What You Should Know About the Changes to the IHG Loyalty Program

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Update: The IHG Rewards Club credit card offer in this post is no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers! 

Via The Frequent Miler, IHG is making changes to their rewards program.

What You Should Know About The Changes To The IHG Loyalty Program

A New Elite Status Starting July 1, 2015, and Other Changes Are Coming to IHG Rewards!

Find out how these changes will impact you!

IHG points will now expire after 12 months, the cost of award nights at ~450 IHG hotels is changing, and there are changes to how you earn elite status.

What’s the New Elite Status?

Link:   IHG Announces Changes

Link:   Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About These Changes

IHG is adding a new top tier to their rewards program.  The highest status you could earn used to be Platinum.

But beginning July 1, 2015, there will be a brand new top tier.  For now they’re calling it the “New Membership Level.”  IHG hasn’t released all the details, but here’s a look at what we know so far.

What You Should Know About The Changes To The IHG Loyalty Program

The Nights You’ve Earned Since January 2015 Will Count Towards the New Membership Level

Folks who earn this new elite status will choose 25,000 bonus IHG points or to gift Platinum membership to another member.  Once you earn the New Membership Level, you’ll have until the end of the following calendar year to make your choice.

To reach this new elite status level you’ll have to stay 75 nights or earn 75,000 IHG points.  Unfortunately, points earn with the Chase IHG card do NOT count towards the 75,000 points you’ll need for this New Membership Level.

Update:  IHG confirmed on FlyerTalk that sign-up bonus points from the Chase IHG card do NOT count toward elite status.  However, points earned from spending on the card ARE elite-qualifying. 

IHG will tell us more about this New Membership Level on July 1, 2015.

The 25,000 IHG points you earn each year are enough for 1 night at a hotel such as the Holiday Inn Grand Cayman.  Currently this hotel costs ~$180 per night.

What You Should Know About The Changes To The IHG Loyalty Program

The New Membership Level Will Give You Enough Points for 1 Free Night at the Holiday Inn in Grand Cayman

Or you could use the points for 5 nights at PointBreaks hotels.  So the 25,000 point annual bonus and the 100% bonus on points earned is a nice addition for folks who already pay for a lot of nights at IHG hotels.

But for most folks, it would take a long time to earn 75,000 IHG points!

Instead, you can earn an easy 70,000 IHG points by signing-up for the Chase IHG Rewards card and meeting the minimum spending requirements.  Plus, you’ll get 1 free night each year you keep the card.

What Changes Will There Be to Gold & Platinum Status?

Folks who have the Chase IHG Rewards card, which comes with Platinum membership, will no longer have top-tier because of the new higher level.

However, for folks who don’t have the Chase IHG Rewards card, it will now become easier to earn Gold or Platinum status.

What You Should Know About The Changes To The IHG Loyalty Program

You Can Now Earn IHG Platinum Status With 10 Fewer Nights or 20,000 Fewer Points!

Award Night Changes

Starting May 1, 2015, there will be changes to how many points you’ll need to stay a certain IHG hotels.

  • ~300 IHG hotels will increase 5,000 to 10,000 points per night
  • ~150 IHG hotels will decrease 5,000 points per night

The cost to redeem for stays at IHG hotels will still be between 10,000 and 50,000 points.  I wonder which hotels will cost fewer points!  But IHG hasn’t announced that yet.

IHG Points Will Now Expire in 12 Months!

Your IHG points used to never expire.  But starting immediately, you’ll have to earn or use points at least once every 12 months, or you’ll lose them!

Note:   Current IHG Gold or Platinum members are exempt from this policy!  So their points will NOT expire.  However, if you don’t maintain your status, you’ll drop down to being a regular Club level member.  And then, like all Club members, your IHG points WILL expire within 12 months if you don’t use them or earn more.

So you’ll have 12 months from today, April 14, 2015, to keep your points active!

What You Should Know About The Changes To The IHG Loyalty Program

Mark Your Calendars, So You Don’t Lose Your IHG Points!

You can also change your “Communication Preferences” in your account to receive regular emails from IHG and they will remind you when your points are about to expire.

Here are a few easy ways to keep your points active for another 12 months:

  • Stay at an IHG hotel – Make sure you credit your stay to your account
  • Book an IHG award stay – Any award stay will count
  • Redeem your points for a gift card – Get a $10 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card for 5,000 IHG points.  But this is NOT the best use of your points because, for instance, 5,000 IHG points is enough for a free night at a PointBreaks hotel.

Bottom Line

IHG is making changes to its rewards program.

There will be a new top-tier elite status level starting July 1, 2015.  And on May 1, 2015, some IHG hotels will cost more and some will cost fewer points (we don’t know which ones yet!).

Also beginning April 14, 2015, (today), IHG points will expire after 12 months.

However, your IHG points will NOT expire as long as you have elite status.  And there are lots of other easy ways to keep your points active each year.

I’ll keep you updated about the changes coming to the IHG Rewards program!

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8 responses to “What You Should Know About the Changes to the IHG Loyalty Program

  1. Sounds like, as long as one maintains their Chase IHG card, points will not expire. As long as they provide the annual free night, that’s an easy decision! When will the new point redemptions be available? Planning a trip to Prague/Geneva/Budapest and I’d like to budget the points required.

  2. So, they’re not telling us ahead of time which hotels will require more points on May 1st??

  3. Off topic : Around mid April IHG used to offer a 50% OFF points booking on Mexico and caribbean resorts (including Cozumel and Cancun). Do you hear/know anything about that ?

  4. Daraius, Why are you saying ” Unfortunately, points earn with the Chase IHG card do NOT count towards the 75,000 points you’ll need for this New Membership Level.”?

    Nothing I have seen supports that. The only points that qualify are Elite Qualifying Points but those include points earned from IHG Card. When logged into my account for IHG rewards it tells me not only how points I have but how Elite Qualifying points I have. Plus I can see each transaction to see how many point I earn and how many of those were qualifying. The points I earned from the IHG card including spending and bonus points all are listed as qualifying. Due to the 70,000 bonus points I just got combined with other points I earned it already shows that I have earned over 75,000 points so I should qualify for the new elite tier.

    And the since the bonus points qualify thats another good reason to get the the IHG Card now.

  5. I find that puzzling too Brian. Everywhere I have read there is no mention that IHG Chase card points do not qualify. Can you please tell me where that fact is found.

  6. Darius-
    A lot of good information, but I believe you dropped the ball on international connections. T-Mobile offers free 3G and texting in most foreign countries. So with a 3G connection there is Skype.

  7. @Brian Read the statement from “IHGSTEVE” who is a Company Representative, of Intercontinental Hotels in the flyer talk forum. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/intercontinental-hotels-ihg-rewards-club-intercontinental-ambassador/1671855-change-ihg-rewards-club-6.html There is always hope as i am in the same boat.

  8. according to the e-mail points will start expiring in May: ” Starting in May 2016, we will expire all points if there’s no account activity in the prior 12 months.” So technically the clock starts at the end of April.