IHG Rewards Club Delays Award Night Devaluation

Filed Under: Hotels, IHG Rewards
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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 what 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 is particularly known for this, and seems to raise award costs every year. They did so in 2016, 2017, and 2018, if you want to see the details of changes in previous years.

As I wrote about last week (and as discovered by Lionheart), IHG Rewards Club will be changing award pricing at nearly 700 properties this month. That date is based on when you book and not when you stay, so I know many people were planning on locking in stays today for subsequent dates, since the changes were supposed to kick in on January 14, 2019 (tomorrow).

There’s at least some good news there. It looks like IHG has delayed their award price changes to January 25, 2019, so you now have just under two weeks remaining to book at the old rates.

IHG has about 5,000 hotels around the world, so that represents about 14% of their properties.

The InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort is increasing in cost from 35K to 40K points

About 82% of those properties are going up in price, while about 18% of those properties are going down in price. Of the properties impacted, about 450 are in the US.

The good news, if there is any here, is that IHG isn’t introducing any higher award pricing than already exists. That’s to say that the most expensive properties cost 70,000 points per night, so IHG isn’t introducing anything more expensive than that. Furthermore, no hotels are even moving up to the 70,000 point level this time around.

InterContinental is IHG’s highest end brand, and it looks like the cost of 28 InterContinental properties is changing. The good news, at least, is that no InterContinental is changing in price by more than 5,000 points.

The InterContinental Lhasa Paradise is decreasing in cost from 25K to 20K points

Keep in mind that one way to get more value from your IHG points is to have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Not only does the card offer Platinum for as long as you have it, but it also offers a fourth night free on award redemptions, which you can use an unlimited number of times. In increments of four night stays, that basically gets you a 25% discount on redemptions.

What do you make of these latest IHG changes? Do any property changes in particular impact you?

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  1. So pathetic. Basically the few nice InterContinental’s on this continent that were still eligible for a free night are now gone.

  2. This is why IHG is an earn and burn ASAP currency for me- they consistently jack up award night prices at places like Candlewood Suites or HIXes I burn at. I’m not going to accumulate in a program where the value gets drained out regularly.

    (I honestly would rather get a $200/night stay at a Candlewood Suites in Phoenix for 15k a night during baseball spring training on points than spend 70k on some luxe Intercontinental for $350 a night.)

  3. Just dumped the data into a spreadsheet to do a quick analysis. On average, this represents a 13.4% increase in cost among properties worldwide. On one end, 27 hotels increased the number of points required by 50%; hit especially hard was Texas. On the other end, 28 hotels decreased the cost by 33%, especially in Latin America (namely, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina), where inflation has recently weakened local currencies.

  4. These incremental steps of 5K here and there really add up. I used to like to stay at Hotel Indigo Paddington since it was steps from the station and many places I went the train left from Paddington. It used to be 25K for an award night, then went up to 35K and now this moves it from 50K to 55K. More than double what it was a few years ago.

  5. I have put 120 nights in their shitty HI hotels in 2018. For that effort I can get three reward nights in their top brands. Not worth it for me to be loyal.

  6. There’s a mistake in the headline of this story, “changing” does not describe what’s happening here, the word is “devaluation”

  7. @Rafa only 210k (top ICs are 70k/night) for 120 nights? You must be staying at really cheap hotels and no accelerate offer for you. I find it very strange.

  8. @mach81
    Correct. Staybridge and Holliday Inn. With bonus and averaged 1000 points per night. Picked up additional 80,000 points in credit card. That’s 200,000 points for the year. Less then three bonus nights at top property. Marriott worked much better for me over the years.

  9. IHG used to have the best value rewards but continue to charge more and reward less. Program is no better than Marriot’s now so might as well go with the better chain.

  10. IHG is a moving target. I still have one “Chase Free Night” to redeem. I still have never ending Spire status. I still have 20% rebate for all award stays.

    Stays via points isn’t what it used to be with the devaluation of both the PointBreak point stays and the point stays, though.

  11. @Richard.
    Not too many options in deep suburban USA. It’s either Staybridge Fairfield or Holiday inn. I did four stretches of 30 nights each and it’s nice to have a suite. I’m not bitching about properties but rather reward for loyalty. 120 night of loyalty gets me 4 free nights at their 50,000 points property. Or 3 nights at 70,000 property.

  12. I just did a cross country drive with my son (SEA to BOS). IHG redemptions were 25 K per night at HIX. I paid for a couple Staybridge Suites and earned tiny increments of IHG points. This is the landscape out there in the USA off the Interstate (yes, lots of Courtyards and similar but HIX and Staybridge are better values). I used this as an opportunity to burn the last of my IHG points. Wife and I are off to Singapore next month (SQ 21/22) and will likely stay at an Indigo or Intercontinental as I like those properties (the Indigo in Krakow is great) but will buy them off Hotels.com for the 10% payback. I have never had, nor will I ever have, an IHG card. Waste of wallet space.

  13. I have been an IHG Rewards member for 15 years. It was my go-to when traveling on business. Unfortunately something has gone wrong here. Points are practically worthless now. I still have the IHG rewards credit card and I do get an “free” anniversary night for the $89 annual membership fee but there really is no other benefit anymore. Over the last several years it has cost me more to stay loyal to IHG. Today I am trying to book a room in Salt Lake City, just as someone off the street a standard room can be had for $97.22. For me to stay with points would cost me 30,000 points. I recently loaded up for the year on points like I usually do when I am sent an offer to purchase, but to buy 30,000 points cost me $172.50. I do have the option split the bill by paying cash and buying points. I can get that same standard room for 15,000 points (which cost me $94.50) plus $105.00 cash.
    Someone has let this ship go astray???

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