Is IHG Gold The Most Unrewarding Elite Status? - Running with Miles
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Is IHG Gold The Most Unrewarding Elite Status?

hotel loyalty
Written by Charlie

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Hotel elite status is something that can vary widely across the various chains and brands. It is also something that does not even have a fixed level of value within the same chain in many instances (such as certain room upgrades being at the discretion of the hotel managers, etc). But, it is always nice to have some type of hotel status sitting next to your name on the reservation!

Hotel Elite Status

But what does it take to earn that hotel status? In most cases, it is possible to earn hotel status by simply holding the hotel’s co-branded credit card. Many hotels will actually give those cardholders mid-level elite status, effectively valuing cardholders at the same level as someone who spends double digit nights in their hotels in any given year (at least in the rewards program).

Read MoreHow To Get Hotel Mid-Tier Status – and Why You Want It

Earning Hotel Elite Status – IHG Gold

Hotel Credit Cards

Elite status can give you extra perks and the credit cards can give you that status / Courtesy of Shutterstock

Many people still earn hotel status by, you know, actually staying at hotels! And the hotel loyalty programs work to reward them by giving them the status they have earned with their many nights/stays within the chain. But, what does it say to a hotel customer who stays between 15 and 50 nights at a hotel chain and that customer is not even given the same status as one who may not even stay in one of the hotels more than once a year?

I’m talking, of course, about IHG’s Gold Elite members. IHG Gold is the mid-tier (or entrance level if counted by actually staying to earn) level of IHG’s loyalty rewards program. Until July of this year*, the levels go like this:

  • Club – a customer who signs up for the program and stays up to 14 nights in a year at IHG hotels
  • Gold – a customer who stays at least 15 nights or earns 20,000 elite points (with a fast track option of 10 nights at 3 IHG brands)
  • Platinum – a customer who stays at least 50 nights or earns 60,000 elite points (with a fast track option of 40 nights at 4 IHG brands)

*Come July of this year, IHG will introduce a new elite level that will require staying 75 nights or earning 75,000 elite points.

In the little description above, I left out one very important method of earning status. That is by holding the IHG credit card. But, unlike all the other hotel chains, IHG/Chase give cardholders instant Platinum status as long as the card is held. With an annual fee of $49, IHG basically sells current top-tier status to anyone who gets their credit card.

Credit Card Holders Get Platinum – Jumping Over Gold Members

IHG Gold

That allows anyone able to apply for and receive a Chase credit card the ability to hop over the Gold member who has to stay at least 15 nights in IHG hotels to earn their status. If you are able to get the IHG credit card, is there even any point in trying to earn Gold status with the necessary couple of extra stays if you are already at 12-13 nights? Absolutely not! There are people who only use the free anniversary night as their one stay at IHG brands each year and they sit at Platinum status while the customer who stays in hotels between 15 – 50 nights a year only has Gold to show for it.

But, just like airline elites who receive comped status by way of status matches or as a elite gift from another elite, does that credit card Platinum really take anything away from the Gold member? No, not really. In fact, neither Gold or Platinum is a level that will get elites in other hotel programs really excited because of the benefits.

The IHG Card Has Great Value

*Disclosure: I do NOT receive a commission for this card.

IHGAm I saying that the IHG credit card is bad? Absolutely not! I believe it is the single most valuable credit card for anniversary bonuses around (with one free night at any IHG hotel) and its low annual fee of $49 certainly challenges the other hotel chains that require a higher annual fee. In fact, if you do not currently have the IHG credit card, I would encourage you to take a look at applying at some point as the card is a great card – especially with a sign-up bonus of 70,000 points!

But, I do feel bad for IHG Gold members – you guys certainly have it tough! It is too bad there is not some sort of extra perk offered to Gold/Platinum members who apply for the IHG card, maybe like a food/beverage credit or a suite upgrade certificate for their first year.

If you are a Gold member, maybe it is time to elevate your status with the IHG credit card.

Any of you IHG Gold members? How do you feel having a status that a credit card member can jump over?

Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

6 Comments

  • I agree that IHG Gold is useless, but I have found that at middle-of-nowhere properties, you will get an upgrade to a “suite” from time to time.

    • That is a nice trend that I have found with US programs in hotels around the world. The mid-tier properties always seem to be in some kind of awe over having some elite staying with them. 🙂

  • it’s ridiculous how $49 annual fee card can convey higher status than those who actually have to grind it out week over week

    i’m all for cards giving low-to-mid tier status, depending on the card’s annual fee. SPG card giving nothing is rather stingy.

  • IHG Platinum is pretty worthless for me too except for at the few CP’s that have a lounge. This is a program to participate in for the points & free nights, not for on property benefits. Maybe I’d feel differently if my travel was more international or the mid-tier properties Charlie mentions above.

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