IHG Rewards Club on Wednesday released an update to its elite qualifying/requalifying criteria for 2020. There is a separate policy in place for members in Greater China (read more here).
IHG is relaxing the requirements by 25% to 30% due to a drop in travel activity because of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
You can access IHG’s page for coronavirus policies here.
UPDATE: Here’s relevant part of email that IHG just sent out:
IHG Rewards Club status & InterContinental Ambassador membership extension
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 in that.
With potentially more constrained travel plans and a shorter time period during which Ambassadors can earn Spire Elite tier status, we are reducing the Elite membership criteria required (nights or points) this year by 25% or more. See details here.
With this change, you can continue to earn Elite membership status this year and enjoy all the IHG Rewards Club benefits this brings through 2020 and into 2021. Alongside this, we are also providing a complimentary three-month extension to your InterContinental Ambassador membership. In line with our usual process, membership of our invitational Royal Ambassador tier will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
These changes will be reflected in member accounts in the coming weeks.
Here are the elite benefits matrix (access IHG’s page for elite benefits here):
*Member-exclusive Rates. An IHG® Rewards Club Member is eligible to book exclusive rates available only to IHG® Rewards Club Members, provided the Member books his or her stay at an IHG® hotel through one of IHG’s websites (including mobile sites), the IHG® app, IHG’s central reservations office, or at an IHG® branded hotel’s front desk. Member-exclusive rates are not currently available in all regions, including Greater China properties (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), and availability of Member-exclusive rates varies by brand as well.
** Upon qualification for Spire Elite, Members may choose to either receive a 25,000 annual point bonus or to gift Platinum Elite to a family member or friend.
- Standard internet access will be available to all IHG® Rewards Club Members at no additional cost at all IHG hotels located globally with or without a hotel booking and/or qualifying stay. Internet availability in common areas varies by hotel. Internet accessibility, speed, and connectivity in common areas and guest rooms vary by hotel. Details regarding a property’s internet accessibility are available at the hotel’s registration desk. Please note that The Venetian® and The Palazzo®, an InterContinental Alliance® Resort, do not offer the Free Internet Access benefit, which is instead included in the daily resort fee.
- May not be available in all regions.
- Platinum Elite and Spire Elite Members will be offered a complimentary upgrade, as determined by the hotel, which might include rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated rooms, or rooms with preferred views. The upgrade will be offered at time of check-in, subject to and based on availability, and will only apply to the Member’s personal guest room. The hotel is not required to upgrade Members to suites or specialty rooms. Upgrade benefits will not apply to rooms booked at Holiday Inn Express hotels in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Upgrade benefits may not be available at InterContinental Residences.
- When contacting the IHG® Rewards Club Customer Care Centre directly and guaranteeing the reservation with a valid credit card, each Platinum Elite or Spire Elite Member will be guaranteed one guest room for personal use, for reservations made at least 72 hours prior (24 hours prior for Royal Ambassador Member) to the date of arrival, except during special events that result in extraordinary room demand, as determined solely by the hotel. The Member will not be charged more than the prevailing rate for the accommodation requested, and the Member is not entitled to a rate less than the prevailing rate. Once made, Platinum Elite, Spire Elite or Royal Ambassador Guarantees may not be dishonored for any reason. If the Member does not arrive and has not obtained a cancellation number as per the individual hotel cancellation policy, the credit card may be billed for one night’s room and tax. Platinum Elite, Spire Elite or Royal Ambassador Guarantees do not apply to Reward or Free Nights. These reservations can only be made through the IHG® Rewards Club Customer Care Centre. A minimum stay duration requirement may apply at select locations.
- Points in your account do not expire for all current Elite Members, although all of your Points may expire twelve (12) months after your account moves to Club level from an Elite level without earn or redeem activity.
The policy for members in Greater China:
You can get IHG Rewards Club Platinum status by merely signing up or renewing an Ambassador status (extends Spire Elite status indefinitely too).
Considering how few confirmed benefits IHG elite members have, none beyond bonus points, someone paying a considerable number of nights traveling are better taking care of by other hotel loyalty programs such as Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.
It may turn out that reducing the requirements by 25% to 30% may not end up being enough, considering all the travel bans introduced.