July 4, 2022
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

This spring we saw the launch of IHG One Rewards, which is IHG’s revamped loyalty program. There’s a lot to love about the program, and in particular the Milestone Rewards program. So in this post I wanted to take a closer look at everything you need to know about how that works.

What are IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards?

IHG One Rewards offers the Milestone Rewards program, whereby you receive certain additional perks for every 10 elite nights you rack up in a calendar year, ranging all the way from 20 elite nights to 100 elite nights. Potential perks include confirmed suite upgrades, club lounge access, food & beverage credits, and more.

This is intended to give members flexibility, because at each threshold there’s a choice of benefits that members can choose from, based on what’s most valuable for their travel patterns.

These benefits are separate from the standard elite perks offered for IHG One Rewards Platinum and IHG One Rewards Diamond status, and can really take the value of your elite status to the next level. For what it’s worth, this program is very similar to World of Hyatt’s Milestone Rewards program.

Earn confirmed suite upgrades with Milestone Rewards

Full list of IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards benefits

There are different Milestone Rewards benefits for every 10 elite nights you earn in a calendar year, ranging from 20 elite nights to 100 elite nights. Before we get into the details, a couple of things to note:

  • Even award nights count toward this total, so in theory you could earn Milestone Rewards just by redeeming points
  • While the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) and IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review) offer Platinum status just for having the card, and offer Diamond status with spending, you don’t receive the corresponding elite nights; in other words, you don’t automatically receive any Milestone Rewards benefits if you earn status with a credit card

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at IHG Milestone Rewards thresholds.

IHG Milestone Rewards at 20 elite nights

At 20 elite nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following Milestone Rewards perks:

  • 5,000 bonus IHG points
  • Two food & beverage rewards worth $20 each
  • A confirmable suite upgrade
Select an IHG confirmed suite upgrade

IHG Milestone Rewards at 30 elite nights

At 30 elite nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following Milestone Rewards perks:

  • 5,000 bonus IHG points
  • Two food & beverage rewards worth $20 each

IHG Milestone Rewards at 40 elite nights

At 40 elite nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose two of the following Milestone Rewards perks:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each
  • A confirmable suite upgrade (limit one)
  • An annual lounge membership (limit one)
Select an IHG annual lounge membership

IHG Milestone Rewards at 50 & 60 elite nights

At both 50 and 60 elite nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following Milestone Rewards perks:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each

IHG Milestone Rewards at 60 elite nights

At 60 elite nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following Milestone Rewards perks:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each

IHG Milestone Rewards at 70 elite nights

At 70 elite nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose two of the following Milestone Rewards perks:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each
  • A confirmable suite upgrade (limit one)
  • An annual lounge membership (limit one)

IHG Milestone Rewards at 80, 90, & 100 elite nights

At 80, 90, and 100 elite nights, IHG One Rewards members can choose one of the following Milestone Rewards perks:

  • 10,000 bonus IHG points
  • Five food & beverage rewards worth $20 each
Select an IHG food & beverage credit

IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards benefits explained

All of this probably sounds great, but how do all of these benefits work logistically? What can confirmed suite upgrades be used for, how does the lounge membership work, how can you redeem food & beverage credits, etc.? There are four different kinds of perks here, so let’s go over the details of each of these.

IHG confirmed suite upgrades

It’s incredibly exciting to see IHG One Rewards introduce the the concept of confirmed suite upgrades:

  • These can be used to confirm a suite upgrade for a stay of up to five nights
  • These can only be applied on cash stays when booking eligible rates
  • These can be applied by calling IHG One Rewards customer support between 14 days and one day prior to arrival
  • There’s no waitlisting mechanism here, but rather if there’s a standard suite for sale, you can confirm it at that time
  • The upgrade can be up to a standard suite, though if that’s not available you can confirm an upgrade to another premium room that’s not a suite
  • In the future there are plans for this process to be possible online, and for members to be able to waitlist upgrades

IHG annual lounge membership

While IHG One Rewards Diamond members receive complimentary breakfast, executive lounge access isn’t otherwise a benefit. The exception is if you select an IHG annual lounge membership as part of the Milestone Rewards program:

  • An annual lounge membership gets you access to lounges for the entire year in which it’s earned, plus the following 12 months (in other words, if earned in June 2022, it would be valid through December 31, 2023)
  • This can be used to get club lounge access for an unlimited number of stays, regardless of whether you’re paying cash or redeeming points
  • This can be used at virtually any IHG property with a club lounge, including InterContinentals

IHG food & beverage rewards

Food & beverage credits are one of the IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards perks that can be selected at each threshold:

  • The food & beverage credits will be posted digitally to your IHG account
  • You can redeem them individually, or use multiple toward a single purchase
  • They’re valid for 12 months from when they’re issued, and don’t retain any residual value

IHG bonus points

At each Milestone Rewards threshold, IHG One Rewards members have the option to select bonus points. These will be posted to your account if selected. For context, I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each, so to me 5,000 points are worth $25 (while 10,000 points are worth $50).

Which IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards are best?

If you ask me, the IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards program is extremely lucrative. A few general thoughts:

  • If you stay at IHG properties that have club lounges with any frequency, then selecting an annual club lounge membership should be a no-brainer, especially since you can choose this with just 40 elite nights
  • Aside from the club lounge membership, the confirmed suite upgrades are definitely the perks with the most potential value
  • If you’re trying to decide between the food & beverage credit and the IHG bonus points, I’d generally choose the food & beverage credit; for example, at the higher thresholds you could choose $100 worth of food & beverage credits or 10,000 bonus points (which I value at $50), so there’s an obvious winner there

IHG One Rewards Diamond status requires 70 elite nights per year, so let’s just look at the value of the Milestone Rewards if you were to earn 70 elite nights. If you selected the most “valuable” options (based on how I view it), you’d receive the following additional perks:

  • Three confirmed suite upgrades
  • An annual club lounge membership
  • $340 worth of food & beverage vouchers

Executive lounge access, three confirmed suite upgrades (each valid for up to five nights), and $340 in food & beverage credits isn’t half bad on top of the standard elite perks, like free breakfast, room upgrades subject to availability, etc.

IHG finally has a real suite upgrade program

Bottom line

There’s a lot to like about IHG’s revamped loyalty program, though I’d argue that the most exciting change is the introduction of Milestone Rewards. With this, IHG is offering club lounge access, confirmed suite upgrades, and more, putting IHG more in line with competitors.

Just keep in mind that Milestone Rewards are tied to how many elite nights you earn, rather than being tied to your status as such. So if you earn status with a co-branded IHG credit card, you’d still need to earn the corresponding elite nights to be eligible for Milestone Rewards.

What’s your take on IHG’s new Milestone Rewards program?

See also  Details: New IHG Premier Business Credit Card