2015 in Points: IHG – Spire and Spire

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IHG was the 2015 dealmaker left at the alter.


China-specific brand Hualuxe opened in Yangjiang and Nanchang, two industrial tier 2 cities, so to complete all the brands you now have to go into China’s interior.


IHG Rewards’ big move was addition of a new top tier called Spire, they just forgot to add the benefits. I have not found a diminution of my credit card-granted Platinum status. Many hotels still have Priority Club materials laying around so change comes slow.

Their prior year acquisition, Kimpton, will have its Karma program continue in 2016.


Targeted promotions continue with the return of Accelerate in 2016. On my primary account I had completed the prior year promotions so mine this year were way beyond my ability to reach, especially with a cut in business travel. The way to play these promotions continues to be new accounts.

Then there is the 94-note card IHG Surprises, which I may do for the fun of it. One mailer won 1 million points in the first week.


IHG is my primary chain for business travel with its broad geographic sweep and budget-friendly price points. Chains such as Hyatt are out of my price cap in most international markets.

They helpfully totted up my activity: 15 cities, 12 stays, 35 nights. All were business except two Points Breaks nights in Helsinki.


Lessons Learned:

  • When IHG loses a hotel, they stiff you. Dealing with IHG Relocations is terrible. Hard to get any compensation and even need to chase for a refund.
  • You earn only 2.5 points/dollar (instead of 10) at The Residence Suites Dubai F.C. or Asiana Reside Saigon Residences. I had a business stay in Saigon where the connected Intercontinental was much more expensive for standard rooms, whereas I got a huge apartment with full kitchen and laundry. I still wanted the points!Asiana Residences Saigon
  • I have not seen the value in buying Intercontinental Ambassador, or chasing Royal Ambassador. With the free night certs from various promotions and the credit card we had unremarkable stays at Intercontinental Seoul Parnas and Intercontinental Hong Kong. No meaningful surprise elite benefits. After much arguing in Hong Kong we are able to get out of construction view to harbor view for a reduced price. Outside the US, Crowne Plazas and Holiday Inns can be quite nice, often generous with elite treatment, and are my normal focus.Intercontinental Seoul Parnas Intercontinental Hong Kong

Hotel Indigo Shanghai is the first chain boutique hotel I have loved. Hotel Indigo Hong Kong could have been good except for bizarre features such as ALL THE LIGHTS turning on every time the room door is opened, not good when you and partner are jet-lagged and sleeping different schedules.Hotel Indigo Shanghai Hotel Indigo Hong KongOn to 2016!

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6 years ago

Thanks for your input. I only stayed at ic properties that’s probably why. Is there any difference for upgrades if staying on points or revenue? At least in the language there seems no difference. Also the language on benefits clearly says elites do get upgrades when the room is available buy most ic properties seem to ignore that part. Is that also your impression?

6 years ago

I just had a staycation at the Hotel Indigo SH on Sunday because of poor planning of an Into the Nights free night. The shower was the best part, to have a clear view of Lujiazui with enough water flow to be a water fall. The free welcome drinks on the roof didn’t hurt either.

6 years ago

As a spire member I never got upgrade regardless of paid or unpaid or into the nights promo. But with a platinum with Hyatt I almost always got an upgrade. A huge difference in experience and thinking about loyalty what do you think about the upgrade? Do you often get it?

6 years ago

My wife and I have had similarly spotty results at IHGs despite our Ambassador status, for both business and leisure stays, and with all stays being mostly paid stays. At one IHG (hello, Real Intercontinental Guatemala), we did not receive standard benefits such as an upgraded room, daily newspaper, etc. are not honored, while at others we received not only the standard Ambassador benefits but also free access to the Executive Lounge and superlative attention from the staff (kudos, IHG in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and IHG Seoul Coex in S. Korea!!), and in the absence of an Executive Lounge,… Read more »