IHG Rewards Club – the loyalty program for Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, and associated brands – has launched its first quarter promotion, reduced elite status requirements for 2021, rolled over 2020 to count towards earning status this year, and extended the pause on points expiration and the validity of free night stay certificates.
- 2,000 bonus points every 2 nights January 20 – March 31, 2021. Registration required. I value IHG points at half a cent apiece so this averages out to $5 in value per night for every 2 nights. That on its own is fairly weak. At an average $100 room rate it’s equivalent to double nights, but if you stay an odd number of nights you’d still earn less than double points.
- 25% reduction in requirement to earn status. This doesn’t yet appear to be posted on the IHG website, but since a spokesperson describes it as extending the 25% reduction it should work similarly to status earning in 2020: 7000 points or 7 nights for Gold; 30,000 points or 30 nights for Platinum; 55,000 points or 55 nigths for Spire.
- 2020 stays for elites count towards status earned in 2021. And this stacks with the reduced requirements for earning status.
- Free night certificates extended. In late December IHG extended December 31, 2020-expiring credit card free night certificates to August. All 2021-expiring certificates are being extended to December 31, 2021.
- No points expiration until June 30, 2021. Elite member points don’t expire to begin with.
IHG Rewards Club offers reasonable points earn-and-burn but doesn’t generally give members a way to redeem points for better than standard rooms. And in most cases elite status doesn’t guarantee upgrades when available, or club lounge access, or even guarantee late checkout. Elite benefits such as they are aren’t guarnateed on award stays, either.
The program is good for earning and burning points across a wide footprint of hotels, many of which are lower-priced, and for offering good credit card benefits like 4th night free on award stays.