Pros & Cons Of IHG Rewards Club

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There have been quite a few changes to the IHG Rewards Club program in the past 12 months and unfortunately I have added far more new cons this year than pros.

ihg-rewards-club-pros-cons

IHG Rewards Club can still be very rewarding program IF you can work the promos of earning points and using them for Point Breaks hotels at 5,000 points per night.

You can access IHG Rewards Club webpage here.

What do you like and don’t like about IHG Rewards Club? Please leave your comments and opinions below.

Pros

– Point Earnings – Points, Points & More Points

– Easy Status Match (New)

– Number of Properties

– Kimpton Hotels (NEW)

– Working Website

– Worldwide Coverage

– Dining Rewards (NEW)

– InterContinental Brand

– Award Availability

– Points Breaks Social Flash & Last Minute Rewards Nights (Expanded)

– Type of Awards

– Number of Points Earned At InterContinental Hotels (NEW)

– Any Hotel Any Time

– Number of Discount Programs

– Friends & Family

– Consistent Lower Brands

– Stay/Point Postings

– Best Price Guarantee

– Points never expire

IHG Rewards Club Pros and Cons Brands

Cons

– Social Media Representation

– Customer Service – Philippines

– IHG Rewards Club Club Vs. Ambassador

– Elite Treatment at Properties

– No Status Match (NEW)

– Promotions (can register but don’t always work)

– Closing Accounts That Register For Promotions (NEW)

– Elite Benefits on Award Stays

– Ambassador Accelerator & InterContinental 100% Bonus (For Royal Ambassadors) Gone (NEW)

– Points Earnings are not Uniform

– Big Win, Into The Nights, Set Your Sights Etc.

– Communication (NEW)

– Holiday Inn/Crowne Plaza Hotels in North America

– Targeted Promotions & IHG Rewards Club IT (NEW)

– No hip brand

– Best Price Guarantee (Getting worse)

– No list of properties moving up/down

IHG Rewards Club Pros and Cons Brands First

Positives of IHG Rewards Club

Point Earnings – Points, Points & More Points

IHG Rewards Club is the easiest program to rack up points really fast by signing up for numerous overlapping promos that I have written about there on LoyaltyLobby.

Easy Status Match (New)

If you have status with a chain that IHG Rewards Club matches, you can get Platinum status match easily (read more here).

Number of Properties

InterContinental Hotels Group has around 4900 properties under its brands as of December 2014.

Kimpton Hotels (NEW)

InterContinental Hotels Group purchased the US based boutique hotel chain Kimpton Hotels. It is unclear when and if they are integrated to IHG Rewards Club (I would imagine so).

Working Website

The branded and mobile websites are quite functional. InterContinental.com, however, is not the easiest one to use to make bookings.

Worldwide Coverage

The group has a good presence around the world.

Dining Rewards (NEW)

IHG Rewards Club has launched/relaunched its Dining Rewards program in many countries in Asia. You get one category status bump, one free night cert at any IHG hotel and other benefits for a set fee.

InterContinental Brand

For some reason, I really like the InterContinental brand. It was founded by Pan Am and first hotel opened in 1946 in Belem Brazil.

Award Availability

I have never really had award availability problems with IHG Rewards Club. Sometimes the discounted Point Breaks or Social Flash award room inventory is gone very fast, however.

Points Breaks, Social Flash & Last Minute Rewards Nights (Expanded)

This is absolutely the best deal when it comes to hotel rewards. Every two to three months IHG Rewards Club releases number of Point Breaks hotels for bookings in the following couple of months. These are only 5K points per night regardless of the usual number of points required for night and best properties tend to go fast.

IHG Rewards Club also has Last Minute Reward Nights for the first weekend of each month at 50% off. Social Flash sales at 25% to 75% off took place few times at the end of 2013. We’ll see if they make a return in 2014 as well.

Type of Awards

In addition to Point Breaks, IHG Rewards Club has regular awards, Points + Cash, you can use points for gift cards, flights etc.

Number of Points Earned At InterContinental Hotels (NEW)

Many used to complain that it was unfair that you would earn the same flat 2,000 points per stay at InterContinental hotels regardless of the length or price paid.

Any Hotel Any Time

You can use IHG Rewrads Club points to redeem for Any Hotel Any Time branded stored value cards. You can use these to pay for any hotel.

