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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)

  • TJ says:

    I see that IHG are resurrecting their promo from last year to earn a 40k free night certificate (to be used by 30th Nov) from joining / renewing Ambassador status (between 15th Apr and 31st Jul) and completing one paid stay. Given the mess that they have got themselves into with reward pricing and the certificate’s short validity period, I think that it’s difficult to make a case for this promo.

    • DJ says:

      Renewed my Ambassador membership a couple of weeks back :/ Dang …

    • Anna says:

      Especially as they are refusing to honour it for people who joined last year but couldn’t make the qualifying stay!

    • Anuj says:

      Where did you see this?

    • RogerC says:

      (I asked this last night, but too late, I think).
      Anyone know if the first night of a two night stay with the other night using an Ambassador Complimentary night counts as the one night necessary to trigger this?

      • Rob says:

        It should do, because it counts for everything else (eg towards status, towards bonus promotions).

  • Russ says:

    Any way you look at IHG it doesn’t make sense but the bottom line is their hotels are costing more whilst elite benefits are still pants. I wouldn’t bother checking for a potential 1000 point change normally but I’m retiring soon and I can dedicate some time to it.

  • Peter says:

    It does seem as if IHG are doing everything possible to get rid of their loyal customers. Spire Elite is a joke of a loyalty level and now we have pricing for redemption that is all over the place which makes planning really difficult.

    What have they got against their loyal customers?

  • Andrew says:

    I feel like it’s going to be a daily task to go through all your bookings and see which have moved downwards and rebook (and pat yourself on the back for those that have moved upwards)

    • Aston100 says:

      I feel this is a win win situation.
      If your booking price goes up, you feel great. If it goes down, you just rebook and feel great.

      • TicknBash says:

        Absolutely.
        Checked yesterday and rebooked redemption for Crown Plaza Plymouth saved a few points.

        • The real John says:

          I hope it was cheap as it’s nothing special (used to be an HI but they added a lounge and did up the rooms a bit). Stayed in 2018. Got lounge access as spire but it wasn’t great, no hot items for breakfast and cheap snacks in evening.

        • Jonty says:

          If you don’t mind being a bit further out I’d recommend a suite at the future Inn. We always used to stay at the holiday Inn in Plymouth till it’s underwhelming refurb as a crowne plaza

  • Doreen says:

    I had looked at the IC Park Lane for various dates – the ones I checked in June were 68,000 and some in July & August a crazy 100,000: now showing 67,000 & 88,000. Considering you will get the unrefurbished Classic room (18sqm) – not good value in my book. I used a free night reward there in August 2019 & negotiated a 30 GBP payment to get a refurbished Classic room instead & they are lovely – great use of space and large walk in shower.

    • Doreen says:

      Just went back to check should I have said 87,000 – a weekend in August now showing as 94,666 – I despair !!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There are still unrefurbished rooms at the IC?

      • Doreen says:

        Yes, that’s what comes up as a Reward room – also “Superior” room is the next category shown with photo of unrefurbished room. Then Mayfair which is the new Classic. And a weekend starting 21st May is now 61,333 points….

        • Benilyn says:

          So is this correct below the order of the rooms? And only anything with Mayfair in it has been refurbished? Would you rather be in the Deluxe Room or Mayfair Room, just trying to figure out if I pay to upgrade or not.

          Also what’s the deal to get lounge access? I am Spire Elite using free night voucher.

          Classic Room
          Superior Room
          Mayfair Room
          Deluxe room
          Mayfair Deluxe Room
          Executive Room
          Mayfair Grand Room

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Only Mayfair are refurbished I’m just astonished they still have any non returns left after 3 years

          • Doreen says:

            I’m not sure when the Club reopens (website says hotel opening 1st May) but I am afraid you have no chance of Club as a Spire. I’m a Royal Ambassador but still was not allowed in the Club that time I redeemed the free night (though I did get breakfast & drink/canapés in the Bar). IMO the Mayfair room much better than an unrefurbished Deluxe (22sqm) … but you would have to phone to ask about the possibility of paying for an upgrade – I had stayed maybe 10 times before I negotiated my upgrade & sold it to them as me trying out their new rooms (of course hoping that it would be free!)

  • Devalued says:

    Was just looking at some US properties for the end of May. Holiday Inn in Monterey (California) at 80,000 points per night. HIX Moab (Utah) at 70,000 points per night. These numbers are shocking.

    • Doug M says:

      Do you know what they were previously, because those are destinations likely to be expensive with cash.

      • Rob says:

        That Monterey room is very likely to be a bargain at 80k vs cash.

        I see the HIX on Cannery Row is $449 for the last Saturday in May. Frankly, 80k points is a fair deal in that scenario.

        I recommend you buy IC Ambassador, if there for a weekend, and use the 241 weekend voucher. You want one of the rooms directly overlooking the water.

        • Anna says:

          Are HI’s accepting Ambassador free weekend night certificates now?!

        • Devalued says:

          The same hotel was 40k last year on the most expensive dates, so 80k is a massive devaluation. Not a good value given it’s just a crappy HI regardless of what the cash rate is. Don’t think the Ambassador helps there either.

          For now, I’ve booked the Hyatt Regency Monterey using 15k Hyatt points – feel like that’s a slightly better value.

        • James says:

          +1 for IC Monterey with room directly on the water.

        • Chas says:

          A bit late to the party, but another +1 for the I/C Monterey – I took out Ambassador purely for a stay here back in 2019. Was treated very well by staff. Had booked a partial sea-view room capable of sleeping 4, and was upgraded to a suite (still with sea-view – can’t remember if partial of not).

      • Devalued says:

        40k on peak dates (summer weekends, federal holidays), 20k on other dates.

    • Lyn says:

      If you are looking at the end of May, that could be the Memorial Day holiday which is a peak travel long weekend.

  • Graeme says:

    Credit to IHG for partly reversing the large increases.

    Regarding the experiment yesterday, a few of us booked the HIX Edinburgh Leith as a reward night to see if points increased as rooms left for redemptions decreased. No change overnight, still 25k points. I’m cancelling now @Guernsey Globetrotter @Dubious Thanks for booking but no link for 2022 certainly.

    • Harry T says:

      Not sure we should thank IHG for screwing up their rewards scheme and then back-pedalling a bit, either intentionally or unintentionally 😂

      • Graeme says:

        True Harry! Should never have happened and damaged the brand for no apparent reason.

        • Harrier25 says:

          I don’t think the IHG brand has ever been held in high regard, as the likes of Hilton do. They just have a lot of hotels so sometimes you don’t have many alternative options.

  • RogerC says:

    There’s still some weird stuff going on. I just looked up Barcelona for next Feb, and the IC is 912 Euros or 40000 points. Or, even crazier, 182 euros and 20000 points. What’s that, 3.5p/point?

    • Doreen says:

      Just checked and the new IC was the Crowne Plaza Fira i.e. right beside the Convention Centre. I guess they are hoping the MWC (Mobile World Congress) can get back to being held in February

      • Doreen says:

        And I misread your post, RogerC … no rooms at all available late Feb when MWC is usually held and indeed good value earlier in the month! Hotel doesn’t seem to be open yet, so guess it’s old CP rates

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