No cancellation fees
IHG have announced their response to the travel restrictions caused by COVID-19.
IHG are waiving cancellation fees for all bookings – new and existing – at all hotels globally between 9th March and 30th April.
That’s a great example of how it should be done – All bookings, everywhere, for everyone. Airlines, take note.
It gets better.
Status qualification criteria reduced by 25%
IHG are reducing the number of nights or points required for status qualification by 25%.
This means that you can earn Gold this year with just 7 nights, 3 less than normal.
Platinum at 30 nights, 10 less than normal.
Spire will require 55 nights, which is a massive 20 nights fewer than normal.
Of course, it is easy to gain Platinum status instantly by taking out the Creation IHG Premium Mastercard, for just £99, with a 20,000 points sign up bonus. You can get Gold instantly with the free credit card, which also currently has a 20000 point sign up bonus.
Even Spire Elite is not necessarily worth pursuing. I’ve been Spire Elite for years due to credit card spend rather than stays (points earned from the IHG credit cards count towards status), but the benefits are weak.
Yes, you’re more likely to get a good upgrade, and you earn extra points, but there is no lounge access or breakfast, which is poor.
Points wise, you can now get Gold with 7000 points, Platinum at 30,000, and Spire at 55,000.
A new member with no status would earn 10 points per $, so $700 would get Gold. That’s £550 of stays. That’s easy to do, but if you’re paying your own bills, get the credit card and take the status jump instantly.
A Gold member earns an extra 10% points, and Platinum earns 50%. For Platinum, that’s an extra 2p (at the very least) of value back in points for every $ spent.
Ambassador Membership Extension
The Intercontinental Ambassador program is excellent. See details below.
IHG have announced a 3 month extension to Ambassador membership for all members worldwide.
The change to membership dates and status qualification criteria should appear in your account in the coming weeks.
Full details of the policy changes are on this page.
Joining the Intercontinental Ambassador program will cost you $200 (£155) but comes with a number of benefits. If you stay even occasionally at Intercontinental Hotels you can do well out of this.
That £155 gets you these benefits when staying at Intercontinental hotels:
- Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club (for all IHG hotels)
- A guaranteed room upgrade
- 4pm late checkout
- $20 food and drink credit every stay
That’s pretty decent, especially the guaranteed upgrade, but best fo all is the Free Weekend Night certificate.
The Free Weekend Night certificate that comes with Ambassador membership allows you to book two weekend nights and pay for one.
You have to book at least 2 consecutive nights, and one of them must be Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and you have to book a special rate which is equivalent to the standard flexible rate, so it’s not the cheapest rate.
Read this article about how you could exploit this to stay in an overwater villa in Bora Bora using points.