Intercontinental & Holiday Inn’s Program Revamps Its Award Night Rules — Here’s What You Need to Know

Earlier in the day I noted that IHG Rewards Club had changes its rules for discounted award nights so that you could only make two award bookings at a single hotel at the discounted price.

IHG Rewards Club, formerly known as Priority Club, is the points program for Intercontinental hotels, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and related brands.

They offer a select group of hotels at a discount of just 5000 points per night on a regular basis. These are available for a short booking window, and the best value hotels sell out quickly at these prices (since they otherwise might cost 30,000 or 40,000 points per night).

You have to act fast to get these rooms. And those that do act fast often redeem points to cover any possible night they might need.

And IHG now says that’s not ok, make no more than two bookings per hotel. That will help avoid too many cancellations for participating hotels, and should help others to get in on the deal too.

But that’s not all that has changed. IHG Rewards Club did a cleanup of the terms and conditions for award nights. Lots of language has changed in the terms and conditions, and frankly much of the changes seem irrelevant (like, I can’t believe they spent money on lawyers for this….).

First I’ll show you the edits they actually made to their terms and conditions, with track changes. And then I’ll describe what changed. Click to enlarge the terms and conditions.

Here’s what they changed:

  1. They can end, change, or do anything they want to the program without notice. They won’t end it but they will modify it, as they always have in the past.
  2. Award inventory is limited, as it always has been before, and of course the number of rooms each hotel has is limited.
  3. They can change the points required for any hotel any time they wish without notice, but they already told us that.
  4. Award nights at all-inclusive properties are for 2 people. More than 2 in a room costs more. No bringing your family of 4, 8, or 16 people and eating free.
  5. Cash and points awards count as awards for the purposes of the terms and conditions. Hadn’t figured that one out on my own.
  6. They really want you to know not to sell (or ‘use for commercial gain’) the benefits of the program or else they’re going to take all your points away and void all of your rewards.
  7. In addition to the limits on PointBreaks reservations already discussed, they are placing limits on last minute reward night reservations as well.

    Due to the limited availability, each member may only book one Last Minute Reward Nights reservation per hotel during the special offer time period. The Last Minute Reward Nights special offer may be restricted, suspended, modified, or substituted at any time without notice. Reward Nights booked through Last Minute Reward Nights may not be sold or used for commercial gains. Doing so is a program violation and may result in the freezing of your account, the forfeiture of all point transfers, rewards, vouchers, or merchandise issued pursuant to point redemptions and any accrued points or miles in your account, as well as cancellation of the account and your future participation in the Program.

  8. Importantly, “US $” in front of an amount now becomes “USD” after an amount to describe a monetary price.

The legal job market is tough these days, it hasn’t really recovered from the Great Recession, so outside of limiting the number of rooms you’re supposed to book at promotional pricing it’s great for the economy that IHG Rewards Club is creating this sort of make work.

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, 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. @Gary – Considering every company in the US writes such stupid legal mumbo jumbo, you’re being awfully harsh singling them out. 🙂 At least they’re just empty threats rather than actually devaluating the program! 😉

  2. They don’t care if you knew it. They’re spelling things out so they don’t have to spend 10x as much defending Bobo’s breach of contract suit.

  3. “Reward Nights reservations are not travel agent commissionable”…Hmm, maybe their IT department didn’t get that memo? 😉

  4. This work was probably done by some 25 year old MBA graduate who is too stupid/cheap to hire outside counsel.

  5. In the past IHG PointBreaks program, I understand that once the inventory was book and cancelled, it was not returned back to the reward inventory pool. So, people who made speculative reservations and cancel them were basically shrinking the PointBreak inventory.

    With the recent change in the T&C, has there been any change to how the PointBreak inventory is managed?

  6. IHG has their own internal legal, as do most large companies. external legal counsel do not do such menial work.

  7. I love the one significant change. People were just booking up properties all over the world speculatively so that when they later decided which one to use on which nights they could cancel the rest. It selfishly, greedily and unethically cheated lots of other people out of opportunities. Some bloggers promoted that kind of behavior (and probably engage in it personally). At least this will limit that somewhat.

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