IHG Elite Status: How to Earn It and How Much It's Worth

IHG Elite Status: How to Earn It and How Much It's Worth

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If you’re a frequent guest at InterContinental Hotels Group brands — whether your style leans more toward Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza or Kimpton — you may wonder what you have to gain by working toward IHG elite status.

IHG Rewards Club status has plenty to offer loyal customers, with sizable points bonuses, late checkouts and free room upgrades. But what are all those goodies worth? We’ve crunched the numbers for you to calculate the value of IHG elite status at all three tiers.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to get IHG elite status and how much it’s worth. Once you’ve got a better idea of the value of IHG elite status, you can decide whether pursuing status is worth it to you. Want a shortcut? You can apply for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and automatically get Platinum Elite status.

IHG Rewards Club benefits

Like other hotel loyalty programs, IHG Rewards Club offers basic benefits to their introductory level members, including exclusive member rates for paid stays and free high-speed internet access. Signing up for IHG Rewards Club also lets you earn points in the IHG Rewards program, which can be redeemed for free hotel stays, room upgrades and more.

IHG Rewards elite status is based on qualified nights per calendar year and elite qualifying points, so you’ll need a certain number of qualified nights or elite qualifying points to reach each status tier. You achieve status with qualifying hotel stays or points that you earn from hotel stays, spending on an IHG Rewards Club credit card and other activities.

With enough paid stays or points accrued in the program, you can climb the status ladder to one of IHG Rewards’ elite levels — Gold Elite, Platinum Elite or Spire Elite. Each level of status requires an increasing amount of hotel activity and spending, but the perks you’ll receive as an elite member also grow in value as you climb the tiers. As a top tier Spire Elite, for example, you’ll score generous benefits like early check-in, 100% bonus points with each stay and a benefit of their choosing upon achieving that status, among others.

IHG rewards levels

Benefit
Gold Elite
Platinum Elite
Spire Elite
Bonus points on stays10% bonus points on top of base points50% bonus points on top of base points100% bonus points on top of base points
Late checkoutYesYesYes
Priority check-inYesYesYes
Complimentary room upgradeNoYesYes
Welcome amenityYesYesYes
$30 in-room spa creditYesYesYes
Exclusive access to Kimpton’s CEONoNoYes
Exclusive Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star StatusNoNoYes
Inner Circle amenity at Kimpton propertiesNoNoYes
Exclusive choice benefits upon receiving statusNoNoYes
Complimentary night at new Kimpton hotelsNoNoYes

IHG Gold Elite

How to earn it: 10 qualified nights or 10,000 elite qualifying points; you can also achieve this status automatically by signing up for the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card and spending $10,000 within a calendar year

Base earnings: 11 points/$1

Key benefits: Late checkout, priority check-in, Raid the Bar card at Kimpton hotels, $30 in-room spa credit

As the lowest level of IHG elite status, Gold Elite status isn’t very valuable compared with the two higher tiers. The priority check-in benefit sounds nice, but many frequent travelers find that it doesn’t get them checked in any faster or improve their stays noticeably. However, late checkout is a nice benefit that makes that process more relaxed. Gold Elite status also keeps your points from expiring and bumps your earnings, allowing you to rack up points and earn free stays a little more quickly.

You do get a welcome amenity (usually something like a few bottles of water) with Gold Elite status, which can be a nice perk when you decide to stay with the IHG Rewards brand. Gold Elite status also comes with free internet, a $30 in-room spa credit and the opportunity to "raid the bar" in participating hotels.

While IHG Gold Elite status doesn’t come with a ton of benefits, it is fairly easy to earn with only 10 qualified nights required per year. Of course, you can also fast track to Gold Elite status by spending $10,000 on the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card within a calendar year if you prefer.

IHG Platinum Elite

How to earn it: 40 qualified nights or 40,000 elite qualifying points; you can also achieve this status automatically by signing up for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Base earnings: 15 points/$1

Key benefits: Complimentary upgrades, guaranteed room availability

The midlevel of IHG elite status, Platinum Elite status offers far richer perks than the Gold tier. The 50% points bonus can make a real difference in helping you to earn points faster, so you can climb to the highest levels of elite status. Meanwhile, the guaranteed room availability perk offers peace of mind, and the free room upgrades can make for a more pleasant stay.

This level of status also is fairly easy to attain because, even if you don’t travel frequently enough, you can simply sign up for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which grants automatic Platinum Elite status.

