BIG NEWS: IHG Rewards Club launches revenue-based redemptions in Europe and US – and it is MUCH cheaper

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IHG Rewards Club, the loyalty scheme for Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental etc, has launched revenue-based redemption pricing in Europe and parts of the USA.

Don’t panic.  In most cases, you are making substantial savings.  I couldn’t find any examples of higher pricing.

This is not for the UK, for now, but it is in parts of Western Europe.  It is also showing in parts of the USA, but not in New York.  This follows a small trial in China over the last couple of months.

If you have any existing IHG Rewards Club redemptions booked, you should check your pricing – you may make a big saving by rebooking.  Do not rebook unless you can see reward nights still available as there is no guarantee that a cancelled night will go back into reward availability.

IHG Rewards Club revenue-based redemptions in action

Let’s head over to Amsterdam for a late October mini-break.

The first sign that something is ‘up’ is when you see pricing like this (click to enlarge):

IHG Rewards Club revenue based redemptions

The reason the numbers are not rounded to the nearest 1,000 is that each night is priced separately and then averaged out.

For example, at Crowne Plaza Amsterdam South:

Previous price: 40,000 points per night

17/10 – 40,000 points (cash rate €243, 0.60 cents per point)

18/10 – 22,500 points (cash rate €190, 0.84 cents per point)

19/10 – 22,500 points (cash rate €220, 0.98 cents per point)

20/10 – 40,000 points (cash rate €279, 0.70 cents per point)

IHG Rewards Club launches revenue-based redemption pricing

At the InterContinental Amstel, using slightly different dates:

Previous price: 60,000 points per night

18/10 – 42,500 points (cash rate €439, 1.03 cents per point)

19/10 – 45,000 points (cash rate €439, 0.98 cents per point)

20/10 – 45,000 points (cash rate €467, 1.03 cents per point)

21/10 – 45,000 points (cash rate €439, 0.98 cents per point)

For clarity, the cash rate I used was the NON-refundable member rate, adding on the 7% service charge.  A refundable rate would have been 5%-10% more expensive.

There is clearly no direct correlation between the cash price and points price.  At the Amstel, we have two nights where the cash price is identical but where the points price varies.  At the Crowne Plaza, a 10% jump in cash rate leads to a virtual doubling of the points price.

What is also clear is that all of the examples above get you FAR more value than my ‘base valuation’ of 0.4p per IHG Rewards Club point.

Let’s move over to Germany, where hotel prices are a lot lower:

Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku’Damm:

Previous price: 25,000 points per night

18/10 – 21/10 – points price is fixed at just 12,500 points per night

Cash price varies from €72 to €117 per night!

The average value over the four nights is 0.83 cents per night

IHG Rewards Club launches revenue-based redemption pricing

Regent Berlin (which used to be a Four Seasons!):

Previous price: 50,000 points per night

18/10 – 35,000 points (cash rate €231, 0.66 cents per point)

19/10 – 35,000 points (cash rate €249, 0.71 cents per point)

20/10 – 32,500 points (cash rate €245, 0.75 cents per point)

21/10 – 32,500 points (cash rate €245, 0.75 cents per point)

In many cases, the price per night is SUBSTANTIALLY lower than it was before.

More promisingly, there are NO examples of prices which breach the previous cap.

Whilst the ‘cash to points’ ratio continues to not make much sense, you are still getting better value than my traditional 0.4p.

Let’s see how this develops, given that it is not (yet?) available for the UK and much of the rest of the world.  Has IHG Rewards Club decided to copy Hilton and make many of their hotels cheaper on off-peak dates, whilst retaining a cap?  It would be very interesting if true.

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Comments

  1. AlexT says:

    Could this also be a result of lower cash prices due to lack of bookings because of Covid? If bookings pick up, maybe the points prices will jump through the roof…

  2. Any word on when more six senses (or Mr & Mrs Smith) will be available to book using points? I believe it’s just Singapore and Istanbul at the moment? Also does anyone know what status benefits six senses give to Spire (Ambassador)?

