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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)

  • Craig says:

    Brilliant, just booked CP JFK for half the normal points.

    • Anna says:

      Genius! You just reminded me I need a room at JFK next Easter before an early flight to the Caribbean. 20k points v $250 cash. To think I had toyed with the idea of using a free night certificate here 😱

      • Craig says:

        From the reviews 40k points or a certificate looked expensive, 20k looks much more reasonable. In fact Mrs S’s first year IHG card looks even more valuable now, two nights here either side of a spin to the Caribbean and a free night certificate, some real value to be had.

  • Andrew says:

    O/T – but related, as I might cancel and rebook. Melia hotel booked with points – are they fully refundable in points once a stay is cancelled and do the points expire? (I did the Melia buy points offer last year and booked for September at Grand Melia Rome, so I’m new to Melia).

    • Jek says:

      That depends on the tarif you booked. Melia has both refundable and non-refundable bookings with points. You need to check your confirmation.

      I had a booking for Granada in April on points and although the hotel was closed, they only offered me to change my booking to a later date (yet to be determined when – its an “open” booking).

      • Andrew says:

        Thanks, seems to say cancel outside 24 hours to avoid a 1 night penalty.

        • flyoff says:

          I cancelled and received all the points back as my booking stated cancellable up to 24 hours before. Once cancelled the expiry date reverted back to the original expiry date of all the points. I have now booked a hotel next year and the expiry date has been extended to one year after my next planned stay.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    Rob, do you think the free night certificate might be capped at a certain number of points like in the US once dynamic pricing is fully rolled out and we’re in proper peak season (post covid19 obviously)?

    • Doug M says:

      On a related subject I had to finally admit defeat and cancel a room in Boston yesterday. The Free Night voucher reappeared extended until 31/12/20.

    • Rob says:

      As the Premium card is no longer available, you could argue either way …

  • BJ says:

    It will be interesting to see if PointBreaks reappears in an effort to encourage bookings.

  • Sanders says:

    Has anyone else had problems with the app timing out/logging out for weeks now?

  • Rossy says:

    Based on this then are you saying that a (conservative) new valuation of 1x IHG point is worth 0.5-0.6p based on current exchange rates?

    • Genghis says:

      Not when you can buy for much less!

      • Rob says:

        You should only value something at what it would cost to replace it, and IHG is still (today) selling you points at 0.4p each as the 100% bonus offer is running.

        • Craig W says:

          I don’t think I understand this argument. Surely an IHG point is worth the amount I am saving by redeeming the point rather than paying cash for the room? I know you both think differently but I can’t see why

          • Genghis says:

            Let’s look at one example and assume you can buy avios at 1p and you usually redeem at 1.5p.

            There are multiple ways to get avios, Tesco clubcard being one of them.

            You can get say 2.6p of actual value if you redeem clubcard points for hotels.com or say 3p of value if you redeem for Tesco delivery saver. You’re giving up that 1cc point for 2.4 avios, which if you valued at what you could redeem them for, then you’d be getting 2.4 x 1.5p of value = 3.6p / cc. But you can replace that 2.4 avios by paying cash of 2.4p. So really you’re better off using for other redemptions. It makes valuing points at what you redeem them at futile. It’s replacement cost which you should value at and use as the benchmark for your analysis.

          • Rob says:

            Look at it this way. You say I should value an IHG point at 0.6p now. However, if I offered you £5 or 100 points, you would take the £5 because IHG will sell you 100 points for £4 and you can pocket the difference.

            Put another way: 1 Virgin mile = 1.5 Hilton (0.48p on my valuation) or 1 IHG. I would still take the Hilton points, even if I though I’d get 0.6p for the IHG point, because I can buy that IHG point for 0.4p.

          • Craig W says:

            Extremely helpful and interesting – thanks very much!

  • paul says:

    The one concern I have is that Taxes and Fees appear to be excluded. This is not universal but the IC Robertson ket states the rate excludes taxes and service charges.
    On what rate will these be based. In some parts of Asia these can be more than 20% and a big draw of using points was that these were previously included.
    Will they now be based on the rack rate on the day you book, the rack rate the day you arrive, leave or on some other rate?
    Have I mssed something?

  • solartravels says:

    Can anyone recommend a decent IHG hotel (for redemption purpose) for a family holiday?
    I.e. some sunshine, outdoor pool etc suitable for 5 year old daughter?
    EU or close-ish.