Also note that this tier of status lets you qualify for elite rollover nights, which allow extra elite qualifying nights you earn in a calendar year to count toward your status for the next year. Guaranteed room availability (if you book at least 72 hours in advance) can also provide some comfort if you’re traveling during a peak travel time.

IHG Spire Elite

How to earn it: 75 qualified nights or 75,000 elite qualifying points

Base earnings: 20 points/$1

Key benefits: Inner Circle (Kimpton) amenity, Access to Kimpton’s CEO, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star Status, annual gift of 25,000 bonus points or Platinum Elite status for a friend or family member, complimentary night at new Kimpton hotels.

The top level of IHG status, Spire Elite, offers some attractive benefits. The extra 100% points-earning bonus can really accelerate your earnings, especially when you travel as frequently as is necessary to earn this level of status. The annual 25,000-point bonus can get you a free night in an upscale IHG hotel, although you can opt to give Platinum Elite status to a family member or friend instead.

The Hertz upgrade to Five Star status is a nice additional perk, as it gets you 25% extra Hertz points, car rental upgrades, expedited pickup, a wider selection of vehicles and a free additional driver. If you rent cars frequently, this upgrade could offer substantial value.

But it may be difficult to earn IHG Spire Elite status unless you’re an avid vacationer, you make frequent business trips or you need a place to stay for an extended term (for example, if you’re waiting for your home renovations to be completed). Since no credit card offers Spire status, there’s no way to reach this tier without frequent paid hotel stays.

How to earn IHG Rewards Club elite status

To earn elite status with the IHG Rewards Club, you need to stay a specific number of nights or earn a specific number of points within a calendar year. With each level of status you achieve, you’ll earn more points on paid stays, which can help you reach the next tier of status faster.

  • Elite qualifying points: This term is used to describe points you earn that qualify for elite status, through paid stays with the IHG brand, special IHG Rewards promotional stays and more. Some types of points earnings — for example, points earned from sign-up bonuses or points transferred from other rewards programs — do not count toward status.
  • Qualifying nights: This term is used to describe paid nights you spend with the hotel brand.

Note that, once a member earns elite status with the IHG Rewards Club program, this status lasts through the end of the following calendar year. So, if you earned Spire Elite status within the year 2021, this status would last until Dec. 31, 2022.

IHG Rewards Gold Elite
IHG Rewards Platinum Elite
IHG Rewards Spire Elite
Elite Qualifying Points during a calendar year10,00040,00075,000
Elite Qualifying Nights during a calendar year104075

How much is IHG Rewards status worth?

We estimate the worth of IHG elite status to start between $88 and $2,191, depending on the level of status. To determine the dollar value of IHG status at different tiers, we’ll break down each of the IHG elite benefits to see how much they’re worth. The dollar values listed below are ValuePenguin estimates and vary depending on your use of the corresponding benefits. Please note that benefits cannot actually be exchanged for cash.

IHG Gold status value: $88+
IHG Platinum Elite status value: $920+
IHG Spire Elite status value: $2,191+
  • 10% bonus on points earned: $8 (rounded up to the nearest dollar)
  • Points not expiring: $10
  • Priority check-in: $10
  • Extended checkout: $50
  • Raid the Bar at Kimpton Hotels: $10
  • 50% bonus on points earned: $160
  • Points not expiring: $10
  • Priority check-in: $40
  • Extended checkout: $200
  • Raid the Bar at Kimpton Hotels: $10
  • Elite rollover nights: varies
  • Guaranteed room availability: $100
  • Free room upgrades: $400
  • 100% bonus on points earned: $600 (rounded up to the nearest dollar)
  • Points not expiring: $10
  • Priority check-in: $76
  • Extended checkout: $380
  • Raid the Bar at Kimpton Hotels: $10
  • Elite rollover nights: varies
  • Guaranteed room availability: $190
  • Free room upgrades: $750
  • 25,000 bonus points: $125
  • Hertz status upgrade: $50

Elite bonus points: Dollar value varies

As a Club member with no elite status, you get 10 points per dollar spent at most IHG properties, or 5 points per dollar spent at Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites. Each level of elite status gives you a percentage boost as a bonus, allowing you to earn 10% to 100% more points for your stays, depending on your tier. The bonuses are:

  • Gold: 10%
  • Platinum Elite: 50%
  • Spire Elite: 100%

Here’s what that percentage bonus translates to in terms of number of points earned at most IHG hotels for each status tier. Instead of 10 points per dollar, you’ll earn:

  • Gold: 11 points per dollar
  • Platinum Elite: 15 points per dollar
  • Spire Elite: 20 points per dollar

The dollar value of these bonuses varies by tier and by the amount you spend on stays.

