IHG Rewards Club, the Holiday Inn / Crown Plaza / InterContinental loyalty scheme, has (accidentally?) posted the list of hotels changing reward category this year on its website.
It is, frankly, a bit of a nightmare.
Here are a few UK examples:
InterContinental London Park Lane – up from 60,000 to 70,000 points per night
Crowne Plaza London The City – up from 50,000 to 55,000 points per night
Holiday Inn Mayfair – up from 40,000 to 50,000 points per night
Hotel Indigo Liverpool – up from 30,000 to 40,000 points per night
Holiday Inn Maidenhead Windsor – up from 25,000 to 35,000 points per night
On the upside, the Holiday Inn Northampton, pictured below, drops from 25,000 to 20,000 points per night.
Some sample European hotels:
InterContinental Amsterdam – up from 50,000 to 60,000 points per night
Holiday Inn Amsterdam Arena Towers – up from 25,000 to 35,000 points per night
InterContinental Paris Le Grand – up from 60,000 to 70,000 points per night
InterContinental Bordeaux – up from 45,000 to 55,000 points per night
The rises are not across the board. None of the InterContinental or Crowne Plaza hotels in Germany or Portugal are changing, for example. Five hotels in Turkey see 5,000 point falls.
In the US there are also rises for the key InterContinental properties amongst others:
InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco – up from 60,000 to 70,000 points per night
InterContinental Boston – up from 60,000 to 70,000 points per night
InterContinental New York The Barclay – up from 60,000 to 70,000 points per night
InterContinental New York Times Square – up from 60,000 to 70,000 points per night
The unintended side effect is that these InterContinental hotels are now MORE attractive than they were, because a random 10,000 points has also been added to cheaper hotels in the same cities. Why would you spend 50,000 points on the Holiday Inn Express New York Chelsea when the IC’s are ‘only’ 70,000 points?
To be fair ….
Hotel loyalty schemes SHOULD devalue.
Most people don’t accept this, but it is logical. They give you points based on what you spend. As inflation pushes up the cost of rooms, and so the number of points awarded per stay increases, you should expect the number of points needed for a redemption to go up in parallel. This keeps the ratio of ‘number of stays needed to get a free night’ in balance.
The problem is that the points required for redemptions always seem to increase well above inflation. It wasn’t that long ago – 10 years? – when you could book any InterContinental hotel for 30,000 points per night.
Look at spending vs redeeming ….
As it happens, IHG Rewards Club has been running generous Accelerate bonus point promotions for the last few years – the current one is outlined in this article. It has been relatively easy to accumulate large numbers of bonus points. Most of us would be worse off if redemption rates stayed the same but IHG stopped all of its promotional activity.
Whether promotions like Accelerate cause redemption inflation is another question of course.
I have historically used a valuation range of 0.4p to 0.5p for IHG Rewards Club points. Going forward, I will move to a flat 0.4p per point. That may still be a touch too high, since it implies a £280 per night price for a top InterContinental – albeit at peak dates you will see pricing well above that.
Looking at hotel credit cards, the Hilton Honors Platinum Visa is now far more valuable than the IHG Rewards Club MasterCard. I value the two Hilton points per £1 from the Visa at 0.66p (0.33p each). This compares to 0.4p for the one IHG Rewards Club point per £1 earned on their MasterCard.
It is still worth getting the free IHG credit card, of course, because it gives you permanent Gold status in IHG Rewards Club. Just don’t spend on it.
The IHG Rewards Club Premium MasterCard remains a decent deal at two points (worth 0.8p) per £1 spent. The £99 annual fee can be justified by the free Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club and the free night at any hotel you receive for spending £10,000 in a year.
We don’t know when this new pricing will take effect. I would expect IHG to give a few weeks notice so there is no need to make any panic bookings. That said, as points bookings can be cancelled without penalty, you should look to lock it any nights you need now before prices go up.
I recommend you take a look at the list of hotels changing price (click here) on the IHG website and see what bookings you may want to pencil in.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)