Your Guide to IHG Elite Status

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You may know the InterContinental Hotels Group from its popular hotel brands like Holiday Inn, Kimpton and Crowne Plaza. If you stay at IHG properties frequently or have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you may be interested in their elite status benefits.

Here, we break down how the IHG elite status program works, how to earn the three different status tiers and how this program compares to other hotel elite programs. IHG’s program is fairly simple compared to some others, but there’s still plenty to cover.

» Learn more: IHG Rewards Club Premier review: Free nights on a silver platter

How to earn elite status

You can earn IHG elite status in one of three ways:

  1. Complete enough elite qualifying nights within a calendar year.
  2. Accumulate enough elite qualifying points within a calendar year.
  3. Have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which comes with IHG Platinum elite status, or the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, which comes with Gold elite status.

In general, option 1 will be the best route for those who spend a lot of nights in low-cost rooms, and option 2 will apply to those who stay at high-end properties.

Here’s how many qualifying nights or points are needed to earn IHG elite status.

What are elite qualifying nights?

Elite qualifying nights are generally non-discounted or corporate rates booked directly through IHG. So award nights (booked with points), nights booked through a third party like and other promotional nights do not count toward elite status.

What are elite qualifying points?

Elite qualifying points are a little more complicated. They include:

  • Points earned through qualifying nights (per the criteria above).
  • Points earned through spending on IHG-branded credit cards.
  • Bonus point packages.
  • Spending through IHG® Business Rewards.

Examples of activity that doesn’t earn elite qualifying points include the following:

  • Elite status bonus points (explained below).
  • Co-branded credit card welcome bonuses.
  • Points that were purchased or transferred.
  • Points earned through IHG promotions.

How does IHG credit card holder elite status work?

This is by far the simplest method for obtaining elite status. The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card comes with Gold elite status, while the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers Platinum elite status. That’s all there is to it.

Unfortunately, status earned in this way does not get you any closer to the higher tier levels. That is, if you want to get to Spire elite status from the Platinum status earned through the Premier card, you have to start from the bottom.

» Learn more: IHG Rewards: More value for the frugal traveler

Benefits of each tier

Each tier offers its own benefits, with Platinum offering all the benefits of Gold, plus more, and Spire offering all the benefits of Platinum, plus more. Here are the most important benefits from each status level:


  • 10% bonus on base points.
  • Points don’t expire.
  • Welcome amenity (e.g., bottles of water or free alcoholic drink at the bar).


  • 50% bonus on base points.
  • Free room upgrades when available.
  • Late check-out when available.
  • Points don’t expire.
  • Welcome amenity (e.g., bottles of water or free alcoholic drink at the bar).


  • 100% bonus on base points.
  • Exclusive choice benefit when status is achieved.
  • Free room upgrades when available.
  • Late checkout and early check-in when available.
  • Extra nights rollover to next year’s qualification.
  • Points don’t expire.
  • Welcome amenity (e.g., bottles of water or free alcoholic drink at the bar).
  • Free minibar credit at participating hotels.

InterContinental Ambassador program

IHG offers a unique membership level for those who stay frequently at InterContinental properties, called the Ambassador program. It’s really more of a paid membership program with elite status perks. Membership costs $200, which gets you the following:

  • Guaranteed room upgrade.
  • Guaranteed late checkout.
  • IHG Platinum elite status.
  • $20 restaurant and bar credit per stay.
  • Complimentary weekend night when booking a paid weekend night.

Is IHG elite status worth it?

IHG generally isn’t known for high-end properties, and its elite status program certainly isn’t the most luxurious out there. Sure, you’ll earn a few bonus points and get nice perks like late checkout, but even the highest Spire status lacks really valuable perks like free breakfast and suite upgrades.

For most IHG loyalists, the Platinum status provided by the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers enough perks without the hassle of tracking elite qualifying nights and stays.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Best hotel credit cards
Your guide to booking award nights with IHG hotels
Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal

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