(EXPIRED) IHG Diamond Status Challenge (targeted?)

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IHG introduced its “new and improved” rewards program, IHG One, last year. The change initially seemed to be quite positive, although there’s been “clarifications” to some of the elite benefits that have made it a bit less exciting than we’d originally hoped.

A couple of weeks ago, IHG unveiled a status match promotion through 4/30/23 that can quite easily get you Gold or Platinum status. That’s not terribly interesting, as many folks already have Platinum status through an IHG credit card, and the benefits themselves aren’t very compelling.

However, IHG has now released a parallel fast track towards the actually-desirable Diamond Status. This challenge is shorter than Gold/Platinum version that IHG released last month, as it requires 8 paid nights in only six weeks. However, if you meet the terms, you get IHG Diamond status for almost two years.

The Deal

  • IHG One has announced a new status challenge fast track. Rewards members who are targeted and who register will be able to earn Diamond status after staying 8 paid nights by 3/31/23.
  • Once earned, Diamond status will be valid through 2024.
  • Must register for promotion before first stay
  • Seems to be at least somewhat targeted

Direct Link to Registration

Terms and conditions

  • To participate in the “Just for you: Private Diamond Offer” promotional offer (the “Offer”), you must be an IHG One Rewards member and must be invited to participate in the Offer.
  • After receiving an invitation, you must register your member number in advance in order to be eligible for the Offer.
  • The Promotion period begins on 15th February 2023 and ends on 31st March 2023 (the “Promotion Period”).
  • Once a member registers for the Promotion, the member will be able earn IHG One Rewards Diamond Elite status, and start enjoying the associated benefits, by staying just eight (8) qualifying nights at participating IHG® Hotels & Resorts during the Promotion Period.
  • To be a qualifying night under the Promotion, the room night must be part of a Promotion Eligible Qualifying Stay and must fall within the Promotion Period. Completed stays prior to registration or outside of the Promotion Period are not included.
  • By way of example, a member who registers for the Promotion on 16th of February 2023 and has a Promotion Eligible Qualifying Stay at a participating hotel with a check-in date of 13th February 2023 and check-out date of 18th February 2023 will be credited with three (3) qualifying nights, for the 15th, 16th and 17th of February. The member will not receive credit for 13th or 14th of February because those nights were prior to the Promotion Period.
  • For purposes of this Promotion, a Promotion Eligible Qualifying Stay is defined as a minimum one (1) night stay at a participating hotel booked under a Qualifying Rate, with a room rate exceeding $30 USD (or local equivalent) for each night.
  • Participating hotels include all IHG® Hotels & Resorts and Mr and Mrs Smith Properties, with the exception of Iberostar Beachfront Resorts and those Six Senses® Hotels, Resorts & Spas that do not participate in IHG One Rewards. (To check if a specific Six Senses hotel is participating in this Promotion, contact the hotel directly.)
  • Stays booked using Rewards Nights or Points & Cash are not Promotion Eligible Qualifying Stays for purposes of this Promotion. 

Quick Thoughts

Normally, it takes 70 nights/120,000 qualifying points to reach IHG Diamond Status.  Once there, you get a 100% points bonus on stays, complimentary upgrades that include suites (or are are supposed to), a welcome amenity (free breakfast or points) as well as early check-in and late check-out to 2pm, when available. There are other perks for those who earn the status organically, but many of the best options come from Milestone Rewards (like lounge access and confirmed suite upgrades), which are earned from actual nights stayed. Thus, these perks can’t be accessed via this promotion.

Several of us on the FM team have IHG Diamond and we’ll be publishing our experience with it across several brands shortly. Application of the benefits has been uneven, to say the least, and I’ve been to a couple locations where the front desk staff was completely unaware of what they even were.

That said, I think that this has been improving and we’ve all received restaurant breakfasts for two and proactive upgrades on our stays so far this year (see Stephen’s experience at the IC Johannesburg a couple of weeks ago). Some properties still seem to be playing games with suites, but overall I think that the benefits are in the same league as the equivalent Hilton and Marriott statuses, especially if you’re staying in Kimptons and Intercontinentals. Breakfast, at the Intercontinentals especially, has been terrific.

You only need a $30 paid night for it to qualify towards this promotion so, theoretically, it could be possible to mattress run all 8 nights for $250-$400 or so at lower-end properties. I paid $200 for IHG Ambassador at the end of last year in order to extend my Diamond Status through 2023. I have a bunch of IC stays over the next year, so $200 was absolutely worth it.

If I could mattress run almost two years of status for around $400, I’d be very tempted. That said, I don’t have a lot of IHG properties with prices that low in my neck of the woods, and before paying more than $200/year for the status, I’d want to make very sure that I can utilize it enough to justify the expense.

If you have stays in the next 6 weeks that would allow you to reach the goal organically, I think it would certainly be worth strongly considering, especially if you can take advantage of it with stays at the higher end of the portfolio (Intercontinental, Kimpton, Six Senses) over the next two years.

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