Disappointing: Huge IHG Rewards Club Devaluation

Filed Under: Hotels, IHG Rewards

Update: It looks like IHG Rewards Club has somewhat dialed back this devaluation.

On Friday afternoon I covered how IHG Rewards Club significantly devalued award redemption rates without notice. The program has now issued a statement regarding this, which sheds some more light on what exactly changed.

IHG Rewards Club increases award costs

In May 2020, the IHG Rewards Club program officially launched dynamic award pricing, meaning the price of free night redemptions would be more variable, and be tied more closely to the cost of a stay when paying cash.

As it was described, this was part of a “continued effort to enrich the value proposition for IHG Rewards Club members.”

Initially the dynamic award pricing was quite attractive, with the cost of many hotel stays decreasing significantly when paying with points. This probably simply reflected the complete lack of travel demand at the time, and therefore the lower rates when paying cash. However, IHG has now significantly jacked up redemption rates at many properties.

For example, previously the highest redemption cost at any InterContinental hotel was 100,000 points per night, while it has now been increased to 120,000 points, as you can see with the InterContinental Maldives’ pricing.

Previously there were only a very limited number of hotels that cost 100,000 points per night, and other than those, typically the most you’d pay was 70,000 points per night. Well, that’s no longer the case.

The InterContinental London Park Lane used to cost at most 70,000 points per night, and now costs up to 100,000 points per night. Even the Hotel Indigo Leicester Square now costs up to 90,000 points per night.

Heck, there are even Holiday Inn properties that now cost up to 79,000 points per night, more than you’d previously pay at a vast majority of InterContinentals.

These are just a few examples, though the increases are pretty consistent across the board.

The Holiday Inn Bar Harbor now costs up to 79,000 points per night

IHG’s statement about this devaluation

An IHG Rewards Club spokesperson has issued the following statement about this devaluation:

“We rolled out our Dynamic Pricing models to our hotels around the world last year which enabled the amount of points required for IHG Rewards members to redeem a Reward Night to flex up and down, just like cash rates.

Previously, Reward Night point amounts were static throughout the year. This model allows point amounts to decrease when demand is lower, providing greater value to our members.

Conversely, redemption amounts may also increase based on demand  and other factors and can update as often as daily. Reward Nights are not defined by categories or with minimum and maximum point amounts.

Under our new model, the number of points required for Reward Nights will vary with demand and seasonality.”

This sheds some further light on this devaluation:

  • Expect the number of points required for a hotel stay to potentially fluctuate daily (which sure is annoying for those of us looking to maximize value)
  • There’s no minimum or maximum number of points that a hotel can charge

Expect IHG award costs to potentially fluctuate daily

This is terrible, but doesn’t change my view of IHG

IHG Rewards Club’s devaluation here is absolutely awful:

  • The changes as such are bad enough
  • Then there’s the complete lack of communication about the changes; I understand the program already had dynamic award pricing, but there should have at least been an announcement that pricing would start to fluctuate daily
  • Then there’s that IHG promised that the new dynamic award pricing would “enrich the value proposition” for members
  • Then there’s the fact that IHG still has blackout dates on awards; if you’re going to correlate award costs to revenue costs, then isn’t it also time to eliminate blackout dates?

The reality, though, is that IHG Rewards Club has been by far the weakest of the major hotel loyalty programs, and that has been the case since long before this latest devaluation. Redemption rates haven’t been great, elite recognition is weak, and the program doesn’t even consistently honor those limited elite perks on award stays.

For me the value of the IHG Rewards Club program is pretty simple — I have the IHG Premier Card for the easy Platinum status, fourth night free on award redemptions, and anniversary free night certificate. But beyond that it’s not a program I engage in much.

I’ll have to do some digging here, but presumably this has reduced the value of free night certificates, since they’re capped at hotels that cost 40,000 points per night. With so many hotels having increased in cost, there are presumably fewer hotels where these can be used, at least on a consistent basis.

