IHG Rewards Club used to have very easy Platinum status match program and readers in some markets can still get it by applying for certain credit cards.
There are still, however, ways to get the Platinum status without setting a foot at IHG properties and a LoyaltyLobby reader wanted to get my opinion about his plan.
Here’s the email from the reader:
Basically I hardly ever stay at hotels but we are planning a new trip next year in September 2016 to Europe and been looking at hotel loyalty programs for first time.
DO you mind if you can you see if I am on the right path and worked this out correctly. I understand that this could be subject to change between now and then if the group change there program!
Thank you in advance for helping me out and you have such a great website even for newbies like me who don’t travel much but realise there is benefits for even limited travellers.
Basically if I got my maths right for around $550AUD I get the following:
– Platinum Elite Status with no actual nights stayed and no history with IHG.
– Intercontinental Platinum Ambassador Status.
– Two lots of BOGOF Intercontinental Weekend Voucher (with plans to use one of these at IC Paris Le Grand Club Room saving me about 500 – 600 Euro being $700-$850 AUD PLUS Upgrade to come)
– A free night at any IHG Globally. (Will use this voucher with the other BOGOF at IC Dubai Marina for 3 night stopover for the price of one coming back to Australia which will be Thurs night – Sun Morning)
And at participating hotels in Dining Program
– One use 25% off best flexible rate
– Ongoing discount of 10% off Flexible, Advance Purchase and Advance Booking Rates.
– Ongoing 25% off all dining and beverages.
This is achieved by doing this:
Initially around the middle of January 2016 (or when the equivalent of set your sights promotion begins hopefully)- Join IHG Rewards on its own.
This will result in receiving an Initial Club Card.
Do I receive anything apart from a card in my initial membership kit? Are there any points vouchers or other things that come with the initial card?
Around 1-2 weeks later (But ensure after 1 January)- Join Intercontinental Ambassador program at a cost of $200 USD
This will trigger the following:
1) Upgrade to Gold Elite Status and issuing of a new Gold Elite Card.
2) Issuing of a Gold Ambassador Kit which will include a 5000 points voucher (but reading your blog I notice that this might vary), a gold ambassador card, the BOGOF voucher and a luggage tag.
A further 1-2 weeks later – Join IHG Dining Reward Program for Australia at a cost of about $300 AUD
This will trigger a further upgrade from Gold Elite to Platinum Elite which will lead to:
2) Mailout from IHG a pack from Dining Rewards containing: Platinum Elite Dining Rewards Card and a 25% off Discount of Best Flexible Rate Certificate for single use. This will also be my new IHG Platinum Card as well.
3) Loading onto my account / card of a Free Night E-Voucher to be used anywhere from joining Dining Rewards Program and a Dining E-Voucer (currently valued at $50AUD)
4) Issuing of a new Platinum Ambassador Kit which again include a points voucher, a platinum ambassador card, a NEW BOGOF Voucher and luggage tag.
This dining rewards program is great for AU as we don’t have a IHG Credit Card here at the moment.
Because all this was done hypothetically in January 2016 it will keep my platinum status valid until December 2017 if I do not renew the other programs. Also if I read the terms right for the Dining Rewards as long as I renew every year that program I will stay Platinum regardless of whether i renew Ambassador and regardless of nights stayed.
Only after achieving platinum should I start booking hotels.
Although the reader claims to be new to the loyalty program game, he has certainly done his homework.
There is no need to sign up for the IHG Rewards Club before joining to the Ambassador program. I would just pay for the Ambassador status that signs you up for the IHG Rewards Club at the same time.
I would join to the Dining Rewards program AFTER receiving the Gold Ambassador kit. The initial Gold Ambassador kit will include 5,000 points voucher FOR sure. The Platinum Ambassador kit that you receive after signing up for the Dining Rewards most likely (not guaranteed). Both kits will have the BOGO, however, for sure
Note that it can sometime takes 4 to 8 weeks to get the Ambassador kit from IHG Rewards Club.
Your Ambassador status is only going to be valid for 12 months after signing up for it. If your goal is to have the vacation in September 2016, I would sign up for the Ambassador program in early May and then to the dining program in June after receiving the first package.
Your IHG Rewards Club Platinum status will be valid until the end of 2017 but the Ambassador status will end up in May 2016. You can choose to renew it at that time for $150 if you decide to do so.
The reader can certainly save some money by using those free weekend night vouchers and the free award night that comes with the signing up for the Dining Rewards wisely. You just have to remember that the use of free weekend night vouchers is tied to the Best Flexible rate that is often not the lowest.
The reader will get at the minimum a one category upgrade on paid stays at Intercontinental hotels, fruit and water amenity, and guaranteed 4PM check out. The room upgrade and 4PM check out are worth something.