This is disappointing, but ultimately not that surprising …
The IHG Rewards Club increases the cost of rewards
In May 2020, the IHG Rewards Club program officially launched dynamic rewards pricing, meaning that the price of free night redemption would be more variable and more closely tied to the cost of a stay when paid for cash.
As described, this was part of an “ongoing effort to enrich the value proposition for IHG Rewards Club members.”
Initially, the dynamic pricing for rewards was quite attractive as the cost of many hotel stays dropped significantly when paying with points. This likely simply reflected the complete lack of the travel requirement at the time. Apparently, however, IHG has only increased redemption rates significantly on many properties.
Previously, the highest redemption cost at an InterContinental hotel was 100,000 points per night, while it has now been increased to 120,000 points, as you can see from the InterContinental Maldive prices.
Up until now, there were only a very limited number of hotels that cost 100,000 points per night, and apart from these there were typically no more than 70,000 points to be paid per night. Well that is no longer the case.
InterContinental London Park Lane used to cost a maximum of 70,000 points per night and now costs up to 100,000 points per night. Even the Hotel Indigo Leicester Square now costs up to 90,000 points per night.
There are even Holiday Inn hotels now costing up to 79,000 points per night, more than you paid for at a large majority of InterContinentals.
These are just a few examples, although the increases are pretty consistent across the board.
It’s horrible, but it doesn’t change my view of IHG
The IHG Rewards Club devaluation here is absolutely horrific:
- As such, the changes are bad enough
- Then there is the total lack of communication about the changes; I’m sure the argument would be that there is nothing to communicate as there are dynamic prices
- Then IHG promised that the new dynamic pricing would “enrich” the value proposition for members
The reality, however, is that the IHG Rewards Club was by far the weakest of the major hotel loyalty programs, and it was long before that last devaluation. Redemption rates haven’t been great, elite recognition is poor, and the program doesn’t even consistently take those limited elite perks into account on award stays.
For me, the value of the IHG Rewards Club program is pretty simple: I have the IHG Premier Card for basic platinum status, the fourth night free when redeemed, and the anniversary certificate for one free night. But beyond that, it’s not a program that I participate in a lot.
I have to dig a little here, but presumably this has reduced the value of free night certificates as they are limited in hotels that cost 40,000 points per night. With so many hotels whose costs have increased, there are probably fewer hotels where they can be used.
The IHG Rewards Club has massively increased the cost of rewards in many hotels. InterContinental hotels now cost up to 120,000 points per night, while there are some Holiday Inn Express hotels that cost up to 79,000 points per night.
Unfortunately, if there is one hotel program that I would expect to see changes like this, it is IHG Rewards Club.
What do you think of these changes to the IHG Rewards Club?
(Tip of the hat to see from the wing)