New More Expensive Award Prices From IHG Rewards Club

Just as Kimpton members get folded into IHG Rewards Club at a fairly disadvantageous rate, IHG Rewards Club points become worth less than before.

Intercontinental Boston

This from a program that recently introduced expiring points and makes changes without notice. And they increased the price of many hotels just last year, too.

In the U.S. all 88 hotels going down in price go down by 5000 points, whereas there are 211 going up by 5000 and 138 going up by 10,000.

Details on which hotels are changing are here.

IHG Rewards Club needs to maintain an attractive earn and burn program because that’s really what it has going for it. Elite benefits are mostly non-existent, and there’s no ability to spend additional points when redeeming for a better than base room. It’s all about a strong rebate proposition, something this mitigates against somewhat.

(HT: Point Me to the Plane)

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. IHG needs to refresh their program altogether. Their elite status, credit card, and now points-structure are all broken. The Kimpton merger should have been a perfect opportunity for reform.

  2. @Pat – the credit card is not broken. $49 yearly fee for a free room. It is the best in the business! Don’t even have to be loyal to IHG to enjoy that perk. I’ve had this card for 2 years and each year I’ve used it at a room where the rate was $400+/night. Yes I am Amb and Spire Elite and the perks are garbage and could be refreshed – no breakfast is a joke. That said, Do not change the credit card!!

  3. Sorry if this is already been stated but when does this change take place what is the date I have to make the reservation before they change the cost in points

  4. Gary, couldn’t agree more. I have been reducing my IHG stays every year as they have continually inflated their award chart to stratospheric levels. Just 3 years ago I used to be able to redeem points for 1 cent per point and was pretty loyal but lately can barely find redemptions for 0.5 cents per point. Properties that retail for $100 a night are now asking for anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 points per night which is insane. It isn’t like the IHG program earns points faster then competitors. IHG gives 10 base points per dollar versus Hilton 10 base points per dollar versus Marriott 10 base points per dollar versus Club Carlson 20 base points per dollar so they all earn the same except SPG and Hyatt. Hilton gives 5 Hilton Honors points per dollar if you chose points plus points so they actually earn faster with no status and as a gold you earn another 2.5 points per dollar so 17.5 points per dollar versus 15 for IHG. However, at Hilton for only about 10,000 points more per night I can get a much nicer hotel, free breakfast as a gold, and the potential for Club access so why would I choose IHG?

    Sure the accelerate bonus promotions sound enticing and shower you with points but when you figure out what you have to do to achieve the bonus points versus a double points or triple points stay with Hilton or Club Carlson you rarely come out ahead with the IHG promotion.

    I went from close to 40 nights at IHG in 2015 to 20 nights in 2016 down to 13 nights in 2017 thanks to the dilution in redemption value of their rewards program while Hilton and Club Carlson have been the winners. I realize that Hilton has devalued significantly as well but at least the earn redemption combination is still favorable in combination with the gold benefits like breakfast.

  5. My stays mirrored @JC almost exactly. Trending downward each year. I honestly doubt I’ll have a single stay in 2018.

    One of my favorite places to stay on the cheap was the Holiday Inn Resort Eagle Crest near Bend, OR (technically Redmond). Two years ago it was 10,000 points per night. Now it’s going to be 25,000.

  6. Even though I am an RA and Spire, lack of breakfast benefit or club lounge on most stays (paid and redemption) made me wind down my stays from 100+ IC nights across 2015 and 2016 down to some 15 odd nights in 2017, which too were mostly award redemptions. IHG seems to the only chain in that peer group which is steadfast in ensuring that the top tier benefits are meaningless. (Read no breakfast or club lounge access as default benefit)

    Recently, I was sent a survey by IHG to determine which additional benefit would be attractive for person attaining Spire elite status. Options included 6 months Netflix subscription, 6 months Amazon Video subscription, Magazine subscription, one time $50 dining credit, etc. There was no mention of club lounge or breakfast benefit.

    Points increase that is coupled with additions like club lounge or breakfast as default for elites (instead of current modus operandi of leaving it to discretion of individual property) would help mitigate the impact. But again, IHG doesn’t seem to care!!

  7. Oh, shice!
    Thanks for telling me. I agree with Pat above. Eric, true, 1 no-limit free night for a $49 AF is awesome, but points-earning sux on that credit card! To equal the Chase Hyatt Visa, it needs to earn 2.5–3 pp$ on all spend & 5 pp$ at double-points categories! So it stays in my sock drawer except for my few money-paid IHG stays.
    I still remember a few years ago when all Crowne Plazas & SunSpree Resorts could be had @ 25K points per night & IC’s @ 30–40K!

  8. B1BomberVB – I do not even put my IHG stays on my IHG card, I put them on may CSR card to get the 3x points. I use the IHG card for 1-2 gas fill ups a year so they do not cancel it and then I use the free hotel room each year.

    Also the most expensive Hyatt room is 30k a night. IHG is 70k a night. But how hard is it to earn 30k Hyatt vs 70k IHG?

    And I also look at hotels differently – when I am on business travel I wake up and leave for the day, usually take a client or co workers out for dinner and get to the hotel to watch a ball game and fall asleep. And I just expense my breakfast (though usually on business I am at HIE so I get breakfast anyways). On vacation my wife and I cannot wait to leave the hotel to go explore a new city and culture – and we stay at nice properties but still want to go explore. Why do I want free eggs, waffles and bacon when I am on vacation in a nice destination? I’d rather spend $5 on tea and a baked good or an egg sandwich from a local cafe and actually see my destination. Yes its always nice to get free stuff but I think a free breakfast is a bit overhyped. If I was with a family of 4 in Disney sure a breakfast would be nice but it is not a requirement for all travelers. Most business people expense their meals and some adults are adventurous in their travels and would rather a breakfast off property. I’ve been in a few hotel lounges before (Hilton, CP, IC) and they are just sad, not for me but I guess different strokes for different folks.

  9. I stay at a lot of hotels (spire elite-IHG, diamond-Hilton, gold-Marriott). I just noticed that IHG no longer offers $100 gift card redemptions at 38,500 points…you have to purchase two $50 gift cards for 50,000 points (same point value as Hilton. Spire elite has offered me very little with a lackluster hotel chain to boot. This is the end of my IHG stays unless they start giving points away like candy.

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