Spire Elite Status + Executive Lounge access

Old May 28, 19, 9:26 pm
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Spire Elite Status + Executive Lounge access

Apologies if there is already a thread on this but I'm not too familiar with the IHG program - wanted to check if Spire Elite status automatically gets me access to the executive lounge at one of their Intercontinental properties. When I was looking to book online, there was a standard room rate and then separately a standard room rate with execute lounge access for almost $100 extra. If I already get the lounge access then no need to book the more expensive rate, or alternatively I might look at other hotels nearby.

Thanks
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Old May 28, 19, 9:39 pm
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Nope, no lounge access with Spire. IHG does doesn’t really offer a lot of perks to status members compared to other loyalty programs.

Good luck even getting a late check out without fighting for it.
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Old May 28, 19, 10:37 pm
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Oh, well that's disappointing to hear - both Marriott and Hilton offer lounge access to their top tier status, I guess I assumed IHG did as well. The IHG room upgrades as well have been hit or miss, but more miss than hit as of late in my recent experiences. All the more fodder to book elsewhere, though I did value the Intercontinental location above the Marriott and Hilton properties....
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Old May 29, 19, 12:33 am
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Originally Posted by Graf von B View Post
Nope, no lounge access with Spire. IHG does doesn’t really offer a lot of perks to status members compared to other loyalty programs.

Good luck even getting a late check out without fighting for it.
I never have a problem getting late check out. Not one time ever as a Spire Elite. The easy earning of points and low redemption values make IHG's program superior to other loyalty programs.
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Old May 29, 19, 1:03 am
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Originally Posted by CalItalian View Post
The easy earning of points and low redemption values make IHG's program superior to other loyalty programs.
You won't find too many people agreeing with you. Superior? Low redemption values? How about when you add all of the cost of breakfast, drinks, etc. that other other chains give their elites for free?

The best anyone can honestly say about IHG is that they run a program - no point saying "loyalty" since there aren't any elite benefits of note - that is different from the other major chains and that when IHG hands out lots of promo bonus points it works for some people.
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Old May 29, 19, 1:08 am
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Originally Posted by Graf von B View Post
Nope, no lounge access with Spire. IHG does doesn’t really offer a lot of perks to status members compared to other loyalty programs.

Good luck even getting a late check out without fighting for it.
This isn't quite true. In my experience the vast majority of UK CP properties with lounges (not all by any means but the majority) offer club lounge access (executive Lounge being a fairly Hilton specific term), as a welcome amenity choice.

What absolutely does not happen is club access at IC properties unless you are RA.

Effectively the programme standards for all but IC RA and Kimpton IC are so loose that it becomes a property by property decision. So you never quite know how you will be treated at a new property until you try it. Even past experience as recorded here is not always a great guide.
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Old May 29, 19, 5:34 am
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If you want a measure of certainty about breakfasts, lounges and your future in a hotel programme, you simply will not get it with IHG. If it's important to you, think about Hilton Honors.

I was thrown out of the RA programme after 14 years, so grabbed the top status deals offered by Hilton and Marriott/SPG. The transfer of 90+ nights a year from IC's, and a generous handful from other IHG hotels, will allow me to maintain my new status in both programmes with ease.

In practice I've settled on Hilton, complemented by stays at those IC's that continue to treat me well, and nights at other IHG hotels that offer value (there are some!). And I've well over a million IHG points to use up.

Although many Hiltons are in an odd 4 to 5 star limbo, and Hilton executive lounges are no match for the better IC club facilities, I am really pleased that:
  • I get breakfast at any Hilton, Doubletree or Hilton Garden Inn. And that happens on award nights, too. No question. No uncertainty.
  • Where there's an executive lounge, I'm welcome to use it. Again, that's the case on award night, too. No negotiating. No uncertainty.
  • ditto room ugrades: paid stays and reward nights.
  • I know exactly what i need to do to maintain status. Again, no uncertainty.
  • Lifetime Diamond status is attainable.
  • It's a single cohesive programme encompassing all the major Hilton brands
And, blessedly, there's none of the silliness and confusion of $20/$50 credits which are the latest features of the Ambassador programmes.