Points not expiring: $10 per year

When you reach elite status, your IHG points won’t expire as long as you keep that status. This isn’t a hugely valuable perk since points only expire if you let your account go dormant for a year, which would be difficult to do if you travel regularly or hold an IHG credit card. However, the peace of mind may be worth $10 per year.

Priority check-in: $2 per stay

Some IHG properties offer a special priority check-in line where guests who have elite status can, in theory, sidestep the throng at the front desk and get to their room more quickly. However, some frequent travelers don’t see much value in this benefit. Not all hotels have the priority check-in line, and it may not even be necessary. Since the benefit of priority check-in can be hit or miss, we’ll value this at $2 per stay.

Raid the Bar: $10 per stay

Welcome amenities are available at most IHG brands. However, the "Raid the Bar" perk is only available at Kimpton Hotels. As a result, the value you get depends on how often you stay at Kimpton versus other IHG brands. If you never stay at Kimpton, the value is $0. At Kimpton, this elite benefit is worth $10 per stay. What is Kimpton Raid the Bar? It’s a perk that gives you a $10 credit toward a snack or drink at the restaurant or bar, or from the in-room honor bar.

Elite rollover nights: Dollar value varies

This benefit means that extra elite qualifying nights you earned in a calendar year will roll over into the next year, giving you a head start toward elite status in that year. It’s hard to quantify the value of this benefit because it varies based on your situation. However, elite rollover nights have the potential to be hugely beneficial if they help you reach Platinum Elite or Spire Elite status for another year.

Guaranteed room availability: $5 per stay

With this benefit, you’re guaranteed a room if you make a reservation 72 or more hours in advance. However, IHG.com states that there are exceptions to the rule, such as special events. Since having a guaranteed room can provide peace of mind, let’s value this perk at $5 per stay.

Free room upgrades: $10 per night

Upgrades are determined by the hotel and may mean rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated rooms or rooms with better views. If you’re incredibly lucky, you could even receive an upgrade to a suite or a premium room you’d normally have to pay much more for. This is a fairly subjective benefit, but it’s always nice to get a better room, so let’s value this at $10 per night.

Yearly bonus points or ability to give elite status: $125 per year

IHG Rewards points are worth approximately 0.5 cent each, so the annual 25,000-point bonus is worth $125 a year. Alternatively, you can opt to give Platinum Elite status to your spouse, your kid, your parent or anyone else you wish.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards upgrade: $50 per year

The value of the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards upgrade to Five Star status depends on whether you use Hertz and how often you rent cars. The perk gives you a 25% points-earning bonus on your spending with Hertz, along with upgrades and the ability to pick a car of your choosing. The value of this perk is very subjective since it really depends on whether you’re a loyal Hertz customer. If you never rent cars, for example, the value of this benefit is $0. Assuming you rent from Hertz a few times a year, we’ll value this perk at $50 per year.

How to join IHG Rewards Club

You can join the IHG rewards program in just a few minutes at no cost by filling out the IHG Rewards Club application.

After you become a member, you’ll get a membership number. You can sign in to your account at any time by heading to the IHG homepage and entering your email or member number and your PIN. When you’re logged in, you can see your points balance at the top of the screen. From your dashboard, you can also learn more about your benefits, plan hotel stays, buy points and redeem your IHG rewards.

join IHG Rewards Club

Get the free IHG app

You may want to download the IHG mobile app to make it easier to get hotel deals and manage your rewards. The app helps you get special mobile-exclusive rates, access the details of upcoming stays and check your rewards activity and points balance.

You can also use the IHG app to check out from your phone and get a copy of your bill at participating hotels.

You can get the app by searching for it on a mobile app store or by visiting the IHG app download page.

Get the free IHG app

Fast tracks to IHG status

While you can reach elite status with paid hotel stays, there are a few strategies you can use to skip over all that work and earn status automatically. If you don’t have a lot of travel planned for this year but want elite perks as soon as possible, consider the following options.

Pick up a credit card that offers IHG Rewards elite status

If you’d like to skip to the front of the line to get IHG elite status quickly, a co-branded IHG credit card may be your best option. Chase offers two co-branded IHG credit cards that let you get IHG status. If status is your main goal, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is clearly the better option, as cardholders get IHG Platinum status right away.

