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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, 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.

  • Bernie says:

    OT: What’s the most cost-effective way of obtaining 6,000 Marriott points? I’ve got 94,000 points but have a 100,000 redemption planned on Points Advance. Are there any other partners to avoid the $75 charge of buying points directly? I’ve already used my quota of Amex/SPG cards

    • Optimus Prime says:

      If you haven’t used up your referral links you can self refer for any card – that would give you another 18k MR points (assuming you still have an Amex Plat) regardless of being eligible for signup bonus on the new card.

    • Rob says:

      4,000 Amex MR points would do it – not sure how far away your stay is but £4k of spend on a Gold or Plat would be enough. Or refer a family member for one of the Amex cards.

      • berneslai says:

        Stay is in August (US Grant, San Diego) so no mad rush but was hoping that I may have missed a partner that allows a transfer in to Marriott that I may not have been aware of. I’ll probably just do the 4k spend on Amex.

  • Ooof says:

    OT: If I cancel my Virgin Reward Plus card, would I lose the 2-4-1 voucher? And re vouchers validity; do I have to travel within 2 years or 2 years to book a flight (flight being beyond the 2 year period)?

  • Grant says:

    OT – any Marriott branded hotels in NYC worth a look? Currently have a five night cash booking at the Beekman but wondering whether to scrape together Amex and SPG points to book something Marriott instead. Could spring for Cat 6 at 50K points per night with the stay 5 nights pay for 4 promotion.

    • Nick_C says:

      I love the Marriott Marquis. Right in Times Sq. Glass elevators in the 48 storey atrium.

  • Mr Miggins says:

    OT – struggling to find time to use my igh prem card free night certificate before expiry but Mrs Miggins and Daughter Miggins could do with it for a night away after a gig. My cunning plan is to enter Mrs name as additional guest whilst booking and then simply not turn up myself later. Likelihood of working?

    • Genghis says:


      • Mr Miggins says:

        Thank you very much

        • EwanG says:

          Remember too that the expiry date is when you need to have booked by, so you could make a reservation for a date which is later, it’s just that if you cancel you will forfeit the booking, if that’s a better option for you!

    • Craig says:

      I seem to remember something in the T&Cs for the free night that the cardholder must stay as opposed to reward stays which can be gifted. If it was a choice between losing it and what you are proposing I’d do the same, just beware that if you get caught the hotel may charge the standard flexible rate.

  • Genghis says:

    Yes. Both fine

  • Alan says:

    Morrisons was fine with similar Amex offer, can’t imagine there’d be any issue.

  • Froggitt says:

    Staybridge in the USA certainly is not ‘upper midscale’. Loads of headroom there for a decent long stay brand.

  • BLT says:

    O/T: Natwest rewards are offering Avios transfers again. By my calculations it’s 0.85p per avios, which I’m happy at.

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

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