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Sharp (50%) cuts in some IHG Rewards points pricing – mistake reversed?

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This is our third article this week about the new IHG Rewards pricing model.

In our first article on Wednesday, we looked at pricing at different London hotels for 22nd July. We found NO FIRM LINK between the cash rate and the points rate.

In our second article yesterday, we looked at the Holiday Inn Camden Lock on every day in July. We found NO FIRM LINK between the cash rate and the points rate.

However …. there have been some substantial (50%) cuts in points pricing at some hotels between Tuesday, when I did our original analysis, and yesterday.

Which hotels have come down in points price?

There are 38 IHG hotels in Central London. This is what has happened between Tuesday and Friday this week, for a stay on 22nd July:

The following hotels have become better value for points in the last 72 hours:

Hotels showing substantial cuts in points pricing:

Unless indicated, there has been no change in cash pricing.

  • Kimpton Fitzroy – down from 99,000 points to 50,000 points
  • Hotel Indigo Kensington – down from 55,000 points to 28,000 points
  • Crowne Plaza London Docklands – down from 48,000 points to 28,000 points
  • Staybridge Suites Stratford City – down from 48,000 points to 25,000 points
  • Holiday Inn London West – down from 34,000 points to 15,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Express Southwark – down from 46,000 points to 25,000 points (cash rate down by 20%)
  • Holiday Inn Express Victoria – down from 30,000 points to 25,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Express Limehouse – down from 23,000 points to 15,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Express Royal Docks – down from 37,000 points to 15,000 points (cash rate down by 33%)

Seven of the 38 hotels have come down by roughly 50%. The cuts are across all segments – high-end, mid-market and budget.

Hotels showing a small 1,000 point cut in points pricing:

The cash rate is unchanged in all cases.

  • InterContinental Park Lane – down from 89,000 points to 88,000 points
  • Crowne Plaza Kings Cross – down from 48,000 points to 47,000 points
  • Hotel Indigo Paddington – down from 50,000 points to 49,000 points
  • Hotel Indigo Tower Hill – down from 26,000 points to 25,000 points
  • InterContinental O2 – down from 33,000 points to 32,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Oxford Circus – down from 50,000 points to 49,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Bloomsbury – down from 46,000 points to 45,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Regent’s Park – down from 57,000 points to 56,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Express City – down from 31,000 points to 30,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Express Stratford – down from 43,000 points to 42,000 points

Hotels where the cash price has gone UP but the points price is unchanged:

  • Staybridge Suites Vauxhall – still 25,000 points (cash up from £111 to £122)

The following hotels have become worse value for points in the last 72 hours:

Hotels where the cash price is unchanged but the points price has gone up:

  • Holiday Inn Kensington High Street – up from 31,000 points to 39,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Express Wandsworth – up from 21,000 points to 25,000 points

Hotels where the cash price has gone DOWN but the points price is worse value:

  • Holiday Inn Camden Lock – was 44,000 points or £117, now 49,000 points or £111
  • Holiday Inn Express Stratford – was 43,000 points or £182, now 42,000 points or £81
IHG Rewards devaluation

How has this changed overall London pricing?

Here is the revised full list of London pricing for 22nd July:

High end:

  • Hotel Indigo Leicester Square – 90,000 – £364 – 0.40p
  • InterContinental Park Lane – 88,000 – £378 – 0.43p
  • Crowne Plaza The City – 34,000 – £183 – 0.54p
  • Kimpton Fitzroy (image above) – 50,000 – £203 – 0.41p
  • Crowne Plaza Kings Cross – 47,000 – £125 – 0.27p
  • Hotel Indigo Paddington – 49,000 – £130 – 0.27p
  • Hotel Indigo Tower Hill – 25,000 – £144 – 0.58p
  • Hotel Indigo Kensington – 28,000 – £142 – 0.51p
  • InterContinental O2 – 33,000 – £137 – 0.43p
  • Crowne Plaza London Docklands – 28,000 – £146 – 0.52p

Average for high end sector – 47,200 points – £195.20 cash – 0.41p per point

Unweighted average of best value 33% – 0.55p per point

IHG Rewards devaluation

Mid-market:

  • Holiday Inn Oxford Circus – 49,000 – £122 – 0.25p
  • Staybridge Suites Vauxhall – 25,000 – £122 – 0.49p
  • Holiday Inn Bloomsbury – 45,000 – £113 – 0.25p
  • Holiday Inn Regent’s Park – 56,000 – £155 – 0.28p
  • Holiday Inn Camden Lock (image above) – 49,000 – £117 – 0.24p
  • Holiday Inn Kensington Forum – 20,000 – £99 – 0.50p
  • Holiday Inn Kensington High Street – 39,000 – £103 – 0.26p
  • Holiday Inn Whitechapel – 34,000 – £94 – 0.28p
  • Staybridge Suites Stratford City – 25,000 – £111 – 0.44p
  • Holiday Inn Stratford City – 25,000 – £99 – 0.40p
  • Holiday Inn London West – 15,000 – £83 – 0.55p
  • Holiday Inn Brent Cross – 14,000 – £91 – 0.65p

Average for mid-market sector – 33,000 points – £109.08 cash – 0.33p per point

Unweighted average of best value 33% – 0.57p per point

IHG Rewards devaluation

Budget:

  • Holiday Inn Express Southwark – 25,000 – £100 – 0.40p
  • Holiday Inn Express Victoria – 25,000 – £154 – 0.62p
  • Holiday Inn Express Nine Elms – 50,000 – £142 – 0.28p
  • Holiday Inn Express City – 30,000 – £94 – 0.31p
  • Holiday Inn Express Earls Court – 20,000 – £93 – 0.47p
  • Holiday Inn Express Limehouse – 15,000 – £86 – 0.57p
  • Holiday Inn Express Swiss Cottage – 20,000 – £90 – 0.45p
  • Holiday Inn Express Wandsworth (image above) – 25,000 – £76 – 0.30p
  • Holiday Inn Express Hammersmith – 20,000 – £100 – 0.50p
  • Holiday Inn Express Stratford – 42,000 – £81 – 0.19p
  • Holiday Inn Express Park Royal – 15,000 – £81 – 0.54p
  • Holiday Inn Express Royal Docks – 15,000 – £99 – 0.66p
  • Holiday Inn Express Greenwich – 20,000 – £128 – 0.64p
  • Holiday Inn Express Wimbledon South – 15,000 – £91 – 0.61p
  • Holiday Inn Express Golders Green – 23,000 – £63 – 0.27p
  • Holiday Inn Express Excel – 27,000 – £152 – 0.56p

Average for budget sector – 24,187 points – £101.88 cash – 0.42p per point

Unweighted average of best value 33% – 0.64p per point

The average value has improved noticeably:

From our analysis on Tuesday:

Average for all of London – 37,921 points – £132.92 cash – 0.35p per point

Unweighted average of best value 33% – 0.52p per point

From our analysis on Friday:

Average for all of London – 33,026 points – £128.70 cash – 0.39p per point

Unweighted average of best value 33% – 0.59p per point

Conclusion

If you want to know what all this means, I don’t know.

Are the sharp cuts at some hotels a result of the IHG algorithm being ‘fixed’, or are 50% cuts (and so 100% increases when it swings the other way) likely to be the norm?

I am more interested in why so many hotels have dropped by 1,000 points. This may be to do with currency movements this week vs the US$. If so, this means that hotels not priced in US$ could be seeing changes as often as daily, but often very small.

This is VERY frustrating for you, since you feel obliged to rebook each time the points price drops down by 1,000 points.

It also means that you need to be checking your reservation every couple of days. IHG Rewards is making your life more difficult, and that is not the job of a loyalty programme.

On the positive side, the average ‘pence per point’ is up to 0.39p which is in line with my long term ‘value ‘ of IHG Rewards points of 0.4p.

As you can see, there is plenty of opportunity – at least on 22nd July – to do up to 50% better than this.


IHG Rewards update – December 2021:

Get bonus points: You can earn up to triple IHG Rewards base points with IHG’s new Autumn promotion. It runs from 1st October to 31st December. You can register here and our full article on the offer is here.

New to IHG Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards points, you can buy them here.

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 (81)

  • John says:

    Checking avios seats and staying up to call at exactly the right time and day is not making life difficult?

    The 1000 point thing happens with hilton and is clearly linked to hotel currency vs USD. But the pound hasn’t risen in the past week so if anything it would be a 1000 points increase… Not like prices are stable and only change once a week though

    • Peter K says:

      There’s a big difference between knowing you have to ring once at midnight, 355 days before you want to fly, and having to check repeatedly, possibly for months, to see if a hotel price has dropped and then rebook.

  • Magic Mike says:

    It’s like trying to predict which way a drunkard will stumble next…

  • James says:

    The thing is we’ll need a post like this everyday covering every hotel for everyday of the upcoming 12 months in order to keep track of the ludicrous situation that IHG has created.

  • Nick M says:

    I was looking at hotels in Cardiff last night – 15k for the Friday and 45k for the Saturday… similar cash prices on both nights.

    And for an existing booking in Stafford – booked ages ago for 12500/night. Had then been 25k earlier this week, and then down to 12k last night.

  • Flyoff says:

    If these fluctuations are typical It won’t be long before someone has a (subscription?) website which monitors the redemption value and provides alerts when the price goes down. Rob do you have any desire to produce this? Is affiliate commission payable on point redemptions?

    • Rob says:

      You’re right, someone will do it.

      Amusing, due to IT error, IHG used to pay out commission on points redemptions based on the internal hotel payment (so £20ish usually).

  • Harrier25 says:

    IHG don’t deserve all this free publicity. I hope they will reward you with a free breakfast…but probably not. It’ll be a voucher for a free drink at the bar and a bag of crisps! 🙄

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Or maybe the famous unpublished benefit of ‘not the room overlooking the bins’.

      • Rob says:

        … which IHG gave me at Holiday Inn Rotherham despite my Spire status 🙂

        • Boris says:

          Obviously heard your soft southern accent.
          The North remembers.

        • mvcvz says:

          That’s probably the most scenic view in Rotherham…

          • Rob says:

            People underestimate that part of the world. It is surprisingly green and you can be out in the Peak District very quickly. Houses are peanuts too.

  • Benilyn says:

    Indigo Bath unch at 39k most days (some 50k on Saturday night) vs 30k prior the change in methodology for August.

    A property in Dubai I’m looking at has gone from flat 20k (with the very odd 21k) to 21k when the changes happened, and now 22k…

  • Neil Wright says:

    Are all rewards nights cancelable? I know historically some hotels had varying timeframes for cancellation, but I just noticed one which is not refundable (Crowne Plaza Chester)

    • Sandgrounder says:

      It does happen, usually around special events. I booked a HIEx stay for Madrid for the champions league final, 15k pn. It was non-refundable, and in the event of a no-show I would be billed £561. They took a pre auth on the £561 less than an hour after I booked.

      • Algor says:

        Talking about value per point!

        • Sandgrounder says:

          They would have taken cash for the whole trip and give me the points back, yes it was pretty good return, booked after the semi as well, probably Barca fans cancelling. Managed to get Iberia flights on points as well, but could only get back to Dublin and then booked a Ryanair home.

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