IHG has now updated its COVID advisory page to show that it has reduced its elite status requirements for 2021.
IHG has now, finally, announced its new global promotion for the first quarter of 2021 and registration is now open ahead of the promotion’s launch date of 20 January.
- Stay between 20 January and 31 March 2021
- Earn 2,000 bonus points for every 2 nights stayed
- Bonus points count towards elite status qualification
- A maximum number of 70,000 bonus points can be earned
- Register, book, and stay before 1 April 2021 (register here)
- Members will be awarded bonus points based upon the number of nights consumed during the Promotion Period at IHG brand hotels.
- Members will only receive bonus points for nights occurring between the Promotion Period.
- A stay can begin before the Promotion Period or end after the Promotion Period but will only receive the Promotion points for dates within the Promotion Period. Nights that occurred before or after the Promotional Period are excluded.
- No retroactive bonus points will be awarded for nights prior to registration in the Promotion.
- The bonus points earned during the Promotion can be used towards Reward Nights, can be redeemed for merchandise, or for other redemption opportunities.
- A qualifying stays is a minimum 1-night stay booked under a Qualifying Rate, with total spend exceeding US$30 for each night.
- The awarded 2,000 bonus points will be Elite Qualifying and count towards earning IHG Rewards Club member status.
- The Promotional Period includes 71 nights and the maximum number of bonus points that can be earned is 70,000 points over the entire Promotional Period.
- Only one room per member per Qualifying Stay will be eligible for the applicable bonus points.
I value IHG Rewards Club Points at 0.4 cents each so effectively I’m being offered an $8 (yes, eight dollars) rebate for every two nights that I stay at IHG properties during this 71-day promotion. If anyone at IHG thinks that’s going to move the needle for me or anybody else they need to seek help.
With the number of bonus points available in this promotion capped at 70,000, the total effective rebate on offer is $280….and you would have to stay 70 nights to earn that. Who’s going to be tempted by that?!
Ok, sure, IHG is dangling the carrot of a boost on the path to elite status with this promotion (the bonus points count towards elite status) and IHG has made it easier to earn elite status in 2021 by reducing the targets, but even if you ignore the fact that a large proportion of IHG’s customer base can enjoy IHG mid-tier status courtesy of an $89/year credit card, you have to wonder just how many people care about earning IHG elite status anyway – it’s mostly useless (click to find out more about IHG status).
For anyone wondering what IHG’s 2021 elite status criteria are, this is what they look like:
IHG has reduced the number of points and nights needed to earn status by 25% for the 2021 qualification year. That doesn’t make IHG status any better, it just makes it a little easier to earn.
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.
When Hyatt is offering 3x or 4x points and double elite night credits through 28 February, when it’s possible to earn 2,000 points per night with Hilton (assuming 1-night stays), and when even Marriott is offering double elite night credits and giving its elites a huge boost to retaining status, why would anyone give this promotion a second glance?
IHG’s laughably weak first quarter promotion is now open for registration (you may as well register just in case you unexpectedly find yourself staying with IHG) and will be live between 20 January and 31 March 2021. The promotion offers 2,000 bonus points for every two nights stayed with a maximum of 70,000 bonus points on offer.