IHG adds new top tier membership level, but hasn’t yet figured out its name

IHG has just put out a news release about their loyalty program.  We can sum up what we know so far in a few bullets:

  • Beginning July 2015, there will be a new top tier status that is higher than Platinum status. This means that the IHG credit card (which offers automatic Platinum status) will no longer give you top tier status.  The new top tier membership level will require 75 paid nights per year or earning 75,000 qualifying points.
  • Top tier status will give you a 100% point bonus on stays plus the choice of either 25K points or the ability to gift Platinum status to a friend or family member.
  • IHG is implementing a new Customer Relationship Management system (woo hoo)
  • IHG points will now expire after only 12 months of inactivity.  You can still reset the clock at any time by earning or spending points.

What I find funny about this announcement is that they have yet to name the new tier that is above Platinum status.  Checkout this web page graphic (found here):

IHG_new_level

The aptly named “New Membership Level” boasts the following benefits:

  • Enjoy 100% bonus points on top of your
    base points
  • Receive 25,000 annual points bonus
    or
  • Gift Platinum to a friend or family member

No word yet on whether the new level will mean free breakfast and/or lounge access as is offered with most other chain’s top tiers.  My bet is yes.  Either way, IHG has until July to figure out the benefits and the name of this new tier.

Here’s the full press release:

IHG ANNOUNCES ENHANCEMENTS TO ITS AWARD WINNING
LOYALTY PROGRAM – IHG® REWARDS CLUB

The world’s first and largest hotel loyalty program to add a new top membership level and focus on more personalized experiences for members

ATLANTA (April 14, 2015) – InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) today announces exciting new enhancements to its award winning loyalty program, IHG Rewards Club, focused on building more personalized relationships with its 84 million members worldwide.

IHG’s 2015 Trends Report showed that consumers are looking for more than an effortless transaction with their chosen brands.  They want a rewarding relationship built on trust and respond best to efforts focused on building real brand loyalty over a sustained period of time.

Following extensive research into what members want from their loyalty program, IHG Rewards Club will introduce a new membership level, to better reward its most loyal members with the most relevant benefits. The research also revealed the importance of ‘recognition’ to members who want to feel rewarded for loyalty. In response, IHG will enhance its ability to deliver a personalized experience for members, before, during and after their stay. Through personalizing this experience, the member will feel valued, understood and this in turn builds trust.

Susanna Freer Epstein, SVP Customer Loyalty Marketing, IHG, said: “Our research shows us that members are looking for a personalized experience when they choose one of our family of brands – before, during and after their stay.  We want to thank our members for their loyalty by responding to this at every stage of the guest journey, offering experiences that are personally relevant. And we want to say a special thank you to our most loyal members through the introduction of a new top membership level. These enhancements are just the start of a number of exciting new improvements we will be making to the program in the coming months.”

IHG Rewards Club will evolve over 2015 and 2016 initially in the following ways:

· Introducing a new top membership level in July 2015. This new membership level can be reached by earning 75,000 qualifying points or staying at IHG hotels for 75 qualifying nights, over the course of a year.

· An industry first: IHG Rewards Club will offer its most loyal members in this new membership level 100 percent extra bonus points on qualifying stays. Members of this newest level will also be able to choose between receiving 25,000 points or upgrading a friend or family member to Platinum.

· The qualification requirements for all membership levels have been restructured to make it easier for members to be rewarded for their loyalty. Club members will need to earn just 10,000 qualifying points or stay for ten qualifying nights to be eligible for Gold membership. Gold members will need to earn 40,000 qualifying points or stay for 40 qualifying nights to reach Platinum membership.

· IHG is enhancing its ability to learn about members and then utilize this information through a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This system will enable hotels to respond to members’ preferences at every stage of the guest journey and offer services and experiences that are personally relevant to them. From recognizing stay preferences such as room location or pillow type and tailoring their booking options, to relevant post stay offers.

· To enable IHG to reward our guests who stay with us most often, starting from May 2016, IHG will expire all points for IHG Rewards Club Members if they have not earned or redeemed any points at all in the previous 12 months. IHG Rewards Club members will continue to maintain their point balances simply by completing a qualifying stay at one of IHG’s 4,800 hotels or redeeming some of their existing points during a membership year.

· IHG Rewards Club offers countless great opportunities to earn points and redeem rewards – from Reward Nights at IHG hotels worldwide to flights, music downloads, electronics, gift cards and more, via its online global redemption catalog.

All members will continue to have access to the industry leading benefits that make IHG Rewards Club the world’s favorite hotel loyalty program. These include free guest Internet, value-priced Reward Nights with no blackout dates, no cancellation penalties, access to the wide breadth of offerings in the global reward redemption catalog and digital innovations such as mobile check-in.

Visit the IHG Rewards Club website for more information on the latest enhancements to the program.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. This is a real bummer. As a credit card plat, I got upgrades (even to suites) pretty regularly at Crowne Plazas and other nice IHG properties. With platinum no longer the highest status, my guess is that the treatment for plats will decline.

  2. This seals the deal for me. I have the IHG platinum-elite status as a result of the credit card, but only stay at IHG-flagged hotels a couple of times per year. The benefits aren’t worth it. I’ve received upgrades to a suite, but have never received even a free breakfast. From a P.R. perspective, this is an epic fail. Someone jumped the gun in announcing a non-announcement.

    • you seem surprised but free breakfast is not a platinum benefit. Nothing yet if they are devaluing platinum. A $45 annual fee which gives a free night in basically an of their hotel is reason enough to keep the card. No doubt the card would be useless to me if this benefit disappeared.

  3. I hope they up the sign up bonus for their co-branded credit card to 80k (or higher) when their new membership status comes around

  4. Two weeks ago my acct started staring “Platinum Ambassador”. I wondered why the combination of the two names when I never stay at Intercontinental only at Holiday Inn or HIE’s. Well; I think that may have been a sneak peek at the new name. Anyone else thoughts?!?!

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