    • New Card says:

      Singapore is deflagging tomorrow

    • Genghis says:

      @Rob
      Mr and Mrs Smith were unlikely to ever offer fixed redemptions due to being outside the IHG umbrella so to speak. Thoughts on whether this dynamic pricing is the first step towards Mr and Mrs Smith and Six Senses being brought into the rewards fold?

  3. Nick M says:

    Are the redemptions still refundable as they were previously rather than a “pay with points” style option?

    • Harry T says:

      Yes, they are but there is a new term to say that you will only receive a points refund for the amount that you paid at the time. Presumably this is to cover the fact that the rates are now dynamic.

  4. Heathrow Flyer says:

    Finally, some good news!

  5. Andy S says:

    I stayed in the Crowne Plaza Amsterdam South a few years ago. Really nice modern hotel which is very convenient for rail connections to the airport and the tram into the city centre.

  6. Harry T says:

    If you cancel a redemption night at an Intercontinental, does it become available to book again? I have a booking for the Amstel which I would happily cancel and rebook, but there are no reward nights available for that date, so I would be relying on the inventory opening after my cancelling my stay.

    • Not that I know of.

      • Harry T says:

        I just took a punt, and it does reopen the inventory after cancelling the points reservation – I booked NYE at the Amstel. It’s 60,000 points still for that peak date but the room costs £615 for the night.

      • Genghis says:

        I’ve had it both ways – mostly it reappears. It’s why I double book my reward nights so I can then swap the credit card night at a later date without risking not having a night booked.

        • Harry T says:

          That’s a smart idea. I’m now much more interested in my free IHG credit card as I can redeem points at the Amstel for better value than before.

        • Cunning!

        • Scallder says:

          Will definitely have to start doing that going forward – thanks Genghis!

        • Do you just call up and apply the free night voucher? Do they then refund the points? Thanks

          • No. You make TWO separate points bookings for the same night. When your card voucher appears, and no more reward nights are available, you cancel your 2nd room. It goes back into inventory and you instantly rebook on the card voucher. Nothing lost if it doesn’t reappear.

        • Same here, I just assumed everyone did the same 😂😂

  7. Harry T says:

    On a separate note, I just booked the Amstel for Valentine’s weekend for 80,000 points for two nights – the cash rate for Best Flexible is £820 for two nights for the same room.

  8. davvero says:

    Great news if you’re wanting to redeem in the short term, but I can only see redemptions getting dearer in the long term. It’s easier to introduce something if it looks like a good deal at first.

    It might make transferring Virgin miles more tempting, but again, have a use for them while the deals are good, they may devalue quickly once things pick up.

    • Harry T says:

      Earn and burn is always the best approach though. I’m spaffing all my IHG points whilst this new system is working in our favour.

      • I’d like to but have no idea when travel will all be opened up again!

    • +1, wonder how long it will last, obviously this is not permanent despite Rob’s apparent excitement and Harry behaving like a kid in a toy shop 🙂 Hope it persists another 10 weeks or so as I’d like Amstel late July or early August.

    • My thoughts too – seems like a good deal for now but may be short-lived! I’m not booking any travel for now anyway – I see Oz and SA all closed until 2021, no idea what will happen re USA/Canada. 14 days quarantine after a shorthaul trip also would be tricky plus no travel insurers covering for now. Hopefully things will improve soon!

      • Aston100 says:

        Where are you getting the info about SA being closed until 2021?

          • Aston100 says:

            Oh no. I booked a safari at Xmas/NY just a few days ago.

          • @Aston, sorry to hear that, I posted it on chat 2-3 days ago but probably too late even then. Always worth checking the chat article the next day as quite a lot of useful stuff can be posted in the evening that most miss. Tbh, I was a bit surprised it didn’t make it into a Bits article but there has been so much extra stuff for HFP to cover lately and stuff like this might not be totally reliable. It’s a long way off yet, if things improve that restriction could still be lifted a lot earlier.

