Posted by Ric Garrido

The abundance of hotel loyalty points available through credit cards, in addition to hotel stays and other purchases earning points, has changed the points game for the hotel industry. I think this is reflected in the number of programs now counting reward nights using points as elite tier qualifying nights.

Hilton HHonors has counted reward nights for elite tier qualification for more than a decade.

In January 2010 Choice Privileges added the feature of reward nights counting for elite tier qualification.

Starwood Preferred Guest started counting SPG standard award nights and Cash & Points award nights as elite qualifying nights in October 2011.

IHG Rewards Club is the latest hotel loyalty program to add the benefit of reward nights counting for elite qualification with the new loyalty program launch on July 1, 2013. However, the classification of points into elite qualifying and non-qualifying points made this change only a partial benefit for IHG frequent guests who were use to earning elite status through promotion bonus points and points purchases.

Five of the Top Ten Hotel Loyalty Programs count reward stays for annual elite qualification:

Choice Privileges 

  • Elite Qualification = Nights in calendar year.
  • Gold elite = 10 nights in a calendar year.
  • Platinum elite = 20 nights in a calendar year.
  • Diamond elite = 40 nights in a calendar year.
  • 6,000+ hotels for free nights using points.

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Choice Privileges Elite Membership Levels

Choice Privileges Hotel brands

  1. Comfort Inn
  2. Comfort Suites
  3. Quality Inn
  4. Sleep Inn
  5. Clarion
  6. Cambria Suites
  7. MainStay Suites
  8. Suburban
  9. EconoLodge
  10. Rodeway
  11. Ascend Collection

 

Hilton HHonors

  • Elite Qualification = Stays or Nights in calendar year or Base Points.
  • Blue Member = base level membership.
  • Silver elite = 4 stays or 10 nights.
  • Gold elite = 20 stays or 40 nights or 60,000 base points.
  • Diamond elite = 30 stays or 60 nights or 120,000 base points.
  • 4,000+ hotels for free nights using points.

The number of Reward Stays and the number of nights during a Reward Stay will count towards the number of stays and/or nights required for Elite tier qualification.

Hilton HHonors terms

Hilton HHonors Hotel Brands

  1. Hilton Hotels
  2. Embassy Suites
  3. Hilton Garden Inn
  4. Hampton Inn & Suites
  5. DoubleTree by Hilton
  6. Conrad
  7. Waldorf-Astoria
  8. Homewood Suites
  9. Home2 Stay
  10. Hilton Grand Vacations

 

IHG Rewards Club

Starting July 1, 2013, IHG® Rewards Club Reward Nights consumed by members will be counted as Qualifying Nights towards Elite membership qualifications.

IHG Rewards Club Terms

Elite status will be awarded to accounts that have successfully satisfied at least one of the following elite membership criteria:

  1. Elite Qualifying Points – IHG® Rewards Club Gold Elite status will be awarded to members who have earned at least 20,000 Elite Qualifying points during a calendar year. IHG® Rewards Club Platinum Elite status will be awarded to members who have earned at least 60,000 Elite Qualifying points during a calendar year. Once a member earns elite membership status in any calendar year, such status will be maintained through the end of the following calendar year.
  2. Qualifying Nights – IHG® Rewards Club Gold Elite status will be awarded to members who have earned a minimum of 15 nights at Qualifying Rates during a calendar year. IHG® Rewards Club Platinum Elite status will be awarded to members who have earned a minimum of 50 nights at Qualifying Rates during a calendar year. Once a member earns Elite membership status in any calendar year, such status will be maintained through the end of the following calendar year. Starting July 1, 2013, IHG® Rewards Club Reward Nights consumed by members will be counted as Qualifying Nights towards Elite membership qualifications.
  3. Fast Track to Elite Status – Members also have the opportunity to earn Gold Elite status faster by staying at 3 different IHG brands AND accruing 10 Qualifying Nights within a calendar year. IHG® Rewards Club Platinum Elite status will also be awarded to members who stay at 4 different IHG brands AND accrue 40 Qualifying Nights within a calendar year. IHG® Rewards Club members residing in Asia, the Middle East and Africa are required to stay at 3 different IHG brands AND accrue 40 Qualifying Nights within a calendar year to reach Platinum Elite status. Once a member earns elite membership status in any calendar year, such status will be maintained through the end of the following calendar year. Elite Rollover Nights and IHG® Rewards Club Reward Nights will also be counted towards Fast Track to Elite Status. Participating IHG brands include InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, and Candlewood Suites®, Even® and Hualuxe®. Brands may be added or deleted at the sole discretion of SCH.
  4. Elite Rollover Nights – Qualifying nights in excess of 50 nights will be counted towards a member’s Elite status qualification for the following calendar year. Elite Rollover Nights are only valid for one calendar year.

