In July 2022 I reached 20 nights in IHG hotels for the calendar year. All my nights were bought with IHG points during a trip to Lisbon, Madrid and Thessaloniki, Greece. After returning to Monterey, California I learned I was issued an IHG Milestone Reward.
Honestly, I had not paid much attention to IHG One Rewards changes implemented in 2022. It was time to look more closely at the IHG One Rewards program since I had a Milestone Reward in my account and three months, until October 31, to select my specific reward from several choices.
Obviously you can earn Milestone Rewards for nights using points since I earned the 20 nights Milestone Reward from 20 reward nights in Europe with 16 of those nights on 4th night free IHG Mastercard discount reward stay rates.
You can choose one of the following:
- 5,000 Bonus Points ($25 value)
- 2 Food & Beverage Rewards ($40 value)
- 1 Confirmable Suite Upgrade (variable value)
5,000 Bonus Points is worth $25 based on the cost to buy points during 100% bonus points promotions.
– Through Oct 21 IHG is selling points for $5 per 1,000 when you buy 60,000 points for $300.
2 Food & Beverage Rewards are valued at $20 each. These rewards can be applied to any food and beverage expenses that can be charged to the hotel bill. These rewards are valid for one year.
Food & Beverage Reward terms:
IHG One Rewards Members can redeem a Food & Beverage Reward for credit against applicable food and beverage charges during a hotel stay, up to a maximum of USD20 per voucher at participating IHG Hotels & Resorts.
Each Food & Beverage Reward can only be used once, even if the Member’s applicable charges total less than USD20 (e.g., redeeming a Food & Beverage Reward for USD15 of applicable charges will provide a credit of USD15 only).
- The Food & Beverage Reward is valid for 12 months from milestone selection.
- Applicable charges vary by property but generally include food, beverage and gratuities.
- The Food & Beverage Reward will be issued to the member in 6 local currencies (20USD, 15GBP, 15EUR, 125CNY, 2000JPY and 70SAR) based on member country of origin; all others will receive the Reward as $20USD. The Reward amount and credit value will be converted to the hotel’s local currency at time of redemption.
- There is no limit to the number of Food & Beverage Rewards a Member can use per stay.
- The Member is responsible for any outstanding balance after the credit is applied.
- The Member will earn IHG One Rewards points on the outstanding balance only.
There is a disadvantage to IHG European and UK members receiving only 15 GBP or 15 EUR given the recent currency drop for EUR to a value less than USD.
15 EUR is only worth $14.54 and 15 GBP is worth $16.55 at time of this post.
One Confirmable Suite Upgrade is the choice I made for Milestone Reward last week. The suite upgrade can be used for up to a 5-night qualifying paid stay. Unfortunately, reward nights do not qualify for suite upgrades.
I have two 5-night paid reservations currently planned. At one of these hotels I booked an upgraded room type compared to the basic room type available using points. A suite at the hotel is a $50 per night upgrade.
My hope is to get an upgrade at the other hotel I booked for 5-nights. A suite upgrade for 5 nights at that property would be a $900 value based on the current rates. I can confirm this room type 14 days before my stay arrival. If the suite is not available, I have until October 2023 to redeem the suite upgrade.
Confirmable Suite Upgrade Terms:
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade: Confirmable Suite Upgrades will be applicable for one room upgrade to an entry-level suite or premium room where a suite is not available.
