In 2022, IHG relaunched its loyalty program in the form of IHG One Rewards. While the developments were largely positive, there are still some gaps when the program is compared to other hotel status programs, such as Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and World of Hyatt.
Between now and April 30, 2023, anyone can register for a status challenge to enjoy a fast track to IHG Platinum Elite status after just five nights within 90 days of registering. After staying just two nights, you’ll enjoy the lower-level Gold Elite status instead.
The status earned will be valid through to the end of 2024, so if you have any plans to stay at IHG hotels before then, be sure to sign up to take advantage of this easy pathway to status.
Register for the IHG One Rewards Status Challenge
The IHG One Rewards Fast Track to Elite Status promotion is open to anyone who’s an IHG One Rewards member.
There’s no requirement to be an elite member of another hotel group, as there is no status match component to this promotion. Just head to the landing page with your IHG One Rewards number or email address, and you’ll be all set.
Upon registering for the promotion, you’ll have 90 days to complete the challenge. The criteria for this promotion are as follows:
- After staying two nights, you’ll earn Gold Elite status through to December 31, 2024.
- After staying five nights, you’ll earn Platinum Elite status through to December 31, 2024.
Staying just five nights within a 90-day period to reach the second-highest status tier in the loyalty program is a very low barrier to meet. While IHG’s umbrella of brands includes higher-tier properties, such as InterContinental, Regent, and Kimpton, it also includes more budget-oriented hotels, such as Holiday Inn Express.
If you tend to frequent IHG’s higher-end hotels, then register prior to your stay to enjoy the extra benefits after five nights. If you’re looking to add another status to your portfolio, then consider “mattress running” at lower-end properties for status at a low cost.
Note that the 90-day challenge period begins as soon as you successfully register for the promotion, which you can do anytime before April 30, 2023.
Thus, make sure to time your registration accordingly – if you won’t be able to make any IHG hotel stays until late July, for example, you’ll want to wait until late April to register.
Stays must be have a room rate of at least $30 (USD) per night, and the terms and conditions state that stays must be booked directly with IHG. This means that any stays booked with an online travel agency or other booking sites won’t be eligible.
However, you should be able to make a booking through one of the currently available hotel promotions, such as Stay Vancouver, Visit Richmond, or Edmonton’s Best Hotels, since the stays have been credited to other hotel programs as if they were booked directly with the hotel.
Is It Worth Pursuing IHG Gold or Platinum Status?
Staying two or five nights in a 90-day period to earn IHG Gold or Platinum status through 2024 is, on paper, a pretty lucrative opportunity.
Gold and Platinum status typically require staying 20 and 40 nights per year, respectively. Therefore, this status challenge represents a significant reduction from the usual thresholds, and we may not see opportunities like this happen for quite some time.
IHG One Rewards offered a similar status match and challenge in 2022, which coincided with the relaunch of the loyalty program. Through that promotion, it was possible to reach the highest-tier Diamond status, which is unfortunately not available this time.
In terms of meaningful status benefits, Gold Elite and Platinum Elite members are both entitled to 2pm late checkout (subject to availability), while Platinum Elite members are given complimentary upgrades and early check-in (subject to availability).
Unfortunately, the best perks, such as free breakfast, don’t kick in until the highest Diamond status. Furthermore, many of IHG One Reward’s most intriguing benefits come from Milestone Rewards, which you won’t receive by going through this status fast track.
From a Canadian perspective, this promotion is one of the easiest ways to engage with IHG One Rewards and extract some value from the program if you happen to be visiting IHG’s properties in Canada or abroad.
After all, unlike Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards doesn’t offer a co-branded credit card in Canada, making it challenging for the average traveller to participate in the program when there are better alternatives available.
Ultimately, whether or not it’s worth taking advantage of this status challenge opportunity will depend on your existing hotel status preferences.
If you don’t travel frequently enough to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status at 50 elite qualifying nights per year, then it definitely makes sense to take advantage of status challenge and get a few useful benefits out of it, such as upgrades and early check-in, subject to availability.
Plus, for infrequent travellers, staying just five nights with IHG over the winter or spring may well represent the easiest pathway towards mid-tier elite status in any hotel loyalty program. While the benefits aren’t as lucrative as with other hotel chains, having some status over no status is always a better situation to find yourself in.
Of course, this assumes that you aren’t in a position to pursue US credit cards, in which case getting the Amex US Hilton Aspire Card for its instant top-tier Hilton Diamond status, or the American Express US Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card for instant Marriott Platinum status, would be an even more straightforward move.
On the other hand, if you’re already loyal to Marriott Bonvoy and are planning most of your hotel stays this year with Marriott to earn, retain, and/or reap the benefits of your Platinum Elite or Titanium Elite status, then it might not be worthwhile to divert some of your stays over to IHG.
Still, there’s no harm in registering for the status challenge just in case it pays off down the road – perhaps your travels take you somewhere that’s much better-served by IHG properties than Marriott, and you’d at least have some benefits to fall back on.
IHG One Rewards is offering an easy status challenge opportunity to virtually anyone who’s interested in signing up.
Simply by registering, you’ll enjoy IHG Platinum Elite benefits after staying just five nights within 90 days of registering, or Gold Elite status after just two nights. Your status will last through to the end of 2024, which could enhance any stays at IHG hotels between now and then.
The status challenge can be an attractive pathway towards mid-tier status for infrequent travellers, though it’s unlikely to sway too many existing elite members of other hotel chains into switching their loyalty.