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):
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)
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:
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
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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