Jan022018

IHG 2018 reward changes and why I don’t care

IHG Rewards Club is increasing the price of reward nights at 499 hotels worldwide, about 10% of their global portfolio.

192 hotels drop by 5,000 points.

A FlyerTalk member spotted the list of new reward rates, but there is no official word yet on when these new reward rates take effect.

IHG Rewards Club 2018 changes hotel list.

Brian at The Gate has color coded the IHG hotels into a list showing increases and decreases.

Check it out and make any bookings you might want at hotels going up.

Analysis

The big news around the blogosphere is the new 70,000 points top tier category. Only two years ago the top tier increased from 50,000 points to 60,000 points.

As usually happens when a new high level reward category is put in place, there are plenty of other hotels shifted upwards.

My personal take on these IHG Rewards Club changes is there are not too many hotel changes concerning me. I think most IHG hotel rewards have been overpriced for several years since they switched from brand reward rates to category rates. There are not many hotels I will pay standard reward rates for a stay.

My focus are low category IHG hotels and PointBreaks for redeeming points on reward nights. Finding low rates for paid stays at high category hotels is something I consider when there are good IHG promotion bonus points opportunities.

I use my IHG Mastercard annual free night and promotional free night rewards for one or two nights per year in fancy IHG hotels like InterContinental Paris Le Grand  (2015), InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam (2016), and InterContinental Park Lane London (2015, 2016, 2017).

How many 60,000 or 70,000 points reward nights are good value?

I don’t churn credit cards for bonus points or manufacture spend. I earn hotel points with hotel stays or buy points.

In general, I compare the cost of a reward night in terms of whether the points rate is worth paying $30 per 5,000 points for a reward night. This means a 25,000 points hotel needs to be over $150 for me to even consider it for a reward stay.

When a hotel like my hometown resort InterContinental Monterey is 60,000 points and soon to be 70,000 points, I know it is a hotel regularly priced under $300 per night for rooms. If I wanted to stay there, I would look for a bargain rate under $200 in winter.

IHG is a program I use primarily for earning points and low reward rate hotels

My attention is focused on low hanging fruit hotels in the IHG Rewards Club program and PointBreaks limited time offers for 5,000 points per reward night. I had 3 PointBreaks nights in 2017 at Holiday Inn Brno, Czech Republic and about 30 Pointbreaks nights over the past six years around the USA and Europe.

IHG is a program I use primarily for paid stays to earn bonus points through lucrative IHG promotions.

In 2017, I had 6 paid nights with IHG at hotels spending $550 for 4 nights in London and 2 nights in Poland. I redeemed 50,000 points for 3 nights in Brno, Czech Republic and 1 night at InterContinental Warsaw, plus one free night at InterContinental Park Lane London using the IHG MasterCard annual reward night.

Along with two Points+Cash reward nights I booked and ended up canceling at a cost of $127 to buy 25,000 points, my 2017 total is $700 spent with IHG for 11 hotel nights. 

I earned 112,316 IHG Rewards Club points so far on my $700 in hotel spend with my 2017 IHG Rewards Club promotion bonus offers. There is potentially another 28,000 points on the way for my $90 Holiday Inn stay in London last week. There was a technical problem with my IHG credit card, so it is uncertain whether I will ultimately get those additional 28,000 bonus points from the last IHG Accelerate promotion. That is another story I will follow up on as it unfolds.

Bottom line is IHG Rewards Club will increase the cost for a reward night at some hotels to 70,000 points in 2018 and many other hotels are rising 5,000 or 10,000 points.

Check the list and book your reward nights if a hotel you want is going up.

As for me, I assume my IHG MasterCard free night will still be good at those top tier 70,000 points per night hotels in 2018 for a taste of luxury.

London IC Park Lane

InterContinental London Park Lane fancy drinks at a fancy price

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. Always get value from your analysis that looks beyond the higher profile properties, thanks Ric!

    IHG used to be a great earn and burn program (the glory days of both IC Bora Boras at 40K), but no longer at the top end. Still, as you point out, there is good value to be had.

  2. plenty low category hotels going up. I see many 10000 going up to 15000 that’s huge. I think we should care more. I am in same boat as you. Another phenomenon is point breaks hotels are less and less attractively located.

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