IHG Rewards Club to introduce new Black/Diamond tier & expire points

They all come to terms with the new realities, someday.

The IHG Rewards Club program, which is the loyalty program encompassing InterContinental, Even, Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge & CandleBridge brand of hotels, just announced some new changes today.

Points Expiration

One of the selling points for Intercontinental Hotels Group has been that their points don’t expire under the IHG Rewards Club. However, this is changing with effect from April 14, 2015. If you are a base level member (Club member in their parlance), with no activity in 12 months, you could lose all your points. You need to earn or redeem once every 12 months to keep your points alive. This is effective immediately.

This means, in the coming 12 months, if you don’t earn or redeem, you could lose your points. The first points expiration are not due until May 2016.

If you are an elite member for IHG, your points do not expire as long as you are an elite member.

Restructuring current Elite tiers and adding a new one

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In the current case, from July 1, 2015, there will be a new membership level introduced which is still unnamed, but my guess is it will be called Black or Diamond. All your elite qualifying nights from January 1, 2015 will be taken into account while computing your new tier.

Here is how the earlier tiers will look with reduced requalification limits:

  • Gold: 10 nights/10K qualifying points, down from 15 nights/20K qualifying points
  • Platinum: 40 nights/40K qualifying points, down from 50 nights/60K qualifying points
  • New tier: 75 nights/75K qualifying points

New tier launching July 1, 2015

The new tier will launch on July 1, 2015. If you qualify, you will be given the ability to earn 100% bonus points on all your subsequent nights. Additionally,  you get to receive a 25,000 annual points bonus or the ability to gift Platinum to a friend or family member. IHG claims more benefits are coming soon.

Fast Track is scrapped

A few years ago, IHG Rewards Club wanted you to try out their brands and hence offered a fast-track way to stay at multiple brands and then get reduced hurdles to becoming an elite or a higher tier. You needed 10 nights + 3 brands for going Gold and 40 nights + 4 brands for going Platinum. They called it the Fast Track. Now, that procedure will go away with effect from May 1, 2015. But since the new night requirements are anyways in line with the Fast Track requirements, all they are doing is to take away the requirements for trying out multiple brands.

FAQs are posted here by IHG

Annual  readjustment of hotels is coming in May 2015. However, no new tiers are being created at this moment.

Does this help?

I don’t know yet. A few years ago, IHG would treat its elites in a very nice manner. Now Gold does not even get you free candy and Platinum is a botchy implementation. We’ll see how this goes.

How do you feel about IHG’s upcoming changes to the loyalty program?

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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Comments

  1. I am a Gold member as of now with expiry set in Feb 2016. Stayed at IHG hotels with 6 paid stays and around 5 reward nights all in 2015. Does this all qualify for renewal to Gold in Feb 2016 ?

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