Jan032012

Priority Club Reward Night Tier Changes at 2,000+ hotels Jan 18, 2012

Priority Club is spreading word through social media that reward nights will increase at 25% of IHG hotels globally on January 18, 2012 when new tiers are added across all IHG brands. This amounts to around 1,125 hotels increasing in reward cost by 5,000 to 10,000 points per night, assuming 4,500 IHG hotels worldwide.

Priority Club reward nights will cost less for 20% or about 900 IHG hotels globally.

Priority Club Brand Tiers for Reward Nights as of January 18, 2012.

Click on image for full size view. This chart is located on PriorityClub.com.

 

60 Days from January 18 to book or rebook at best reward redemption level

Don Berg, IHG VP for Priority Club stated to me in an interview today that members will have two months to book hotel rewards through customer service at the lower points level for reservations up to 360 days from booking date.

FlyerTalk and blogosphere comments indicate IHG customer service agents aren’t really up on the changes yet as news of the impending tier addition and IHG hotels shift spread rapidly across social media channels today.

 

Loyalty Traveler Analysis (based on pure statistical guesses and no detailed knowledge of actual changes other than 25% hotels going up and 20% going down.)

Every IHG brand has a new higher tier as seen in the chart.

Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express add a new 20,000 point reward tier. Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels already had a 25,000 point hotel reward for about 1,000 hotels globally and 70 % of the 3,300 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels are currently 15,000 points (60%) or 10,000 points (10%).

[update Jan 3 2:25pm Pacific – the original post read 90% of these two brands were at 10K or 15K. This data was corrected from 90% to 70% based on the Priority Club Reward tier categories compiled by ChongCao on this website.]

I expect 80% or more of the 2,000 hotels changing reward tier up or down will be in these two brands. Four reward tiers will allow easier shifts for Priority Club hotel rewards for Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels based on revenue and reward demand.

InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo will likely see a shift upwards in most high occupancy metropolitan areas. Perhaps 25% or more of hotels will increase by 10,000 points per night and that is about 150 hotels in these three brands.

Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites will likely change upward for high revenue locations and affects about 120 hotels of 500 or so if reward nights increase by 25% more points.

Any techie care to produce a list of current Priority Club Reward levels before January 18?

Update Jan 3 2012 ChongcCao has a UK website updated in August and November 2011 showing Priority Club reward tiers in 2011 for Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and InterContinental hotels and tier changes from 2010 levels.

Frustrating to me is Priority Club Rewards does not have lists of hotels at the different reward tiers on the Priority Club website. I asked Don Berg, VP IHG Priority Club loyalty program, why Priority Club has no list of reward tiers for its hotels? Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood publish the reward cost of all their hotels in easy to search lists. He said Priority Club research indicates the general Priority Club member does not have a need for a master list showing the reward cost of hotels.

Priority Club requires the member to look up a destination like Paris, France or Lubbock, Texas and see hotels and their reward cost.

Priority Club nicely displays Reward Night Rates in hotel searches.

My January 18th question is “Did the hotel reward tier go up or down?”

The need for a master list to me is to make use of the 60-day window for booking rewards at the lower level. There are no master lists of Priority Club reward tiers to know if a hotel went up or down when the new tiers are added January 18. We can tell which hotels increased to 35,000 or 50,000 points with several of the brands. The changes will be easily detected with Crowne Plaza, InterContinental and Hotel Indigo.

What about the midscale traveler’s needs?

Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels is where I think more than 80% of the 2,000 hotels shifting tiers will occur. On January 18 how will you know if that 20,000 point hotel reward was 10,000 or 15,000 or 25,000 points before?

You will only know the January 18 reward rates and not the previous reward rates when you look up Lubbock, Texas or Key West, Florida. How will you even know to call and book the lower rate during the 60-day grace period after the tier changes at those 800+ Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels that go up in reward cost on January 18?

The following data is an addition to the original post based on data from ChongCao’s census of IHG hotels at different Priority Club reward tiers.

2011 reward tier data for Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels prior to January 18, 2012 changes.

InterContinental Hotels (ChongCao hotel tier list for 169 properties)

  • 30,000 points = 99 hotels
  • 40,000 points = 70 hotels

USA – Holiday Inn  (671 hotels) (ChongCao reward tier hotel list.)

  • 10,000 points = 27   (4.0%)
  • 15,000 points = 372  (55.4%)
  • 25,000 points = 272  (40.5%)

USA – Holiday Inn  Express (1,731 hotels)   ChongCao 25K reward tier hotel list

 

International – Holiday Inn  (549 hotels) (ChongCao reward tier hotel list.)

  • 10,000 points = 35  (6.4%)
  • 15,000 points = 309  (56.3%)
  • 25,000 points = 205  (37.3%)

International – Holiday Inn  Express (367 hotels)

  • 10,000 points = 57   (15.5%)
  • 15,000 points = 216 (58.9%)
  • 25,000 points = 94  (25.6%)

Related link FlyerTalk ChongCao – Master List of 10K and 25K Holiday Inn /Holiday Inn Express List
2011/2012
 
(Nov 9, 2011)

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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Comments

  1. What a bummer! I’m wondering if that two-month grace period will really be enforced by customer service agents.I also wonder if other programs will feel empowered to impose another devaluation. I guess this is why we shouldn’t hoard points.