IHG doesn’t even consistently honor elite perks on award stays

Bottom line

IHG Rewards Club has massively increased award costs at many hotels. InterContinental properties now cost up to 120,000 points per night, while there are some Holiday Inn Express properties costing up to 79,000 points per night. These aren’t caps, though, as we could see prices get even higher than that, and we should also expect award prices to potentially fluctuate daily.

Unfortunately if there’s a hotel program I’d expect these kinds of changes from, it’s IHG Rewards Club.

What do you make of these IHG Rewards Club changes?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Comments
  1. tried to book a hotel room this weekend and it jumped up from 40,000 to 65,000 points within a few hours, horrible change.

  2. Lots of digital ink from various bloggers today on this, but no one reaching out to IHG for comment. Don’t you guys have access to spokespersons?!

  3. I had booked the IC Osaka a few months ago for the fall 2021 @ 60,000/night. Just checked and, yep, it’s now 74,500/night.

    Hope I can go this year. Next year it might be 120,000!

  4. Was considering a Holiday Inn Express on Georgia beach for my son. The price just went from 30,000 to 60,000. I’m a lot more critical than you Ben about the lack of notice. I get your point about dynamic pricing, but clearly something draconian just happened. No second IHG card for husband and me once we get to 4/24. Oh, the good old days of London Park Lane for $49!

  5. Used to be a Royal Ambassador then Ambassador, but thanks to IHG’s lack of communication and absolute rip off when awarding you points I told them to stuff it. And have not been in one of their hotels since. IHG is all about devaluing your points or to make them impossible to use

  6. It’s just the beginning. All those great things that came from hotels and airlines in the last year will very soon start to disappear.

  7. We had two nights book in Chicago. IHG emailed to say the hotel was closing due to Covid and they’d be refunding our Chase free night. Shortly thereafter they cancelled the certificate because it had expired. Not my fault, IHG closed the hotel I had used it for.

    When I emailed headquarters to ask that they extend it I was told to pound sand.

  8. Wow my favorite IC just jumped from 50k to 80k. That’s an impressive 60% increase. RIP.

  9. Priority club lost me about a dozen years ago. Have since stopped the loyalty “game” and I stay in comparable price accommodations at non chain hotels and get overall better value.

  10. If it’s a next to worthless program to begin with, is it really a devaluation? To be fair, I did once get a great use of the annual credit card free night. But have since even closed the credit card.

  11. Once one of my favorite programs. Now they are dead last. I feel like my points have lost half their value in little over a year. No sense in trying to accumulate them if they lose value faster than you can get them. Adios IHG.

  12. I have to say, for the limited domestic travel I have done in the last year, I have gotten huge value out of IHG rewards compared to other programs.

    Mostly road trips and staying in HI Express/Staybridge Suites/Crowne Plaza but I was frequently getting nights for between 10k and 15k IHG a night when Hilton and Marriott were charging 25k-40k a night for similar properties at similar cash prices. Unusually, and perhaps accidentally, I think the IHG dynamic pricing worked well for the customer during the pandemic.

    I have stayed in the Staybridge Suites Cathedral City several times over the last year for consistently between 17.5k and 20k points a night when the cash rates were usually $200+(inc tax) a night.

    I now see the Staybridge Suites Cathedral City at around 35k a night on many nights. Although in May, start of the off season, it is available on a Saturday night for 18k points, which is still a fair bit less than the 25k standard price it used to be. That said, some of the Holiday Inn Express properties in the same area are 46k a night!!!!!

    Ultimately this does seem like a terrible and extreme change and I am glad I burned up most of my IHG points the last year. It seems like IHG has now joined Hilton, and especially Marriott, in being terrible value on award pricing.

    Also, surely this means an IHG point is worth less than .5c now?

  13. This program is clearly the worst of the majors. I was a Kimpton Karma member who got swallowed. I’ll keep staying at Kimptons with pleasure, but it’s not worth it to try and get status beyond that.

  14. Have both IHG cards and really will have to decide if they are worth keeping in the coming year. I already cancelled some of my other travel cards last year.
    Hyatt seems to be the only decent value left in the bunch!

