Priority Club has completely revamped their award chart.
The current redemption table prices hotels based on their brand (and in most cases there are a couple of points levels within each brands, with the more expensive hotels tending to cost more points).
Last year’s new-ish ‘multiple levels for each brand chart’ just went into effect a year ago. Since the change was done without notice, they provided a ‘grace period’ if you knew to call and ask where they would credit you points back into your account to make up for award price increases.
Under the new chart which goes into effect January 18, awards still cost between 10,000 and 50,000 points but hotels will be assigned to one of 9 categories (like how other hotel chains do it, but with more categories) instead of pricing based on brand.
They haven’t published a list of which properties are in which categories. It looks like we may have to wait until the new chart applies on January 18, then check each and every hotel in order to build such a list ourselves. If the categories are even stable. Here’s what Priority Club says about the category assignements:
Priority Club Reward Night prices vary per hotel property and are classified per price category. To find the number of points required for your stay, simply check the availability of your preferred location and stay dates.
Unsurprisingly the price of the hotel dictates the category, that’s more or less how it works with Starwood and with Hyatt (Marriott is a little bit different as frequency of redemption at a particular hotel plays a role as I understand it).
But it’s interesting that they tell you to find out a hotel’s category, you need to check availability of your preferred location and stay dates. It may just be that you have to enter dates as though you were making a reservation in order to bring up award pricing. Or it may be that the pricing could vary on specific dates (when a hotel is more expensive, the points price is more expensive, and vice versa). My guess is the former, my fear is the latter. But we won’t know for sure it seems for another 11 days.
Hotels are more or less revenue-based for earning points from in-hotel spending, you earn points based on how much money you drop on property in eligible categories.
But redemptions are set for a year based on ranges of room price. When the price is much higher on a given night, you can get a really good deal with points. If a chain did vary points price based on the rate a hotel was charging on a given night that would be a huge shift. Occasionally there would be a gain from paying fewer points on cheap nights, much more offset by never getting outsized per-point values.
Expect some Crowne Plaza properties in the world’s most expensive lodging cities to now hit 50,000 points… some Intercontinentals to get a bit cheaper when they’re located in cheaper cities, and now to find a middle ground for some at 45,000.
At the very least Priority Club seems to be getting much more granular by going to a whopping nine categories in contrast to Hyatt’s 6 and Starwood’s 7.
If it were me I’d spend the time that went into revamping the award chart on improving award choice such as introducing ways for members to spend points on upgraded rooms. Not to mention finding a way not to be the only chain which excludes most elite benefits on award nights. But then clearly I’m not running this program..
(HT: Reader Ken W.)
Update: Priority Club has confirmed that their award categories will work like other hotel chains and not, as I feared, change based on a hotel’s rate for a given night. Specifically, they are saying that pricing is not ‘dynamic’ as of now. This could well be a change sometime into the future, still..