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Guide To IHG One Rewards Diamond Elite Status

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We recently saw IHG revamp its loyalty program, with the introduction of IHG One Rewards. I’d argue that the new program represents a significant improvement over the old program, thanks to the new benefits that have been introduced.

In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at the benefits of IHG One Rewards Diamond status, which is the program’s top-tier status (I previously wrote a guide to IHG One Rewards Platinum status). How do you earn the status, what are the benefits of being a member, and is it worth it?

How to earn IHG One Rewards Diamond status

There are several ways to earn IHG One Rewards Diamond status — you can earn it based on the number of nights you stay, you can earn it based on how much qualifying spending you have at IHG properties, or you can earn it by spending on a co-branded credit card.

Earning IHG Diamond status with hotel stays

IHG One Rewards Diamond status can be earned either based on the number of nights you stay or the number of qualifying points you earn, as follows:

  • Stay 70 qualifying nights in a calendar year; even award nights count toward that total
  • Earn 120,000 qualifying points in a calendar year; you ordinarily earn 10x base points per dollar spent, so you’d earn that after spending $12,000 at most IHG brands

These are pretty steep requirements, as this requires more nights than you’d need to earn Hilton Honors Diamond, Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, or World of Hyatt Globalist.

IHG One Rewards elite requirements

Through July 31, 2022, IHG One Rewards is offering a status match challenge. You can receive Platinum status just for enrolling, and then you can maintain status all the way through December 2023 based on how many nights you stay within 120 days — Platinum status requires five nights, while Diamond status requires 15 nights.

Earning IHG Diamond status with credit cards

IHG has three co-branded credit cards, and two of them give you the opportunity to earn Diamond status with spending. Specifically, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) and IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review) offer Platinum status for as long as you have the card, and Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year.

While $40,000 isn’t an insignificant amount to spend, I’d say that’s a reasonable spending requirement to earn status in comparison to the number of nights required. Also keep in mind that these cards offer all kinds of awesome perks, like an anniversary free night award.

Earn IHG Diamond status by spending $40,000

IHG One Rewards Diamond status benefits

With the requirements to earn status out of the way, what are the benefits of IHG One Rewards Diamond status? Below are the benefits and perks, roughly in the order in which I value them (I’m putting Milestone Rewards at the end, because the value is so dependent on how much you stay and how you earn your status).

Complimentary breakfast

IHG Diamond members are entitled to a welcome amenity at check-in. What’s exciting is that you can select complimentary full breakfast as an option, which is going to provide the most value.

This is valid for the member and one registered guest for each night of the stay, and includes one main menu item with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, or a full buffet with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. The value of this can add up quickly, and it’s fantastic to see IHG finally consistently offering elite members breakfast.

100% IHG bonus points

IHG Diamond status offers a 100% points bonus on all eligible stays. Since you ordinarily earn 10x IHG points per dollar spent at most IHG brands, you’d earn an extra 10x points per dollar spent, which will make your points add up quickly. This is in addition to any points earned through IHG promotions.

Room upgrades (subject to availability)

IHG Diamond members are entitled to room upgrades, subject to availability at check-in:

  • Upgrades are offered up to standard suites, though this is at the hotel’s discretion; that’s to say that a hotel doesn’t have to make a suite available for an upgrade, even if it’s empty
  • In the past many IHG properties weren’t great about proactive upgrades, though since the relaunch of the program, properties have been retrained with offering proactive upgrades, including some hotels even upgrading up to 48 hours before arrival

On paper the upgrade benefit is the same for Platinum and Diamond members, though in practice Diamond members should receive preferential upgrades, and are more likely to get suite upgrades. If you do have Diamond status and aren’t proactively offered an upgrade, I’d definitely recommend asking about it at check-in.

Reward night discounts

With the relaunch of the program, it’s being promised that IHG Diamond members will get access to award night discount promotions several times per year. There’s no specific timeline with which this happens, but we’re told to expect it multiple times per year.

