IHG Rewards Club Comes Clean, Reveals List of Hotels Changing Award Pricing Next Week

Last week I wrote No, I Do Not Trust IHG Rewards Club.

IHG Rewards Club is the loyalty program for Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and related brands. And my ire was prompted by their announcement that they would be changing the redemption categories of a subset of their hotels, but weren’t telling us which ones.

They were doing this at the same time they were announcing there would be changes to their elite program — most of which they wouldn’t tell us until later, but we should trust them those changes will be good — and they announced that points will begin to expire after 12 months of inactivity when in the past IHG Rewards Club points did not expire.

(I actually have no problem with expiring points per se, the rules and benefits of a program are a balance. But if they’re going to yank big costs of their balance sheet without actually improving the program in other dimensions that’s not good for members.)

My spine cringed at IHG Rewards Club making these changes, albeit only to about 10% of the program’s hotels, because it reinforced their history of making changes without notice and indeed without informing members at all.

I wasn’t the only one to call them out on this. One Mile at a Time, for instance, called them “sneaky.”

A week before the changes go into effect they’ve come clean and sent me (and several others) the full list of hotels that are changing categories. (.pdf)

Download the list and then see if there are any hotels getting more expensive that you’ll want to book now for future travel before the points price goes up — or if there are any hotels you’ve already booked whose price will be going down where you’ll benefit by rebooking.

A hotel going up from 10,000 to 15,000 points a night is seeing a 50% increase. Some hotels are going up as much as 10,000 points per night. So take this opportunity to save compared to what prices at a subset of hotels will be come May 1.

IHG Rewards Club makes the following points in their defense:

  • “It’s only about 450 of our 4,840 hotels that will be affected — with more than 90 percent remaining the same.”
  • “This is the first increase to point requirements for Reward Nights for over 2 years.”

They say the changes will be posted online a few days before they go into effect on May 1. I’m not sure what the wait is for that, but I’m glad that readers have the chance to see these changes now.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. In some cases much worse than IHG had implied. Several properties in China are going up 100%.

    BTW, this is the sort of content we all come here for…. 🙂

  2. Short summary for people who don’t want to read the whole list: IHG properties anywhere you’d actually like to travel went up 10,000 or 5,000 points. IHG properties in places with active revolutions, wars, drug wars, and rural America where there is economic ruin and malaise went down 5,000 points.

  3. I find these changes actually brutal. Several properties I frequent on lower end going up 50% – 100%.

    The only reason more properties haven’t gone up is that IHG has so many properties that are total dumps.

  4. Phew. Feel like we dodged a bullet: Some nice properties in Barcelona, Brugge, London and Paris are staying unchanged.

  5. Yawn, as expected…I like fancy hotels, and the impact at the top is barely worthy thinking about….

  6. yawn – most ICs going to 50k, no shocker as this puts them on par with Marriott (and still 1/2 price of Hilton). too bad that Queenstown CP is going from 30-:>40k but bargains tend to disappear.

  7. I’m not blaming you Gary, but what’s a bit frustrating for me is that I often sign up for the credit cards that are most strongly suggested by bloggers, then the programs get devalued. I got my IGG card about a month ago, and a devaluation occurred a few months after I got the Club Carlson card as well.

  8. @Robert

    The devaluations happen because there are so many outstanding points in the market. They pump up the signup bonus, they devalue them so you can’t use them. Then they pump up the signup bonus again after people have burned their now devalued points. rinse and repeat.

  9. The Ft Lauderdale airport hotel and the Miami Doral airport hotel are up to 30k? What airport hotel could possibly be worth 30k? You spend about 10 hours in an airport hotel. Who cares what it’s like as long as it doesn’t have cockroaches? Who would spend 30k there?

  10. All those Holiday Inn Expresses in Hong Kong jump up! No worries here, I won’t be in those hotels anyway, suckers.

  11. Thanks for the heads up. Booked Today 3 nights in Thailand, would be 2 with the devalue. Just got the card a month ago.

  12. Doc- I assume the Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort? If so, then congratulations- while a little off the beaten path, I think it’s outstanding value for 25,000 point. I burned 8 nights there (3 rooms) last year.

  13. Thanks for posting, these are pretty bad. The ones going down in value are absolutely hotels in the middle of nowhere. In general travel points have become nearly worthless recently. I just keep trying to only go for points that would have come at the same price for something I was already doing. No more paying more for a flight or room or buying things I wouldn’t have to earn points.

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