Don't get me wrong. RA + IC is a very sweet spot. But the IC footprint isn't that extensive, and there's always the risk you'll get kicked in the teeth if you don't match the opaque requalification requirements
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Old May 29, 19, 6:47 am
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Originally Posted by hudsonlaluna View Post
Apologies if there is already a thread on this but I'm not too familiar with the IHG program - wanted to check if Spire Elite status automatically gets me access to the executive lounge at one of their Intercontinental properties. When I was looking to book online, there was a standard room rate and then separately a standard room rate with execute lounge access for almost $100 extra. If I already get the lounge access then no need to book the more expensive rate, or alternatively I might look at other hotels nearby.

Thanks
Hi, as already said by other no lounge access guaranteed. And in addition you are looking at IC hotels which have their own Ambassador/Royal Ambassador loyalty program and they usually don't care much about Platinum/Spire/...
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Old May 29, 19, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by IAN-UK View Post
If you want a measure of certainty about breakfasts, lounges and your future in a hotel programme, you simply will not get it with IHG. If it's important to you, think about Hilton Honors.

I was thrown out of the RA programme after 14 years, so grabbed the top status deals offered by Hilton and Marriott/SPG. The transfer of 90+ nights a year from IC's, and a generous handful from other IHG hotels, will allow me to maintain my new status in both programmes with ease.

In practice I've settled on Hilton, complemented by stays at those IC's that continue to treat me well, and nights at other IHG hotels that offer value (there are some!). And I've well over a million IHG points to use up.

Although many Hiltons are in an odd 4 to 5 star limbo, and Hilton executive lounges are no match for the better IC club facilities, I am really pleased that:
  • I get breakfast at any Hilton, Doubletree or Hilton Garden Inn. And that happens on award nights, too. No question. No uncertainty.
  • Where there's an executive lounge, I'm welcome to use it. Again, that's the case on award night, too. No negotiating. No uncertainty.
  • ditto room ugrades: paid stays and reward nights.
  • I know exactly what i need to do to maintain status. Again, no uncertainty.
  • Lifetime Diamond status is attainable.
  • It's a single cohesive programme encompassing all the major Hilton brands
And, blessedly, there's none of the silliness and confusion of $20/$50 credits which are the latest features of the Ambassador programmes.



Don't get me wrong. RA + IC is a very sweet spot. But the IC footprint isn't that extensive, and there's always the risk you'll get kicked in the teeth if you don't match the opaque requalification requirements
I think you paint an overly rosy picture of Hilton. I have been a Diamond for 16 years and seen a continued deterioration in the programme during that time, as well as IC RA and SPG LT Plat (now devalued by Marriott)

Whilst there is more certainty about some things it is true there are massive downsides. Firstly standard redemption rate reward nights can be very hard to find at many properties especially at times when they have most value. Secondly room upgrades can be very hard to find and I now routinely check ahead of my arrival what rooms are available for sale and will argue for an upgrade if necessary at check in, as less than 1 in 10 stays recently have had a meaningful proactive upgrade. On paid stays the breakfast benefit can be immaterial since many corporate rates include breakfast and I would ALWAYS trade a free breakfast for a meaningful upgrade. Few Hilton properties have great breakfast offerings (with a few honourable exceptions). Finally you are kidding about LT status at Hilton being easy to achieve, they lost 2 years of my stay history and despite 16 years of Diamond I seem to be another 15 years off at my current stay patterns.

The previously great SPG has been gutted by Marriott where as a Plat (really now old Marriott Gold) decent upgrades are hard to come by proactively and since my Marriott Status was effectively downgraded from old MR Plat (now Titanium) to Old MR Gold (now Platinum) my experiences have been notably worse except in a few properties I stay at regularly (and even in some of those). There is also no path to LT Titanium as a top status so I stay with Marriott as a LT Plat on those occasions that I cannot make IHG or Hilton work for me.

Whatever the imperfections of IHG (and they are myriad) on a practical basis I tend to find that I get better and more consistent treatments as a RA/Spire/Kimpton IC than I do at any of the other chains I hold status. This doesn't mean that IHG is great (because the sheer randomness of status recognition means IHG gets fewer stays from me than they could) but to say the HH or Bonvoy is great just to put the boot into IHG is I think unfair.
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Old May 29, 19, 7:40 am
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The big adantage of IHG's programm is not the status recognition (with the exception of IC) but the "return on investment". I normally get back 9% via the cashback sites, about 7% cash value via the regular points (20 points per Dollar and costs of 260k points for a 1000 Dollar prepaid CC) and probably about 3% cash value via the ongoing points promotions. However, combined with IC benefits and pretty good corporate rates, this turns out to be a great programm.
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Old May 29, 19, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
The big adantage of IHG's programm is not the status recognition (with the exception of IC) but the "return on investment". I normally get back 9% via the cashback sites, about 7% cash value via the regular points (20 points per Dollar and costs of 260k points for a 1000 Dollar prepaid CC) and probably about 3% cash value via the ongoing points promotions. However, combined with IC benefits and pretty good corporate rates, this turns out to be a great programm.
Naturally if you book your own travel, but somebody else pays for it (along with meals and executive rooms), then you can make a reasonable return on investment. And maybe OPM --> low-cost holidays for you works fine.

