IHG Rewards Club doesn’t have a traditional category-based award chart. While IHG hotels have year-round award prices, they don’t belong to a specific category. Instead the cost of an award night is typically tied to which brand a hotel belongs to, and then there’s some variance within each brand.
It’s pretty normal for major hotel loyalty programs to adjust their award costs at some hotels on an annual basis. The logic is that the number of points required for a hotel is based on the average occupancy and average daily rate of the hotel, and there are all kinds of factors that can impact that, both micro and macro. So while not all hotels change category every year, it’s not unusual to see a few percent of hotels change categories.
IHG Rewards Club tends to adjust their award categories on an annual basis, and in both 2016 and 2017 we saw them adjust the number of points required for various hotels. While IHG Rewards Club hasn’t yet officially announced an adjustment to the number of points required for stays booked in 2018, FlyerTalk user Lionheart stumbled upon a page that seems to show the updated 2018 IHG Rewards Club award prices.
We don’t yet know exactly when these changes will go into effect, though my guess is that it’s likely this pricing will kick in within a few weeks.
As noted by Point Me to the Plane, it looks like almost 500 hotels will go up in price by 5,000 to 10,000 points per night, while almost 200 hotels will go down in price by 5,000 points per night. IHG has a total of about 5,000 properties around the world, meaning we’re seeing a price increase at ~10% of properties globally, and a net increase at ~6% of properties. We’ve never seen IHG adjust the cost of stays at so many hotels at once.
Perhaps the worst change is that IHG is increasing the number of points required for stays at their top hotels from 60,000 points per night to 70,000 points per night. It was less than two years ago that IHG increased the number of points required at their top hotels from 50,000 points per night to 60,000 points per night.
With these changes, InterContinental properties in Bora Bora, Boston, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Washington, etc., will cost 70,000 points per night, which is pretty rough.
I guess it’s not terribly surprising to see these changes. IHG has been offering tons of promotions and has been selling points, so I guess that’s the other side of that. To me this increases the value of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card even further. The card has a low $89 annual fee (waived the first year), and offers an annual free night certificate valid at virtually any IHG hotel in the world. Once these changes kick in, that free night certificate will be valid at a property that retails for 70,000 points per night. For example, I used my free night certificate last year for a stay at the InterContinental Hong Kong, which will soon cost 70,000 points per night.
What do you make of these IHG hotel award night cost changes?