Redeeming for these can be very lucrative if IHG Rewards Club has a promotion for discounted Any Hotel Any Time cards like they did years ago.

Number of Discount Programs

IHG Rewards Club has a number discount plans for Europe and other regions. They also tend to have sales around the holidays in Europe and China. The most popular one is the of 2-4-1 for Europe (read more here).

Friends & Family

InterContinental Hotels Group has a public Friends & Family program that is open to anyone (read more here). Note that these rates do not qualify for points or stay credits. Status related benefits may be extended depending of the hotel in question.

Consistent Lower Brands

IHG’s most consistent brands are limited service Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites brands.

Stay/ Point Postings

IHG Rewards Club stays seems to post without having to follow up most of the time.

Best Price Guarantee

Although the terms and conditions of this guarantee have changed several times during the past year, they are still offering a completely free night IF you can find a lower comparable rate in the same currency. The first night is completely free and there is no requirement to book more than one night.

Points never expire

Points never expire. At least they do not for now.

IHG Rewards Club Pros and Cons Brands Global Scale

Negatives of IHG Rewards Club

Social Media Representation

IHG Rewards Club lacks in social media participation. Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood all have representatives replying to concerns about program and properties. They typically help program members to fix problems they are having.

Customer Service – Philippines

The IHG Rewards  Service Center is located in Philippines and the associates replying to emails, if you ever get a reply, or manning the lines, have probably never have stayed at an IHG property.

The first reply is normally a blurb of text that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the question. On a rare case that I have needed to solve a problem, it has usually been fixed after couple of rounds of emails or by phoning the service center.

IHG Rewards Club VS Ambassador

This is the part that is quite difficult for many to understand because it is unique for IHG.

InterContinental Hotels have a different program for status recognition than other IHG hotels. You need to buy an Ambassador membership that costs $200 or get it through a promo. Ambassador status gets you instant Gold with IHG Rewards Club.

You earn IHG Rewards Club points at InterContinental hotels but the status benefits are per Ambassador T&C’s

Elite Treatment at Properties (Getting better)

There are very few hard benefits beyond some extra points based on the IHG Rewards Club Gold or Platinum status. Internet access, breakfast, club lounge access or guaranteed early/late check in/out are not IHG Rewards Club Gold or Platinum benefits. Priority Club announced a set of Gold/Platinum benefits that are confirmed but they are only applicable for Priority Club properties in Greater China.

IHG Rewards Club Gold & Platinum members have been eligible for complimentary internet since mid 2013. All IHG Rewards Club members have had complimentary internet access from January 1, 2014.

Some properties will go beyond what is required by the program T&C’s, when it comes to treating elite members.

No Status Match (NEW)

IHG Rewards Club used to be very liberal with status matched and what counted to the point minimums (all points earned). This all changed in 2014, however. No status matches anymore and only base points and bonus points packaged continue to count.

There are credit cards in many markets, however, that continue to give holder Gold or Platinum status.

Promotions (can register but doesn’t work)

IHG Rewards Club allows you to register for many promotions that you are not targeted for. Quite a few will post but not all. You really don’t know before you have done the stays what works for your account and what doesn’t.

Closing Accounts That Register For Promotions (NEW)

A couple of years ago, the head of loyalty for IHG claimed that travelers that register for promotions are smart. Nowadays, however, IHG Rewards Club may freeze and/or cancel your account for registering promotions that you were not originally targeted for,

Elite Benefits on Award Stays

Officially, most of the elite benefits do NOT apply on award stays. Most of the properties do extend them but they don’t have to.

Ambassador Accelerator & InterContinental 100% Bonus (For Royal Ambassadors) Gone (NEW)

IHG Rewards Club ended the Ambassador Accelerator bonus points program for 20,000 points every 15 nights without any announcement (read more here). Now, they seems to have ended bonus points for stays at InterContinental hotels without any communication as well (read more here).

Points Earnings are not uniform

You earn 2000 base points regardless of the spend at all InterContinental Hotel properties outside of the Americas. In the Americas, you will earn 10 points per dollar spend at InterContinental Hotels, but only 2000 at the InterContinental Alliance properties.

Big Win, Into The Nights, Set Your Sights Etc.

Big Win made its debut (really the old Crack The Case) in the fall of 2013, returned for the spring of 2014 and became Into The Nights in the fall of 2014.

