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When I spoke with IHG’s Senior Vice President of Loyalty last week about the chain’s revamp of its elite program that is now in progress, she told me that they would be offering an award discount this week for top tier elites.
In fact they’re out now with an offer of 20% off redemptions and it is available to co-brand credit card customers.
- Book by February 8, 2022
- Stay by March 13, 2022
- Can be used on stays up to 3 nights (longer stays get 4th night free as a credit card benefit)
This is a great offer, but only valid for close-in stays, likely driven by lower occupancy resulting from the Omicron wave of the pandemic. Still, my takeaway here is to view this as part of a larger story.
- IHG and Chase are seriously improving their cards adding benefits like United Airlines cash, a threshold bonus for spend, and more flexibility redeeming free night certificates starting at the end of March.
- Offering a much bigger up front bonus, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is offering 125,000 points and a Reward Night e-certificate valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 40,000 points after $3000 spend on purchases within 3 months.
- While working to add elite benefits
- And even making it possible to achieve top tier status with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
They’re still a mid-tier chain with some upper tier properties. They recognized a need to breath life into the program and they’re doing that. I don’t expect them to offer the best program or even the best properties overall (though often the best option in some cities). But they’re using the opportunity of the pandemic for both a reset and to launch an effort to become more competitive.
We’ve seen something similar from Shangri-La Circle and from GHA Discovery in the hotel space, and American AAdvantage has re-thought how elite status is earned. This creative destruction is good for consumers, so in a sense we’re seeing a shift of the pendulum like we haven’t seen in a decade.