Jan052017

IHG Rewards Club 2017 hotel category changes analyzed

IHG Rewards Club is shifting 653 hotels in rewards category on January 15, 2017. Roughly about 80% are rising in reward cost by 5,000 to 15,000 points. About 125 hotels drop 5,000 points and only 11 hotels drop 10,000 points. The big drops are all in China with one hotel in Kochi, India dropping 10,000 points. The news is generally bad, especially in the USA where hotel rates are at record highs for the lodging industry. There are about 237 international hotels changing and more than 400 USA hotels.

IHG Rewards Club pdf listing of hotel reward changes effective Jan 15, 2017. The IHG pdf document is inconveniently organized by hotel brand, rather than by location.

Plainly speaking, I don’t find IHG Rewards Club points valuable for most hotel reward night redemptions. I analyzed some of the changes for hotels in Portugal, many which are rising by 10,000 points on January 15 and I did not even find them to be good value redemptions at their current level. Rather than booking hotels today at the lower level, these properties are better deals at the published $60 to $80 room rates for the dates I considered staying in March, especially with my current Accelerate 2017 offer for bonus points.

In the past few years the best value I find with IHG Rewards Club points is holding onto them until my travel plans align with PointBreaks hotel opportunities. I have redeemed about 20 PointBreaks nights over the past two years for extended stays in cities I chose to visit specifically for the good extended stay hotel deal I booked with IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks. I successfully routed road trips for several years to match up with PointBreaks deals, sometimes effectively taking me over 1,000 miles from cheap night to cheap night.

I stayed at Holiday Inn Brno, Czech Republic 4 nights for 20,000 points, Holiday Inn Clermont-Ferrand, France 4 nights for 20,000 points and Crowne Plaza Vilnius, Lithuania 5 nights for 25,000 points during the past 18 months. Besides PointBreaks reward nights, the only IHG stay I booked in the past year using a standard reward was in Krakow, Poland for the Holiday Inn Krakow 5 nights at 15,000 points per night last July when the city had peak season hotel rates. I had a paid stay last week at the new IHG Hotel Indigo Krakow, which entered IHG Rewards Club at 30,000 points. Now Holiday Inn Krakow will rise to 25,000 points on Jan 15.

Another good value hotel reward in Krakow with IHG points bites the dust. There are still very good points deals with Best Western Rewards and Hilton HHonors in Krakow.

Where IHG Rewards Are Rising 10,000 points or more

The focus of this article is a look at 106 hotels with a reward night category increase of 10,000 or 15,000 points. These are the hotels to grab now, before Jan 15, if they might be locations for your travel plans in 2017.

IHG 2017 reward changes up 15

WTF Louisville? Three of 10 hotels worldwide rising by 15,000 points are located in Louisville, Kentucky. Four other hotels are located in California, including one of my Monterey neighbors with Holiday Inn Express Salinas rising from 25,000 points to 40,000 points. Talk about an era of points inflation. It was only a couple years ago when InterContinental Monterey The Clement was 40,000 points (now 60,000 points).

HIX Nuremburg, Germany doubles in price from 15,000 points to 30,000 points. Hotels rising from 20,000 to 35,000 points increase 75% and 4 hotels rising from 25,000 to 40,000 points increase by 60%.

There are 96 hotels increasing by 10,000 points. I have organized these hotels by the percentage increase in reward cost effective January 15, 2017.

IHG 2017 rewards up 100%

These are the hotels that hurt with a massive 100% increase in reward night cost.

IHG 2017 reward changes 60%

There are two Lisbon, Portugal hotels in this 60% price increase category. These are the two hotels I was considering staying in March 2017, but the prices are under $75 per night and not even a deal I would book as reward stays, even at 15,000 points per night. They will rise to 25,000 points, along with several other hotels in Portugal.

IHG reward changes 50%

Ski Resorts, beach locations, National Park proximity and airport hotels are IHG hotels getting hit with reward night increases in many locations.

IHG 2017 Rewards 40% up

Another hotel in Portugal going up 10,000 points. I never stayed at HIX Ventura, but I was a road trip regular for years at the adjacent hotel, Four Points Ventura Harbor, when it was a category 2 and only 3,000 points for my weekend travels to and from Southern California.

IHG 2017 rewards up 33%

Most of these locations look like resort towns, where seasonal high demand keeps rates up and rewards in high demand.

IHG 2017 Rewards Up20-28%.

These are 106 hotels in the IHG Rewards Club system rising by 10,000 or 15,000 points for a reward night on January 15, 2017. There are more than 400 other hotels rising 5,000 points. You can look over the IHG Rewards Club pdf document for points category changes at properties. The list is not too user friendly since it is organized by hotel brand rather than geographical location.

Going Down?

Hotel properties going down are not much concern, unless you already have booked a hotel reward stay. There are only 11 hotels dropping 10,000 points and about 125 drop 5,000 points. The big 10K drops are probably not relevant to many Americans since 10 hotels are in China and one in India.

IHG 2017 reward down 10K

This is a another significant devaluation in IHG Rewards Club points value. I rarely buy points in the program, except as Points and Cash rewards when rates are high and I want to conserve points on the few stays where I find IHG the best hotel option for my travels. But as I said, I generally only use IHG points for PointBreaks.

High value promotions like the current $50 to $100 Mastercard rebate after two stays and targeted Accelerate offers keep me tossing a few paid stays at IHG each year. I definitely know that I have come out a big winner on my cheap paid stays and high value redemptions the last couple years in Amsterdam, Boston, London and Paris using the free nights I have earned from IHG Rewards Club. But the real joy has been discovering some cities I would not have seen if it were not for the IHG PointBreaks offers. Those deals have allowed me to watch wild goats grazing by the Brno castle in a city center park, stand in the square of Clermont-Ferrand, France where a pope launched the medieval Crusades, and convince my wife Kelley that we can find very cool places in eastern Europe like the Cat Café in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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.

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  1. Great analysis, thank you. I agree with your assessment – this is another big devaluation of IHG Rewards Club. IHG and HHonors are as close to a revenue-based redemption model as you’ll get among the big programs – it’s hard to find great deals these days – other than PointBreaks as you mentioned and new hotels, who haven’t found their correct price point!

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