The number of stays, brand or other promotion requirements made it onerous for some members to complete it that stay a lot with IHG. Non-frequent members received generally better offers.

Communication (NEW)

IHG Rewards Club has made number of negative changes to its program without ANY communication to the members. I try to cover them all here on LoyaltyLobby with the help of readers.

Holiday Inn/Crowne Plaza Hotels in North America

Although IHG has spent considerable amount of money trying to bring these two brands to brand standards, there are still great number of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels that have seen their better days and should be either fixed up or reflagged.

Targeted Promotions & IHG Rewards Club IT (NEW)

There were number of issues with the Into The Nights promotion that IHG Rewards Club had in the fall of 2014. Some members had their targeted offer change number of times, the promotion dashboard didn’t update for more than a month, the hurdles didn’t always have proper information how to complete them, customer service was useless most of the time resolving the issues and I could go on and on.

IHG Rewards Club should make sure that they have the IT and competence to properly run these promotions before launching them.

No hip brand

IHG doesn’t have a hip brand like W or Hyatt’s Andaz. The only IHG brand that I like is the InterContinental. IHG tries to market Indigo as a boutique’ish hip brand, but I am not entirely sold on it.

Best Price Guarantee (Getting worse)

This is both the positive and the negative at the same time. The premise of getting a complimentary night if you find a lower price elsewhere is a good one. The hoops that you need to go through to take IHG on their promise, is not.

IHG Rewards Club tweaked the Best Price Guarantee several times in 2013 and made online submissions the only way to file for a one. The Best Price Guarantee department is not properly manned (on purpose) and getting a reply from them can take days.

No list of properties moving up/down

All other programs provide a list of properties moving up and down on the award chart. Earlier this year, IHG didn’t release a list for competitive reasons. This was absolutely ridiculous. For the minimum, they should have provided this as all the other chains do.

No stay/night credit for award stays

IHG Rewards Club started offering stay/night credits for award nights as well that count towards the status qualification..

Priority Club doesn’t give you stay/night credit for award stays like SPG and Hilton do.

Conclusion

I really would like to be more positive towards IHG Rewards Club and the Ambassador program, but the changes in the past 12 months have been mostly negative.

A friend of mine who holds top status in a handful of chains asked me if it was worth purchasing the the Ambassador membership and/or pursuing Royal Ambassador status.  A few years ago this would have been a definite yes, however the recent “enhancements” have changed my opinion and I would just say “maybe”.

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  • Henry C

    I’d have to disagree on Social Media Representation – I think the IHG RC twitter feed is pretty good. They link your twitter handle with your IHG RC profile, so when I’ve tweeted before with something as simple as ‘no hot water at this Holiday Inn’, they’ve looked up my account, found the reservation, phoned the duty manager and asked him to sort it out, or compensate me.

    • The problem is that I don’t believe that we would need to rely on publicly Tweeting issues before they are taken care off.

  • David

    I’ve been platinum IHG for 17 years, and RA for a few of those. After a number of on property issues in 2014, and a ridiculously comical series of emails back and forth to the service center, I will not be actively IHG loyal this year, and will be moving my loyalty to another chain. They have a few properties I really like, but that’s it now.

    • The customer service even at the Royal Ambassador level is problematic.

    • The customer service even at the Royal Ambassador level is problematic.

  • James

    I am Platnium. Just got the status and have only stayed once since. Didn’t really get any recognition and no room upgrade or anything. It takes a ton of points to redeem for even mediocre properties. Haven’t even looked at the big cities for redemption. I stayed quite a bit last year in the US and in the UK. Loved the properties I stayed at in the UK. I feel like reducing the points required or having better sales on redeeming other than just Point Breaks.

  • Jamo

    I’m allowing my Royal Ambassador status to slip this year. I also feel that things are being devalued and I’m now spending down all my points (over 2m of them). I used to maintain a balance of paid stays to maintain status, and redeem points when rates were very high. The big promos are unachievable, the small promos for 1000 points here and there seem to gave dried up, and the reward nights no longer count towards Royal Ambassador status. If they did, I’d probably hit it.

