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Early this morning Priority Club sent out emails related to their forthcoming benefit and program changes. Some of the changes are real and tangible benefits, some have the potential to be good in the future, and some are just changes. Here are the highlights:
- Under its new program, IHG will provide free internet to all its loyalty program members, worldwide –” a first for the hotel industry” (Priority Club’s words, not mine…seems this isn’t exactly true as others have done it). This will start this summer for elite members and will roll out to all members in 2014. I hate having to pay for internet, and in fact the last time I did was $14 as an elite member at a IHG hotel, so this is a real and tangible benefit enhancement….though it is really just playing catch-up to the other loyalty programs.
- As of July of this year, the Priority Club program is getting rebranding/renamed the IHG Rewards Club. I’m not really a fan of name changes just for the sake of name changes, but if they are really going to overhaul the program along with the name then more power to them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it really does become a new and very rewarding program both in terms of points and elite benefits.
- The ability to earn Elite status faster by staying in three or more of IHG’s hotel brands;
- Reward Nights will count toward earning Elite status; and
- Platinum Elite members’ “extra” nights will roll over toward maintaining their status in their next membership year
As a family traveler who is no stranger to hotel elite status I think these changes are nice, but still not quite what is needed to really impact my family. Internet aside, the announced benefits just make it easier to earn and maintain elite status, they don’t actually make the reality of having elite status better. As a family we “need” suites and breakfast. Naturally I don’t “need” those things to live, but I do need them if a loyalty program is trying to win the bulk of my business, especially since I am already getting those benefits from other reward programs.
I will absolutely appreciate not having to spend money to use the internet when I stay at IHG hotels, but I probably be won’t be shifting any additional stays to the IHG Rewards program just for that reason (since I already get internet on my other hotel stays with Hyatt and SPG due to my respective status with those brands). I would like for them to say that elite benefits apply to rewards stays, but as long as I am making a wish-list, I will certainly add breakfast and confirmed suite upgrades as those really would benefit families like mine.
Thumbs up to Priority Club/IHG Rewards for wanting to improve their rewards program. Internet is a great start, but I hope we will see some other improvements that will really improve the elite experience for families in the future.