Even though the realities of pandemic life are still keeping many of us home, it isn’t too early to prepare for more frequent travel once again. Hotels worldwide remain open to host those who must travel, and as we see regulations loosening, it is understandably tempting to plan on making up for lost time as soon as possible. If you’re ready to dust off your old InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Rewards Club membership but don’t remember the details of the chart, stick around and we’ll go over them in this article. 

The IHG umbrella encompasses 16 different brands that range from extended-stay suites to essential accommodations, to luxury properties in trendy, attractive destinations. With thousands of properties spread over six continents, IHG continues to grow despite dramatic dips in the travel industry due to COVID-19. 

In terms of rewards, IHG chart has four main tiers, plus an additional rewards club that members can join for a fee. First, we’ll go over the tiers of the IHG rewards program and mention the benefits that come with each level. Then, we’ll let you know how you can elevate your IHG status without having to stay qualifying nights.

ihg staus level

IHG Status Levels

Club Member

The introductory tier in the IHG chart is Club Member status, kicking in immediately and requiring zero Qualified Nights or Elite Qualifying Points. Upon signing up, Club Members receive the following benefits:

  • Book with exclusive members-only rates
  • Earn Bonus Points with your stay
  • Dedicated customer service
  • Save and earn 1,500+ points with Hertz Car Rental
  • Complimentary Internet
  • Customize your preferred stay
  • Greener Stay: defer housekeeping and earn 500 IHG Club points.
  • $30USD in-room spa credit at Kimpton properties
  • Earn on IHG Dining, OpenTable, and Grubhub
  • Rewards nights count towards Elite Status
  • No Blackout Dates for Rewards nights
  • Access to IHG Rewards concierge

Gold Elite Member

The next tier of the IHG rewards chart is Gold Elite Member status, which applies after staying either 10 Qualified Nights or earning 10,000 Elite Qualifying Points. This tier comes with all of the benefits of Club Member status, plus the following upgrades: 

  • Extended check-out
  • Priority check-in
  • Welcome amenity
  • Raid the Bar card at Kimpton properties
  • 10% Bonus Earnings on top of Base Points
  • Elite Points don’t expire

Platinum Elite Member

Platinum Elite Member status is the third tier in the IHG chart, and it applies after staying either 40 Qualified Nights or earning 40,000 Elite Qualifying Points. Platinum Elite Member status includes the benefits of Gold Elite Member status, with the following upgrades:

  • Complimentary room upgrades, as available
  • Guaranteed room availability, at least 72 hours prior to arrival
  • 50% Bonus Earnings on top of Base Points
  • Elite Rollover Nights

Spire Elite Member

The highest elite status is reserved for Spire Elite Members, which is earned after staying 75 Qualified Nights or earning 75,000 Elite Qualifying Points. Spire Elite Member status includes all of the benefits of Platinum Elite Member status, plus the following upgrades:

  • Access to Kimpton’s CEO, for Spire Elite Inner Circle members
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status
  • Early check-in
  • Inner Circle Amenity
  • Complimentary Chef’s Taste during dinner hours, for Spire Elite Inner Circle members at Kimpton properties
  • 100% Bonus Earnings on top of Base Points
  • Exclusive Choice Benefits
  • Complimentary night at new hotels

Intercontinental Ambassador

If you are not interested in moving up the rungs of the chart traditionally and would rather buy into a specially curated rewards program instead, joining Intercontinental Ambassador might be a good move for you. IHG Rewards members can buy into this distinctive program for $200USD or 40,000 IHG Rewards points, and these special benefits are available in 220+ InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Regent Hotels & Resorts worldwide.

 

Purchasing Intercontinental Ambassador membership simply elevates the rewards in the rewards chart and is separate from (but can run parallel to) your Elite status journey. Note that this program is most beneficial for new Club or Gold Elite Members since it does come with automatic Platinum Elite Member status. Elevated benefits include:

  • Automatic Platinum Elite Member status
  • Guaranteed one category room upgrade
  • Guaranteed extended 4PM check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night
  • Restaurants & bars credit of $20USD for each stay
  • Complimentary mineral water
  • Dedicated check-in area
  • Single room rate for double occupancy
  • Mainland China only: Complimentary breakfast for one
  • Greater China only: Welcome fruit platter for Platinum Elite and Spire Elite members

IHG Rewards Club Credit Cards

Another way to expedite your Elite status journey with IHG is to earn extra IHG Rewards points on everyday purchases with a credit card. Depending on your financial goals and how quickly you’d like to expedite your Elite status, you may choose between two levels of IHG Rewards Club Cards.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is the higher-tiered IHG MasterCard from Chase. 

Currently, this card is offering a sign-up bonus of 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from the account opening. It’s important to note that while the points you’ll earn by making purchases with this card provide Elite Qualifying Points, sign-up Bonus Points do not count towards Elite Qualifying Points. You can learn more about what counts towards Elite Qualifying Points from bullet point #44 under IHG’s General Terms.

This card comes with an $89 annual fee, but it includes automatic Platinum Elite Member status and up to 25X points per dollar spent at IHG properties, which includes existing reward benefits from your status. Here’s a rundown of the benefits that come with this card:

  • Automatic Platinum Elite Member status
  • 10X points per USD spent at IHG properties
  • Up to 10X points from IHG for being an IHG Rewards Club member (depending on status)
  • Up to 5X points from IHG for being a Platinum Elite Member (which comes with the card)
  • 2X points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • 1X points on all other purchases
  • Annual Anniversary Night
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • Earn 10,000 Bonus Points after spending $20,000 on purchases and make at least one purchase each year
  • Fourth Reward Night free
  • Save 20% on Point Purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card

Of course, the Premier level card doesn’t suit everyone. 

If you are an IHG Rewards member interested in opening an IHG line of credit but don’t want to bother with any annual fees, then signing up for the IHG Rewards Club Traveler MasterCard from Chase could be a better move. 

Currently, this no-annual-fee card is offering a 60,000 Bonus Point sign-up bonus after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months from the account opening. 

This card does come with the opportunity to bump up to Gold Elite, which is a nice perk for members with Club Member status. Additionally, you can earn up to 15X points per dollar spent at IHG properties worldwide when combined with your status. Benefits of this card include:

  • Gold Elite Member status after spending $10,000 on your card
  • 5X points per USD spent at IHG properties
  • Up to 10X points from IHG for being an IHG Rewards Club member (depending on status)
  • Fourth Reward Night free
  • Save 20% on Point Purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

These cards offer a few different paths through the IHG chart and, depending on how quickly you’d like to expedite your status and stockpile your points, you may be able to use them to your benefit.

If you are an IHG Rewards member interested in opening an IHG line of credit but don’t want to bother with any annual fees, then signing up for the IHG Rewards Club Traveler MasterCard from Chase could be a better move. 

Bottom Line

IHG makes it relatively easy to move through the rewards chart because members have several different options: stay certain numbers of Qualified Nights, redeem certain amounts of Elite Qualifying Points, or buy into the Intercontinental Ambassador program to elevate benefits. However, stockpiling those points is made simpler by signing up for an IHG Rewards Club Card which also expedites the pathway through Elite status.

These are good things to keep in mind as an IHG Rewards Club member, but if you haven’t signed up for a free membership yet, click here to join today!