Reduced Top Tier Qualifying Rules Create Interesting IHG Hotels Opportunity (Without Staying)

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IHG Rewards Club is the loyalty program that covers Intercontinental, Kimpton, Holiday Inn and myriad related brands. They have already relaxed elite status qualification rules given the downturn in travel. And that creates an interesting opportunity.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has its biggest-ever bonus. There are new benefits for this product that came a year and a half ago. And anecdotally IHG cards have been relatively easier to get approved for.

Some key things to know about the card:

  • 140,000 points. The card’s initial bonus lets you earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Last year they had an offer of 125,000 points and that was unprecedented.

  • Elite status. You get Platinum elite status as long as you’re a cardmember.

  • Annual reward night after each account anniversary year. The annual reward night is limited to most of the hotels that are bookable for 40,000 points per night or less. It also must be used within 12 months of issue.

  • Reward night on points stays of 4 or more nights. That’s better than the ‘5th night free’ some other chains offer and amounts to a 25% discount on four night award stays.

It’s one thing to get Platinum status just for having the card. Top tier Spire Elite status normally requires earning 75,000 qualifying points in a year but has already been dropped to just 55,000 points.

A couple of interesting things here.

  1. Points from spending on their credit card count. While the initial bonus does not count towards elite status, points earned from your spending on the card does.

  2. Points from Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers worked in my experience last year and the experience of others which meant points from the initial bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card were able to count by earning the bonus transferring points into IHG Rewards Club.

Here are the benefits of tier status:

Benefit Gold Elite Platinum Elite Spire Elite
Extended Check-Out
Points Don’t Expire 5
Priority Check-In
Welcome Amenity/Minibar (Kimpton)
Bonus Earnings on Top of Base Points 10% 50% 100%
Elite Rollover Nights
Room Upgrades 3
Guaranteed Availability 4
Choice Benefit Upon Receiving Status**
Hertz Five Star Status

The normal 75,000 points may be a bit much to generate this way for top tier status with the hotel chain, but 55,000 points could make more sense for some people.

Intercontinental Boston

And of course the card itself is worth getting, in my opinion. And it’s worth keeping for the annual reward night and for the 4th night on IHG Rewards Club reward night redemptions. Bottom-line is that the card has a good bonus and once you have the card it’s worth keeping.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. I don’t stay much at IHG properties, but I almost always get a nice room upgrade due to my credit card Platinum status. On my last award stay I got the 4th night free and 10% back of the points spent for the award – it’s really nice to double dip from having both cards. And to be getting two free nights. Don’t know I would go out of my way for Spire, though.

  2. I’ve enjoy being upgraded with elite status. On another note, does anyone know what happens to the annual free night award certificate in light travel bans due to the unfolding coronavirus situation? IHG hasn’t offered an extension on the expiration dates so far while Marirott and Hilton has.

  3. @ Zee — Good question. Right now, it looks like IHG is going to let them expire. Maybe if you call, they can get yours extended on a case-by-case basis.

  4. IHG has been unwilling to extend customers’ “free night” certificates due to CoronaVirus.

    Do business with this company at your own risk.

  5. Has anyone achieved Spire Elite at the 55,000 point level yet? The website is still telling me 75,000 and from past experience, I know that their IT team moves at a glacial pace and I’d prefer not to spend hours on the phone fighting for promised status.

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