    My preferred London hotel also moved to Conrad (formerly IC Westminster) and I’m not particularly in love with the Park Lane one as it’s aimed squarely at guests from the Middle East and can lack atmosphere at certain times. I do love some of the hotels such as Paris, Sydney and Dubai and I’ll be staying there (probably with normal Ambassador) for the next couple of years at least. After that I’ll re-assess, but probably look elsewhere or mix it up. As the schemes become worth less and less, choice actually increases as the loyalty isn’t being rewarded.

    • There definitely wasn’t as many of those 1,000 bonus points per stay for 90 days etc. promotions last year as on the previous ones.

  • Wavshrdr

    I guess I am in the minority with no real reason to slam IHG. I am lifetime Platinum with Marriott and was Plat Premier with them the last several years. I had to start traveling to places where Marriott didn’t have a good presence so I gave IHG a shot since HIEs seem to be everywhere.

    Sadly I joined right in the midst of IHG pulling their status much. So I started at the bottom even though the previous year I had over 250 paid stays with Marriott and the relatively stupid people at IHG didn’t want to match and I almost went with Hilton or SPG.

    Long story short over the last year I stayed about 140 nights with IHG even though I wasn’t with them a full year. I got far better upgrades with IHG even as a Gold with them than I did with Plat Premier status with Marriott. As a Plat with IHG I get upgraded about 90% of the time and with Marriott only about 15% of the time.

    Final straw for me with Marriott though was on a points stay in Paris on their main hotel on Champs. Stay pretty much was borderline miserable. My room smelled like smoke, internet was trash and so on. For a room that had a current rate of 700 Euro a night I expected much better and no upgrade even. After a few nights I bailed out and went to IHG just a block over. I got an amazing room, they had a nice welcome spread on the table, wine, fruits, chocolate etc. A much nice room with a nice view of the street and I was treated like royalty without being a sheikh from UAE or Saudi Arabia. Apparently that is what it takes at the Marriott in Paris to get anything from them but IHG treated me great.

    That was the last time I stayed at a Marriott property. I spent a lot of money with them each year and I’ll just run out the million or so points I have left and stay with IHG for the near future. I’ll likely write for a Compensation Clinic on how IHG bent over backwards to help me the few times I’ve had issues. One was an IC property and the other a Crowne. They did great trying to retain my business and make right. With Marriott I had to really push if I had an issue, IHG was the opposite. Suffice to say I feel valued as a customer at IHG whereas I feel taken for granted at Marriott even though I’ve been in their top 2-3% for quite some time.

    Factor in I can accrue points more quickly with IHG than Marriott and it is a no-brainer for me to stay with IHG even though the redemption rate is a bit higher with a 10k minimum typically. Marriott has likely lost me for life. Considering I spent probably about 40-50k a year, if not more, it was a bad move on their part. No real differentiation between being a platinum and platinum premier that I could see either. Better to just make plat with them and go to another chain if you want to keep status with Marriott.

    • Dave

      Hey, thanks for the post 🙂 I love the IC Paris Le Grand – my first choice in Paris, I’m not a marriott guy, until now. Over the last 6-12 months, I believe IHG service has gone downhill, and I’m finding the room rates I’ve booked are missing elements when I get to the property. I’m RA and have made a decision I will not be pursuing re qualification this year, and will stay with Marriott / Hilton instead, subject to them presenting me with a suitable status match.

      Give it a few months of IHG loyalty, and see how you feel. I do believe the IHG point accrual is excellent, and some properties have bonus point packages that equate to a free night on pointbreaks. Platinum recognition on property is hit and miss. 2013 I was 80% upgraded, 2014 I saw 20% upgraded.

      • Jamo

        Paris Le Grand is a fantastic hotel and we’re planning a stay there as I write. Despite having discontent with IHG, I’d never stay with Marriott. I had bad experiences at the beginning of my business travel that left a lasting effect on me, and even now so many years later, I still won’t stay with Marriott. Not unless there is literally no choice. Best of luck with them. They are very hit and miss and the consistency in benefits is very poor, especially in the Middle East.

    • Thanks for the comprehensive write up. Just email me about your compensation experiences with IHG so that I can cover them on Compensation Clinic.

      If you have not signed up for the Ambassador program, do so. You will be Royal Ambassador in no time, as long as you have 20 nights with 3 different InterContinental hotels.

  • Dave

    if I book a stay at IHG hotel and later got it free due to BGR will that stay count to their current promotion?

