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IHG One Rewards has a completely revamped elite program this year. It is better than it used to be. Status provides more benefits than it used to, like free breakfast as a choice for Diamonds, club lounge access as an annual benefit choice, and the opportunity to confirm suite upgrades (up to 14 days in advance, on non-prepaid revenue stays).
Given improved benefits, the Diamond (formerly Spire Elite) tier is harder to earn. It takes 5 fewer nights than before (70, rather than 75) but for those earning on ‘base points’ – the easiest way to earn the status in the past – it now takes 120,000 instead of 75,000.
Not only does it take more base points to become a Diamond, those base points are going to become harder to accumulate.
Back in January Heather Balsley, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty and Partnerships at IHG Hotels & Resorts, told me the new elite program wouldn’t see any changes to co-brand credit cards earning elite status, or what counts as base points. That turned out not to be true.
While Chase and IHG revamped and really improved earning with their IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card – and right now it has an offer for you to earn 140,000 Bonus Points + 1 Free Night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening – they are making Diamond status harder to earn with the credit card.
- The card comes with Platinum status
- In the past each point earned spending on the credit card counted as a ‘base point’ towards status. So did points transferred into the program (Chase and Bilt points both transfer)
- However points earned with the card will no longer count towards status. A reader shares this from a notice they received from Chase:
Presumably, then, points transfers will no longer count towards status either – I have asked IHG for confirmation of this and will update if they offer more information.
Since I value an IHG point at half a cent apiece, I never wanted to transfer from a credit card program to IHG One Rewards. Nonetheless, some people did get value spending on the card or transferring points to earn status – though the best benefits in the new program (like club lounge and confirmed suites) come based on nights stayed, rather than points earned anyway.
Update: IHG confirms that this change applies to “all U.S. Credit cards” – noting that there “are no new changes to the UK card.” I also asked whether the change also means that points transferred into the program [e.g. from Chase Ultimate Rewards, Bilt Rewads] will not count towards status anymore as well, and they offered indicated that this is the case.