  15. Worst program. I was RA for 5 years when they decided not to renew it – even though I had met their requirements. Now I am waiting for Vietnam or Fiji to open up and I will use it at Six Senses.
    @RICO – the IC in Osaka was beautiful when I stayed there years ago. I was RA at the time and upgraded to a beautiful suite. loved the location too.

  16. At a minimum IHG could increase the award cap…say 59K even more if they were interested in customers. But, alas, likely to happen?

  17. Wow!! All hotels raised the points prices! LA kimptons were 30k last week, now 50k points!!!
    Shame IHG!

  18. @Lucky

    Would you drop the IHG card altogether? At a certain point, I’d have to imagine even the perks aren’t worth the annual fee on the card?

    Platinum status offers very few guaranteed perks.
    4th night free assumes that you’d have points to redeem and now with dynamically upwards awards, it’s questionable that you can find good value even with the extra night free.

    Similarly for free night certificate, you’re probably now having to work to find a hotel worth redeeming at.

    I’d also imagine there’s at least a Hilton or a Marriott where there’s a Holiday Inn.

    What’s the point of paying $95 to try to go out of your way to get value.

  19. Both Wyndham and Radisson Rewards Programs are better than IHG now. This program is dead. Good run.

  20. They even lowered your points earned by booking Hertz rentals through thier website

  21. Surely do not disagree with the complaints about massive point cost increases, wildly varying prices for the same property and lack of notice, but I continue to get great value from IHG points, which can routinely be purchased for .5 cents each. IHG gives you fourth night free, so that’s 25% off the points cost for a four night stay. Marriott and Hilton — fifth night free. If you buy the Ambassador ($200 but immediate 20,000 points rewarded), you get 10% back on all points stays. So now we’re talking about a net cost of 54,000 points for a 20,000 point per night property for four nights — or $270 for four nights. I’m looking at properties in Singapore now and the cost in points is half to 2/3 the dollar cost (even after paid stay bonus). And no tax on points stay — so that’s a 17% savings in Singapore. Example. Indigo Katong, 140,000 points for 8 night stay before 10% points rebate for net 126,000 or $630 — less than $80 per night compared to cash of $160 per night. The value deteriorates as you move up chain to Intercontinental, but if you can live with Holiday Inn (which are generally quite nice in Asia) or Indigo, you still can get great value.

  22. OMG I had no idea how lucky I was to book 4 nights at Kimpton right before the massive devaluation. They did not have the moral decency to at least give people notice so that people could book rooms before the price increase. Dirty, immoral, reprehensible. Let me repeat: Dirty, immoral, reprehensible = IHG corporate staff.

  23. Demetrius same here. The Ambassador rate was so stupidly high compared to the lowest rate possible that it destroyed the value of the free night. Will likely shift some stays to Hyatt.

  24. Another UK site I read is putting this down to IT issues at the moment.

    I’ve been having problems with the app crashing the past couple of days.

    On Thursday I was doing my regular sweep of my bookings to see if rates have dropped and a couple of them did go down but most stayed the same and a few had gone up. But yes where they had gone up it mostly was by a lot.

    Even if this is a devaluation it won’t make me change my mind about the hotels I stay in. I stay in a hotel because I like the location and the price. If I get some points then all to the good. Far too many people start from the wrong end as they are so wedded to a scheme.

    For the two places I visit most frequently in a year the Hi and the Kimpton suit me fine.

    Screaming “free breakfast at the Hilton for golds” won’t make up for a higher price or a poorer location that don’t match my needs.

  25. Really sad used to be a pretty good value program and now its a total bust. @Mauricio I think you had it right, the writing is on the wall for the entire points game whether hotels or airlines….reminds me of Emirates massive deval using Alaskan points a couple of years ago…

  26. Even the free nights are now potentially worthless. The number of times you can use them to break even or better will fall by double digit percentages perhaps worse.

    The points were barely worth 0.5c before. I held a stash solely for arbitrage. They have likely broken the arbitrage for good.

    I’m super glad to have just redeemed 2 free nights, 120K points, and an Ambassador free night for an 8 night IC stay. It will likely be the last time I get to do that

  27. Cool I see I’ve been comment banned again. For what exactly ? Calling out the overinflated buy prices of all these “point sales”?

