IHG Rewards Club announced changes today to their elite tiers and membership qualifications, along with a new 12 months points expiration policy if no account activity.
Here is the press release text:
“IHG Rewards Club will evolve over 2015 and 2016 initially in the following ways:
- Introducing a new top membership level in July 2015. This new membership level can be reached by earning 75,000 qualifying points or staying at IHG hotels for 75 qualifying nights, over the course of a year.
- An industry first: IHG Rewards Club will offer its most loyal members in this new membership level 100 percent extra bonus points on qualifying stays. Members of this newest level will also be able to choose between receiving 25,000 points or upgrading a friend or family member to Platinum.
- The qualification requirements for all membership levels have been restructured to make it easier for members to be rewarded for their loyalty. Club members will need to earn just 10,000 qualifying points or stay for ten qualifying nights to be eligible for Gold membership. Gold members will need to earn 40,000 qualifying points or stay for 40 qualifying nights to reach Platinum membership.
- IHG is enhancing its ability to learn about members and then utilize this information through a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This system will enable hotels to respond to members’ preferences at every stage of the guest journey and offer services and experiences that are personally relevant to them. From recognizing stay preferences such as room location or pillow type and tailoring their booking options, to relevant post stay offers.
- To enable IHG to reward our guests who stay with us most often, starting from May 2016, IHG will expire all points for IHG Rewards Club Members if they have not earned or redeemed any points at all in the previous 12 months. IHG Rewards Club members will continue to maintain their point balances simply by completing a qualifying stay at one of IHG’s 4,800 hotels or redeeming some of their existing points during a membership year.
- IHG Rewards Club offers countless great opportunities to earn points and redeem rewards – from Reward Nights at IHG hotels worldwide to flights, music downloads, electronics, gift cards and more, via its online global redemption catalog.
All members will continue to have access to the industry leading benefits that make IHG Rewards Club the world’s favorite hotel loyalty program. These include free guest Internet, value-priced Reward Nights with no blackout dates, no cancellation penalties, access to the wide breadth of offerings in the global reward redemption catalog and digital innovations such as mobile check-in.
Visit the IHG Rewards Club website for more information on the latest enhancements to the program.”
All nights earned so far in 2015 count for new elite membership tiers to take place July 2015.
IHG ‘Super’ Elite = earn 100% elite bonus points + 25,000 bonus points annually or gift IHG Platinum to another person.
- Qualify with 75 nights or 75,000 elite qualifying points.
IHG Platinum = earn 50% elite bonus points.
- 40 nights or 40,000 elite qualifying points.
IHG Gold = earn 10% bonus points.
- 10 nights or 10,000 elite qualifying points.
The press release claims IHG Rewards Club offers an industry first earning rate of 100% bonus points for its super elite members at its hotels. Guess they missed the 100% elite bonus with 4 points/$1 SPG super-platinum members get at Starwood Hotels.
The most negative aspect of the changes is a new 12-months points expiration if no account activity, beginning May 2015. I imagine there will be millions or billions of points erased from member accounts in May 2016.
Will super-platinum elites get complimentary upgrades at full-service hotels? The additional 50% more bonus points will be a great benefit for frequent guests who spend 75+ nights in IHG hotels.
For the most part, the changes will not have too much impact on IHG Rewards Club members who stay at hotels.
If not staying at hotels, there are plenty of ways to create IHG Rewards Club activity to keep your points current for free through social media opportunities or by spending a few bucks to earn points or redeeming some points.