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IHG Rewards Club launches revenue-based redemption – 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.

(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.)

Comments (126)

  • Pierre says:

    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.

    • BJ says:

      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.

      • Alan says:

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

  • 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

  • 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?

  • Andrew says:

    O/T ish – anyone got the Spire choice benefit yet (the free one for not actually hitting any milestone but with the auto extension due to Covid)?

    • Alan says:

      No, I’d already hit Spire so looks like I won’t get an extra bonus 🙁

      • Scallder says:

        +1 🙁

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Why would they give 2x bonuses if you had not hit spire?

        • Scallder says:

          1 bonus in line with everyone getting it and then the second for those that hit the Spire threshold anyway this year. Not 2 for nothing!

          • Peter K says:

            It would be 2 lots for nothing really. It’s for being spire, it’s just that you hit the target and others were gifted.
            It’s not that you deserve two lots, you have the one lot that you are owed. Rather, it’s that IHG decided to gift it to some who arguably are not deserving of it.

    • Alex W says:

      No, is that a thing? Didn’t think you would get it unless you qualified, noting lower criteria this year (55k points).

      • Andrew says:

        Yes all Spire members as at 1 Jan this year have been extended until end of Dec next year and will get a Choice benefit regardless of any stays.

        • Alex W says:

          Sweet. Wonder if you’d get a 2nd choice benefit for qualifying. Probably not I guess.

        • Julia R says:

          No, I haven’t received, and emailed to ask about it. They keep replying and saying there is no auto choice benefit and you have to earn it. They are unable to comprehend that that is definitely not what their communications have said.

        • Sanders says:

          How do you know this? I haven’t heard anyone get the choice benefit unless they earnt it

        • Sanders says:

          How do you know this? I haven’t heard anyone get the choice benefit unless they earned it

    • Grant says:

      My status has only just been extended to end of 2021. I’m currently on 35k qualifying points for this year. Do you think it is worth staying under the 55k until the choice benefit arrives in the hope that I can trigger it twice?

      • Brian W says:

        My Spire Status has been extended today until 31/12/21 but no sign of the 25k Member Benefit yet.

    • Dave R says:

      Unfortunately not

    • Phillip says:

      I got mine but I have actually hit my Spire target for the year.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Is that your first spire bonus of 25k points this year?
        We are expecting 2 x 25k bonuses!

        • Peter K says:

          As put above, you have the one lot you are owed. Others are being gifted it. I don’t see why IHG would have to give you two lots as they have given you what you deserve/have earned.

          I say this as someone who’s wife should hit the target for spire in the next month or two. I only expect her to get one.

          • Sanders says:

            There is no double bonus but people haven’t received the bonus this year unless they met the target

    • Sanders says:

      No looks like nobody has it despite Rob saying we would

      • TGLoyalty says:

        *Despite IHG saying we would.

      • Rob says:

        To be precise, the IHG press release (which I think was repeated on the website) says you will. It also says it will take time for them to sort it out for everyone.

    • Luckyjim says:

      The renewal target has been lowered to zero. Everybody benefits. There is no second bonus for meeting the old threshold.

  • Michael Jennings says:

    I just booked the Prague Congress Centre Holiday Inn for only 10,000 points a night. I’ve stayed there before. Nice but suburban location close to the river, but Ubers or similar are cheap. Pretty nice hotel. Cost 20,000 points last time. 115 euros a night for the dates I want. That is a good deal.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      Actually, I lie. It was 15,000 points last time. Still a good deal though.

    • Harry T says:

      Thanks, booked it for next Easter for 10k points a night.

  • Michael says:

    Has anyone stayed in any of the Kimptons in Portland? I’m looking at the Vintage or Monaco for a couple of night next May. As an aside what are Kimpton normally like at recognising status? I’m Spire.

    • Alex W says:

      Stayed at one in Seattle. I remember being miffed at lack of benefits and getting whacked with ludicrous resort fees.

      • Jonathan says:

        I like Kimptons in the US, much better than Intercon’s if you’re on holiday. The resort fees are annoying (but they’re common across most brands in the US these days). They have their own invitation only loyalty scheme but you should get a free drink or minibar credit as an IHG Platinum or higher.

    • chris says:

      Monaco stayed a few one nights found it a nice comfortable hotel; last stay 2 years ago.Public spaces are perhaps a busy, but bar was good. Most always upgraded as spire. (cant remember not being) but its a bit like an IC where there are a lot of room classes.

      Received complimentary snacks / water a full bottle of wine in room each time. It’s pretty central; the tram alike thing is just outside the door. As short stays I’m not generally looking for gyms etc…

      It’s a boutique style so a bit over designed. I have a foam pillow on my IHG account so was put on an allergy free floor which was new one for me (https://flic.kr/p/26y1Q6N)

      Minibar credit for spire last time I stayed was nice touch too

    • Reney says:

      I stayed at the Monaco about 3 year ago, I didn’t book direct so can’t comment on status. Had to read my trip.advisor review to remember… I liked the location. Room wasn’t particularly big, and I had no view. It is very stylishly decorated which is a bit too much for say my home but a nice change of scene on long trips in hotels.There was a social.hour with live music. I liked it and would stay again. I have stayed at at least two kimptons in the US and I really liked them, if they are in my price range I would always check out the reviews to see if it is worth staying…

    • d4ve says:

      I stayed in the Monaco in 2018. I managed to book with points just as they were added for redemption and got a suite for the same price as a standard room. The suite was great and a good location for us I recall.

  • Mark M says:

    Just found some CRAZY points vs. cash pricing for Duseldorf centre:
    IC: £188 / Indigo £394 / Holiday Inn £677
    No I have NOT got them the wrong way round!!
    They are all 30k points ish – 28214 to be exact for the Indigo.
    These are for early May 21, so unlikely to be fully booked.
    Is the IC really such a dump, or the HI so extraordinary !?

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Finally some good news! This certainly makes IHG Rewards more appealing and I may even go so far as to forgive them for rubbish IT!

    I do worry thoy that once they recover from corona they’ll start putting rates up.