IHG extends all elite status and award night certificates
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The novel COVID-19 outbreak has brought the travel industry to a near standstill. Between major event cancellations and travel restrictions, hotel occupancy rates and flight loads are hitting record lows. There’s no doubt that earning elite status is going to be a challenge this year, so to alleviate some of that worry and maintain customer loyalty once travel picks up again, many airlines and hotels have been adjusting the validity of elite status, upgrade certificates and other expiring perks.
IHG has just announced that it is automatically extending all elite statuses through January 2022 — regardless of how many nights you complete in 2020. This is similar to the previously-announced moves of Hilton and Hyatt, and is slightly more generous than Marriott’s announcement in that it includes extensions for members who earned status via a status match. This means elite members will have a full additional year to enjoy benefits like complimentary room upgrades and late checkout. For Spire Elite members, this includes the choice benefit of 25,000 bonus points or gifting of Platinum Elite status to someone each year.
For those worried about their IHG points expiring, there’s also good news. If your points are due to expire before the end of the year, IHG is extending the points expiration date to 31 December 2020.
In addition, IHG has extended its cancellation fee waiver. Now, you’ll be able to cancel existing bookings made through 6 April 2020 for stays through 30 June 2020 without penalty, although the waiver for hotels in Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and the Taiwan region is only good for stays through 30 April 2020.
The chain has also stated that bookings made through third-party sites such as online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia must be cancelled directly through the OTA.
IHG had also already extended a helping hand for existing elite members by reducing required stays by 25% or more, whether measured by nights or by points.
An email distributed to IHG elite members stated, “With more constrained travel plans and a shorter time period during which members can earn Elite tier status, we are reducing the Elite membership criteria required (nights or points) this year by 25% or more.
IHG issued an accompanying statement with these two announcements, saying that, “We continue to monitor the situation and will be keeping this policy under review”.
Hotel reservations booked beyond 30 June (with the exceptions noted above) are currently subject to IHG’s current cancellation policy. “Our Best Flexible Rate allows our guests to change or cancel their reservation one to two days prior to arrival”, IHG stated in its notification email. “Changing the date on any reservations may result in different pricing, but there is no fee for making changes. To ask about any booking, contact the hotel or our reservation team.
Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh and Katherine Fan.
Featured photo courtesy of IHG.