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives you automatic Platinum Elite status with no spending required on your card, along with a huge sign-up bonus: Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. There is an $0 Intro for the First Year, then $89 annual fee, but this card also offers these perks:

  • On Chase's Secure Website
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Fourth reward night free
  • A 20% discount on points purchases
  • A free night every year after account anniversary
  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • Elite rollover nights

Your other option for a co-branded card is the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. The card allows you to get IHG Gold Elite status when you spend $10,000 on your card. You also Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.. Other benefits include:

  • Earn up to 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee
  • Fourth reward night free
  • A 20% discount on points purchases

IHG status match

The IHG Rewards Club occasionally lets members match status from competing hotel rewards programs. These status match challenges usually require you to complete a specific number of paid stays within a short amount of time. You can earn a similar level of elite status with IHG Rewards Club if you are able to meet the criteria.

While the IHG Rewards Club isn’t currently offering a status match challenge, you should check back regularly for updates.

IHG InterContinental® Ambassador membership

For a flat fee of $200 per year, the InterContinental® Ambassador Program gives you all the benefits of Platinum Elite status, plus an additional list of valuable perks. Note that you can get Platinum Elite status by paying the $89 annual fee for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, so it may not make sense to pay $200 just for Ambassador membership.

However, if the additional benefits appeal to you, it may be worth it to join the InterContinental® Ambassador program. The most valuable benefits you can receive with this membership and its required fee include:

  • Guaranteed one category room upgrade
  • Guaranteed extended 4 p.m. check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night
  • Platinum elite status in the IHG Rewards Club, and its benefits
  • Restaurant and bar credit worth $20 for every stay
  • Complimentary mineral water
  • Complimentary internet

Is IHG elite status worth it?

The value of IHG elite status varies widely by tier, and it may not be worth pursuing if you don’t travel often, or if you prefer to spread your paid hotel stays across multiple brands. That said, the benefits of Spire Elite status can be substantial if you stay more than 75 nights in hotels each year and you can take advantage of all the elite benefits afforded to you.

Still, earning elite status through paid hotel stays won’t work for everyone. Unless you’re a jet-setter or someone who travels a lot for business, choose the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card instead. Being a cardholder gives you Platinum Elite status with IHG before you ever book a stay, which can help you score room upgrades, late checkout and plenty of additional perks. The card represents an affordable, easy way to get status, especially for travelers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to earn IHG status but still want the VIP perks.

IHG elite status FAQs

These questions and answers can help you learn more about IHG Rewards elite status, what it is worth and how you can reach it.

How long does IHG status last?

Once you earn IHG elite status, you have it for the remainder of the year you earned it and the following calendar year — meaning that if you earn Spire Elite status within 2021, you would have this tier of status until Dec. 31, 2022.

Does IHG match status?

IHG Rewards does have a status match page on their website, but the program isn’t currently offering any way to match status from another hotel brand. Check back regularly for changes if you hope to match status with another hotel.

Does buying IHG points count toward status?

Points you purchase from the IHG Rewards program do not count toward elite status.

Can you get IHG lifetime status?

Unfortunately for loyal IHG customers, it’s not possible to get IHG lifetime status at this time. You may wonder why, since other hotel companies like Hilton allow you to earn lifetime elite status. The IHG Rewards Club requires members to requalify for IHG elite status each year.

How do you become an IHG Rewards Club member?

Joining the IHG Rewards Club is easy and free. All you have to do is head to the IHG Rewards Club website and enter your information to create an account and start earning rewards points.

Do IHG points expire?

If you’ve earned IHG elite status, you’re in luck: Your IHG points will never expire as long as you hold status. However, IHG points will expire if you don’t have elite status and if your account doesn’t show any activity for 12 months.

You can also keep IHG points from expiring by earning or redeeming points. If you’re in a pinch and need to do something to keep your points active, you can simply use your IHG credit card to earn points or redeem a small number of points for a gift card.

Does using points count toward IHG status?

Stays that you book with points do not count toward IHG elite status. Only qualified stays count, and IHG defines a qualified stay as one for which you pay qualifying room rates. You pay qualifying room rates when you book a stay through IHG central reservations, IHG websites, travel agents or at an IHG hotel. Steer clear of sites like Booking.com and Orbitz, though — booking through these sites will hurt your chance to earn points and status.

Is InterContinental® Ambassador membership worth it?

If you want to score automatic Platinum Elite status without having to do any work, then paying $200 for this membership could be worth it. However, keep in mind that the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card lets you earn automatic Platinum Elite status with an annual fee of $89, and you’ll earn a significant welcome bonus for signing up, as well as IHG Rewards points for each dollar you spend.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).