But you can actually get a higher ROI at Marriott, and get elite benefits as well...
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Old May 29, 19, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Land-of-Miles View Post
I think you paint an overly rosy picture of Hilton......

....Finally you are kidding about LT status at Hilton being easy to achieve, they lost 2 years of my stay history and despite 16 years of Diamond I seem to be another 15 years off at my current stay patterns.


Whatever the imperfections of IHG (and they are myriad) on a practical basis I tend to find that I get better and more consistent treatments as a RA/Spire/Kimpton IC than I do at any of the other chains I hold status.

You seem to have misunderstood or misread my post. I'm not comparing RA benefits with Diamond benefits. I'm happy to declare RA and IC one of the best combinations in the hotel world.

My message is a simple one. If you are a Spire and/or Ambassador you might get some form of upgrade on paid stays, but you will not be be offered breakfast, and you will not be given lounge access at IHG hotels that follow programme rules, and that's mot of them. At those hotels that follow the rules, you'll get diddly squat on award stays.

But if you are Hilton Diamond, roughly the equivalent of Spire/Ambassador, you are certain to receive breakfast on (virtually) all stays and get lounge access at any hotels with lounges. And you'll receive those benefits, including room upgrades, on award stays.

When it comes to awards, IHG restricts this to entry level rooms. At many Hilton properties you can opt to use more points to book fancier accommodation.

There are of course awkward elements to the HH programme. I'm not trying to paint it in a rosy glow. I simply suggest if you want certainty and consistency when it comes to benefits, and a wider range of benefits, you are more likely to find these in the Hilton programme.

If you value the ability to earn extra points then that's what you'll get that from IHG.


Oh, and I didn't say lifetime Diamond is easy to attain. I said it can be attained: it exists.
IHG Ambassador/Priority Club has no concept of lifetime membership.
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Old May 29, 19, 2:49 pm
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[QUOTE=Flying Lawyer;31149189]The big adantage of IHG's programm is not the status recognition (with the exception of IC) but the "return on investment". I normally get back 9% via the cashback sites..../QUOTE]

Yes, a Hilton disappointment is that they limit Diamonds to just 1% on all the cashback sites I use. IHG was up to 15% on some of them earlier this year, but it's now back to 6%
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Old May 29, 19, 10:40 pm
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there are no hard and fast rules on how Spire status members will be treated

I think the overall recognition has been excellent and I appreciate the Rollover nights but if you are granted access to a lounge, the offering is usually rather low quality, certainly in the evening

so it all depends on the city / country your hotel is located in whether IHG or Hilton or ?? is better

Hilton has been fantastic in some locations, guaranteed decent breakfast, the odd upgrade and often drink vouchers but point redemptions seem to be a poor value and there really are no extra earning opportunities outside certain credit cards
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Old May 30, 19, 4:05 am
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Originally Posted by #1son View Post
there are no hard and fast rules on how Spire status members will be treated
Sorry, but there most certainly are rules. Programme T&C, as well as very explicit internal rules, specifically exclude Spire members, and all other members of the IHG programmes, from upgrades involving club access, and free breakfasts. Upgrades to rooms are what the hotel decides are upgrades - higher floors, views, even numbered rooms ...

Some rogue hotels ignore the rules but at any time might be persuaded it's in their best interests to toe the brand line. Most of the rebel properties appear to be in Asia, though:
  • One of the Jakarta properties lost its generous spirit last year ... along with a bunch of its Spire regulars.
  • The CP in Bangkok revised its policy on upgrades and club access even earlier.
  • For years the CP in Dubai Deira kept its customer base loyal, despite the hotel's age and awful location, by giving club access and excellent room upgrades to Plats and above. But now nobody gets status-led club access. The hotel cites IHG rules.
I'm sure there are other examples. These are just the ones I removed from my stay list.


So rules do exist. Some properties flout them, but enforcement of brand conformity seems to be whittling down those tall poppies
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