          • Harry T says:

            I’m booked to visit SA in January and I’m pretty sure I’ll be allowed in. SA’s economy relies on tourism to a large degree, and the coronavirus pandemic economic fallout will lead to them reopening their doors earlier than projected, I reckon.

    • Genghis says:

      “It might make transferring Virgin miles more tempting”
      It shouldn’t that much. The replacement cost hasn’t changed, has it?

      • Indeed. We’re in the weird position now where it is cheaper to buy IHG points in a 100% bonus sale for virtually any room you intend to book, vs paying cash.

        • Harry T says:

          When’s the next IHG points sale likely to be, @Rob?

        • Which I guess only goes to confirm rates will head up soon, can’t see them sticking with that situation!

      • Brian W says:

        Given his recent condemnation of the Virgin coverage on HFP and the connected comments made about the site in direct relation, you’d think @Davvero knew Flying Club inside out Seems not. This is the learning and knowledge I said back then you’d benefit from.

  9. We stayed at the Regent Berlin just a few months ago. The hotel itself is very nice, but the rooms (though large) are feeling a bit dated.

    • Indigo Ku’Damm Rob refers to is a good hotel but the opposite, modern but small rooms. However, best status recognition I received at an IHG hotel as Spire.

      • I’ve stayed at a few Hotel Indigo properties – have had good stays and decent Spire recognition at each.

  10. Andrew says:

    Your comparison to the cash rates being for the refundable rates – I thought all IHG rates were refundable at the moment under the current situation? But either way this seems a positive change as long as it doesn’t also lead to a hike in points pricing, something I’ve always liked is that whenever you travel you know it’s a set number of points, so as long as we remain better than before then all’s well, but these are uncertain times for the industry.

    • ChrisC says:

      That’s changed and there is now the usual mix of non- refundable and refundable rates especially for later in the year so be careful. Though is could be destination and date dependent.

      They may not permit refunds on previously non refundable rates like they have done at the moment, At the moment I’m keeping my refundable rates even though the non refundables are now cheaper just to allow me the certainty of being able to cancel, I’ll check closer to my trips to see if switching would save me money if the trip is still on.

      • Andrew says:

        Ah I see, I think UK hotels are still doing the book now, pay later as the cheapest rate – booked a night in London for later in the summer.

      • Aston100 says:

        “They may not permit refunds on previously non refundable rates like they have done at the moment”
        Holiday Inn at CDG is refusing to refund a room that was booked ages ago before the current shenanigans kicked off.

        • Lady London says:

          you would have to try section75 on your credit card for that one

  11. ChrisC says:

    Rob the 7% in Amsterdam isn’t a ‘service charge’ but the city tax.

    Also need to add on the separate €3 a night per head fixed tax as well.

    I noticed this Very early this morning when I was pricing bookings for later this year. Thought is was a glitch so didn’t do anything about it such as switching from the refundable cash rate bookings I already have.

    Rates are variable for the hotel I looked at had different rates depending on the time of year. I need to get the calculator out to see if it’s worth changing from a revenue to a cash booking,

    For one stay the cheapest refundable rate was more expensive that the rate I already have but the points rate was still cheaper than the previous rate.

    • Genghis says:

      The 7% charge is also noted on normal reward bookings. 7% of €0 is €0.
      I’ve never paid the €3 either. Last stayed last Sep. Is this new?

      Cheers Raffles, 45k saved across all my bookings.

    • Aston100 says:

      Do you really need to pay money for taxes on a points booking? if so how? when you checkout?

      • Andrew says:

        Not usually, I’ve never had to, and even the New York resort fees were waived for my points bookings, but I think that can vary. Also depends if it is a value added tax – if so x% of nothing is still nothing, it could be just a few quid for those city taxes which are a set amount per room, regardless of cost.

      • ChrisC says:

        Generally you don’t pay the % based taxes so 7% of €0 is indeed €0 but you do any fixed rate taxes.

    • Harry T says:

      So 6 euros a night to stay at the Amstel on points for a couple?

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