Hotel group program changes happen so fast and it seems so often, that they can be challenging to keep track of. Back in December of 2017 Intercontinental Hotel Groups launched their new Luxury and Lifestyle Program. I’ve accumulated a rather large number of IHG points and am currently looking to make good use of them. When discussing with a friend the potential uses of my points to enhance my stays at IHG properties, he asked me if I was going to use the IHG Luxury Program benefits. I didn’t have a good answer because I actually didn’t know much about the program.
But now I do! So let’s dig in, see how the program works, and if it has any value for you when you book IHG hotel stays.
What Exactly Is the IHG Luxury Program?
The Intercontinental Hotel Group has properties in more than 85 destinations in major international markets. Many of the high-end hotel groups have had programs like IHG’s Luxury and Lifestyle Program in place for years. With IHG’s program, travel advisors have access to special privileges and benefits such as exclusive promotions, local recommendations and other connections at IHG’s luxury, lifestyle, and resort hotels. So if having VIP benefits (upgrades, early-check-in, hotel spending credits, late check-out) is something you’d enjoy, put getting to know an IHG advisor on your to-do list!
Exclusive Guest Amenities for the IHG Luxury Program
Upon every two-night minimum stay, IHG® Luxury & Lifestyle guests will receive special, exclusive amenities:
- Guaranteed late check-out (until 4PM)
- Breakfast for two, daily at hotel restaurant
- Value-added amenity, specific to hotel ($100 value per stay)
- Upgrade to next room category (subject to availability on arrival)
- Free Wi-Fi (unlimited devices)
- Turn down service as appropriate by brand
- Handwritten, personalized welcome card
- Bottled water, fresh fruit, and snacks in room upon arrival
- No walk policy
- Priority wait list
IHG Luxury Program Particulars to Know:
These luxury rates will earn points and stay credits in IHG accounts. Any IHG points earned will be credited as usual.
To get the IHG Luxury benefits, the room must be booked through an IHG Luxury representative. Therefore, you cannot stack the IHG booking with a Citi Prestige 4th night free booking. You also can’t book an IHG rate in conjunction with a IHG member discount rate, a AAA rate, a corporate rate, a pre-paid rate, or an award stay.
Your IHG Luxury room rate will be the Best Flexible Rate shown on IHG.com. When using a refundable rate you are not paying any extra by using the IHG Luxury program. If, however, you book a pre-paid, non-refundable rate then IHG’s Luxury Program rate will cost you a little more, but the benefits might outweigh that cost, so do the math.
- When I book award tickets for my travels to luxurious destinations, I always leave that part to Juicy Miles!
The room upgrade IHG benefit is subject to availability upon arrival. This is similar to Virtuoso amenities where most upgrades are upon arrival, not confirmed at booking. As long as the next room category is available, and this is important to understand, the upgrade will occur. If the next room category is not available, the upgrade is not guaranteed. Since you booked the best flexible rate, if your goal is to get an upgrade and the upgrade is blocked (which can happen) you can always cancel the booking.
Let’s Define Terms
You might be wondering if there are any restrictions on the $100 spend. This varies per property with some hotels limiting it to only food and beverage credits and excluding spa services or room service. Upon check-in you’ll be advised by the hotel staff how to use the $100 spend.
Hotel lingo can be confusing, so let’s clarify what a “no walk” policy is. This simply indicates that in the event of an overbooking, you’ll not be booked at another property but rather you’ll stay in house.
One benefit listed is Priority waitlist, but waitlisted for what? Similar to the point above, with the no walk policy, the Priority Waitlist simply states that if the hotel is booked to capacity and your IHG advisor decides to be listed on the waitlist (in case something changes and availability opens up), you’ll be on top of the list to be granted a reservation!
Essentially, using the IHG Luxury and Lifestyle Program can get you a better deal than if you were to book directly yourself. Even if you only stay at an IHG property once in a while, the extra benefits such as free breakfast for two and $100 hotel credit also sweeten the deal.
Though IHG is not my main hotel program, I do use Citi Prestige 4th night free benefits on many of my hotel stays. This 4th night free perk will soon become limited and I won’t be able to use it as often. For my travel patterns, this change, coupled with my wanting to give IHG Luxury Program benefits some attention, will definitely have me looking more closely at IHG Luxury Program bookings and working with an IHG representative.