Apr222013

IHG Rewards Club New York City Analysis

New York City is probably the location most impacted by the 2013 reward changes in Priority Club Rewards. InterContinental Hotels Group had a major redesign of its hotel rewards in January 2013 with the change to a 9-category system from 10,000 points to 50,000 points per reward night. New York was one of the best places around the globe to spend points with hotel rewards when the cost of a free night was based on the hotel brand.

Candlewood Suites was capped at 20,000 points per night in 2012. Candlewood Suites NYC Times Square is now 35,000 points per night.

Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express were capped at 25,000 points per night in 2012 under the former reward nights system. The new 9-category system places all Manhattan location Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in the category 6 tier at 35,000 points per night.

Hotel Indigo formerly capped at 35,000 points in 2012 are now 45,000 points for Hotel Indigo Chelsea and 40,000 points for Hotel Indigo Brooklyn.

Needless to say, IHG Rewards Club bookings using points in New York in August 2013 will require significantly more points at most hotels in Manhattan than were needed with Priority Club Rewards in August 2012 for the same hotels.

Survey of New York City

This survey of IHG hotels looks at two dates in June 2013, a weekday night, Tuesday, June 11 and a weekend night, Friday. June 14, 2013.

The chart below shows the published BAR room rates, hotel reward night rates and a snapshot of the value of IHG points in New York. BAR room rates are non-discounted best available rates. These rates can generally be lowered by 10% with a group membership like AAA or senior discount rates.

4-22-13-IHG-NY-Reward Analysis

Loyalty Traveler Survey of IHG Rewards Club points value in New York City.

Observations:

IHG has more hotels globally with over 4,500 than either Hilton Worldwide 3,900 or Marriott 3,700. This looks like IHG has more hotels in New York Manhattan than any other chain. There are 27 hotels in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and JFK/LGA airports. There are another 25 hotel properties in New Jersey, Long Island and other locations listed for the New York area in a search on IHG websites.

New York City IHG-Brand Hotels (27 hotels)

  • InterContinental Hotels = 2
  • Hotel Indigo = 2
  • Crowne Plaza = 1
  • Holiday Inn Express = 12
  • Holiday Inn = 8
  • Staybridge Suites = 1
  • Candlewood Suites = 1

IHG Rewards Club Hotel Reward Category 1-9 Distribution

26 hotels in New York City currently open.

  • 50,000 points category 9 = 2 hotels
  • 45,000 points category 8 = 2 hotels
  • 40,000 points category 7 = 1 hotel
  • 35,000 points category 6 = 14 hotels
  • 30,000 points category 5 = 2 hotels
  • 25,000 points category 4 = 3 hotels
  • 20,000 points category 3 = 1 hotel
  • 15,000 points category 2 = 1 hotel

 

New York Manhattan average room rate Tuesday June 11, 2013 = $267. Tax is 15% additional to these rates.

New York Manhattan average room rate Friday June 14, 2013 = $228 or 15% less than weeknight rate.

Manhattan Room Rate Range = IC Times Square $473 to Holiday Inn Lower East Side $198. This city is expensive.

  • Average Reward Rate = 34,231 points.
  • Average spend for a free night = $3,423 if earning 10 points/$.  Staybridge and Candlewood Suites only earn 5 points/$1. 
  • Redemption Value Range = $4.30 to $10.80 per 1,000 points.
  • Weeknight Average redemption value = $7.96 per 1,000 points for Tuesday, June 11, 2013.
  • Weekend Average redemption value = $6.84 per 1,000 points for Friday, June 14, 2013.

 

Buying Priority Club points with Points & Cash Reward Nights

The ability to buy IHG points for reward nights at the rate of $70 per 10,000 points gives a fixed value for Priority Club points. Whenever the redemption value is over $7.00 per 1,000 points, then you can consider booking a Points & Cash reward stay for better value.

Example: Crowne Plaza Times Square

  • Tuesday, June 11 = $378 rate or 45,000 points. Redemption value = $8.40. [378/45].
  • Book with Points & Cash for 35,000 + $70. Redemption value = $308/35 = $8.80. The redemption value of your points improves buying 10,000 points for $70 when booking Priority Club Rewards Points & Cash night.

This same hotel drops in rate for Friday, June 14 down to $256 or 45,000 points. Redemption value 256/45 drops to $5.69 per 1,000 points. In this case, do not buy 10,000 Priority Club points for $70 to book a Points & Money reward night since you are redeeming 10,000 points for $56.90 in value.

Final thoughts:

New York is the most expensive city in the US for hotel stays. IHG has more options than most hotel chains for NYC. The past was great for IHG Priority Club Rewards members who could leverage the program features for low cost reward nights at the numerous Holiday Inn and HI Express hotels in the city. Now most everything is up to 35,000 points or more; increases of 40% or more for many of these hotels in 2013.

I still seek $10 per 1,000 points value when I redeem IHG points. Looks like that value is hard to find in New York City these days with redemption value in the $7 to $8 range. Prices are high in New York City and the redemption value is reasonable with IHG points.

There are many IHG hotel options and points can save quite a bit of cash on a New York getaway.

New York Hotel Reward Value Surveys:

HHonors Reward Analysis New York 2013

Hyatt Reward Analysis New York area

Choice Privileges reward analysis in New York metro area

Best Western Rewards Analysis New York and Atlanta

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 »

Comments

  1. Well I think this can be simplified by this for Priority Club: If you can “buy” Priority Club points for 0.7 cents each (10,000 for $70), then you’re making out if you can get higher than 0.7 cents value out of them. So in the case of NYC, if hotels are at least 35,000 points per night now, that’s $245 worth of points. If you pay for hotels vs use points (assuming you have Platinum status like pretty much everyone does) you would earn 15 points per dollar, but you also have to pay roughly 16% tax on your hotel rate. So given that, I think the “breakeven” rate is somewhere around $230 per night. At that rate you’d pay about $37 in taxes but you’d earn 3450 points, which using the 0.7 cents per point cost, are worth about $24, which effectively brings your total “cost” up to about $243. So even at 35,000 points per night, you still might get decent value out of your points in NYC if hotel rates are above that (most likely in the summer season), but only if you can’t get a better value for your points elsewhere.

  2. I used to love the Hotel Indigo Chelsea 25K redemption, but 45K is ridiculous.

    What is the best value now? I would assume it’s the 50K Intercontinental, no?

Comments are closed.