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IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!

IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
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Today IHG revealed the full details of the renewed loyalty program, which we’ve been anticipating for some time. This is in addition to our recently updated credit card wallet.

Historically, IHG Rewards have not been very competitive with Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and Hyatt World. This has finally changed, and I’m really impressed. IHG has significantly improved elite perks, including free breakfast for the best elite members, as well as introducing Milestone Rewards, which offer assured upgrades to suites and club lounge tickets. Let’s review all the details.

IHG Rewards becomes IHG One Rewards

To start, IHG’s loyalty program has been renamed IHG One Rewards. This is part of a larger focus by IHG to promote unity and ensure that we all share one world.

IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
The new IHG One Rewards logo

In conjunction with the launch of the new program, IHG is launching a new mobile app, which members should start seeing in the coming weeks. IHG promises a much improved experience through the app, so we hope that’s the case.

IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
Six Senses Fiji

IHG One Rewards includes five membership levels

IHG One Rewards includes five categories of membership, as follows:

IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
IHG One Rewards Membership Tiers

Below is a chart comparing membership benefits by Elite tier.

IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
IHG One Rewards membership benefits

While most of the new perks come in the form of Milestone rewards, and while breakfast is a huge new feature (I’ll cover both below), let me just point out a few things about the other perks:

  • Early check-in and late check-out is nothing to get excited about, as it is not guaranteed for any elite class, but is subject to availability
  • IHG Platinum Elite and Diamond Elite members will get access to award night discounts several times a year, similar to the offer we saw recently; However, there are no concrete promises about how often we will see it
  • IHG Platinum Elite and Diamond Elite members will receive suite upgrades up to standard suites; However, I am told there is no actual policy change here compared to the old rules, but instead that hotels will be better trained and encouraged to try to upgrade guests, including up to 48 hours prior to arrival
  • IHG Diamond Elite members will have access to a dedicated phone number, which should provide better customer service

While members should see their class names updated in the coming days, the new elite perks are valid from June 2022, so they don’t get started right away.

IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
Kimpton Paris

IHG Diamond members get free breakfast

One of the most exciting features of the new IHG One Rewards program is that selected elite members will finally get a free breakfast. Specifically, Diamond Elite members will be able to choose breakfast as their welcome:

  • This will include a hot breakfast for two; Hotels can exclude certain items (such as alcoholic beverages or specialty coffees), but this appears to be a “real” breakfast and not a reduced continental breakfast
  • The only hotels excluded from this are limited-service hotels that already serve breakfast to all guests, as well as Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn Clubhouses, InterContinental Alliance hotels (in Las Vegas and Macau), and Mr and Mrs Smith hotels

I think it’s huge that IHG is finally offering free breakfast as a privilege to the elite, and it’s a very legitimate offer in that respect.

IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
InterContinental Los Angeles

IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards

The most exciting aspect of IHG One Rewards is the introduction of Milestone Rewards, a way for members to get confirmed suite upgrades, club lounge tickets, and more. Specifically, members will receive perks for every 10 Elite Nights they earn in a calendar year, from 20 to 100.

For 20 Elite Nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following options:

  • 5,000 bonus IHG points
  • Two food and beverage prizes of $20 each
  • Suite upgrade can be confirmed

For 30 Elite Nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following options:

  • 5,000 bonus IHG points
  • Two food and beverage prizes of $20 each

For 40 Elite Nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose two of the following:

  • 10,000 IHG ​​Bonus Points
  • Five food and beverage rewards of $20 each
  • Suite upgrade can be confirmed (first limit)
  • Annual lounge membership (first limit)

In both 50 and 60 Elite Nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following options:

  • 10,000 IHG ​​Bonus Points
  • Five food and beverage rewards of $20 each

For 60 Elite Nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following options:

  • 10,000 IHG ​​Bonus Points
  • Five food and beverage rewards of $20 each

For 70 Elite Nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose two of the following:

  • 10,000 IHG ​​Bonus Points
  • Five food and beverage rewards of $20 each
  • Suite upgrade can be confirmed (first limit)
  • Annual lounge membership (first limit)

On 80, 90 and 100 Elite Nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following options:

  • 10,000 IHG ​​Bonus Points
  • Five food and beverage rewards of $20 each
IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards

It is important to note that IHG Milestone Rewards is linked specifically to the number of Elite Nights you earn in a calendar year. So if you receive a case through a credit card, you will not automatically be entitled to Milestone Rewards.

