Simplified Login

IHG had a PIN problem.

UX Design





Since the launch of IHG Rewards Club in 1983 (then callend Priority Club Rewards), members have used a PIN number to access their account information. But now, in 2019, PINs are considered to be the least secure method available to secure data.


To get current, IHG launched the Simplified Login project to enable guests to better secure their accounts with the use of passwords. However, changing a system that had been in place for 36 years would prove to be no simple task.....


I was the UX Studio lead on this project, backed by my PM Joelle Kress, UX Architects Candra Gill & Cynthia Horn, Content Strategist Ellen Forbes, Copywriter Stephen Harper, and Junior Designer Jade Maddox.

These days, logging into an account (securely) happens in the blink of an eye. Improvements like social login, computer-generated passwords, and two-step authentication make securing users important data easier than ever. These improvements also make it painfully obvious whenever we encounter an experience that is subpar when it comes to security.

Unofrunately, that's been the situation at IHG for some time now. In the daily feedback report we subscribe to, users professional and casual alike have long since griped about our PIN system, and rightfully so – a 4 digit pin has a maximum of 10,000 permutations, whereas a 10 digit password can have over 59,873,693,923,837,900,000 possibilities.

That's a huge difference.

IHG had known this and been working on the solution for years, and there's three reasons it took so long to fix: updating systems, converting a tremendous member base, all while modifying a site with hundreds of thousands of pages.

A GIF of the old login experience. It looked bad.

Getting down to business.

Systems don't just get implemented overnight. After deciding that Gigya would be the technology IHG would be utilizing to power the backend of this new project, we had to determine how Gigya's capabilities and dependencies would effect design. We had several UX goals & considerations, including:

  • Redesign the enrollment experience
  • Refine the login process across all channels
  • Refine the password reset and maintenance process across all channels
  • Improve consent management
  • Consolidate accounts linked to member emails if there were more than one
  • Move all members from a PIN system to a password system

This was no small undertaking, and a thing not to be taken lightly. Forcing users to consolidate their accounts and to have all the many millions of them change their login information would have to be implemented with care and consideration, and I set out to ensure our designs were empathetic towards our users and their needs in this transition.


Josh takes the lead.

There were alot of teams involved in the launching of Simplified Login. Alot. Too many.

I personally helped lead every meetings with POs, developers, and stakeholders for the project, representing the UX Studio whilst building one team. I attended 30+ demos, 75+ refinements (2+/week), and 41+ working sessions, all for the 6 different dev pods I was supporting to get this project launched. I was one of the few selected to present this work at the internal IHG Showcase, where I helped educate my colleagues on the new login/password processes, influences and timeline of the project, and how they'd be directly/indirectly effected.

Apple products displaying various states of the new Login Experience

Secure, at last.

Simplified Login successfully launched globally on December 17th 2019, and there are several improvements and enhancements planned including social media login, a solidified PIN to Password transition, and much more. But this launch cemented IHG's place in the modern hospitality world, bringing a much-needed update to the security and peace of mind of our users.

I'm a proud dad.

Apple products displaying various states of Simplified Login

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