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade is valid for 12 months from milestone selection
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade may only be selected once at 40 and 70- night milestone choice
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade can only be applied to stays that are on an eligible rate, e.g., Best Flexible, Member Discount, Government, and select Corporate and package rates
- Confirmable Suite Upgrades cannot be used with the following rate types:
- Group rates, package tour or convention where charges are being paid by a third party
- Reward Night/Free Night (eligible at a future date)
- Non-Qualified rate like Wholesale, OTA, and Employee rate
- Prepaid rates if deposit is already applied
- Some hotel defined packages
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade must be redeemed by contacting IHG Customer Care
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade can be made starting 14 days before arrival up to 24hrs before Check-In
- Valid for stays up to a maximum of 5 nights
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade can only be applied to the Member’s room and is non-transferable
- Suite Upgrade is not exchangeable for cash or other type of credit
- Platinum Elite and Diamond Elite 72-hour guarantee availability is not applicable
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade will be reinstated to Member’s Rewards Wallet if cancelled in advance of hotel’s cancellation policy timeframe, and original validity dates will apply
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade availability exceptions may apply during special events that result in extraordinary demand, as determined by the hotel
- If a Member uses a Confirmable Suite Upgrade and ‘no-shows’ for their reservation, the Confirmable Suite Upgrade will be forfeited
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade cannot be stacked with guaranteed upgrades for Royal Ambassador, Ambassador, and Inner Circle Members, any additional upgrades are at the discretion of the hotel
- Confirmable Suite Upgrade is available at all IHG brands, except avid hotels, Atwell Suites, IHG Army Hotels, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, IHG Residences, including but not limited to InterContinental Residences, voco Residences, Crowne Plaza Residences, and Six Senses Hotels Resort Spas. The benefit also is not available at Mr & Mrs Smith properties or at InterContinental Alliance Resorts (Las Vegas and Macau)
- Confirmable Suite Upgrades to Club rooms, Club REGENT or Club InterContinental rooms / floors do not include Club level amenities or services, e.g. Club Lounge access, free pressing, airport transportation, etc.
- Suite inventory is not available at all properties or is limited at others; where suite inventory is limited, premium rooms will be offered if available.
At 30 nights I will choose the 2 Food and Beverage rewards worth $40 over 5,000 bonus points worth $25.
After studying the IHG Milestone Rewards chart I find incentive to hit 40 IHG nights this year for the choice of two Milestone Rewards, including another suite upgrade and annual lounge membership. 40 nights and 70 nights are the big targets, which also happen to be the elite status requirements for Platinum elite at 40 nights and Diamond elite at 70 nights.
Chase IHG Premier Mastercard gives Platinum elite. Diamond elite has some major benefits like complimentary breakfast for two and 100% bonus points. Personally, I don’t see myself hitting 70 nights next year since I travel for leisure and I have points and free nights in several other hotel loyalty programs to use for stays.
I have my eye on some InterContinental Hotels in Europe for cities like Athens, Ljubljana, Slovenia and Vienna, Austria where I can take advantage of lounge access on rewards stays in 2023.
Annual Lounge Access Milestone Reward terms:
- Annual Lounge Membership: Lounge Membership provides access to the hotel’s Club Lounge and offered amenities within the physical space (e.g., library, meeting room, and business station) for the registered Member plus one additional guest (the additional guest does not need to be staying at the hotel) for the duration of their stay or until time of Check-Out.
- Once Annual Lounge Membership is chosen it will be valid to the end of the year plus an additional 12 months (E.g., Annual Lounge Membership Milestone choice selected June 2022 will be valid until December 31, 2023)
- Annual Lounge Membership rewards do not accumulate. Member only needs to select Annual Lounge Membership once (at either the 40-night or 70-night Milestone) to maximize value for the Member and enjoy it through the end of year plus 12 months.
- Lounge Food & Beverage offerings and additional amenities vary by region and by hotel
- Annual Lounge Membership is available at IHG properties with a Club Lounge unless restricted due to renovations, closures, or other facility limitations
- Annual Lounge Membership does not include Club REGENT or Club InterContinental amenities or services beyond the physical lounge, e.g., free pressing, farewell amenity, airport transportation, etc.
- Annual Lounge Membership available on Qualified Stays only, including Reward Night/Free Night and stays booked through an OTA
- Annual Lounge benefit is not available at Mr & Mrs Smith properties or at InterContinental Alliance Resorts (Las Vegas and Macau).
Milestone Rewards at 50, 60, 80, 90, and 100 nights only offer the choice between 10,000 points ($50 value) or 5 Food and Beverage credits ($100 USD for US residents).
70 nights is the truly big deal for IHG Milestone Rewards with the choice of 2 suite upgrades or lounge membership.
My hope is to use my 20 nights Milestone Reward be upgraded to a suite on an upcoming paid hotel stay in 2022 and my plan is to reach 40 nights by the end of the year to earn another suite upgrade and annual lounge membership good through 2023.
The combination of Milestone Rewards for suite upgrades and lounge access with 4th night free reward stays with the IHG Premier Mastercard offers the potential for significant upgrades on some upscale IHG hotel stays.