 

Reward Nights are now even more valuable

As a valued IHG® Rewards Club member, we always want you to get the most out of your stay – that includes counting Reward Nights towards your Elite Status!

Starting 1 July 2013, IHG® Rewards Club will combine your Reward Nights with your Qualifying Nights toward Elite Status qualification, bringing you closer to attaining Elite Status while you enjoy your stay using your points.

Full Reward Nights Terms & Conditions

IHG Hotel Brands

  1. Holiday Inn
  2. Holiday Inn Express
  3. Crowne Plaza
  4. InterContinental Hotels
  5. Staybridge Suites
  6. Candlewood Suites
  7. Hotel Indigo
  8. Hualuxe (China)
  9. Even Hotels
  10. Holiday Inn Resorts
  11. Holiday Inn Club Vacations

 

Starwood Preferred Guest

  • Elite Qualification = Stays or Nights in calendar year..
  • Preferred Member = base level membership.
  • Gold elite = 10 stays or 25 nights.
  • Platinum elite = 25 stays or 50 nights.
  • 1,000+ hotels for free nights using points.

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SPG has additional tiered benefits for super Platinum elite members based on hotel nights stayed in a calendar year.

Starwood Hotels brands

  1. Westin
  2. Sheraton
  3. W Hotels
  4. Four Points by Sheraton
  5. St. Regis
  6. Aloft
  7. Luxury Collection
  8. Element
  9. Le Meridien

 

Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels

Accor operates differently than most points-earning hotel loyalty programs. Hotel stays earn 1 to 2 points per Euro at most brands.

Redeem 2,000 Accor points for a hotel voucher worth 40 (or $60 USD).

Elite status is earned by either hotel nights in a calendar year or points earned beginning with 10 nights or 2,500 points for Silver status.

Due to Accor’s points and voucher structure, the nights stayed using vouchers count for elite status by nights as long as you pay a portion of the hotel bill in cash or credit card to earn points. Pay for the entire stay with LeClub Accorhotels vouchers and you will not earn points or elite credit.

  • Elite Qualification = Nights or Points Earned in calendar year.
  • Classic Member = base level membership.
  • Silver elite = 10 nights or 2,500 points.
  • Gold elite = 30 nights or 10,000 points.
  • Platinum elite = 60 nights or 25,000 points.
  • 2,700+ hotels for hotel payment vouchers using points.

This is how the LeClub Accorhotels rules read to me. I would appreciate feedback comments from Le Club Accorhotels members who are more familiar with the program if you have more insight to elite qualifying nights when using LeClub Accorhotels vouchers for payment.

LeClub Accorhotels Hotel Brands

 

  1. Sofitel
  2. Pullman
  3. M Gallery
  4. Grand Mercure
  5. The Sebel
  6. Novotel
  7. Suite Novotel
  8. Mercure
  9. Adagio
  10. Ibis
  11. Ibis Styles
  12. Thalassa Spa

 

The other five major global hotel chains do not count award stays as elite qualifying hotel nights, except Club Carlson with Points + Cash stays.

  • Best Western = No. 4,000 hotels
  • Club Carlson = No. Standard reward nights are not elite qualifying nights. Points + Cash stays earn points on the paid portion and count as elite qualifying nights. 1,100 hotels.
  • Hyatt Gold Passport = No. 500 hotels.
  • Marriott Rewards = No. 3,800 hotels,
  • Wyndham Rewards = No. 7,000 hotels.

 

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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6 Responses

  1. great news for me. My 20 points breaks nights will get me gold for next year…granted IHG gold is not worth much but still I got the 100k that they cost easily via the sweet dilemma promo 2 summers ago and the pointbreak is giving me 4cpp :) which is way OTT

  2. Great summary, good to refresh the information again. I am still surprised Hyatt has not joined this.

  3. […] Five hotel chains where award nights count for elite status. By Loyalty Traveler. Very nice helpful summary. […]

  4. Thanks for the helpful post!
    You forgot to list the Ascend Collection as part of the Choice brands. I find the hotels in the Ascend Collection are usually nicer than all the other Choice hotels, so they add a lot of value to the brand.

  5. @Rich – thanks for pointing out the omission. I have yet to stay in an Ascend Collection hotel. That looked like a great option when I checked Choice Hotels in Stockholm yesterday with a couple of Ascend Collection members.

  6. […] Some hotel rewards programs, like SPG, also grant elite credit on hotel stays. It isn’t an ideal use of points, but if you find yourself short a few nights and can’t find a cheap mattress run, this is an option. Loyalty Traveler has a great post outlining programs that grant elite credit for award stays. […]

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