IHG Rewards Club Lowers 2020 Elite Requirements

Filed Under: IHG Rewards

Update: All members’ program status will be automatically extended through January 2022. Spire Elite members will be able to select a Choice benefit of 25,000 bonus points or gifting of Platinum status to someone. 

While airline and hotel elite status is hardly the most important topic at this point, I have to give IHG Rewards Club status for what they just announced…

I believe loyalty programs will lower elite requirements

As I wrote about last week, I strongly believe that most major airline and hotel loyalty programs will lower elite requirements or offer some sort of concessions for 2020.

To me the question isn’t if they’ll offer something, but rather what they’ll offer and when they’ll offer it.

It’s the right thing to do for business, because travel is way down. I feel like some loyalty program executives are in denial about this, though in the end will come to their senses. As I view it, there are two best ways to go about it:

  • Either loyalty programs should already announce some sort of reduced requirements now, noting that requirements may be further reduced depending on how things evolve
  • Otherwise they should note that they plan on offering something, but are monitoring the situation to see how it evolves

The point is, programs should be sending the message to members that they realize times are tough and that people can’t travel as much as previously.

Personally I think the only wrong thing for loyalty program executives to be saying right now is that they’re not planning on changing anything this year when it comes to elite requirements. At that point they’re better off saying nothing.

IHG Rewards Club lowers elite requirements

IHG Rewards Club has today announced that they plan on lowering elite requirements for 2020.

As it’s described, “with more constrained travel plans and a shorter time period during which members can earn elite tier status,” IHG is reducing requirements for elite status by at least 25%.

Here’s a chart showing the modified 2020 elite requirements:

As the note goes on to explain:

We know that many of you are now thinking about how to manage your loyalty activity this year and we are committed to supporting you to do that. You are our most loyal guests and we want to give you more reasons to get away and stay with us – when the time is right for you.

This is a brilliant approach

I think IHG’s approach here is exactly the approach loyalty programs should be taking. I think it’s absolutely reasonable to expect elite requirements will be reduced by at least a quarter, and it’s nice to announce that now, to show members that loyalty is a two way street.

Then based on how things evolve, further reductions could be announced.

While I appreciate the concept behind this, the big catch here is that IHG Rewards Club status is the least valuable of any major hotel group…

Bottom line

Well done, IHG Rewards Club. I’d like to see other loyalty programs make similar announcements — I think this is a reasonable approach to take. Realistically loyalty programs will have to reduce requirements this year, and I think a reduction of requirements by at least a quarter should be a given.

Given that, I think it’s a nice, proactive gesture to say now “hey, we got your back, and we’re reducing requirements by at least a quarter, and will continue to monitor the situation.”

  1. Hilton is making ALL rates refundable for bookings that’s made until April 30th regardless of stay dates.

  2. Hopefully Bonvoy, with their useless promotions and high night requirements to Platinum, will follow. I’m not holding my breath. Saying that, I just canceled three nights for next week. They need to do something to get us back in their beds.

  3. I applaud IHG with this move but it was probably easier for them to do it than others given the low value this program delivers.

  4. Ben,

    I agree this is the right thing to do and applaud IHG as much as I try to avoid the chain due to their poor implementation of Accelerate promotions in the past. However, Best Western several days ago extended everyone’s status through 2022 proactively. While like IHG their status has minimal value, I still applaud the change.

  5. IHG also have made stays refundable up until a certain date apparently. Their public announcement doesn’t make this clear but confirmed with customer service.

  6. Italy has banned public gatherings for millions. Japan closed its schools for a month. Americans are over here wondering how they’re going to make it to Executive Platinum this year.

  7. Both IHG and Hilton have put a policy in place that all non-refundable bookings can be fully refunded for arrivals until 30 April… a post about this?

  8. Do you think that with my elite status at IHG and $4.50 I could get a cup of brewed coffee on my way out the front door as I watch the restaurant employees standing around talking?

  9. When they screwed me and deleted tens of thousands of my points after over a decade of my brand loyalty, I decided I just won’t patronize them. As far as I’m concerned their rewards program and loyalty is garbage.

  10. This is not going away in less than 2 yeardy.

    Loyalty programs would be very wise to freeze your current (2019) status untill end 2021 at the very least. (Of course allowing members to upgrade if they are still traveling)

    This is where lucky US residents can just relax with their ASPIRE card (you lucky sobs)

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