  28. @JoeSchmo That is what I have been thinking too. Even if it is a mistake, why hasn’t anyone at IHG contacted some of the bigger travelblogs, and why haven’t any of the big travelblogs contacted their insiders at IHG?

    @Jacob >>>They did not have the moral decency to at least give people notice so that people could book rooms before the price increase. <<<

    That is why I am thinking this is a glitch. In all my years as a Spire/Platinum, I cannot remember IHG ever pulling a devaluation with no notice. Even when they stopped doing Pointbreaks they told us ahead of time. If this is real, and no notice was given, this turns IHG into the Enron of hotels.

    @RK

    "I have stayed in the Staybridge Suites Cathedral City several times over the last year for consistently between 17.5k and 20k points a night when the cash rates were usually $200+(inc tax) a night."

    Ok, but I have stayed at least 100 nights at that particular Staybridge over the years, and I have consistently seen it for $69/night during the entire Covid clampdown.

  29. @Lucky – You say your doesn’t change your view of IHG has not changed, yet everything you said seems to be a negative. Does this mean you thought they were a poor program to start with, and they couldn’t get any worse?

  30. Very disappointed to find many properties not available for my annual Chase rewards on dynamic pricing. Was planing a two night stay at the IC Clement in Monterey and can’t even get a weeknight stay. Would have not used up my points that would have applied towards it on lesser properties and the communication and customer services do not make me feel like a valued member

  31. Yeah, this is bad. I still don’t get the constant hating on IHG. Yeah, they’re weak on the elite benefits side. They’ve always been. It has to do with the fact that 85% of their portfolio consists of midscale properties (HIX, HI, CS…)

    This devaluation has weakened the points value. No doubt. I’m not applauding it.

    But look at how much downhill Hilton went on the point redemption side. They have fantasy prices all over the price. A few years ago, there were category 1 properties costs 5k points per night all year round. Properties which often charged $80 or $100 a night.
    Now these properties might cost 20k or 30k.

    Hilton rates are often outright absurd. The hotel charges like $140 per night but the redemption rate is 60k. That’s a value of less than a quarter cents per point.

    And that is almost like the rule rather than the exception. Hilton points value stinks, stinks, stinks. Especially if you have no desire to stay in Waldorfs and Conrads.

    Yet IHG gets all the haters while Hilton does not. Go figure.

  32. Compared with my award previous stays. Consistently all redemption points now have doubled. With lousy IHG loyalty perks anyhow, there’s one thing to say byebye IHG!

  33. I currently work for an IHG Hotel and let me tell you, they also rip the hotel owners off in a huge way. They charge us a minimum of $43.00 USD to deposit points for any of our guests. They force absurd regulations and procedures on staff that make next to nothing in wages, and we are constantly “scored” and publicly shamed for everything less then a 9 or 10 on surveys. We can’t do the things our guests want because IHG says no,
    i.e. breakfast variety, they make us server the same thing everyday and we get fined if we change it. I love the hotel industry, but working under the IHG Brand has made me despise it. Guests need to make complaints towards IHG rather then the hotel, it’s their brand standards that needs to change. We know what our guests want, let us give it to them!

  34. And yet the blogs continue to pump IHG credit cards as if they’re crack cocaine.

    Basically, the only programs worth investing are first Hyatt and then Marriott. Radisson and Accor are interesting but seldom covered, though they may make sense for parts of Europe, Asia and the Indo-Pacific.

    I don’t know who would ever redeem points for a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express. Heck, even Crowne Plaza, at least domestically, offers no value. Maybe in Asia. But basically the only brand worth anything –– and even then, it’s with a huge grain of salt –– is Intercontinental. IHG is worthless. I have spire status and can’t even get a welcome note from a GM, let alone free breakfast. I only maintain the status because my wife insists on doing 4-5 nights every year at the Intercontinental Le Grand in Paris.

  35. @FNT Delta Diamond: ‘I don’t know who would ever redeem points for a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express.’

