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Update: An internal IHG memo unveils that this IHG Rewards loyalty program change has been delayed.
IHG Rewards just announced changes to its loyalty program, coming in March 2022. IHG will add new elite status tiers, and earning IHG Rewards elite status just got more complicated. Additionally, IHG's announcement means the elite status requirements that you see online / in the app are no longer correct. Let's dig in.
IHG Rewards Changes for 2022
IHG has announced changes here, coming in “March 2022”. That's vague. When there's a specific date, we'll provide updates. So let's look at the changes and cover what they mean to you, the traveler.
New Elite Status Tiers
The most obvious change is the addition of new tiers to the IHG Rewards program. With these changes, we'll see five status tiers in IHG Rewards, starting sometime in March 2022. Two major changes:
- Silver Elite is being added as a brand new tier.
- Spire Elite will be renamed Diamond Elite.
Changes to IHG Rewards elite status earning
Additionally, the requirements to earn status are different now. The former requirements for Gold Elite are now the requirements for Silver Elite, but you will no longer be able to earn this status via qualifying points. The new version of Gold Elite requires 40 nights, instead of just 20 nights (when Silver Elite didn't exist).
The number of nights required for Platinum Elite remains the same, but earning this status on qualifying points jumped from 40k to 60k. Diamond Elite (previously Spire) requires 5 fewer nights than in 2019, but the earning through the qualifying points route jumped from 75k to 120k!
Even More Complicated: Reduced Requirements Just for Jan/Feb 2022
This situation gets even more complicated when you factor in the reduced status requirements in 2020 and 2021. These will also apply until the changes / refresh of IHG Rewards coming in March 2022.
|Status tier||2019 requirements||2020 / 2021 / 2022 until March requirements||New requirements for March 2022|
|Silver Elite||N/A||N/A||10 nights, can't earn via points|
|Gold Elite||10 nights or 10,000 points||7 nights or 7,000 points||20 nights or 40,000 points|
|Platinum Elite||40 nights or 40,000 points||30 nights or 30,000 points||40 nights or 60,000 points|
|Diamond Elite (previously Spire)||75 nights or 75,000 points||55 nights or 55,000 points||70 nights or 120,000 points|
The IHG Website and App Aren't Updated
To make this more complicated — in fact, putting it into “unfair” territory — the IHG Rewards website and app don't reflect the updated information coming in 2022. If you aren't paying attention to the news, you might be planning your year based on information that no longer applies.
Inside IHG's website, it still tells me I need 7 nights to qualify for Gold Elite this year. What if I plan to stay those 7 nights in July? I'd be disappointed to later find out I hadn't qualified for Gold Elite with those 7 nights.
What if You Don't Qualify Before the Changes?
IHG Rewards will only honor the current (reduced) status requirements until the changes are implemented on a yet-unknown date in March 2022. Thus, if you want to qualify for Gold Elite with 7 nights, you need to do that before the changes go into effect. After this, the new (higher) requirements will be enforced.
Remember that all current status levels have been extended through February 2023. Thus, what we are discussing is qualification this year for status benefits next year.
Status Via Credit Card
IHG confirmed to TPG that the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card will continue to offer Platinum Elite status. That's both now and after the changes to IHG Rewards at some point in March 2022. This won't change. What will change is the ability to spend your way to the next tier. Earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 + 1 more purchase in a calendar year.
The IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card will remove “Club” from the name in late March 2024 but still have no annual fee. It will give automatic Silver status and also allow you to earn Gold status after spending $20,000 on the card + 1 more purchase each calendar year.
What We Don't Know: New IHG Elite Status Perks
As IHG is refreshing its program, there's a lot of uncertainty. Some of the best perks we enjoy in other programs (guaranteed late check-out, suite upgrades, etc.) aren't included in IHG Rewards — even for top elites. Will those be added? What perks will these new tiers have?
In the press release, IHG's CEO, Keith Barr, says:
“We’ll continue elevating and enhancing our loyalty offerings with iconic brand partnerships and extensions, tailored experiences for our customers, enhanced benefits and so much more.”
What these enhanced perks are is a mystery. And it's anyone's guess based on this notification from the IHG Rewards app promising “more fun”:
After showing reduced requirements for nearly 3 weeks, IHG Rewards just announced changes coming “sometime” in March 2022. There will be different status tiers and higher status-earning requirements than what we see online right now. This is not a customer-friendly move for two reasons.
Firstly, people have already started making plans on how they'll earn status this year. That plan just went out the window. Secondly, the “progress” tracker still shows outdated information. That's unfair for customers to think they're making progress according to a plan that they may not know will be upended in March. Members who aren't carefully monitoring the news from IHG will be in for surprises. And the most surprising part of all is the lack of specific date.
What do you think of these changes coming to IHG Rewards in 2022? How does this affect your elite status plan for this year?
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