For years, IHG Rewards Club has been offering PointBreaks, which is one of the best promotions in the hotel industry. On a quarterly basis IHG has made well over a hundred hotels available for just 5,000 points per night. The hotels are available on a limited basis, so the best hotels typically sell out within days, while some hotels stay on the list for nearly three months.
I value IHG points at ~0.5 cents each, so to me that’s like paying $25 per night at a hotel, which is incredible.
The catch is that this promotion has become less and less useful over the past several years. I remember back in the day there were consistently PointBreaks hotels on the list that I actually wanted to stay at, including several InterContinental and Hotel Indigo properties. Nowadays the number of decent options is more limited, and the average PointBreaks list looks more like a directory of rural, roadside Holiday Inns.
I don’t want to say PointBreaks has become completely useless, but the feedback I’ve gotten from readers more and more is “this list isn’t any good.”
Something had to give, and IHG Rewards Club has announced that they’re changing the PointBreaks promotion.
How IHG is changing PointBreaks
Going forward, PointBreaks properties will no longer all cost 5,000 points per night, but rather will cost 5,000, 10,000 or 15,000 points per night. IHG Rewards Club says that they’re doing this to “offer more variety and more locations.” They also say that with the next list we’ll be able to book at more than 200 hotels, which is nearly double the number of hotels previously offered.
Furthermore, IHG Rewards Club has announced that members will be able to book PointBreaks stays using a combination of Points and Cash. Presumably this will work the same as all their other Points and Cash offerings, where you can reduce the number of points required for a stay in 5,000 point increments by paying a supplement. In other words, a 15,000 point property may now cost 10,000 points plus $50, or 5,000 points plus $80.
IHG’s next PointBreaks list will be valid for stays between January 29, 2018, and April 30, 2018. A preview of the hotels on the next list will be available on the IHG blog later today.
Here’s the sampling of the hotels that will be on the next list:
- Holiday Inn® Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie (Malaysia) (5,000 points)
- InterContinental® Nairobi (Kenya) (10,000 points)
- Holiday Inn® San Antonio Northwest (US) (10,000 points)
- InterContinental® Cali (Colombia) (10,000 points)
- Holiday Inn Express® London – Newbury Park (UK) (10,000 points)
- InterContinental® Sao Paolo (Brazil) (15,000 points)
- Holiday Inn® Helsinki City Centre (Finland) (15,000 points)
- Crowne Plaza Berlin – Potsdamer Platz (Germany) (15,000 points)
There are three InterContinental hotels on the preview list, which is more than I’ve seen on any list in years.
Is this really a PointBreaks devaluation?
I’m torn on this. On one hand, doubling and tripling the number of points needed through this promotional offer is a pretty major devaluation. At the same time, if it got to the point where most people no longer considered the PointBreaks hotels worthwhile, then it’s not necessarily much of a devaluation.
Short term I don’t view these changes as a negative. If IHG is doubling the number of hotels on the list, and is including nicer hotels on the list, then this promotion has suddenly become interesting for a lot more people again. The big question here is whether the improved quality and variety will continue, or if they’re just improving the quality in the short term to make this feel less like a devaluation.
For now they seem to have better hotels, but will the “enhanced” PointBreaks concept go in the same direction the previous one did, where we see a constant decrease in the quality of hotels, quarter after quarter? Only time will tell.
In the short term I’m excited about these changes, as I could see myself finally using PointBreaks again.
What do you make of these changes? When did you last make a PointBreaks booking?