This might be a good time to redeem IHG Rewards Club points, as the program has some exceptional deals available thanks to dynamic award pricing.
Dynamic award pricing is new for IHG
In early 2019, IHG Rewards Club revealed that they planned on rolling out variable award pricing. As the hotel group described it at the time, they were “testing new features for 2019 roll-out, designed to increase member engagement with variable point pricing.”
An IHG spokesperson ended up confirming the rumor, and said that dynamic award pricing would be introduced, describing it as follows:
“As part of a continued effort to enrich the value proposition for our IHG Rewards Club members, we’ll be introducing variable pricing on reward night redemptions. We’re testing new features for a planned roll-out this year, and will be sharing additional details as they are available.”
This new award pricing went live in April 2020
IHG didn’t end up introducing variable award pricing in 2019, though in late April 2020 I wrote about how we saw the first signs of this. Initially we only saw dynamic award pricing at select properties in mainland China and Taiwan.
For example, we saw pricing at the Regent Taipei ranging from 30,000 points per night to 60,000 points per night.
At the Hotel Indigo Taipei North we saw pricing ranging from 12,500 points per night to 17,500 points per night.
At the time we didn’t see dynamic award pricing outside of parts of Asia, but that has finally changed.
IHG’s new widespread and (very) dynamic award pricing
In the past few days IHG appears to have rolled out dynamic award pricing on a widespread basis. In general I’m not a fan of this concept, but in this particular situation it’s leading to some incredible deals. Perhaps rather than offering dynamic award pricing they’re really just offering a sale on awards.
Presumably this comes down to the current state of hotel occupancy, and IHG wanting people to redeem points. I wouldn’t necessarily expect this incredible pricing to stick around long-term. In many cases I’m seeing points rates reduced by almost 50%.
For example, in Miami I’m seeing Kimptons for 25,000 points per night, when they’re usually 40,000+ points per night.
The InterContinental Danang is usually 70,000 points per night, but is now 40,000 points per night.
Many InterContinentals in Europe are also heavily discounted, with some available for just 20,000 points per night.
While not all hotels are discounted, I’m seeing significantly reduced rates across tons of hotels.
This could also be useful if you have an IHG free night certificate, since these are valid at hotels costing up to 40,000 points per night. This promotional pricing expands the properties where these can be redeemed.
Dynamic award pricing is the norm at this point
At some point the concept of variable award pricing at hotels may have sounded bad, but at this point it’s basically the norm:
- Marriott Bonvoy has peak and off-peak award pricing, which they introduced last year
- World of Hyatt was supposed to introduce peak and off-peak award pricing this year, but is delaying the implementation until 2021
The challenge with IHG is that they don’t have an official award chart, so it can be tough to make sense of the exact patterns they’re following. Still, overall it seems to me like this is more peak and off-peak pricing than truly dynamic pricing.
That’s to say that at a given hotel the price is one of three amounts, rather than it truly being variable and tied to the cash cost of a stay on a particular night.
Earning IHG Rewards Club points is easy
If you’re looking to earn IHG Rewards Club points, these are quite easy to come by:
- The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review) is a fantastic card that offers an anniversary free night certificate, fourth night free on award redemptions, and more
- Through June 15, 2020, IHG Rewards Club is offering a 100% bonus on purchased points, which is an opportunity to buy points for 0.5 cents each
IHG Rewards Club seems to have now rolled out dynamic award pricing on a widespread basis, after an initial rollout in mainland China and Taiwan several weeks ago.
There are some values to be had right now redeeming IHG points, where you’ll get well over 0.5 cents of value per point (which is usually what I value these points at). I wouldn’t expect dynamic redemptions to be this compelling long term, but with hotels empty I guess they’re trying to encourage people to redeem points.
If you have a stockpile of IHG points, this might be a good time to redeem, even if only speculatively.
Do you see any particularly good values for redeeming IHG Rewards Club points?