IHG Explains Their Big Devaluation, With Even Holiday Inn Expresses Reaching 70,000 Points A Night

IHG Rewards is weak recognizing loyal customers (elite benefits). Don’t expect suite upgrades, breakfast, or even guaranteed late check-out and program terms allow hotels to skip most elite benefits on award nights.

They don’t let you redeem extra points for better rooms like suites, either. Still they used to be a strong earn-and-burn program. Redemption prices were reasonable and stackable bonuses plentiful.

After they eliminated redemption charts, though, they introduced 70,000 point awards and then before the pandemic introduced 100,000 point award nights.

Now that’s not even the cap – Six Senses redemptions aside, they’re increasing the price of some standard IHG brands to levels previously unseen.

Since they don’t public award prices, you have to search hotel-by-hotel, it’s tough to get a clear picture but there are reports of the following:

  • Holiday Inn Express properties for 70,000 points a night? You’ll pay that much at the Holiday Inn Express Zion Springdale. The Holiday Inn Express Sequim Washington is up to 65,000.

  • Holiday Inns for 79,000 points a night? You can find that at Holiday Inn Bar Harbor in August.

  • Kimpton Shorebreak in June up to 85,000 points per night.

  • And 100,000 is no longer the maximum price for the Intercontinental, it will sometimes price at 100,000 but will also price up to 120,000 points per night. And variable prices are now the norm at some hotels with the Intercontinental Park Lane in London no longer a 70,000 point property, it may be 82,000 or 85,000 or some other price.

The worst thing of course is that IHG hasn’t communicated anything about this with members. The funny thing is that IHG understands loyalty conceptually but fails to put it into practice.

April 5 Update: IHG offers a statement explaining that the points prices of their hotels now change day-to-day and there are no guidelines or guarantees any longer,

We rolled out our Dynamic Pricing models to our hotels around the world last year which enabled the amount of points required for IHG Rewards members to redeem a Reward Night to flex up and down, just like cash rates.

Previously, Reward Night point amounts were static throughout the year. This model allows point amounts to decrease when demand is lower, providing greater value to our members.

Conversely, redemption amounts may also increase based on demand  and other factors and can update as often as daily. Reward Nights are not defined by categories or with minimum and maximum point amounts.

Under our new model, the number of points required for Reward Nights will vary with demand and seasonality.

(HT: Tom in the comments)

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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Comments

  1. Seems like many of us will no longer want the CC

    But 2 Questions:
    1- Is there a no fee option anymore to downgrade the IHG $89 AF card to (don’t need free night but usually better to keep account open)?
    2- If I downgrade, does that affect free nights earned last year with that same card that are still in my account due to covid?

    Thanks!

  2. I have been a member for 15+ years but will now reconsider and review other schemes; is becoming very poor value. I wonder what the legal position is with respect to Premium Card members – as I am – who pay a monthly fee. Clearly, one is not getting the T&Cs one signed up to. And has been zero communication, presumably they are trying to get rid of loyal members.

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