A Marriott Hotel

The global Covid-19 outbreak has created unprecedented circumstances for the travel and hospitality industry. Travel around the world is on pause for most people and thus redeeming your hard accumulated rewards isn’t really an option at this time. Today we dive into what major hotel credit cards are doing to help their members.


Follow The Credit Shifu on social media to stay in the loop on the latest trending travel and personal finance news.



If you’re thinking about how to manage your loyalty activity this year, below is a list of IHG extended privileges and lowered Elite status requirements to meet in order for you to enjoy your next trip, when the time’s right for travel.

  • IHG reduced the Elite membership criteria requirements, both nights and points, this year by up to 30%

Gold Elite – 7,000 qualifying points in the 2020 calendar year (30% reduction from the 10,000 that were required in 2019) or 7 nights (30% reduction from the 10 nights that were required in 2019).  

Platinum Elite – 30,000 qualifying points in the 2020 calendar year (25% reduction from the 40,000 that were required in 2019) or 30 nights (25% reduction from the 40 nights that were required in 2019). 

Spire Elite – 55,000 qualifying points in the 2020 calendar year (27% reduction from the 75,000 that were required in 2019) or 55 nights (27% reduction from the 75 nights that were required in 2019). 

IHG’s elite status table for 2020

Getting IHG elite status will bring you sizable point bonuses, free meals, late checkouts and free room upgrades.

  • IHG extended its free night certificates

Certificates issued in 2020 now have an 18 month lifespan. On top of that, some certificates expiring this year have been extended. If your certificate expired in March 2020 or later, you now have till Dec 31 2020 to use it.

  • IHG is waiving cancellation fees

The fees are waived for existing and new bookings at all IHG hotels globally, for stays between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020


IHG Efforts to Help Alleviate Coronavirus Impact on Hospitality Workers

Due to the temporary closure of hotels worldwide and significant reduction in their operations, employment of the vast majority of people working in the hospitality industry has been severely impacted. The IHG Hotel Colleague Job Center website lists job opportunities with leading companies across the US that are looking to hire hospitality professionals, including Amazon, Walmart, CVS, Albertsons, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Lowe’s and The Home Depot. 



Like many hotel brands, Hilton strives to provide maximum flexibility to its customers as the situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve. Here an up-to-date outline of the changes regarding bookings and Hilton Honors membership Points and Status:

  • Hilton extends Free night certificates 

The extension applies to all unexpired free Weekend Night Rewards as of March 11 2020, plus new ones issued until August 30 2020. The free night certificates will now be valid until August 31 2021.

In other words, depending on when your certificate is expiring, you may now get over a year of extra time! 

  • Points Extension

Hilton will pause the expiration of all Points scheduled to expire between now and December 31, 2020.

  • Hilton extends Elite Status

Good news for everyone who had status with Hilton for 2019 (which actually expires on March 31st 2020), your status is now extended by a whole year: 

March 31st 2020 > March 31st 2021

If you had a 2020 status (expiring March 31st 2021), that will be extended as well:

March 31st 2021 > March 31st 2022


  • Hilton/Amex have Issued a $250 resort credit on the Aspire card

Some Hilton Honors Aspire Credit cardholders have reported the $250 resort credit being deposited into their account, even though they haven’t been to a Hilton resort. This may depend on when your card renewal date is and doesn’t seem to be an official policy.

  • Hilton’s modification and cancellation policies

Existing Reservations: All individual reservations—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are scheduled for arrival on or before June 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.

New Reservations. Any individual reservations you make—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are booked between today and June 30, 2020 for any future arrival date can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.


Hilton and American Express Initiatives to Help Combat COVID-19

Hilton and American Express Initiatives to Help Combate COVID-19--TheCreditShifu.com

Hilton and Amex announced yesterday that they will donate up to 1 million hotel room nights across the United States to frontline medical professionals leading the fight against COVID-19. Beginning next week, the companies will make rooms available without charge to doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other frontline medical staff who need a place to sleep, recharge or isolate from their families through the end of May. 

William Jaquis, MD, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said the room donation will be welcome relief for the thousands of medical staff enduring long hours under challenging circumstances, “Knowing that there is a safe, clean and comfortable hotel room waiting for you at the end of a long shift can make all the difference in the world right now.” 



Hyatt announced last week the following customer-friendly additions to its policies.

  • Hyatt extends its awards, including free nights, club access award, and suite upgrade

If you have any free night certificates from the Hyatt credit card, Milestone Rewards or Brand Explorer benefit that were due to expire between March 1 and December 31, 2020, their expiration dates will be extended through December 31, 2021, giving you a maximum of 20 extra months, depending on expiration date. 

The same extension policy applies to any Suite Upgrade Awards and Club Access Awards that would expire between March 1st and December 31st 2020, which will now expire on December 31st 2021.

  • Hyatt suspends points forfeiture

Generally, World of Hyatt points expire after 24 months of inactivity, now, that won’t be enforced till the end of the year. Hyatt is suspending the forfeiture of points through December 31, 2020.

  •  Hyatt extends all current elite members status by a year

Whatever status you earned last year would normally expire on February 28, 2021. Your current elite status will now be extended through to February 28, 2022. 

  • Change and cancellation fees waived

All reservations made before April 1, 2020 for arrival through June 30, 2020 can be cancelled / changed up to 24 hours before you’re due to arrive. This is valid for Advance Purchase rates as well.

If you make any new reservations for arrival through June 30, 2020, you can change or cancel your reservation up to 24 hours before, even on Advance Purchase rates (with the exception of reservations booked after April 1 for stays at Destination Residences and Special Events Rate reservations).



Marriott has extended the following benefits for its members (outside of mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan).

  • Expiring Free night awards can now be used until January 31st 2021

Active Free Night Awards (as part of a credit card benefit, Annual Choice Benefit, Promotion or Travel Package) with an expiration starting March 1, 2020 will be extended through January 31, 2021. The Marriott system will automatically complete the updates by the end of April 2020.

  • Suite night awards extended to Dec 31st 2021

Suite Night Awards with an expiration date of December 31, 2020 will be extended to December 31, 2021. You do not need to take any action as the system will automatically complete the updates by the end of June 2020.

  • Your points paused between now and August 31st 2020

Marriott has paused points expiration for those scheduled to expire between now and August 31, 2020. They’re updating their systems and points expiration dates will not show on your Member Account for the time being. Points will remain in your account through the end of August 2020. 


There is no extension of Marriott Elite Status as of yet (except for members in China, HK, Macau and Taiwan). Follow The Credit Shifu on social media for the most recent updates, as we continue to monitor various policies.


This is the most up-to-date guide of what IHG, Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton are doing to help their members and credit cardholders amidst the global Covid-19 outbreak. Check out current credit card offers and what relief other credit card issuers offer their cardholders to soften the financial blow due to the temporary business closures .  


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