Nutmeg Avios

A sneaky 50% IHG Rewards Club price rise is hopefully not a new trend

I wrote a few weeks ago about how the new InterContinental at the O2 had been reduced in price from 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night to 45,000.

I thought this was rebalancing – the hotel had just opened, its initial rate forecasts were too optimistic and so cash and reward prices had come down.  Fair enough.

This may be a disturbing trend though.  A reader contacted me yesterday to point out that the InterContinental Koh Samui (officially InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort) had gone up overnight from 35,000 points to 50,000 points.

InterContinental Koh Samui

This sort of behaviour is not acceptable.  You cannot increase the reward points needed for a hotel by almost 50% with no notice especially one which is an ‘aspirational’ redemption.

IHG needs to understand that this sort of behaviour can backfire.  If we no longer trust IHG to keep reward prices steady from one day to the next, the logical thing to do is make lots of speculative bookings ‘just in case’ at places we might want to go.  After all, cancellation is free and instant.

This would make life hard for the hotels, who cannot accurately track forward bookings when they come and go so quickly.  It would also be hard for other IHG Rewards Club members who cannot book they really need because someone else made a speculative booking ‘just in case’ the price went up overnight.

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  1. Do you think this change seasonal?

  2. Same thing happened last year with IC Da Nang.

  3. IC Tokyo Bay also increased from 35 to 50…

  4. Sandgrounder says:

    They could always make reward bookings non-refundable to stop people blocking off rooms in this way.

    • Some reward bookings already have different cancellation policies (i.e. not always refundable until a cut off time on the day of check in)

  5. James67 says:

    It makes even less sense when considering that it is someplace in Asia where competition between hotels is fierce. Why would I even want to spend 50, 000 points per night on this when I can get comparable or better hotels for less money than I value those 50k points? I think IHG is losing the plot somwhat, I have stayed with them only once this year because they are generally offering poor value for money on rates and failing to recognise and reward my spire elite status. It has become so bad that not even acellerate interests me. The best benefit if spire was status matching to diamond with hilton to whom IHG has lost five of my stays already this year. Diamond recognitiin at Hilton has beeb great and with a few new hotels under hilton brand plus a lot of DT, hamptons and garden inn hotels the miserable days of hilton in UK are over. I am about to write hilton to see if they will honour my diamond status through 2018, if they do it is highly unlikely I will be avpayibg customer at IHG again, and they have only themselves to blame. By contrast, Hilton got smart. They realised it made more sense to offer guests food that would otherwise mostly go to waste anyway, and offer them a better room that might otherwise sit emty. I suspect this in cinjunction with their status match has won them a lot of new and potebtially loyal customers in the past year.

    • Have to agree. Since going Spire, 3 Accelerates in a row have been ridiculous for me.

      I don’t have enough travel to maintain Marriott Platinum, Hilton Diamond and IHG Spire and it’s a no brainer to drop IHG.

    • Craig says:

      Yep agree…..I’ve ditched ihg too

    • Hi James67, re Hilton honouring Diamond through 2018 – they did for me. Took me too emails as they initially refused, but then relented after I explained that I was only asking for what I would have been offered had I not already been Diamond (I met the status match requirements). Granted I already had quite a few past and forward bookings, but it sounds like you do too. I echo your sentiments re IHG.

      • Janes67 says:

        Thanks Jon, will show them my 5 IHG cancellations in relating to my Hiton stays as a carrot, ad point out the obvious to them as you did in your second email.

        • JAmes, I emailed them too telling them I wanted to use them for my Route 66 trip and my Diamond status expired just before we travelled. They extended my status to March 18 within 5 minutes of sending the email!

        • If Hilton prove stubborn, just set up a new account and status match. Just watch your points balance in original account.

          Agreed, Spire status of little use and because of this and the useless Accelerate promos i have been given IHG is now used for reward points bookings only. Also, after doing a few Travelodge bookings lately i would chose that over Holiday Inn Express (at least while awaiting the room renovations).

        • James67 says:

          Thanks Liz and CV, I will email them Monday morning. My partner and I stayed in the Travelodgd Perth Centre a coupld of times. Nice old building and homely rooms, not travelidge style at all. Hope they have not changed it with the recent brand makeover. If you are in the area and rates work then consider giving it a go.

  6. Danksy says:

    As we speak in making my speculative bookings NOW!

  7. Trickster says:

    On the subject of IHG, I have a phantom booking in my account that I definitely didn’t make for the HI in Wembley last night. Award wallet tipped me off in an email, no emails from IHG.

    Currently on hold on the phone trying to get to the bottom of this. Thought I’d post this in case it’s a wider issue.

    • This happens with typos. No worry, you get the points from someone else’s stay!

