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IHG Rewards Club “moving to variable points pricing”

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Is IHG Rewards Club “moving to variable points pricing”? It might be.

InterContinental Hotels Group, owner of Holiday Inn, HI Express, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza etc, published its 2018 results on Tuesday.

The summary is here, but I have summarised the summary into news I think is relevant:

A new brand, not named so far, will launch in 2019.  It will be an ‘upper midscale all-suites’ brand.  How this differentiates from Staybridge, which is already ‘upper midscale’ in the UK to my mind, and Candlewood remains to be seen.

InterContinental Times Square

The company now has 837,000 rooms globally

The number of UK rooms grew 8% in 2018, helped by the Principal Hotels acquisition 

Room rates are falling in the Middle East (REVPAR down 6% in 2018) due to oversupply

The avid brand has now signed over 170 contracts although only one hotel – in Oklahoma – is actually open.  These will be new build ‘cheap and cheerful’ hotels which will charge noticeably less than an equivalent Holiday Inn Express.

voco, the new conversion brand, has three hotels open with 13 signed.  We are reviewing the Cardiff hotel over the weekend.

Bookings by IHG Rewards Club members rose from 39% to 43% (over 50% in the Americas)

IHG Rewards Club members are 7x more likely to book direct than non-members

Importantly for hotels, revenue from IHG Rewards Club members is 25% higher than from non-members (this is, I imagine, due to the 20%+ commission charged by Expedia, booking.com etc and the propensity for loyal guests to book superior room categories)

Here is the key thing that caught my eye:

IHG Rewards Club is “testing new features for 2019 roll-out, designed to increase member engagement with variable point pricing” 

It is not clear what this means.  If we’re lucky, it MAY be a move to a Hilton model whereby redemption rates fall on dates where cash costs are low.  It may also be linked to the current New York promotion whereby certain hotels are currently on special offer for points until 30th April.

Of course, there is also a massive downside scenario whereby IHG Rewards Club moves to 100% variable pricing.  Points prices become uncapped and you get a fixed amount, say 0.5c, per point.  If the InterContinental Times Square pictured below is selling for $600, you would need 120,000 points.

I doubt IHG would do this – it is hardly likely to “increase member engagement” – but we need to keep an eye on it.  The Hilton Honors model has, I think, worked well with hotels having a points cap but members still able to get redemption value on nights where cash rates are low.


IHG One Rewards update – May 2022:

Get bonus points: IHG One Rewards is offering bonus base points on all cash stays between 18th May and 31st August.  You earn double points on your 2nd to 5th nights, triple points on your 6th to 14th nights and quadruple base points from your 15th night. Our full article is here. Click here to register.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One Rewards points, you can buy them here.

You will receive an 80% bonus when you buy IHG One Rewards points by 10th June 2022.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (99)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • New Card says:

    OT – is anyone able to make a payment using the Virgin Money Credit Card app for iPhone? I keep getting an error message.

    • Young L says:

      Call them. It is likely that your postcode has no space in it. I had this issue and was corrected that way.

  • youngtraveller says:

    Welcome to Cardiff! I’ve only had dinner/lunch at the Admiral so looking forward to your review could put friends there if it’s all positive.

  • James says:

    OT Did anyone else receive a random £5 promotional statement credit? I received it on both my cards (BA and Gold)!

  • Leigh says:

    OT- I booked FlyBMI tickets using Amex card via Amex Travel. Not sure what’s the best way to get a refund – dispute the Amex charge or claim travel insurance (airline failure protection)? Any suggestion would be appreciated.

  • Anna says:

    OT – just went online chat to cancel Amex gold and was told I had to call Amex as it needed voice identification. So I’ve called them and they couldn’t explain why I was told this but have cancelled the card. When I told the CSA it was because of the Curve debacle she had no idea what I was talking about! Anyone else had this?

  • Pierre says:

    OT: Anyone going to the Business Travel Show this year?

    • Rob says:

      It’s half term. No one is going, not of any seniority / ‘decision making capacity’. It has been a hot topic in the trade for many months, a lot of people – especially those who paid huge sums for stands without checking the dates – are very annoyed.

      • Mark says:

        Indeed, Just returned from it, the venue had a lot of empty stands and most of the conferences seemed filled by exhibitors…nice goodies from Amex and One world though 🙂

  • nick says:

    Anyone know if Virgin Atlantic vouchers can be used to pay for the taxes/fee’s on a reward redemption flight? (assuming the booking is done online or over the phone?)

    Likewise, can BA gift vouchers be used to pay taxes/fees on an Avios Reward flight? again either online or when booking by phone?

  • AndyK says:

    OT. Applied for VA credit card and got an instant approval. Email stated that they will be in touch regarding sending the card and setting up the pin. It’s been 3 days and nothing.
    Anyone experienced this?

    • Michael says:

      If i recall correctly they send you a letter in the post for the PIN. Will probably turn up at some point.

    • James M says:

      For me, the activation code for online services took a few days, with this and the card you can register and retrieve the PIN.

      It was a good 10 days for the card to show though.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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