For context, I rate the IHG score at 0.5 cents. Therefore, food and beverage rewards generally represent a better value than points, if you’re trying to choose. Personally, I would consistently opt for confirmed suite upgrades or lounge passes when they were options.

IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
Hotel Exe Brisbane

How do IHG confirmed group upgrades work?

It’s exciting to see IHG finally deliver their confirmed group upgrades:

  • Can be used to confirm a suite upgrade for stays of up to five nights
  • This can only be applied to stays paid when qualifying rates are booked
  • Can be applied by contacting IHG One Rewards customer support between 14 days and 1 day prior to arrival
  • There is no queuing mechanism here, but if there is a standard set for sale, you can confirm it at that time
  • An upgrade can go up to a standard suite, although if this is not available you can confirm an upgrade to another premium room that is not a suite
  • In the future there are plans for this process to be possible online, and for members to be able to queue upgrades

How do IHG annual lounge memberships work?

IHG is also finally offering club lounge upgrades as part of the Milestone Rewards Program:

  • An annual lounge membership gives you access to lounges for the whole year it’s earned, plus the following 12 months (in other words, if acquired in June 2022, it’s valid until December 31, 2023)
  • This can be used to access the Club Lounge for an unlimited number of stays, regardless of whether you pay with cash or redeem points.
  • This can be used at almost any IHG facility that has a club lounge, including InterContinentals

How do IHG food and beverage rewards work?

Food and beverage credits can be accumulated over time, and will appear in your IHG account. This way you can choose if you want to redeem them individually, or use multiple times in one purchase. It is valid for 12 months after its issuance, and does not hold any residual value.

My opinion of the new IHG One Rewards program

The new IHG One Rewards program greatly exceeds my expectations. As mentioned earlier, I did not consider IHG to have the privileges of the competitive elite, but this has finally changed:

  • Finally, IHG offers breakfast as a privilege to the elite, and it appears to be a full and hot breakfast rather than a continental
  • Members can earn up to four confirmable suite upgrades each year, plus unlimited access to the club lounge if they win at least 40 elite nights per year, which is exciting
  • The fact that you get your first confirmed suite upgrade on 20 Elite Nights is pretty cool, because this is the easiest to achieve a confirmed suite upgrade in the industry.
  • IHG appears to be asking hotels to be more proactive about suite upgrades for elite members, but there are still plenty of guarantees, regardless of when a confirmed group upgrade will be used.

So, am I ready to shift some loyalty to IHG?

  • My biggest problem is that I find IHG’s portfolio uninspiring; Aside from the limited service properties, I like the Kimpton and Six Senses (although Six Senses aren’t fully integrated into IHG yet), but I find most InterContinental properties a bit lackluster.
  • I’m not likely to earn 70 Elite Nights each year to earn Elite Diamond status, although I can spend $40,000 a year on a co-branded credit card to get the status; While this will give me free breakfast, the problem is that he won’t get any of the valuable rewards
IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
The IHG group of 17 brands

All things considered that I really like the program. This wouldn’t make me completely change allegiance to IHG, simply because I don’t find the portfolio interesting. But that will make me stay at IHG properties a bit more.

I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for the InterContinental Ambassador programme. This is a separate paid membership program that offers privileges at InterContinental Hotels. With the new IHG loyalty program offering even more robust benefits at InterContinental Hotels, I imagine we’ll see a significant upgrade to this over time.

IHG One Rewards: Breakfast, Suites, & Club Access!
Staybridge Suites Savannah

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Details of the new IHG loyalty program have just been announced, and I’m impressed. The new program is called IHG One Rewards. Through this, we witness the provision of free breakfast to the best members of the Diamond Elite. On top of that, we’re seeing the introduction of the Milestone Rewards Program, which offers everything from suite upgrades that can be confirmed, to unlimited access to the Club Lounge.

IHG’s loyalty program has finally grown to the point of being competitive, and that’s exciting.

What do you think of the new loyalty program for IHG?

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