    Me for one. Not everyone has hundreds of thousands of points and sees these programs through the prism of cheap access to high end hotels (I’m not suggesting that you do). I joined IHG rewards because a HI in Sydney was one of my preferred places to stay on my trips there. I accrue points for my stays and haven’t bought points, I only use their bonus deals if I was going to stay there anyway.

    When I’m travelling I look at hotel prices and if there’s an IHG hotel with a competitive price I’ll check to see what it would cost in points, and if that works, I’ll use points. Even in a HI or HI Express. (I do belong to other programs and adopt the same approach with them.) As most of the points I have anywhere are an incidental credit from something I was going to do anyway they don’t have a specific value to me, although Lucky’s valuations and the prices for which the programs sell them can be useful reference points.

    Like earlier commenters, I regret the apparent devaluation of IHG points but it won’t stop me staying in their hotels and using the points I earn if they are the best option at the time.

  36. @Steve: Try emailing the corporate office. I had one of those uncapped free nights anniversary award that I figured I wouldn’t be able to use before it expired last year March. I emailed corporate and within a couple days, I got a reply back with an extension to the end of last year, which was subsequently extended again until the end of this year.

  37. As a former IHG (franchise) employee, I’ve seen the IHG brand go downhill for many years now.
    I do miss the program being called “Priority Club” and I liked the amenities that I got to give high status guests.
    Now as a traveler, I don’t mind their brands and even LOVE Intercontinental properties. I just don’t see or understand their increased redemption reasoning. It’s not easy accumulating so many points for stays.
    Also, as an IHG Gold member I never received an email giving a heads up about this change.
    Not cool IHG!

  38. Coming soon to all corners of Boarding Area: “Although the IHG rewards program suffered a massive devaluation recently, has poor elite benefits, and provides next to nothing for loyal customers, the IHG Premier card offers some travelers some unique benefits, including a HUGE sign-up bonus a free fourth night benefit on award stays, and a free night certificate worth 40,000 points.”

  39. Could we also talk about the other gimmick after the enhancement? Check rates for NYC, and you’ll see not only IC or Kimpton, but the bloodyCandlewood, Staybridge and Holiday Inn Express charging amenity fees.

  40. @Mike C: My point was the value of staying at a generic Holiday Inn or generic Holiday Inn Express is poor since IHG elite status is basically worthless. This is especially true when choosing between Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express. At least all guests, status or no status, get a free breakfast at Holiday Inn Express.

    I don’t see the value in paying (points or cash) for Holiday Inn. Even the worst Marriott, Sheraton, or Hilton is almost always better than the best Holiday Inn. I’m old enough to remember when a Holiday Inn was basically the best roadside hotel or, in American parlance, motel, for road trips with my parents. It was almost always a great option for families; convenient, affordable, had a pool and an okay hot breakfast. It was seldom the destination. We would never think of going to a Holiday Inn for our vacation. Rather, it was a commodity. We were on a road trip vacation and needed a family-friendly place to stay.

    In my experience, Holiday Inn has never been competitive as a business hotel. That’s partly why they expanded their brands with Crowne Plaza. Crowne Plaza can occasionally compete with Sheraton, Marriott, Hilton and the like. Around 10-12 years ago, IHG forced all of the old 1960s, 1970s and 1980s Holiday Inns to either drastically renovate or lose the franchise. Many roadside Holiday Inn properties –– the staples of my childhood vacations with family –– disappeared. Some were basically gutted and rebuilt. Others became Quality, Best Western or independent hotels. A bunch of franchise owners also built brand new Holiday Inns that were less roadside hotel/motel and more business-oriented. But Holiday Inn as a brand just isn’t an attractive business brand. Most Holiday Inn properties have horrendous restaurants, bad gyms, and lack any kind of club lounge or amenities that business travelers get at other brands.

  41. A couple people have urged us to “write to corporate.“ What email address should we use? Thank you.

  42. If the intent is to have me discontinue paying $89 / year for the IHG card, I believe that the tremendously disappointing devaluation will soon prove to be temendously successful.

  43. I stayed at that Holiday Inn Bar Harbor in September. Great view overlooking the harbor, but the hotel is a complete dump. I think it closes all winter too.

