How To Earn IHG Rewards Elite Status (and Is It Worth It?)

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Having elite status can really help enhance a hotel stay. From upgrades and bonus points to late checkouts and exclusive gifts, hotel elite status is something we all strive for. Each hotel chain has a different program with different requirements that you’ll need to understand.

In this post, we’re going to focus on IHG Rewards. We’ll discuss exactly how to get IHG Rewards elite status, the benefits of each level of IHG Rewards status, and if it’s even worth it or not.

IHG Rewards Elite Status

Before we can talk about how to earn IHG Rewards elite status, there are a few terms you’ll need to know.

Qualifying nights are nights that you book through IHG or a travel agent and pay a qualifying rate for, which according to IHG, includes “most business and leisure rates.” Award nights are considered qualifying nights.

Qualifying points are earned based on how much you spend at IHG Hotels & Resorts properties.

Elite rollover nights are the number of nights earned the previous year in excess of 40 (Platinum Elite members) or 75 (Spire Elite members). These will be rolled over to count toward the next year’s qualification.

How To Get IHG Rewards Elite Status

When you join IHG Rewards, you’ll be a Club level member. To earn a higher-level elite status you’ll need to earn a minimum number of qualified nights or qualifying points.

In 2021, the requirements to earn IHG Rewards elite status have been reduced. In addition, if you were a Gold, Platinum, or Spire Elite member in 2020, any qualified nights from 2020 will be rolled over to 2021 and will count towards your 2021 status.

IHG Rewards Elite Status Requirements in 2021

IHG Rewards Elite Status Level2021 Qualified Nights2021 Qualifying Points
Gold Elite77,000
Platinum Elite3030,000
Spire Elite5555,000

Standard IHG Rewards Elite Status Requirements

IHG Rewards Elite Status LevelQualified NightsQualifying Points
Gold Elite1010,000
Platinum Elite4040,000
Spire Elite7575,000

After earning status, it will be valid through the end of the following calendar year. For example, if you earn IHG Rewards elite status on August 9, 2021, your status would be valid through December 31, 2022.

Bottom Line: Like other hotels, IHG has reduced its elite status qualifications for 2021. You can check out all of the changes in our guide to hotel elite status changes due to COVID-19.

Get IHG Rewards Elite Status With Your Credit Card

The good news is that there are a couple of options for getting IHG Rewards elite status with your credit card.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn up to 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2x points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; then 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • No Annual Fee

With the IHG Traveler card, you can earn Gold Elite status when you spend $10,000 in a calendar year. This no annual fee card comes with limited benefits but has some nice points earning categories.

While it’s nice to be able to earn hotel elite status with your credit card, we don’t recommend spending $10,000 on this card to do it.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2x points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; then 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommend (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, $89 thereafter

The IHG Premier card comes with some nice benefits that will appeal to IHG loyalists, including Platinum Elite status.

  • Huge welcome bonus offer
  • Up to 25x points per dollar at IHG Hotels and Resorts
  • 2x points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • IHG Platinum Elite status
  • Yearly anniversary night that can be used at locations costing 40,000 points or less
  • Fourth reward night free
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100 value)

Bottom Line: While there are 2 credit cards that come with IHG Rewards elite status, the best choice is the IHG Premier card that comes with automatic Platinum Elite status. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, check out our head-to-head comparison of these 2 IHG branded credit cards to help you decide.

Get IHG Status Through a Status Match

IHG offers periodic status match promotions to allow you to use your status from another hotel chain to gain elite status with IHG.

If you have a lot of IHG stays planned, it can’t hurt to call or send an email to see if there is a status match coming up.

For more information, check out our guide to hotel loyalty program status matches and challenges.

How To Check Your Progress Toward Elite Status

You can easily check your progress toward IHG Rewards elite status online. After logging into your account, just click My Account to see how many points and nights you have toward your elite status.

Clicking View Earning Summary will give you even more details about your progress as well as a look at each level’s benefits.

Track IHG elite status
You can easily track your IHG Rewards elite status online. Image Credit: IHG

IHG Rewards Elite Status Levels

We’ve written about the benefits of IHG Rewards elite status levels in detail in another post, so we’ll just go over some of the highlights here.

Club

As soon as you join IHG Rewards, you’ll be a Club member and have access to some basic benefits including the ability to earn IHG Rewards points and redeem those points for reward nights.

In addition, all IHG Rewards members, including Club level, will get free Internet at IHG properties.

Gold Elite

You’ll become a Gold Elite status member when you earn 10 qualified nights or 10,000 qualifying points (7 nights or 7,000 points in 2021). At that time, you’ll gain access to these benefits in addition to the base level Club benefits:

  • Priority check-in
  • 10% bonus earnings on top of base points (equal to an additional 1 point per dollar earned)
  • Late checkout, if available
  • No expiration date for points
  • Raid the Bar credit (at Kimpton locations only)
  • $30 in-room spa credit (at Kimpton locations only)

Platinum Elite

After earning 40 qualified nights or 40,000 qualifying points (30 nights or 30,000 points in 2021), you’ll become a Platinum Elite member with access to benefits like these:

  • 50% bonus earnings on top of base points (equal to an additional 5 points per dollar earned)
  • Elite rollover nights
  • Room upgrades, when available
  • Guaranteed room availability with at least 72 hours notice

Spire Elite

You’ll become a Spire Elite when you earn 75 qualified nights or 75,000 qualifying points (55 nights or 55,000 points in 2021). As a top-level IHG Rewards member, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

  • 100% bonus earnings on top of base points (equal to an additional 10 points per dollar earned)
  • An exclusive Choice Benefit (25,000 points or Platinum Elite gifted to a friend)
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status

Intercontinental Ambassador

The IHG Ambassador program isn’t a traditional elite level or even a top-level invitation-only status. It’s a “status” that you can buy for $200 per year that comes with perks at Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts as well as IHG Platinum Elite status.

