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Less than two years ago, in 2016, IHG increased the maximum number of points a standard room could cost from 50,000 to 60,000 points per night. At that time just 13 properties went up to that maximum 60,000 points per night threshold. Now, less than two years later, IHG has apparently decided that the maximum is not high enough and once these changes go into effect, IHG hotels can cost as many as 70,000 points per night. Many of those same hotels we saw jump from 50,000 to 60,000 points in 2016 are now jumping again to 70,000 points per night with many more heading up to 60,000 points per night. Not only that, but where just two years ago pretty much only InterContiental properties in major cities would cost you 50,000 IHG points per night, now you will even find Holiday Inn Express type properties at that 50,000+ per night award rate.
In other words, award pricing at IHG seems a bit out of control. It reminds me of Hilton Honors a few years ago, only Hilton points were even easier to rack up in large quantities than IHG. Devaluations and award chart changes are a common element of this game, but to raise the maximum number of points a hotel can cost twice in two years isn’t very common. Many of the vacation destinations where you would probably want to use your IHG points seem to cost at least 15,000 points per night more as they did two years ago. For a multi-night stay that adds up in a hurry, and absolutely impacts the value of IHG points for most family travelers.
While IHG has not yet commented on when these changes go into effect, here are some examples of properties increasing in award rate in 2018:
- Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort & Casino 35,000 to 40,000
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tremblant 30,000 to 35,000
- Holiday Inn Express San Jose Costa Rica Airport 15,000 to 25,000
- Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers 25,000 to 35,000
- InterContinental Paris – Le Grand 60,000 to 70,000
- Hotel Indigo Paris – Opera 45,000 to 55,000
- InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa 60,000 to 70,000
- InterContinental Resort And Spa Moorea 40,000 to 50,000
- InterContinental Hong Kong 60,000 to 70,000
- InterContinental David Tel Aviv 40,000 to 50,000
- Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay All-Inclusive 40,000 to 50,000
- InterContinental – ANA Manza Beach Resort 60,000 to 70,000
- InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam 50,000 to 60,000
- Crowne Plaza Auckland 30,000 to 40,000
- InterContinental London Park Lane 60,000 to 70,000
- Holiday Inn London – Mayfair 40,000 to 50,000
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Gulf Shores 35,000 to 40,000
- InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco 60,000 to 70,000
- InterContinental San Francisco 60,000 to 70,000
- InterContinental The Clement Monterey 60,000 to 70,000
- Holiday Inn Express San Francisco Union Square 40,000 to 50,000
- Crowne Plaza South Beach – Z Ocean Hotel 50,000 to 60,000
- InterContinental The Willard Washington D.C. 60,000 to 70,000
- Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber 40,000 to 50,000
- InterContinental Boston 60,000 to 70,000
- Holiday Inn Resort Bar Harbor – Acadia Natl Park 40,000 to 50,000
- InterContinental New York Barclay 60,000 to 70,000
- InterContinental New York Times Square 60,000 to 70,000
- EVEN Hotel New York – Times Square South 40,000 to 50,000
While most of the properties changing category are increasing, there are a few that will get less expensive on points, such as:
- Candlewood Suites San Antonio Downtown 20,000 to 15,000
- Candlewood Suites College Station at University 20,000 to 15,000
- Candlewood Suites Cheyenne 25,000 to 20,000
- Candlewood Suites Houston By The Galleria 20,000 to 15,000
- Holiday Inn Express LaGuardia ARPT 40,000 to 35,000
- Hotel Indigo Newark Downtown 30,000 to 25,000
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando At Seaworld 20,000 to 15,000
- Crowne Plaza Aberdeen Airport 30,000 to 25,000
- Crowne Plaza Christchurch 30,000 to 25,000
- Staybridge Suites Calgary Airport 25,000 to 20,000
Doctor of Credit counted and found that 499 IHG properties are increasing in price while only 192 are decreasing in price. The majority of those increases come in the United States with 349 increasing and only 88 decreasing. Not only are more properties increasing than decreasing, but the increases are by as much as 10,000 points per night while the decreases are only 5,000 points per night.
As a point of reference, the public sign-up bonus for the IHG credit card is currently 60,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. I’ve seen better bonuses from this card, but once these changes kick in, 60,000 points isn’t even enough for one award night at some of their properties. This card awards 5x at IHG properties, but just 1x and 2x elsewhere, so you could presumably have to charge $70,000 on the card just to have one night at the InterContinental The Willard Washington D.C. That seems a bit out of whack to me.
However, even with these negative changes, IHG isn’t to be totally written off as they do have award sales that drop the prices from time to time, there are quarterly PointBreaks where a smattering of hotels are just 5,000 points per night, and the credit card itself has a handy anniversary award night you can use at any of their properties at each cardmember anniversary with just a $49 annual fee.
I’m still waiting for a response from IHG about the list of properties changing category that is linked here, but I would assume the new rates go into effect at some point within the next month as they did their 2017 award chart changes on January 15, 2017, and they aren’t known for giving big lead times with changes. Also not yet announced are the award rates for the Kimpton properties that are said to be joining the IHG program very soon. I suspect we will find most of the Kimpton properties hanging out at the higher end of the IHG award chart, which will soon go as high as 70,000 points per night.
Are you locking in any IHG properties at the current award rates before they potential cost more in the near term?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.