  2. TIME FIND A NEW PROGRAM, AND I WAS A PLANTIUM MEMBER, CANT BELEIVE THEY WOULD RISE THE POINT IN THIS ENCONMOY, I GUESS ITS EAIER TO KEEP THE ROOMS EMPTY THEN FILLED.

  3. If every PC member sends PC an email expressing their dissatisfaction, IHG/PC might reverse their decision. I did!

  4. While no one likes prices to go up or in this case the number of points required for a free night to rise, I believe that IHG has a pretty compelling case.
    Unlike Hilton Honors and most other programs the amount of points required is not based on the brand name (i.e. Hampton Inn) but the quality, location and price of that property. Therefore hotels in New York City have a higher redemption cost for a free night, then the same brand name property in a lesser expensive city.
    Not so with most IHG brands. (Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express do have a tiered reward structure). So for example I stayed several times in the Candlewood suites in Manhattan near Times Square. Nice property, redemption cost 15,000 points because its a Candlewood Suites. Next door in practically the same building, owned by the same company with nearly exactly the same rooms is a Holiday Inn Express (redemption for a free night 25,000 points) and a Hampton Inn (40,000 Hilton Honors Points). Behind it is a Staybridge IHG hotel (20,000 redemption points). See my point. Although I hate to pay more, raising the redemption cost for a free night on the Candlewood Suites and the Staybridge suites makes sense. All good things come to an end.

  5. I am done with Holiday Inn. They continue to try and squeeze every last nickel out of consumers. I have stayed with them so much and talked others into staying there, and for what? It’s pretty hard to earn 10K points, let alone 15K or 20K. I know I am not the only one that feels this way. Imo, they should hold off another 2 years if they do this ever. Also considering canceling my credit card that is associated with Holiday Inn.

  6. This is a very disappointing news, though it’s also understandable from a business perspective. Still, they only give two weeks advance notice? They could’ve done better with more notice…a month’s at a minimum. Or just give the full 2 months outright, and not have customers deal with the ugly mess of the “grace period” for the precise reason raised in the blog.

    …Would the customer know what the previous award is? (We do, thanks to the flyertalk chart). Will customer service know to honor it (do they see what the previous award level was?) I would hope so!

    I’ve been looking to book a week’s stay at a Holiday Inn abroad at 25k points/night. Since the property is already at the max of 25k, I don’t have much to worry about unless I do the cash and point option (which I was thinking of as I don’t have all the points for the entire stay). Though not explicitly stated, my guess is that this increased segmentation will add another layer to the cash and point cost as well (and further devalues the program.) Ugh. Given the missing details, I hope I’m wrong though…

    The change does not impact me nearly as much as I’m not heavily invested in IHG, though it’s really going to hurt those who have been saving for a trip further down in the year (and don’t have those plans made). A devaluation is a devaluation, but at least more advance notice would give members more time to make or change plans.

  7. how about an email for don berg, so i can tell him ALL the things i hate about his product.

    it is the most worthless platinum membership i hold.

  8. @BOShappyflyer – Points & Cash should not be affected by the change since they simply exchange $60 for 10,000 points or $40 for 5,000 points of the reward night cost.

    @jim a – Don Berg said Priority Club has a positive announcement coming out in a few weeks. Priority Club wants the fallout of the reward night tier changes to settle down before announcing the new change(s).

  9. @Steve T. – Randy Petersen also used NYC as an example of why this change is justified for Priority Club.

    Here is my argument against that logic. NYC is the top hotel market in the U.S. STR hotel industry data for 2011 shows the top 25 hotel markets in the USA are seeing occupancy gains and some rate growth while the rest of the country is still suffering from recession in the hotel industry. NYC has seen the highest rate growth in the country the past two years.

    Segmenting hotel rewards by average daily rate or demand rather than brand is a sensible way to determine reward night cost and that is the way all the other major hotel programs calculate reward cost. Don Berg stated Priority Club considered this option and decided against it.

    Based on my analyses of Priority Club redemption value, I have found Priority Club not to be that great a deal compared to other hotel loyalty programs when the published rate of a hotel room is compared to the reward cost. Hyatt and Marriott and low category Starwood hotels consistently have the best reward value.

    Outside of the major metropolitan cities the cost in points for a reward night does not correlate that favorably even if the value of points are calculated at $6 per 1,000. 35,000 points for NYC is probably still a deal.

    35,000 points for many Crowne Plaza hotels will be a real devaluation of point value and push loyalty members to pay the published rate instead.

    I frequently find myself facing the option of paying 25,000 points for a Priority Club Reward or $120 to buy the room. I got a great deal in Chicago when the Crowne Plaza Avenue was over $300 and I got the hotel for 15,000 points + $60, but those deals are not typical for most Priority Club hotels.

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