    • Arne

      no, free nights do not count as qualifying stays

      • Correct. BRG stays are non-qualifying even for status qualification.

  • I don’t like policy of BRG right now. There are getting worse…

  • George M

    I have been Platinum with IHG for slightly under one year, and have been treated very well. I have been able to take three trips in the past five months, strictly on points breaks.

    My expectation is that when I arrive, I will get the room I booked, and any upgrade is a significant bonus. I was with a tour group in Turkey, and even though I wasn’t being billed direct, the Crowne Plaza provided an upgrade when I inquired.

    I have received excellent customer service from them, even today when booking a stay in Toronto, and anticipate the same from the IC Budapest in the spring.

    Unfortunately, their huge promotions like “Into the Night” have never meshed with my travel plans, but this time I might actually make it.

  • notme

    We never did stay very much at IHG hotels. We were really into a good amount of stays with the “Into the Nights” promotion. Then IHG started playing games with the promotion and not awarding the proper points for stays. We canceled about 8 nights of stays and told IHG to go to hell! IHG is lucky if I ever stay at any of their hotels again.

  • Nancy Littlefield

    I’ve been platinum IHG for 4 years through the associated credit card and bought the IC Ambassador for the last 2 years because I found I was staying at IC properties the most, so the cost of membership paid for itself with the free night certificate. Unlike many readers here, I only travel for pleasure, and usually only 3 or 4 times a year at most. Given that, my perspective is different, but I have found the Platinum/Ambassador recognition is very good and very consistent at the IC’s I’ve visited (Mark Hopkins in SF CA, Stephen Austin in TX and Le Grand in Paris). There’s always been a handwritten note with a greeting basket, room upgrade to higher floor and good view (sometimes several steps up, even when using points nights), daily water bottles (nice compared to the $6 bottle at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago), 4 PM checkout (my fav in SF, where we usually have early evening flights home), reservations at full restaurants, and a gesture most appreciated, a complimentary bottle of champagne and cake delivered to the room for my mom’s birthday in Paris. Le Grand also treated us to breakfast when we arrived bleary eyed and hungry at 8:30 AM, even through the entire 6 day visit was paid for with points. This was during Fashion Week and they were sold out, so I was very impressed with their service and our 4th floor room with a view of the Opera. I can’t recommend that property enough. My mom, who very rarely travels, felt like a queen.

    Also got really great treatment at the Crowne in Copenhagen 3 years ago. We were traveling with our kids, so we’d booked two connecting rooms, which didn’t have an upgrade available. To compensate for that they gave us access to the club floor, which meant easy breakfast and snacks on call – a real lifesaver with children. They also gave us free parking and a really great locals’ restaurant recommendation. They were very accommodating to our family.

    On a cross country trip in ’13 I got to make the most of one of their multi brand promos, so those can work for a long driving trip, but that’s the only time I’ve managed that. Platinum status can only go so far at a Holiday Inn Express, but they do seem to try an give you the quietest/highest room (my consistent request), packaged snacks, water bottles, etc. Usually HIE are for one night stays, so I don’t need much from them. Must say the breakfast is horrible, but other people always seem to be eating. I just grab fruit, cereal and a milk. Staybridge is my favorite when taking the kids to visit relatives. Their breakfast is a step up and the rooms are good for families.

    Regarding corporate customer service: All my points have always posted and all my reservations have been honored, so I’ve not have much need for contact. That being said, they’ve come through in two weather related circumstances, so I give them points for taking care of members in need. On that cross country drive the roof of the Staybridge in OK was damaged by a tornado on the day we were arriving, so they called me in route to tell me that they’d booked me a room at another brand motel nearby. It didn’t match Staybridge for quality, but absolutely everything was sold out and people in front of me at midnight were being turned away, so I considered it very good service. My second contact was this summer, when our flight from Denver was cancelled at 11:30 PM, again by weather. The airline voucher was for some pit 25 miles away without a shuttle, so I called IHG and they got 4 of us in a suite at the Holiday Inn, which was sold out by the time our shuttle dropped us off. The front desk kindly provided an emergency toiletry kit for each of us (our bags were checked before the flight got cancelled) as well as snacks and water.

