Thanks to a hint in their monthly e-newsletter and their rewards night page when viewed in Google Chrome, it seems like Priority Club will be adjusting the number of points required for many of their hotels as of January 18, 2012. Via Gary, the changes are as follows:
It’s not an across the board devaluation. Rather, whereas Priority Club has historically charged a single points level based on the brand of hotel you were redeeming for, and in recent years has added some segments within each brand (so that an Intercontinental might be 30,000 or 40,000 points). Now they’re adding greater segmentation:
- Candlewood Suites will cost 15,000 or 20,000 points per night, rather than just 15,000.
- Crowne Plaza properties will cost 25,000 or 35,000 points per night, rather than just 25,000.
- Hotel Indigo will be 25,000 or 35,000 points per night, rather than just 25,000.
- Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express further segment — going from 10,000/15,000/25,000 to 10,000/15,000/20,000/25,000.
- InterContinental adds a new 50,000 points level. Ouch.
- Staybridge Suites will cost 20,000 or 25,000 points per night, rather than just 20,000.
This is definitely a devaluation, though at the same time I can’t blame them for the segmentation as such. For example, I always found it interesting that the Crowne Plaza Times Square cost the same number of points as the Crowne Plaza O’Hare Airport, or that the InterContinental San Francisco cost the same number of points as the InterContinental Thalasso Bora Bora. But of course they’re not just segmenting by raising the prices at some hotels and lowering the prices equally at other hotels, but rather there’s an upwards trend here in the number of points required.
The funniest part about all of this to me is that last February Priority Club ran the “Luckiest Loser” promotion when Hilton devalued their program, whereby they gave out 400 million points and stated the following in a press release:
“If you want your loyal customers to stick with you during tough times, it’s vital to show you appreciate them and give them more value, not less. So it’s no wonder there was such a negative reaction to Hilton devaluing their points programme,” said Tom Seddon, chief marketing officer, IHG.
…and now they do the same.
While these changes do kick in on January 18, apparently they’ll have a two month grace period during which you can get the old rates if you call the service center. If you ask me, that’s downright sleazy. They’re only providing two weeks notice of a devaluation, unless you’re “in the know” enough to call them and request the old pricing.
So who’s going to be the next to run a “Luckiest Loser” competition? Hilton? Starwood? Hyatt?