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I Have Given In – My IHG Diamond Elite Status Pursuit

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IHG Diamond Elite Status

IHG Diamond Elite Status

Of all the major hotel chains, my relationship with IHG has probably been my most polarizing one.  I largely gave up on them back in 2022.  I then decided to get rid of my Premier card, but ultimately downgraded to the no annual fee Traveler version, instead.  Not long after, I product-changed back to the Premier (it’s a long story).  I achieved the Premier’s $20k big spend bonus late last year.  I’ve done so again early in 2024, and I’m almost to $40k spend and IHG Diamond Elite Status.  But why?  A few factors have brought me to this point, and that’s what I’m sharing today.

IHG’s Standout Award Benefit

Until recently, the value of one IHG benefit didn’t sink in with me the way it should.  IHG One Rewards offers Chase IHG Premier, Premier Business, and Traveler cardholders the ability to receive a fourth night free on award stays.  This works out better for my family (and many others) for two primary reasons.

Other hotel loyalty programs, including Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, offer a fifth night free on award stays.  But our family takes more trips spanning four nights and fewer lasting five or more.  Plus, IHG’s fourth night free structure offers a superior return relative to others’ fifth night free options.

Elite Recognition

Over time, I’ve heard multiple data points of IHG improving their elite recognition at the Diamond level.  Sure, they made promises with the introduction of IHG One Rewards, but have they actually delivered?  Talking with others deeper in the IHG game, I’ve heard they’re routinely upgraded, sometimes to suites, and the Diamond complimentary breakfast for two at properties with a hotel restaurant is legit.  Some have reported breakfast limitations, but I’ve mostly heard positives.

These are also the two hotel elite status benefits I care about most.  That leads me to my next point.

IHG Diamond Elite Status

I’m IHG Diamond Elite Status-Curious

While I’ve been a top-tier member of Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton, I never have with IHG.  I’ve been turned down for upgrades at Holiday Inn Express properties as a lowly Platinum, and I’m curious to see if those will clear now.  More importantly, I want to see how they’ll deliver at brands beyond the pedestrian HIE.  Perhaps I’m giving this unknown more credit than it deserves, but I must admit it’s drawing me in.

Changing Travel Goals

Our travel goals have evolved over time, where they align more closely with some of IHG’s more prestigious brands like Intercontinental and Kimpton.  Naturally, it’s a better time to leverage higher IHG status now that we’re staying there more.  I can’t say I expected such a change a couple years ago, but this is how it’s turned out.  Adapt and overcome!


At the beginning of this article, I stated how I planned to reach IHG Diamond elite status based on the $40k big spend bonus from the IHG Premier.  In previous years, this made zero sense for me to pursue.  But right now, options are available where I can cheaply obtain this status out-of-pocket while also giving up close to zero in terms of opportunity cost.  Pile this on the stack of “why not now?” reasons.

IHG Diamond Elite Status

Optimal Timing

As I previously described in terms of American Airlines status, I’m able to maximize this IHG status by achieving it relatively early in 2024.  By doing so, I’ll have Diamond for the rest of 2024 and all of 2025.  That’s the longest amount of time I can hold this top-tier status based on a single qualification.

IHG Diamond Elite Status – Conclusion

I’m honestly not sure where this will lead.  This could be a one-and-done elite status where I don’t requalify.  Or based on other factors, many unknown at this point, I could decide to requalify during calendar year 2025.  If I had to guess right now, I’m leaning more on the one-and-done outcome.  But we shall see.  The uncertainty is just one of many things that makes our hobby so intriguing.

Do you hold IHG Diamond elite status?  How has your experience been so far?

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I am more interested in how you can “cheaply obtain status” spending 40k. Can you please share more details?

  2. I have been Diamond for years but, up to the last year, found it to be basically useless. I was considered to be a diehard Hilton Diamond up to the point where they started devaluing the program a few years ago. I had the Amex that gave me Diamond, but I also qualified by staying 40-50 nights a year. They started whittling away the Diamond benefits but the final straw for me was when they messed with the free breakfast (I stay mostly at HGI).
    I actually started to stay Choice and IHG properties out of protest, but when IHG started providing breakfast for Diamonds I switched over and have given them 28 nights so far this year. Choice still has 6 night YTD and Marriott Residence Inn has gotten 3 nights in 1 city I frequent because they always upgrade me to at least a 1 bedroom suite whenever I stay there. I have stayed at Hilton 1 night and that was only because I needed to use a FNC before it expired
    My wife and I have both IHG cards which, provides us with 4 free nights. I think I will hit Diamond with stays, but if not, definitely on Premium Card spending.
    My biggest pet peeve with IHG was that even if you were at the highest level, you didn’t get all the benefits (especially breakfast) on free stays. To show you how this has changed, I gifted my son’s family (wife, 2 grandchildren 8 & 16) a free night stay using points at the Intercontinental Boston. I don’t know if it was because they were slow or what, but they upgraded them to the Presidential Suite and when they went to breakfast, they came away with a bill for $25.00 + gratuity which is pretty generous. Was it a fluke? Probably, but years ago I could never imagine this even happening.
    So yeah, I’m happy with IHG right now and hope this program continues the way it is.
    Now if they could only fix their customer service line.

  3. I had IHG Diamond status for 2023, but only stayed 33 nights. I received an offer in November 2023 to buy 120,000 points for $1,200 and retain Diamond elite for 2024. I took this offer since I had already planned to buy 500,000 IHG points in December 2023 for $2,500 during the 100% bonus points offer.

    Essentially I paid $600 for Diamond elite after deducting the value of 120,000 points.

    I will have stayed 35 nights at IHG hotels by the end of April 2024, paying 632,000 points, with 19 nights at InterContinental Hotels, 4 nights at Kimpton, 5 nights Crowne Plaza and 7 nights at Holiday Inn.

    The cost of complimentary breakfasts for the 16 nights at HI, CP and Kimpton for 2 persons was priced at about $650 for mostly European hotels where my wife and I stayed so far and plan to stay by May 2024.

    My 33 nights in 2023 cost $3,100 for 31 nights on 590,000 points and 2 paid nights. My 33 nights were worth $6,552 when calculating best flexible room rates for stays with added benefits from room upgrades and breakfast benefit. I earned IHG lounge access for 2023 and 2024 after staying 40 nights with IHG in 2022.

    I’ve planned our 2024 hotel travel around earning 70 IHG hotel nights for 2025 IHG Diamond status. I purchased IC Ambassador membership in December 2023 for $200. This included 15,000 bonus points. If I do not manage to reach 70 elite nights, then I will be satisfied with the lounge access benefit for 2025 once I qualify for the IHG 40-night Milestone Award in 2024.

    I find IHG Diamond elite a worthwhile and affordable status for our travels.


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