New Girl in the Air reports that starting February 15, Priority Club is changing its points earning structure for Intercontinental Hotel properties in North America — offering 10 points per dollar (like at Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels) rather than the current fixed 2000 points per stay.
Folks currently spending less than $200 on a stay at an Intercontinental (which is certainly possible for a night in Cleveland or Tampa for instance!) will earn a bit fewer points. But the pricier Intercontinental properties, and those with longer stays, will certainly earn more points.
The change doesn’t apply in Europe or Asia Pacific, just North America. And it doesn’t apply to Affiliate Resorts (Venetian).
While this is a positive change — it’s always been strange that Priority Club has been so tight-fisted with points at their priciest properties — those points won’t be going quite as far in many cases starting January 18.
It’s also a positive step because on of the most confusing things in all of loyalty is the distinction between Intercontinental’s Ambassador program (which is a recognition and not points program, it’s pay to join but offers an elite level) and the Priority Club program (which has an elite level that doesn’t apply at Intercontinental hotels, but that is the points program for Intercontinetnal hotels).
At the very least, this move to harmonize points-earning across Intercontinental Hotels Group brands is a move in the direction of being less convoluted.
Although it would sure be helpful if:
- Most Royal Ambassador (Intercontinental elite level) benefits applied on reward stays, as it stands only welcome fruit and late checkout are honored as a matter of policy though some hotels go above and beyond. All other chains at least strive to treat their elite members as well on reward nights as on paid stays.
- Priority Club itself offered a meaningful elite level. Their Platinum offering will often get club lounge access at Crowne Plaza properties outside the United States, but beyond that there’s little recognition. (And why not solve two problems in one, create a level above current platinum — like the current Intercontinental Royal Ambassador offering but that receives benefits on reward stays — and make it apply equally across all brands in the chain?)
- Offer the option of redeeming points for better than a basic room. Currently you can only use your points (absent an IT glitch) for the entry level room at a hotel, and since Royal Ambassador upgrade benefits don’t apply on points stays the most important customers of the chain have no hope of a better room on vacation spending the fruits of their loyalty.
There are certainly other things I’d like to see but these are my biggies. Certainly improving the points earning structure at Intercontinental properties is a step in the right direction, at reducing the complication at least of the program.
Priority Club is a great program for earning tons of bonus points, despite the devaluation even, they just need to work on their elite recognition and the ability to redeem points for aspirational stays.