IHG Rewards: Programme changes coming in March 2022

IHG Rewards has teased some big programme changes coming in March 2022- here's what we know so far.

IHG Rewards has teased some upcoming changes to its loyalty programme, which are arriving in March 2022. 

They haven’t released a whole lot of details yet, but the promise is a “best-in-class loyalty programme that’s centered around YOU”- I don’t think a sentence has ever filled me with more dread. 

IHG Rewards Changes

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.

Get ready for a loyalty programme that rewards you for being you. 

From what we know so far, IHG will be introducing new elite tiers and higher elite status qualification (at least for those qualifying on points).

IHG Rewards new elite tiers

IHG new elite tier qualification

IHG will be changing its elite tiers from March 2022, adding a new Silver Elite tier and renaming Spire Elite as Diamond Elite.

The four tiers will have the following qualifying requirements:

  • (New) Silver Elite: 10 qualifying nights; earns 20% bonus points
  • Gold Elite: 20 qualifying nights/40K qualifying points; earns 40% bonus points
  • Platinum Elite: 40 qualifying nights/60K qualifying points; earns 60% bonus points
  • Diamond Elite: 70 qualifying nights/120K qualifying points; earns 100% bonus points

IHG has already extended existing elite status till February 2023, and if you currently hold Gold or Platinum Elite status, you’ll retain your current tier name through to its expiry (i.e Golds won’t be bumped down to Silver, even though Silver is the entry-level elite tier in the new IHG Rewards). Those who have Spire Elite status will see their status renamed to Diamond Elite. 

For the sake of comparison, here’s how the revised qualification compares to pre-pandemic and pandemic requirements. 

 Pre-pandemic2020 until Feb 2022From Mar 2022
Silver10N
Gold10N/10K pts7N/7K pts20N/40K pts
Platinum40N/40K pts30N/30K pts40N/60K pts
Diamond75N/75K pts55N/55K pts70N/120K pts

IHG is allowing members to qualify via the 2021 qualification thresholds up till March 2022. For example, if I somehow managed to complete 30 nights between 1 January to 28 February 2022, I’ll qualify/requalify for Platinum Elite status. 

However, if I have 29 nights as of 28 February 2022, I’ll need to clock another 11 nights once 1 March 2022 comes around (I’m assuming the changes take place on 1 March, though IHG has not committed to a specific date). In other words, frontloading requalification is the way to go, assuming your schedule allows for it. 

IHG seems to be returning to more or less its pre-pandemic qualification requirements, although it has boosted the number of points (i.e. spending) required to qualify. As a reminder, all IHG members earn 10 elite-qualifying points per US$1 spent at most IHG brands, so we’re talking US$12,000 of spend to qualify for Diamond, even higher than the US$7,500 before COVID!

Is IHG status even worth having?

While we don’t know the revamp will bring, what I can say is that in its current form, IHG Rewards status isn’t worth going out of your way to earn. I’m a Platinum Elite, but that’s never affected my choice of hotel- and why should it, when there’s no tangible benefits like free breakfast or guaranteed late check-out?

Benefit

Gold Elite

Platinum Elite

Spire Elite

Priority Check-In

Welcome Amenity / Raid the Bar at Kimpton hotels / Wellness Platter at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Bonus Earnings on Top of Base Points

10%

50%

100%

Elite Rollover Nights

 

Complimentary Room Upgrades

 

Guaranteed Room Availability

 

Early Check-in (10am when selected as a stay preference)

 

 

Exclusive Choice Benefit Upon Receiving Status

 

 

Exclusive Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® Five Star® Upgrade Upon Receiving Status

 

 

The new IHG Rewards will need to be compellingly better if it wants to attract my business. 

Conclusion

InterContinental Maldives

IHG Rewards is teasing some major programme changes from March 2022, but all we know so far is that it’s going to be more difficult to qualify for elite status going forward. That might not be a bad thing, but only if it leads to more concrete benefits for Platinum and Diamond/Spire members.

I’ll reserve final judgement until we know exactly what the new programme looks like, but safe to say I’m not holding my breath. 

New IHG Rewards: What do you think we’ll see?

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Anthony

Hi Aaron, how did you get your platinum elite? Did you stay the full 40 nights?

Pinzheng

Feels more like a devaluation haha, like GHA.

Stefan

I agree with you on the poor benefits even for high-status IHG members. Out of curiosity – what are your preferred hotel loyalty programs?

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