IHG refreshed its guest loyalty program this past spring, including the launch of Milestone Rewards, which allow members who reach 40 nights to choose lounge access as their award.
IHG-affiliated hotels, especially InterContinental and Regent brands, have kept their Club Lounges rather “exclusive” by allowing only Royal Ambassador members complimentary access. Others have needed to book and pay for a club room or suite (admission included) or choose to pay an upcharge.
You can access IHG’s page for IHG One Rewards here.
READ MORE: IHG One Rewards Rate & Bonus Points Offers
The problem with the complimentary club lounge access for a more significant number of members is that it may devalue the product. Some hotels simply may not have enough space in the lounges to accommodate all guests, as I noted when the refresh was unveiled.
Now, some InterContinental hotels have started to rename their lounges and create a separate elite “lounge” with a substandard offering for free access guests (Royal Ambassador & guests with lounge access pass).
There has been a discussion about this issue on a Chinese frequent flier website called FlyerTea (access here).
InterContinental Changsha has decided to rename their existing Club InterContinental as a Jade Lounge to which you don’t have complimentary access. The lounge is only available for guests who PAY for rooms or suites that include access, excluding any complimentary access.
The hotel has invented an elite “lounge” in the lobby with complimentary soft drinks and nuts.
Pros of Paid Access
- Club Size
- Better Food & Beverage
- Profit versus Cost Center for Hotel
Our IHG One Rewards Refresh Coverage:
These club lounges under various names that exclude elite member access are nothing new.
Waldorf Astoria in Rome has Imperial Lounge, Conrad Washington D.C. Sakura Lounge, and some resort JW Marriott’s Griffin Club that all deny access to Honors Diamond and Marriott Bonvoy Platinum and higher members.
InterContinental Park Lane in London has already excluded Royal Ambassador access around the holidays. I doubt they will allow IHG One Rewards members with 40 nights with the chain and Club Access award to enter.
I was at the InterContinental Phuket in April and chatted with one of the managers who told me that they already were above capacity, at times, with guests who pay for a club room or suite/villa that includes it. So how could they accommodate all those rewards members with club lounge passes?
I will reach 40 nights with IHG One Rewards in two weeks and will be able to put the lounge access pass use later in the month. I will report if I get push back from the hotels, and I hope you let us know (email me) if you have problems.