Guide To IHG One Rewards Diamond Elite Status

Guide To IHG One Rewards Diamond Elite Status

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In 2022, we saw IHG revamp its loyalty program, with the introduction of IHG One Rewards. I’d argue that the updated program represents a significant improvement over the old program, thanks to the new suite of benefits that have been introduced.

In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at the benefits of IHG One Rewards Diamond status, which is the program’s top-tier status (I’ve separately written a guide about IHG One Rewards Platinum status). How do you earn the status, what are the benefits of being a member, and is it worth it?

How to earn IHG One Rewards Diamond status

There are several ways to earn IHG One Rewards Diamond status — you can earn it based on the number of nights you stay, you can earn it based on how much qualifying spending you have at IHG properties, or you can earn it by spending on a co-branded credit card.

Earning IHG Diamond status with hotel stays

IHG One Rewards Diamond status can be earned either based on the number of nights you stay or the number of qualifying points you earn, as follows:

  • Stay 70 qualifying nights in a calendar year; even award nights count toward that total
  • Earn 120,000 qualifying points in a calendar year; you ordinarily earn 10x base points per dollar spent, so you’d earn that after spending $12,000 at most IHG brands

These are pretty steep requirements, as this requires more nights than you’d need to earn Hilton Honors Diamond, Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, or World of Hyatt Globalist.

IHG One Rewards elite requirements

Earning IHG Diamond status with credit cards

IHG has three co-branded credit cards, and two of them give you the opportunity to earn Diamond status with spending. Specifically, the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) and IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review) offer Platinum status for as long as you have the card, and Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year.

While $40,000 isn’t an insignificant amount to spend, I’d say that’s a reasonable spending requirement to earn status in comparison to the number of nights required. Also keep in mind that these cards offer all kinds of awesome perks, like an anniversary free night award.

Earn IHG Diamond status by spending $40,000

IHG One Rewards Diamond status benefits

With the requirements to earn status out of the way, what are the benefits of IHG One Rewards Diamond status? Below are the benefits and perks, roughly in the order in which I value them (I’m putting Milestone Rewards at the end, because the value is so dependent on how much you stay and how you earn your status).

Complimentary breakfast

IHG Diamond members are entitled to a welcome amenity at check-in. What’s exciting is that you can select complimentary full breakfast as an option, which is going to provide the most value.

This is valid for the member and one registered guest for each night of the stay, and includes one main menu item with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, or a full buffet with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. The value of this can add up quickly, and it’s fantastic to see IHG consistently offering elite members breakfast.

100% IHG bonus points

IHG Diamond status offers a 100% points bonus on all eligible stays. Since you ordinarily earn 10x IHG points per dollar spent at most IHG brands, you’d earn an extra 10x points per dollar spent, which will make your points add up quickly. This is in addition to any points earned through IHG One Rewards promotions.

Room upgrades (subject to availability)

IHG Diamond members are entitled to room upgrades, subject to availability at check-in:

  • Upgrades are offered up to standard suites, though this is at the hotel’s discretion; that’s to say that a hotel doesn’t have to make a suite available for an upgrade, even if it’s empty
  • Unfortunately many IHG properties aren’t great about proactive upgrades; however, hotels are coached to confirm upgrades up to 48 hours before arrival, though that doesn’t mean it always happens

On paper the upgrade benefit is the same for Platinum and Diamond members, though in practice Diamond members should receive preferential upgrades, and are more likely to get suite upgrades. If you do have Diamond status and aren’t proactively offered an upgrade, I’d definitely recommend asking about it at check-in.

Reward night discounts

IHG Diamond members get access to award night discount promotions several times per year. There’s no specific timeline with which this happens, though a few times per year we see brief periods where you can get a 15-20% discount on awards. Since IHG has dynamic award pricing, there’s definitely value to redeeming during these promotions.

Early check-in & late check-out (subject to availability)

IHG Diamond members receive early check-in (no exact cutoff specified) and late check-out (as late as 2PM). The catch is that this is subject to availability, so it isn’t guaranteed as it is with some other hotel groups. Don’t count on this being granted, though it’s something you can definitely ask for.

Dedicated customer support

IHG Diamond members get access to special customer service support, which other elite tiers don’t receive. That might not sound too exciting, but I find that IHG customer service in general can be lackluster when it comes to resolving problems, so I can see this coming in handy.

Guaranteed room availability

IHG Diamond members get guaranteed room night availability when booking at least 72 hours in advance. This could come in handy if you’re trying to book at a sold out hotel, but expect that you’ll pay a very high rate for this privilege.

The main issue is that this benefit doesn’t apply “during special events that result in extraordinary room demand, as determined solely by the hotel.” That would typically be the time when something like this would be most valuable.