    I’ve been reading this forum for a year or two, and when I first read this I was able to register for more promos using codes I found here. As John wrote about people getting booted or frozen for code abuse, I became a bit more cautious and now only use the codes I get, or which seem open to all. I’ve found the best way for me to earn points is with the credit card – it really is very rewarding when you use it to pay for the room and all expenses at the hotel. It also gives 5 points on all dining all the time, so I have a flow of points, even when not traveling.

    This is long, but I try to give good reviews when I’m happy. It’s easier for most of us to pitch a fit, but I’m vowing this year to write at least one positive on line review a month to support the businesses who serve me well. At this point IHG is on my good list … of course, it’s only Jan 6.

    • Thanks for the comprehensive opinion. It was nice to read!

    • Jeff Russell

      Nancy,

      Nice to hear that you’ve had positive experiences over the 4 years you’ve been frequenting IHG properties. And I agree; it’s too often people are quick to complain but not so quick to compliment – I’m generally not a “complainer”, but also realize I need to be more proactive with the compliments as well. So thanks for the reminder.

      Like you, my wife & I are almost strictly leisure travelers (2-3 vacations & lots of long weekends each year). We’ve been pretty faithful to Choice Hotels for the past 10-15 years. They’ve generally fit the bill on price, as we rarely do anything but sleep in the rooms and have no kids in tow; so we don’t need for much except a comfy bed and a quick breakfast on the way out.

      Over the last few years we’ve noticed there are some locations on our travels that are underserved by Choice, so I took the opportunity (spring before last) during Daily Getaways to join IHG and buy some cheap points with the Amex.

      Shortly after that, we tried out a HI Express on Point Breaks for a golf weekend and were quite impressed. Compared to what we’ve been accustomed to, the rooms were larger, the breakfast was great and the staff was friendly. This hotel was in the middle of Illinois cornfields and they treated us like we were in Beverly Hills (ok, not really but…). At breakfast there were maybe 3-4 couples in the breakfast room and the attendant (several times) went around to each of the tables and asked if there was anything anyone needed or would like more of; as if her only job was to ensure that you felt like you were being waited on in a restaurant.

      We have since only stayed at several Candlewoods, as they were on our way to another destination and also on Point Break lists, and have had good experiences there as well. The only problem I can recall (a room condition issue) was met with “Let’s see how fast we can get you into a nicer room” and a sincere thanks from the manager for pointing the deficiency, as they had an inspection coming up.

      We still have our favorite Choice locations in certain spots that we visit frequently, but recently picked up the IHG Rewards credit cards for 140,000 points (70K each) and plan on exploring more of IHG’s portfolio. Hopefully, we’ll have as good a track record over the next couple of years as you’ve had.

  • Nigel T

    Certainly in the establishments I have stayed in over the last year the service has improved in recognition of being an IHG member. I used to be a big fan of Hilton until they extended the number of stays required to maintain various levels and a not particularly nice experience over a cancellation. There are variations to standards in properties of the same brand, but generally I’m quite happy with IHG

  • BenniHK

    I found IHG does reward me most among all hotel clubs I have registered (99% room upgrades with 50% to suites! Welcome drinks, bonus points, super early checkin/late check out and free wifi) regardless I was just a classic club member comparing with being gold or plat member for spg, accor, Hilton and hyatt.
    However, their recurring computer glitches and horrible customer services provided by Manila centre did made me hesitated to continue my loyalty sometimes (that’s why I dropped to classic last year). I do hope they willing to move their centre to Singapore, hk or even mainland China.

    • Sean G

      That’s very generous and lucky of you. I’ve been Platinum for 3 years now and I’ve only been given 1 suite…. ever

      • The suite upgrades are really property dependent.

  • Phil

    I have been a member of IHG since about 2008…platinum for many of those years. I found 2014 to be a huge disappointment as far as the perks that were yanked from us members and was considering dropping them completely until the ITN promotion offered bonus points for applying for their MasterCard. Having the CC grants you platinum status as long as you have the card as well as a slew of bonus points for using the card on purchases.

    My advice for anyone would be if you can get the CC then IHG is definitely worth all of the bonus points you will get and platinum status you attain. I use these points to book reward nights. However if you don’t want to bother with the CC and do not travel much attaining platinum will be almost impossible and is not worth the hassle.

    • I haven’t included credit card aspects on these series because they are not available in all/most markets.