  • Guaranteed 1 category room upgrade
  • 4 p.m. late checkout
  • Complimentary weekend night (as part of a 2-night stay)
  • Restaurant and bar credit of up to $20 per stay
  • Complimentary mineral water

Hot Tip: You can purchase Intercontinental Ambassador status for $200 per year. The perks are limited to Intercontinental hotel locations, but it comes with IHG Platinum Elite status.

Kimpton Inner Circle

Kimpton Inner Circle is an invitation-only status awarded only to loyal Kimpton guests. There isn’t a published list of requirements for this level of elite status, but IHG states that you’ll be close to receiving an invitation if you reach Spire Elite status and stay frequently at Kimpton brand hotels.

Kimpton Inner Circle members will receive the following benefits at Kimpton hotels only:

  • A unique amenity upon arrival
  • Chef’s Taste (a small complimentary taste from the chef when dining at a Kimpton restaurant for dinner)
  • Free hotel night at participating new Kimpton hotels
  • Complimentary premium internet
  • VIP customer service line
  • Guaranteed 1 category room upgrade
  • Guaranteed early check-in and late checkout
  • Waived amenity/destination fees (does not include resort fees)

As an IHG elite member staying at a Kimpton Hotel, you’ll be eligible for some other unique perks like Raid the Bar and an in-room spa credit!

Bottom Line: IHG Rewards Club has 3 main levels of elite status — Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, and Spire Elite. In addition, you can buy Ambassador Status for perks at Intercontinental Hotels. There’s also an invitation-only status for loyal Kimpton guests called Kimpton Inner Circle.

Is IHG Rewards Elite Status Worth It?

If you’re familiar with the elite status benefits from programs like Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, or World of Hyatt, you might be a bit underwhelmed with IHG Rewards’ elite status benefits.

The biggest perks of IHG Rewards elite status are the bonus points earning opportunities and upgrades. However, even at the highest Spire Elite level, the upgrades aren’t guaranteed. Plus, the IHG Rewards program doesn’t offer any benefits like free breakfast, hotel lounge access, or even a guaranteed late checkout.

The good news is that as an IHG elite, you won’t have to worry about your points expiring. While this benefit doesn’t have a monetary value, it is valuable.

Many of the benefits of IHG Rewards elite status are hard to assign value to since many aren’t guaranteed. But let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits that can be easily assigned value.

You’ll earn extra bonus points as an IHG elite. Assuming IHG points are worth ~0.5 cents each, here’s the extra value you can expect to earn as an elite.

IHG Elite LevelMinimum Number of NightsValue of Bonus Points
Gold Elite10$7.50
Platinum Elite40$150
Spire Elite75$562.50

*These calculations were made assuming you spend an average of $150 per night

While the benefits of IHG Rewards elite status aren’t as valuable as in some other programs, you can definitely see a good value once you hit the top-level Spire Elite. Plus, if you stay at Kimpton or Intercontinental hotels, the value you get from IHG Rewards elite status can improve dramatically when you take advantage of benefits like Raid the Bar ($10 credit), the $30 spa credit, and the free hotel nights.

Bottom Line: While there is value in IHG Rewards elite status, you probably don’t need to go out of your way to earn it. The exceptions might be if you stay at Intercontinental or Kimpton hotels often. The “bonus” elite levels offered by these brands (IHG Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle) plus the perks at Kimpton hotels available to all IHG elites are great perks for loyal Intercontinental and Kimpton guests.

Final Thoughts

Hotel elite status is a great thing to have, but getting that elite status can sometimes be tricky. IHG Rewards offers 3 levels of elite status that you can earn based on qualifying nights or qualifying points. Thankfully, these requirements have been reduced in 2021 to make it easier for you to achieve elite status. As an IHG elite member, you’ll enjoy extra perks like free internet, bonus points, and room upgrades.

Unfortunately, the IHG Rewards elite status program lacks some of the luster of other hotel elite status programs. If you’d like to explore other options, check out our guides on how to earn Marriott Bonvoy elite status, Hilton Honors elite status, Wyndham Rewards elite status, and Radisson Rewards Americas elite status.


Frequently asked questions

Is IHG Rewards free?

Yes, it’s free to join IHG Rewards. After joining, you can work to earn Gold, Platinum, or Spire Elite status. Alternatively, you can purchase Intercontinental Ambassador status that comes with Platinum Elite status.

What is Spire Elite?

Spire Elite is the top-level status at IHG Rewards that you can earn (not including the invitation-only Kimpton Inner Circle). You’ll become a Spire Elite when you earn 75 qualified nights or 75,000 qualifying points (55 nights or 55,000 points in 2021).

Do IHG Rewards points expire?

IHG Rewards points will expire after 12 months without any activity on the account. However, if you are an IHG Rewards Elite (Gold, Platinum, or Spire) your points won’t expire for as long as you hold status.

How do I get IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status?

You’ll get IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status after earning 40 qualified nights or 40,000 qualifying points in a calendar year (or 30 nights or 30,000 points in 2021). You can also get Platinum Elite status by purchasing Intercontinental Ambassador status for $200.

Does IHG Rewards have lifetime status?

No, unlike other hotel chains, IHG Rewards doesn’t offer lifetime status. You’ll have to re-qualify every year.

How long does IHG Rewards status last?

IHG Rewards status runs on a calendar year and you’ll keep your status for the entire calendar year after you earn it. For example, if you earn status in October of 2021, it will be valid through December 2022.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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