  44. Interesting that a few choice dates at specific hotels is making a big ruckus. With 4 certificates to burn by 8/31, recently I have been searching for locations to use those free night certs. As I was searching, I found at least 4-5 locations I would visit which appeared to be below the standard redemption night. Aruba, Cancun, Savannah, just about any beach location in Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Clearwater, etc), San Diego. Its just a matter of me choosing. Sure, some hotels have jumped in price for dates when the occupancy is high, but there are still some gem locations out there as well. As with any rewards program, whether it be airlines or hotels, a little digging can lead to some decent redemptions.

  45. @ Phoenix Rising

    The hotel owners have obviously signed themselves up with IHG because they feel they benefit from the link up.

    They can always withdraw from the agreement if they want (giving the requisit notice etc) if it’s not working out and take the risks of going out on their own or even joining another chain.

    A stand alone hotel can do what it wants in terms of menus, amenities etc but the purpose of a brand standard is that you can walk into an chain branded hotel (and this alao applies to Hiltons and Marriots and Sonestas not just IHG) and receive approximatly the same service and amenities whether it’s in New York USA or York UK with very little variation.

    If you are being publically shamed then that’s your employer doing that not IHG.

  46. Thought a lot of this chatter was overblown until i saw the HI Lido Beach in FL went from 31,000 for my stay in july to 75,000. wow. glad i already booked using my free night. I can understand having the point redemption be based on the cash rate but a kimpton in portland, or is going for $198 in september and 58,000 points and the other kimpton in the city is going for $330 and 51,000 points. that makes no sense. oh well it is what it is, i still have about 150,000 points and usually get upgraded with my platinum status. the 4th night free is still good but just gotta work a bit harder now to make it worth it.

  47. I’ve gotten great value in the past, I bought the maximum during the recent double-points promotion, only to find out that the price of my envisioned redemption has doubled. If it’s not a mistake, they’ve lost me.

  48. Oh no! I just did a search of random dates of the hotel I enjoyed most using free night certs since the 40K cap. All nights were between 41,000-66,000 at the IC Madrid. Booooo.

    Kimpton Sawyer Sacramento is still under 40K at least.

    I’ll still get value from the 4 free nights/year my wife and I get having both cards each using them at HIXs on road trips. Paying $49 or $89 annual fees for hotels that are $100-$140 + tax is still a win. Also, phone insurance included on the premier card.

  49. The points game is dying fast. I know travel bloggers don’t want to hear it but that is the reality. As we come out of the pandemic travel demand is going to rapidly increase and programs are all going to start with their devaluations to prevent people who have been storing up their points and miles from redeeming. Good luck finding award availability once the borders start opening up in full. You can try to redeem now if you want subpar premium service. The companies are going to look to nickel and dime people as much as possible, especially because business travel won’t come back to pre-pandemic levels soon if ever. No more chasing signup bonuses.

  50. I’ve never cared about IHG but was thinking about them after six senses properties became points eligible… will probably hold off on that now.

    I fear every time one of these progams
    Devalues it makes it easier for the competition (Hyatt, Marriott, et al) to do the same.

  51. Ben
    This might be an interesting comparison between major hotel chains. I have been mostly Bonvoy, current Titanium, but have Hilton Amex and recently got the Chase IHG Card.

    I noticed Bonvoy has moved most of its Ritz-Carlton Resorts to Category 8. I have the old Ritz Chase card with 50k free night per year. Difficult to find a Ritz to use that on these days. Regular week long redemptions are now 510k. Last few years I was able to redeem for 300k – 360k. No more.

    Hilton 4 months ago you could redeem WALDORF ASTORIA LOS CABOS PEDREGAL for 120k. Now I am seeing pricing in October of 387k per night cheapest room.

    Let the pooch screwing begin

  52. Not understanding the benefit of the card at all to you, Ben, if the 40k free night has been devalued & spend is better done on a different card to even come up with enough points to take advantage of the 4th night free?

  53. The Hilton changes caused me to downgrade my Amex Hilton Aspire card to the no AF version when the $450 AF recently hit. Now I will likely drop the Chase IHG card when the AF hits. My opinion of hotel credit cards is changing greatly.

