I too am Spire at IHG. I held my sit-down at an IHG hotel, booked it months ago. I checked in on Friday 10th with my relatives as a Plat, checked out on Sunday 12th as a Spire and my double points have just credited.
IHG is a very different scheme from the others (HH/MR/SPG). It runs 2 schemes, a paid for scheme, Ambassador at Intercontinentals guaranteeing room upgrades and in-stay benefits, and a free scheme, IHG Rewards giving only wifi and points with some hotels deciding to go further, but no guaranteed benefits
I am now on my monthlong vacation/honeymoon in Canada and our first stop is the Holiday Inn, Oakville which has provided a corner exec room upgrade and free continental breakfast coupons on a 15k/nt stay. But this isn't normal, normality at IHG is inconsistent upgrades and no free breakfast.
Marriott remains my favourite, because of the hotels, Marriotts are uniformally better kept, IHGs are a mixed bag. IHG points are worth less than Marriotts bit their hotels are for the most part cheaper.
I'm working my way to that status now. I've just passed gold with IHG and perhaps will pass my paid nights with Marriott this year with them. I still stay at Marriott whenever they are possible but here in the bustling metropolis of Reading, UK, there's not a single Marriott anything. Too bad really, the town is full of businesses and could stand to have a good MR site. So without it, I am working through the Holiday Inn and other IHGs in the area.
I really like the Crowne Plaza there, spacious rooms and the bar has outdoor seating by the river too. As its Reading prices are reasonable.
certainly Marriotts coverage in the UK is patchy, that's the reason I maintain plat (now Spire) with IHG, they're everywhere. IHG has more hotels within the M25 than Marriott has throughout the whole UK! IHG is everywhere, so although most of it's hotels aren't as nice, nor its points as valuable, nor its loyalty scheme as good, you're never far away from one, making it a great backup chain.