Access to Milestone Rewards program

Arguably the most exciting aspect of the IHG One Rewards program is Milestone Rewards, which is only somewhat tied to elite status. With Milestone Rewards, members can be rewarded for every 10 elite nights they earn in a calendar year, starting at 20 elite nights and all the way up to 100 elite nights. Potential rewards include confirmed suite upgrades, club lounge passes, food & beverage vouchers, and more.

At 20 elite nights, IHG members can choose one of the following:

  • 5,000 bonus IHG points
  • Two food & beverage rewards worth $20 each
  • A confirmable suite upgrade

At 30 elite nights, IHG members can choose one of the following:

  • 5,000 bonus IHG points
  • Two food & beverage rewards worth $20 each

At 40 elite nights, IHG members can choose two of the following:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each
  • A confirmable suite upgrade (limit one)
  • An annual lounge membership (limit one)

At both 50 and 60 elite nights, IHG members can choose one of the following:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each

At 60 elite nights, IHG members can choose one of the following:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each

At 70 elite nights, IHG members can choose two of the following:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each
  • A confirmable suite upgrade (limit one)
  • An annual lounge membership (limit one)

At 80, 90, and 100 elite nights, IHG members can choose one of the following:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each

These are almost without a doubt the most valuable elite perks offered by IHG One Rewards. For example, if you’re a Diamond member who earns 70 elite nights in a year, you could potentially earn three confirmable suite upgrades (each valid for a stay of up to five nights) plus an annual lounge membership (which gets you lounge access for an entire year). There’s a ton of value to be had there.

Get club lounge access with Milestone Rewards

Is IHG One Rewards Diamond status worth it?

Historically IHG hasn’t had an elite program that could compete with the other major hotel programs. Fortunately that changed in 2022, with the introduction of IHG One Rewards Diamond status, plus Milestone Rewards.

On the most basic level, IHG Diamond members receive free breakfast, a 100% points bonus, and room upgrades up to standard suites (at the hotel’s discretion). But the area where the status really offers value is with Milestone Rewards.

If you do earn 70 elite nights in a year you can select an annual club lounge pass, plus multiple confirmed suite upgrades. That’s where the value of the program really shines, and competes with the best of them.

If you stay at IHG properties somewhat often, I could definitely see value in spending $40,000 on the IHG Premier Card or IHG Premier Business Card to earn Diamond status. However, you’ll then also want to unlock some Milestone Rewards, so you can get club lounge access and more.

One other thing worth mentioning is that if you frequently stay at InterContinental and Six Senses properties, there’s separately the InterContinental Ambassador program. This is a paid membership program that offers additional perks at these properties, somewhat separate from the IHG One Rewards program.

It’s hard to directly compare IHG Diamond status to other major top tier hotel statuses, because the value is so much tied to the Milestone Rewards program.

On the surface I’d say IHG One Rewards Diamond is most comparable to Hilton Honors Diamond, in terms of the upgrade benefits, lack of guaranteed late check-out, etc. The difference is that you can get Hilton Diamond status just for having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (review), with no spending requirement. Then again, Hilton Honors doesn’t have Milestone Rewards.

The information and associated card details on this page for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by OMAAT and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Status becomes really valuable with Milestone Rewards

Bottom line

IHG One Rewards is a pretty compelling program, and Diamond status is IHG’s top-tier status. You need to stay 70 nights or earn 120,000 qualifying points for the status, or alternatively it can be earned by spending $40,000 on the IHG Premier Card or IHG Premier Business Card in a calendar year.

IHG Diamond status offers solid benefits, including free breakfast, a 100% points bonus, room upgrades, and more. The value of the program increases with Milestone Rewards, where you can earn confirmed suite upgrades and club lounge access.

What do you make of IHG One Rewards’ Diamond status tier?

Conversations (12)
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  1. Sea Pea Guest

    I guess it's not worth trying to get IHg diamond to hear you all tell it. Just spend my way to 90 elite nights at hyatt I guess.....? Usually stop at 60 but what's the point now.

  2. InternationalTraveler Gold

    The benefits and lever of recognition as a Diamond or Ambassador varies greatly from property to property. Some just provide the bare minimum and only if you asked, while others provide a great experience.

    I have been treated very well in multiple stays at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco.

  3. LEo Diamond

    The greatest part of being an IHG diamond is that you're not tied to it, you can renew your diamond through getting an Ambassador subscription. Considering the 15K renewing bonus + BOGO, it's like a free diamond.

    1. digital_notmad Diamond

      Does this work indefinitely, or just once?

    2. Ernesto Guest

      Agree! Hope it stays that way...

