IHG Award Chart Changes Kick In On January 16, 2018

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On January 1 we learned about IHG’s 2018 award cost changes. A FlyerTalk member stumbled upon a page on IHG’s website that shows almost 700 hotels changing award prices in 2018 — almost 500 hotels are going up in price by 5,000 to 10,000 points per night, while almost 200 hotels are going down in price by 5,000 points per night. Since IHG has a total of about 5,000 properties around the world, that means award costs are changing at ~14% of properties globally, with a net increase at ~6% of properties.

It’s normal for hotel loyalty programs to adjust award costs on an annual basis at select properties based on market conditions, though changes at nearly 700 hotels is the most significant adjustment we’ve seen from IHG.

While adjustments at mid-tier properties are bad news, arguably 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. Less than two years IHG increased the number of points required at their top properties from 50,000 points per night to 60,000 points per night, so we’re seeing a 40% price increase at these hotels over the course of just a couple of years.

Anyway, up until now we haven’t known when the new award costs will kick in, though per Mommy Points an IHG spokesperson has said that the hotel award category changes kick in for bookings as of January 16, 2018. That’s just over a week from now, so I find it odd that IHG still hasn’t publicly announced these changes.

The cost of a redemption at the InterContinental Amstel will increase from 50,000 points to 60,000 points

Anyway, if there’s a hotel that’s going up in price that you want to book, be sure you do so by January 15, so you can lock in the lower price.

Personally I’m not an IHG loyalist, and I won’t be too adversely impacted by this. I have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which offers an annual free night certificate at any IHG property in the world. I find that to be worth significantly more than the card’s $89 annual fee, which is why I think the card is a no brainer for just about anyone. That free night certificate can even be used at IHG’s most expensive hotels, so as a relative matter the value of that is increasing with these changes, since you’ll be able to use the certificate at properties that cost 70,000 points per night, while previously no hotels required that many points.

Are there any IHG hotels you plan on booking before the devaluation kicks in?

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  1. And there is never award availability at the top tier hotels like Intercontinental Resort Bora Bora Thalasso… and not benefits…so it is official: IHG Sucks big time

  2. There may well not be availability in the IC Bora Bora, but other than that, IC has consistently good availability. I’ve redeemed during summer in the IC Park Lane in London, Indigo Rome St. George, IC Porto, IC Frankfurt, IC Times Square, IC Boston, IC Singapore, and others.

  3. Miles and Points enthusiasts can best take a lesson from monetary policy. If the point sum in the system is growing and growing the value of each point inevitably has to shrink more or less proportionally. That´s what we´re seeing big time with Hilton, IHG and certainly others. So, crazy promotions then mean nothing but inflation, ultimately.

  4. @MarkG
    … some of the blame for no availability at those properties are those waiting to poach up the nights by studying the time they release those awards in the system. I know someone who spent every night booking 5 nights at IC Bora Bora one night at a time (so 5 bookings in total). Since hotels are only required to release a small amount (i think 2%) of inventory for rewards nights, and given that IC Bora Bora only has 80 rooms/suites/villas in total that means there could literally be only 1~2 award room/s per night.

    So the general rule would be that “aspiration”-level hotels that are small would be the hardest to get an award night for but not because the hotel doesn’t release them, but because they only release 1 or 2 a night. Mind you, it still sucks but is certainly not unique to IHG as I have the same issue with other hotels from other groups.

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