  • Matt

    Dining Rewards in Australia (like China) has the status bump and free night – in the case of my already-matched platinum status, I’ve been assured that I’ll maintain platinum so long as my Dining Rewards membership remains current.

    AU$319 per year (with the free night) to lock in platinum status seemed like a reasonable deal, particularly since platinum recognition seems to be fairly good at Australian hotels. Suite upgrades also don’t seem to be too much hassle.

    • Yep. I need to write an update about the Dining Rewards program.

    • Yep. I need to write an update about the Dining Rewards program.

  • Matt

    IHG properties are getting more scarce in Australia and New Zealand with closures in the Northern Territory and Queensland in particular. I was also a RA and Platinum member but have decided to switch allegiance to Hilton and Accor – both of whom seem to be progressing better in this part of the world. The Australian Priority Privilege program is now winding down and being replaced with a less-generous scheme. A shame really, but good things perhaps never are meant to last!

    • Probably the Dining Rewards is replacing the Priority Privilege?

      • Pclifto

        Yes Dining Rewards is replacing Priority Privilege.

        Not sure if I would call DR less generous than PP, though it depends on the benefits you most often use.

        For mine, the accom benefits in DR are better, as the Free Night can be used at any IHG hotel,worldwide. This replaces the BOGO which, as is obvious, required a 1st paid night before a 2nd free night. Not to mention that this was restricted only to Australasia hotels and often had restrictions and availability issues.

        The food benefits are debatable – PP had a regressive discount the more people who dined (50% off for 2, 33% off for 3, 25% off for 4, etc etc). But this was food only – did not include drinks. Whereas DR is a flat 25% off regardless of the number of diners, but the discount also applies to beverages. So I guess it depends how you used to use PP versus how you would use DR.

        Also DR includes the status upgrade as has been mentioned, as well as the ability to use the program in more countries in APAC.

        I view DR as more compelling than PP, but will be interested in your full review, John!

        • Peter Simmons

          Agree with the above, the BOGO I found was a nightmare to redeem. Blackout dates made using it any of the really good properties difficult.

          I also like that it can be used in other regions, particularly China & Singapore. This makes it more “user-friendly” for business travel.

      • Pclifto

        Yes Dining Rewards is replacing Priority Privilege.

        Not sure if I would call DR less generous than PP, though it depends on the benefits you most often use.

        For mine, the accom benefits in DR are better, as the Free Night can be used at any IHG hotel,worldwide. This replaces the BOGO which, as is obvious, required a 1st paid night before a 2nd free night. Not to mention that this was restricted only to Australasia hotels and often had restrictions and availability issues.

        The food benefits are debatable – PP had a regressive discount the more people who dined (50% off for 2, 33% off for 3, 25% off for 4, etc etc). But this was food only – did not include drinks. Whereas DR is a flat 25% off regardless of the number of diners, but the discount also applies to beverages. So I guess it depends how you used to use PP versus how you would use DR.

        Also DR includes the status upgrade as has been mentioned, as well as the ability to use the program in more countries in APAC.

        I view DR as more compelling than PP, but will be interested in your full review, John!

  • Sergey Fedorov

    John, what do you think of IHG Dining program?

    http://www.ihg.com/diningrewards/gb/en/faqs

    • I believe that I have written about the Chinese version at least once. Will do an update.

      • Sergey Fedorov

        I have sign up for IHG Dining as 10000 pts goal in current ‘big’ promo, but it looks it’s still not worth overall, since Platinum has little effective difference with Gold here.

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  • Allan

    You need to update the info on IHG Rewards Club. They now have a a status level higher than Platinum Elite, called Spire Elite. Also, effective 4/14/2015, points do expire if no activity within 12 months.

  • With respect.
    These rewards programs regardless of the hotel chains are scams.
    Any heavily discounted room 35% + is a non qualifying stay.

    I’m sorry but I’d rather save on bookings by using a 3rd party rate, con a manager into doing a 80% off at the desk at 1am with a crisp Benjamin.

    What reason can be given to take the rewards programs over say paying $69 a night in room that should be $300+

    Cheers

  • Eddie Coyle

    14 years platinum, on my second year of spire. Generally I’m pretty happy, but what I really want at Spire level is for there to be no Blackout dates for using points for hotel nights. Small price to ask for that level of loyalty, I don’t see much different from Platinum otherwise. That and better coffee at H.I. Express