These changes include the following:
- The introduction of a new elite tier
- Lowering qualification requirements for existing elite tiers
- IHG Rewards Club points will expire after 12 months of inactivity
Ultimately these changes weren’t huge one way or another. Perhaps the bigger news was that some hotels changed category as of May 1, 2015, though that wasn’t a huge deal either — fewer than 10% of properties changed categories.
Anyway, possibly the most interesting development was the introduction of a new IHG elite tier. IHG Rewards Club is known for being sort of weak when it comes to elite benefits, though that’s not a huge surprise given that:
- Many IHG properties are limited service, so there’s only so much you can offer in the way of upgrades/benefits
- The tiers have historically been pretty easy to attain, so it’s tough to dish out too many benefits with those tiers
- IHG has a huge global footprint, so the primary reason people will stay with them isn’t because of their loyalty program, but rather because they’re everywhere
IHG’s new top tier elite status is supposed to be rolled out this month, though they’ve been tight-lipped about the details. Well, IHG has sent out training materials to hotels regarding the new program, so we finally know the details of the new top tier status.
IHG’s current elite tiers are Gold and Platinum, so I assumed their new tier would have some traditional name — Palladium, Diamond, Titanium, etc.
But instead IHG Rewards Club’s new top tier status will be called… Spire Elite!
It does seem like that’s a name with which it’ll be tough to throw a temper tantrum. “But I’m a Diamond member” has a ring to it…
“But I’m a Spire Elite?!” Not so much!
IHG Rewards Club did share the benefits of the new status back when they first announced it. In terms of on-property recognition it won’t really be different than Platinum status. And that’s probably a good thing, since many of us have Platinum status through the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which means we won’t really be negatively impacted by these changes.
Instead the main additional benefits of the new Spire status will be:
- A 100% points bonus on top of your base points (as opposed to 50% for Platinum members)
- The ability to receive 25,000 bonus points annually OR gift Platinum status to a friend or family member
That’s certainly better than nothing, though having a 75 night status which doesn’t offer complimentary breakfast, guaranteed late check-out, etc., certainly isn’t very competitive.
I suspect IHG Rewards Club will “officially” be unveiling the new Spire Elite membership details in the coming days, given that they’re targeting a launch this month.
What do you make of the “Spire Elite” name? Anyone actually like it?