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).
Earning Hotel Elite Status – IHG Gold
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
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.
Am 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?