For a while now, IHG has remained one of my secondary hotel reward programs (below the big three: Hyatt, Hilton, and Marriott).
I’ve never been a huge IHG fan for a few reasons. The biggest reason is I do not like that they exclude elite benefits on award redemptions (at least on paper).
Some hotels will still provide you with benefits based on your elite status but I think it says a lot about a program when they exclude those benefits from award redemptions in their terms.
IHG has also constantly devalued their currency and made it difficult to plan awards with their dynamic pricing.
We still hold the IHG Premier Card because we can utilize the free night every year pretty easily and come out on top but that might be changing soon.
IHG has been at it again when it comes to devaluations.
This time, people are reporting some pretty absurd prices. As View From The Wing highlighted, we’re seeing Holiday Inns going for 70,000+ points a night. Many on FlyerTalk have reported some pretty ridiculous prices as well, such as properties raising from 40,000 to 70,000 points per night.
This doesn’t mean that the value for the program is over. You can still find deals if you search hard enough and certain regions such as Asia may be better off. Also, there are still reports of prices going down so this was not a universal devaluation across the board.
What’s interesting is that the award price increases don’t seem to be directly tied to increases in cash prices. So some are speculating that IHG’s new price roll out might actually be riddled with glitches right now (which could mean some great deals).
But should this devaluation cause you to reconsider your credit card strategy?
I think if you are still devoted to IHG, the IHG credit card you can still provide you with enough value that it could be worth holding onto. With the fourth night free benefit, you can still probably get some decent cents per point for your redemptions and the 10X on IHG properties is pretty strong.
But if you don’t currently have the card, I would prioritize other hotel cards that are subject to 5/24 over the IHG card such as the World of Hyatt Card. That’s because it may become much more difficult to utilize your points and free nights in the future.
These prices don’t appear to be going anywhere as IHG clarified this is just how the new pricing will work:
We rolled out our Dynamic Pricing models to our hotels around the world last year which enabled the amount of points required for IHG Rewards members to redeem a Reward Night to flex up and down, just like cash rates.
Previously, Reward Night point amounts were static throughout the year. This model allows point amounts to decrease when demand is lower, providing greater value to our members.
Conversely, redemption amounts may also increase based on demand and other factors and can update as often as daily. Reward Nights are not defined by categories or with minimum and maximum point amounts.
Under our new model, the number of points required for Reward Nights will vary with demand and seasonality.
IHG appears to be implementing a pretty wide devaluation (without notice) although prices don’t seem to directly correlate to cash prices. You can still find good deals out there but they may become increasingly more difficult to find and for that reason the IHG Premier Card may be less attractive.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.