The new IHG One Rewards elite program offers a huge improvement in elite benefits.
There’s confirmed suites (starting 14 days prior to arrival, out of revenue inventory, but not valid on award stays or prepaid rates), club lounge access, and breakfast. And benefits even apply at brands like Intercontinental and Kimpton that historically exclusively had their own recognition programs.
Rolling out benefits across over 5000 hotels and ensuring compliance is tricky, and delivering consistently is hard (Cf. Marriott Bonvoy). New elite benefits are officially live, as of today. Some hotels have been honoring some benefits, like breakfast, in recent weeks but that has been inconsistent. Now members are entitled to what the new program offers.
- Free hot breakfast as a welcome amenity choice for Diamond members, similar to how Marriott handles breakfast as a choice benefit at some brands. That means members can choose breakfast in lieu of check-in bonus points or the drink/snack option.
- Upgrades Platinums and Diamonds including to standard suites if available, this isn’t actually new but hotels are now expected to follow program guidance and have received training on the benefit.
- Early check-in is supposed to be available for Platinums and Diamonds, subject to availability and time “at the hotel’s discretion” (so not something members can really count on).
- 2 p.m. late check out for all members if available, nice to see it for all members but there’s no guarantee even for top tier elites as we expect from Marriott and Hyatt (but not Hilton).
- Milestone rewards – confirmed suite upgrades on non-prepaid revenue stays within 14 days of arrival based on published room inventory; food and beverage rewards; bonus points; annual club lounge access. Benefits accrue every 10 nights starting at 20 nights when you can even select a suite upgrade.
Food and beverage awards can’t actually be used yet, however:
The Milestone Rewards platform has already begun rolling out in member accounts. You’ll notice Food & Beverage Rewards (F&B) are not available for use at hotels quite yet, but you can easily select this reward now and bank it for use later this year. We are conducting additional testing in our full-service hotels in the US and Canada before we make this industry leading experience available for members.
You can read full benefit details here. Now that benefits are (mostly) live at hotels we’ll start to see how compliant properties are and how the new program works in practice. Regardless, there’s only improvements here in terms of benefits, addressing what has been the key weakness in the IHG program.