  4. K.D. Guest

    Thank you for providing such detailed information on the Diamond status. We traveled to Boston this past July and stayed at the Intercontinental. Armed with Platinum status we paid the $200 to upgrade to Ambassador status ready for the trip. Needless to say, we were very disappointed in the experience and felt let down upon check-in. From everything we read, we expected a dedicated area for "status" members checking in. Nope, get in line and...

    Thank you for providing such detailed information on the Diamond status. We traveled to Boston this past July and stayed at the Intercontinental. Armed with Platinum status we paid the $200 to upgrade to Ambassador status ready for the trip. Needless to say, we were very disappointed in the experience and felt let down upon check-in. From everything we read, we expected a dedicated area for "status" members checking in. Nope, get in line and wait until you are called. Apparently in Boston, an upgrade in your room means a different view out your window and not a bigger room or suite. At least for the Ambassador status we got a bottle of water and two bags of nuts. I didn't expect the presidential suite or a confetti parade, but I would have liked to have been treated a little better for at least paying for a next level status.

    1. digital_notmad Diamond

      I've stayed at this property too as a Diamond with an Ambassador membership - had the same experience you described. They're very stingy with elite benefits.

    2. Ernesto Guest

      One of the best features (unadvertised) of the Ambassador program is that once you reach IHG Diamond AND renew Ambassador status the following year, it extends Diamond (with all the breakfast benefits that entails) for the following year even if you had not qualified in the prior year. And renewing Ambassador usually requires fewer (net) IHG points or dollars if you take advantage of the renewal incentives that are generally provided as the membership year...

      One of the best features (unadvertised) of the Ambassador program is that once you reach IHG Diamond AND renew Ambassador status the following year, it extends Diamond (with all the breakfast benefits that entails) for the following year even if you had not qualified in the prior year. And renewing Ambassador usually requires fewer (net) IHG points or dollars if you take advantage of the renewal incentives that are generally provided as the membership year expiration approaches.

      I have generally seen improved recognition and upgrades (usually internationally and occasionally domestically) based on Diamond Ambassador status, with 50%+ upgrade success.

    3. Phillip Diamond

      Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone about that! Let’s pretend it doesn’t happen so that it doesn’t get taken away! ;-)

  5. B.K. Guest

    I'm not sure there's much value offered by highlighting late check-out for the Diamond Elite tier when the same 'benefit' (even the same check-out time) is available to any IHG rewards member at any level, even non-elites and people who have just signed up that day.

    "Subject to availability" diminishes much of the opportunity to actually make use of this, but presumably they'd be able to follow through on it more if the option was in some way exclusive.

  6. Sean M. Diamond

    I've been Diamond and I've been Platinum.

    Other than the breakfast benefit, there is zero difference in treatment for the most part.

  7. DRJ Guest

    Hi Lucky. I had been an IHG Platinum member for more than a decade, and last year I became a Diamond member for the 1st time.
    My honest opinion of this Tier and how IHG hotels have treated me so far? Nothing special. Being Platinum ( pre-pandemic ) I used to get better recognition upon check in. Hotels have been reluctant to upgrade me to any worthy rooms in most properties I have been...

    Hi Lucky. I had been an IHG Platinum member for more than a decade, and last year I became a Diamond member for the 1st time.
    My honest opinion of this Tier and how IHG hotels have treated me so far? Nothing special. Being Platinum ( pre-pandemic ) I used to get better recognition upon check in. Hotels have been reluctant to upgrade me to any worthy rooms in most properties I have been to ( except in Dubai where customer service means everything ). So I don't really care about the Diamond Tier for next year.

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K.D. Guest

Thank you for providing such detailed information on the Diamond status. We traveled to Boston this past July and stayed at the Intercontinental. Armed with Platinum status we paid the $200 to upgrade to Ambassador status ready for the trip. Needless to say, we were very disappointed in the experience and felt let down upon check-in. From everything we read, we expected a dedicated area for "status" members checking in. Nope, get in line and wait until you are called. Apparently in Boston, an upgrade in your room means a different view out your window and not a bigger room or suite. At least for the Ambassador status we got a bottle of water and two bags of nuts. I didn't expect the presidential suite or a confetti parade, but I would have liked to have been treated a little better for at least paying for a next level status.

3
Sean M. Diamond

I've been Diamond and I've been Platinum. Other than the breakfast benefit, there is zero difference in treatment for the most part.

3
B.K. Guest

I'm not sure there's much value offered by highlighting late check-out for the Diamond Elite tier when the same 'benefit' (even the same check-out time) is available to any IHG rewards member at any level, even non-elites and people who have just signed up that day. "Subject to availability" diminishes much of the opportunity to actually make use of this, but presumably they'd be able to follow through on it more if the option was in some way exclusive.

2
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