    On the bright side, these companies are helping me to save money right and left.

  54. I stayed at them when I traveled for work because they were predictable and I would use points in Europe where Status meant something.

  55. Always a marginal proposition at the best of times, it has now slid into ‘Why bother?’ territory.
    If you don’t have co-branded card there is no value at all.
    Move on, nothing to see here!

  56. Worst program ever and getting even lower. If we all cancel our Chase cards, maybe IHG will get the point.

  57. I stopped staying in IHG hotels after they placed 40000 points cap on their free night. If this change has any adverse impact on their free night, I will close their credit card too.

    Their breakpoint program was a disaster. I doubt with the current top management in IHG we could see any positive improvement on this failing hotel chain. Perhaps if it is acquired by another hotel company, we could see something positive.

  58. As always, it’s obviously a business decision for IHG. But is it a good one? For me but what they take away in bonus also translates in a loss of revenue. For example, I just won’t stay at IHG properties any longer. Is it significant loss of revenue for IHG? I don’t know; but what if it’s 100,000 guest a year who decide to do the same? If the rewards program is designed to Increase loyalty at what point does the increase in points become a deterrent to that goal?

  59. What amazes is me is these sorts of issues are never asked by industry analysts on corporate earnings calls.

  60. 1X spend on their $89 annual fee card. Mathematically, this has to be the worst value proposition on any rewards card offered. 0.3 cents back and you have to pay $89/year for the privilege. This is an easy cancel.

  61. Oops and I just spent $1500 to buy 300,000 IHG points. I’m disappointed but I still see good redemption rates available. Luckily I burned those 300k on reservations before the devaluation.

    I’m not that surprised this happened. With 4th night free and 10% rebate it was almost always cheaper to buy points rather than straight up paying. I feel lucky that I got to spend 8 nights at Maldives property at the old points rate. Still a steal at 120k points per night IMO!

  62. Like Delta, it seems IHG has decided to effectively shut down its loyalty program with rewards worthless, and compete only on product. This has been reasonably successful for Delta whose product is genuinely better, but IHG? Hmm

  63. Did some checking of a couple of my existing bookings and what they would cost now for the Kimpton De Witt.

    May – 5 night stay Average per night when I booked last June – 35k (all 35k). New Average = 35.4k (range is 26k-56k)

    One night is now 56k but lower rates for the other nights. But the cash rate for that night is £157 which is the same for the previous night where the points required is 29k.

    October – 5 night stay average per night – 37.5k. New average = 38.8k

    No extreme changes in the nightly rate.

  64. I wish you wouldn’t update old posts. At the minimum, you should have an editor’s note indicating what was removed or updated.

    But regardless, I don’t know how IHG can with a straight face claim points needed to increase to match demand (“fluctuate daily”) when we’re in a pandemic and many hotels have no guests at the moment due to travel restrictions. There is no demand to go to Paris right now because nobody is going to Paris. How can rates increase with no demand? And who sets the number of points per night, the hotel or corporate?

  65. @ Ben

    Have you considered the inflation, as a reason for hotel/airlines to “devalue” their loyalty programs?

    From below you can substitute “money” for “points”.

    “Increasing the money supply faster than the growth in real output will cause inflation. The reason is that there is more money chasing the same number of goods. Therefore, the increase in monetary demand causes firms to put up prices.

  66. This is the last straw for me. Have been RA or Spire Ambassador for the last decade.

    Will be taking my business elsewhere now.

    This totally screwed me. Have just shy of a million points and had a plan for them that now just went out the window.

    Zero notice is BS.

    I’ve put up w lack of consistent elite recognition long enough (though did have a few properties I frequented that excelled there). I’ll be sad to go elsewhere, but IHG has really forced my hand here.

    I can make Hyatt work for me, and their value proposition is significantly better.

    Bye IHG.

  67. The perceived value of the rewards certainly impacts my decisions on where to stay and not having any ceiling on prices and daily fluctuations puts them into the same category as Delta. While Delta can get away with it due to better service (except on holidays) and route/hub considerations, IHG hotels really have no advantages over their competitors except where they are the only option in a given place.