      • Trickster says:

        Yep, cleared that up now, unfortunately, shot myself in the foot! Better to be safe than sorry I guess.

      • You get the points until the other person who makes the booking realises they didn’t get stay credit/points, contacts customer services, and you get your account closed down because somebody thought you were using your account fraudulently. This happened to me last year. It is a real rigmarole having to get a new account set up as they won’t re-instate your old one.

  8. Anthony says:

    I’ve noticed that the IC Miami has increased from 35k to 50k since I made my booking for Nov back in Feb. I didn’t notice the increase mentioned anywhere

  9. Flyoff says:

    While agreeing significant changes like this,without notice, is very poor 35,000 points was great value compared to the cash rate. I am staying at the hotel later in the year using points. A standard room started at over £300 per night.

    • I agree with that, I didn’t say 50k was necessarily a bad deal – although out of season I think it drops down quite a bit.

  10. miles says:

    My son is working his way to Espire , He has booked Intercontinental MARSEILLE – HOTEL DIEU, , they have cancelled his booking 3 times and sent no confirmations and have now taken the monies from his account from their cancelled stay !! , me being a seasoned traveler and have stayed loyal too IHG , is possibly looking at moving on too , being Espire when travelling means nothing in most IHG hotels in Europe

  11. Talay says:

    I know this hotel and have stayed there. It is very isolated and was in need of refurbishment.

    I also know that in Thailand, it is very easy to negotiate a good deal directly with the hotel, especially if you have good data, such as a knowledge of the usual room rates over time. Discounts of up to 50% off regular rates are not uncommon as are cheap paid for upgrades.

  12. Daft price rise. Even at 35k it didn’t really make sense – that hotel is fantastic, but the cash rate is quite low. This is Thailand after all.

    Oh well. I’ve been in love with IHG for a few years now but as with avios, I’m finding it harder and harder to find great value. I’ll make some speculative bookings now.

  13. Blackberryaddict says:

    I stayed there last year, nice hotel, although I preferred the IC Danang.

    But I booked it for 25k points in March 2015 for a Oct 2015 stay, so the rate has gone up even more than appears. 25k was a bit of a steal though, and probably too low.

  14. Exactly! I was looking to book the IC Koh Samui and I knew the property was lower than 50K so I was very surprised to see it that high. I thought they had done it in the last devaluation. Even Hilton upped their price on their Samui property.

  15. Neuromancer says:

    They’ve never given prior warning for individual hotel price increases as far as I remember (and there’ve been many of those).
    I’ve seen warnings only for the once a year or less mass changes

  16. OT: But IHG related – can someone help me with my calculation – recent 3 night stay at IHG £334.85 includes £15 for 3x 1000 pts package plus £66.60 food and drink for accelerate. I know you need to remove VAT and convert to $ – I used $1.42 – room charged on 2/6 F&B charges on 5/6. I calculate around 4630 pts plus 4630 for Spire plus 3000 pts package but I only got 11330 (7165 qualifying).

    • Has VAT been removed twice? The breakdown online may give you a clue.

      • Rob they have included drink for £6 from one evening but not added a £60 food and drink bill which was added to the room as part of my accelerate task – if I raise a missing points claim will they be able to activate this so I get the bonus points and complete the task?

        • James67 says:

          They should do, but the food alone does not explain discrepancy in your points. I thought it was the usual VAT issud too but something still seems odd so just raise missing point query and ask for them to verify correct amount and show you breakdown on how they calculate it

        • Thanks James – actually on checking the hotel bill it is correct – the points have only been awarded for the drink the the first night and not the food on 2nd night so I now calculate it at 5032 + 5032 + 3000 – didn’t realise food was 0% too! Claim now submitted!

  17. Simon says:

    Off topic, I wanted to make a booking soon-ish (within the next week).
    But I have discovered I am 150 points away from the next band. Is there any way to get this tiny amount of points without purchasing 1,000?

  18. Stayed there a few years back in a beachfront pool villa that they mistakenly made available on points. Had to fight them to honor the booking but in the end IHG customer care forced them too. Tried to charge me the full whack when I arrived which wasn’t a great experience. A decent hotel but too remote for my liking – there are too many good restaurants on Samui to stay somewhere isolated.

  19. capecam says:

    I hear that there are significant changes coming to the Intercontinental Ambassador, and in particular Royal Ambassador status, and benefits coming later in 2016. I have been a Royal Ambassador for several years now, and it has offered the best recognition and perks of any hotel loyalty program. I do hope that what IHG describe as a “refresh” is not as I predict going to be a dilution of benefits. Does “Raffles” or anybody else out there have any insight into what these specific changes to benefits will be?