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.