    I think generally people like to have an idea of how much something is going to cost to help us make decisions for the future. Although it appears that you can still get some value out of the program, I would rather not to have to put that much effort into searching for decent value and that will steer me to other programs. As much as I dislike a lot about Marriott, i have come to prefer them over Hilton and IHG for this very reason. Of course, Hyatt still rules when it comes to having a “stable” currency.

    Another downside i see for them is this could lead to a lot more speculative bookings, because you’d never know if the price was going to double tomorrow.

  68. The biggest element in Loyalty for me is Trust. These types of changes and fluctuations, not to mention lack of notice do not build trust in a program, therefore why should i be loyal?

  69. For now I’m keeping the credit card for the free night and I also use it for my cell bill payment for the protection plan/coverage. Free night is almost worthless. Maybe for a hotel along the interstate. Really can’t buy points unless a promotion lined up with getting a reservation at a hotel that had reasonable points per night and that doesn’t appear to be likely.

  70. @FNT Delta Diamond:
    I agree 100% with you about the need to update posts more obviously. I’ve made the suggestion before but crickets.

    Incidentally yesterday he posted (updated???) a post from 4 years ago without any indication of it being 4 years old until one sees the comments.

  71. I never really cared that IHG had somewhat subpar elite benefits. With few exceptions (Royal Ambassador, Kimpton Inner Circle), it was never meant to be recognition-driven. And BTW, recognition was subpar but not completely terrible. No free breakfast, no exec lounge access but the rest was quite similar to other chains.

    However, IHG was points driven. That was its USP. You simply earned a ton of points through promotions like Accelerate. More than the double points or extra 2k points per stay the other chains give you. But IHG’s promos aren’t nearly as exciting anymore.

    Furthermore, redemptions have become considerably less valuable. Award category creep-up, the end of PointBreaks, and now highly dynamic award pricing and further devaluations.

    I’m done with IHG.

  72. Hopefully they bring back accelerator to offset these changes. We’ll see. I mostly use IHG in London and there are many options, so I hope to avoid the price hikes by being flexible.

  73. IHG hotel owners lost a lot of money during the pandemic and now they know there are enough people with money who will pay a higher amount to stay at the hotels.
    Best way to fight it is to vote with you waller. Avoid point redemptions , avoid IHG hotels and cancel the Chase credit card.

  74. Best way to stay at IHG now is to purchase it on hotels.com, using a 20% off gift card and Rakuten 8% cash back + 3% travel cash back card.

  75. i’ll be dumping the ihg premier card later this year. i got lucky in that i was offered a partial credit for my card’s annual fee last year and also my free night certificate carried over from last year so i have 2 to use before i cancel. also thankfully the holiday inn here still qualifies for the free night certificate.

  76. I’ve been a Spire Ambassador with over a million IHG points (yes, I know, sad!) for sometime and as I reside outside of the US these were hard earned nights not Chase or IHG credit card spends! 2020 was the year of the big redemption and an actual vacation but of course that didn’t happen so I still have the points & the plans. Unlike in the US, most people have been locked down in their homes as have airlines & hotels with no opportunity for redemptions or even travel. However what amazes me is that not only have I not heard a word from IHG on these changes, they have kept mailing me about renewing my Ambassador status – no discount offered, no acknowledgement that the free night etc of 2020 was not redeemed just a completely tone deaf push to renew again – are they serious? At least some airlines are doing their best to maintain status levels and work with their customers but clearly IHG just has no clue as to what attaches them to their customers!

  77. Just another reason not to choose IHG. Keep in mind that at many of their properties you still have to pay local taxes and the service fees when you redeem points. Many other drawbacks too.

  78. I’m glad I kept the old IHG card for the free cert that I might use on a pinch. Other than that there were too many negatives with IHG program to get on board with it. Their program was the worst, and now this. lol

  79. 2 Questions:
    1- Is there a no fee option anymore to downgrade the IHG $89 AF card to (don’t need free night but usually better to keep account open)?
    2- If I downgrade, does that affect free nights earned last year with that same card that are still in my account due to covid?

    Thanks!

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