Early check-in & late check-out (subject to availability)

IHG Diamond members receive early check-in (no exact cutoff specified) and late check-out (as late as 2PM). The catch is that this is subject to availability, so it isn’t guaranteed as it is with some other hotel groups. Don’t count on this being granted, though it’s something you can definitely ask for.

Dedicated customer support

IHG Diamond members get access to special customer service support, which other elite tiers don’t receive. That might not sound too exciting, but I find that IHG customer service in general can be lackluster when it comes to resolving problems, so I can see this coming in handy.

Guaranteed room availability

IHG Diamond members get guaranteed room night availability when booking at least 72 hours in advance. This could come in handy if you’re trying to book at a sold out hotel, but expect that you’ll pay a very high rate for this privilege.

The main issue is that this benefit doesn’t apply “during special events that result in extraordinary room demand, as determined solely by the hotel.” That would typically be the time when something like this would be most valuable.

Access to Milestone Rewards program

Arguably the most exciting aspect of the new IHG One Rewards program is Milestone Rewards, which is only somewhat tied to elite status. With Milestone Rewards, members can be rewarded for every 10 elite nights they earn in a calendar year, starting at 20 elite nights and all the way up to 100 elite nights. Potential rewards include confirmed suite upgrades, club lounge passes, food & beverage vouchers, and more.

At 20 elite nights, IHG members can choose one of the following:

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

At 30 elite nights, IHG members can choose one of the following:

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

At 40 elite nights, IHG members can choose two of the following:

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

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

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

At 60 elite nights, IHG members can choose one of the following:

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

At 70 elite nights, IHG members can choose two of the following:

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

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

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

These are almost without a doubt the most valuable elite perks offered by IHG One Rewards. For example, if you’re a Diamond member who earns 70 elite nights in a year, you could potentially earn three confirmable suite upgrades (each valid for a stay of up to five nights) plus an annual lounge membership (which gets you lounge access for an entire year). There’s a ton of value to be had there.

Get club lounge access with Milestone Rewards

Is IHG One Rewards Diamond status worth it?

Historically IHG hasn’t had an elite program that could compete with the other major hotel programs. Fortunately that has finally changed, with the introduction of IHG One Rewards Diamond status, plus Milestone Rewards.

On the most basic level, IHG Diamond members receive free breakfast, a 100% points bonus, and room upgrades up to standard suites (at the hotel’s discretion). But the area where the status really offers value is with Milestone Rewards.

If you do earn 70 elite nights in a year you can select an annual club lounge pass, plus multiple confirmed suite upgrades. That’s where the value of the program really shines, and competes with the best of them.

If you stay at IHG properties somewhat often, I could definitely see value in spending $40,000 on the IHG Premier Card or IHG Premier Business Card to earn Diamond status. However, you’ll then also want to unlock some Milestone Rewards, so you can get club lounge access and more.

It’s hard to directly compare IHG Diamond status to other major top tier hotel statuses, because the value is so much tied to the Milestone Rewards program.

On the surface I’d say IHG One Rewards Diamond is most comparable to Hilton Honors Diamond, in terms of the upgrade benefits, lack of guaranteed late check-out, etc. The difference is that you can get Hilton Diamond status just for having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (review), with no spending requirement. Then again, Hilton Honors doesn’t have Milestone Rewards.

Status becomes really valuable with Milestone Rewards

Bottom line

IHG recently revamped its loyalty program with the introduction of IHG One Rewards. Diamond status is IHG’s new top-tier status. You need to stay 70 nights or earn 120,000 qualifying points for the status, or alternatively it can be earned by spending $40,000 on the IHG Premier Card or IHG Premier Business Card in a calendar year.

IHG Diamond status offers solid benefits, including free breakfast, a 100% points bonus, room upgrades, and more. The value of the program increases with Milestone Rewards, where you can earn confirmed suite upgrades and club lounge access.

What do you make of IHG One Rewards’ new Diamond status tier?

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