Is IHG Looking To Partner With An Airline For Reciprocal Benefits?

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There certainly has been a move over the past year in the travel industry for better synergy between brands.  Earlier this year we saw hotel chains like Hyatt and MGM Mirage team up to offer elites status between their brands.  We also saw reciprocal agreements between Delta and SPG and Marriott and United Airlines.  The Marriott/UAL program, called RewardsPlus, offers most elites with United Airlines Gold status with Marriott.  On the flip side, Marriott Platinum elites get United’s Premier Silver status.  It seems that this program has been successful, because United and Marriott just announced that it has been extended into 2014.

Since these partnerships have seemingly been beneficial, it is no surprise that other companies may be looking to get into the game.  Surveys usually provide a good way to see what direction a company is looking to take.  The other day, my wife Jasmine received an offer from IHG to take a survey for 2,500 points.  While the payoff was not very lucrative, what the survey was asking is very insightful.  One question in specific mentions a “Potential New Offer” for IHG Rewards Club members.  Here is a screenshot taken directly from the survey.

The details of a new reciprocal program between IHG and an unknown airline or just a pie in the sky idea?
The details of a new reciprocal program between IHG and an unknown airline or just a pie in the sky idea?

It would seem what IHG is considering is more extensive than what United and Marriott have.  To me, it seems very similar to Delta and SPG’s Crossover Rewards.  Either way, my best guess is that the unnamed airline IHG may partner with is American.  Since Delta and United Airlines are both taken, American is the likely choice, although Southwest or a smaller carrier is an option as well I guess.

Since this was just a survey, I would take this information with a grain of salt.  With that said, there is no doubt that these synergistic programs have been successful and will continue to grow and evolve. While IHG doesn’t have the most rewarding loyalty program, their sheer number of properties combined with the ease of gaining Platinum status through their credit card, make this potential new benefit something that definitely peaks my interest.


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