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New IHG One Rewards program announced
Back in January we heard that IHG would be completely overhauling their award program. We learned of new tier structures, bonus points, and elite levels. In April, IHG unveiled IHG One Rewards which enhanced their loyalty program with Diamond breakfast benefits, the choice of confirmed suite upgrades ( confirmable 14 days in advance and each is worth 5 nights ), F&B credits, and even the choice of a lounge membership at 40 nights. While the benefits were announced in April, they are officially live today! Let’s take a look at the new IHG One Rewards benefits you can now enjoy:
Live as of June 8th, 1pm EST
- Free breakfast for Diamond Elite members as a Welcome Amenity choice
- Complimentary room upgrades for Platinum Elite and Diamond Elite members (to suites, if available, or another premium room type)
- Early Check-In for Platinum Elite and Diamond Elite members (if available)
- Late Check-Out (up to 2:00 pm) for all members (if available)
- Redemption of Milestone Rewards – a new, technology enabled platform that lets members choose a perk (bonus points, Confirmable Suite Upgrades, Food & Beverage Rewards and an Annual Lounge Membership) every 10 nights, starting at 20 nights
Diamonds…breakfast is served!
One thing to note…the Food and Beverage credits aren’t live yet for use at properties. You can select and bank them, but they’re still working on the roll out with properties worldwide.
Let’s break down the whole program:
The brands under IHG that you can earn and burn IHG One Rewards
Here is a look at the 2021 IHG Rewards Tiers and the new IHG One Rewards Tiers
There is a brief remind of what we learned in January.
Free night certificates can have unlimited points added to them
IHG updated and enhanced the ability to to use Free Night certificates by allowing members to add unlimited points to them.
A new app drops today. I was told that roughly 1% of all app users will see the update immediately ( those who have it set to auto-update) and the rest will roll out over the next few days/weeks. Let’s take a look at the new benefits.
Here’s a look at the new benefits:
Free Breakfast for top tier Diamond Elite Members is one of the most anticipated benefits that members were hoping for, but I have to say some will be disappointed that it wasn’t provided for Platinums as well, since Marriott Platinum and Hilton Gold offer some kind of benefit as well. One thing that they do provide is, at the 40 night level, a choice of whether you’d like to have a lounge membership as a “Milestone Reward.”
Discount awards night discounts for Platinum and Diamond members
Platinum and Diamond elite members will have access to these exclusive award night discounts throughout the year. We just saw this with the 20% discount given to IHG Rewards cardholders here recently.
Milestone Rewards will be a new, technology-enabled platform that will allow members to choose the rewards that matter most to them after every 10 nights, starting at the 20 night threshold – you can even select 1 Suite Upgrade award at the 20 night level that’s good on up to 5 nights.
The idea here is that the casual traveler and the corporate road warrior may have different desires and goals. So, each may choose differently. Personally, I’d be choosing suite upgrades and lounge memberships at the correlating thresholds.
- $20 F&B Rewards
- Confirmable Suite Upgrades starting at 20 nights
- Annual Lounge Membership.
You can select 1 award at every level, and 2 at the 40 night and 70 night level
Personally I’d choose
- 20 night – Suite Upgrade
- 30 night – 2 F/B vouchers
- 40 night – Suite Upgrade + Lounge Access
- 50 night – 5 F/B vouchers
- 60 night – 5 F/B Vouchers
- 70 nights – 2 Suite upgrade
In total I’d have 4 suite upgrades, good on up to 5 nights a piece, lounge access for me and 1 guest, and 17 F/B vouchers worth $340. Note that these must be used in conjunction with a stay.
IHG One Rewards nailed mid-tier Platinum Elite
IHG One Rewards mid-tier status is Platinum Elite, which can be achieved at 40 nights. Most business travelers these days have significantly reduced the number of nights they stay each year, and IHG noticed and pivoted some pretty valuable benefits to those who aren’t insane road warriors, but stay quite a bit. For comparison:
- Hyatt Explorist is 30 nights
- Marriott Platinum is 50 nights
- Hilton Gold is usually 40 nights, Diamond at 60 nights, but this year it’s 28 and 42 respectively.
At 40 nights, you could effectively choose Milestone Rewards that give you:
- 2 Suite Upgrade awards good on up to 5 nights an award
- Lounge Access membership for you and 1 guest.
- Points or F/B vouchers
Massive improvement and I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t draw a lot of business over for IHG from Hilton and Marriott. You can go here to see the full terms, FAQs of the program, etc.
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