IHG Elite Devaluation
The honeymoon phase of IHG’s One Rewards program, if it ever existed, is now over. Mark recently described the perplexing limitation on the free night certificate with Chase IHG Premier‘s welcome offer. And just a few days ago, DDG explained new restrictions of the complimentary upgrade benefit. Not coincidentally, this IHG elite devaluation made my big spend decision easy. Let me explain.
The most significant changes announced last week are as follows. IHG now states that complimentary upgrades do not include club level amenities or services:
Complimentary Upgrades to Club rooms, Club REGENT or Club InterContinental rooms / floors do not include Club Level amenities or services, e.g. Club Lounge access, free pressing, airport transportation, etc.
The same language has been added to confirmable suite upgrades, which are one of the options for Milestone Rewards:
Confirmable Suite Upgrades to Club rooms, Club REGENT or Club InterContinental rooms / floors do not include Club level amenities or services, e.g. Club Lounge access, free pressing, airport transportation, etc.
IHG Elite Devaluation – My Take
First off, I’m taken aback at how quickly IHG degraded their new program. IHG substantially devalued the complimentary upgrades for Platinum and Diamond members, which they touted just four months ago when they unveiled One Rewards. Redeeming Milestone Rewards on confirmable suite upgrades is much less attractive, also. Milestone Rewards was another significant feature of One Rewards which they highlighted at program launch. Taking into account these two changes, it seems IHG wanted to wow us with their new program but not actually deliver.
It’s comical to think that upgrades to club rooms without club access is an elite benefit. What is that? Without club access, that probably means the same standard room but wasting more time going up and down on the elevator to a higher-floor club level. No thanks!
What I’m (Not) Doing
As I previously described, I’m continuing with my plan to meet the Chase IHG Premier‘s $20k big spend bonus to receive 10k points and a $100 statement credit. I had been on the fence about the $40k big spend bonus for Diamond status, more against than for it. IHG has made my decision easy with their recent changes. I will not spend one penny over $20k on my IHG Premier this year. I won’t obtain Milestone Rewards anyway, so the second change above doesn’t directly impact me. But the signal IHG sent with these rapid, significant changes gives me no reason to have hope for the program’s future.
Many may choose to pursue Diamond status through stays or spend, anyway. I can understand that might be the right call for another individual’s situation. My family and I focus on Holiday Inn Express stays, though, where Diamond benefits (the complimentary breakfast benefit, specifically) don’t matter as much, anyway. Overall, I feel IHG’s been tremendously stingy over the past few months. It feels like they want the accolades that come with their new program’s perceived impressive new benefits without actually delivering on them. After I enjoy my cinnamon roll, I’m out.
How do you feel about the recent IHG elite devaluation?