IHG Rewards Club’s Sneaky Redemption Rate Changes As Of May 1, 2015

Last night I wrote about the changes which IHG Rewards Club announced:

  • Starting in May 2016, points will expire after 12 months of inactivity (previously points didn’t expire)
  • IHG Rewards Club will be introducing a new elite tier as of July 2015, though they’re not actually telling us what the benefits are
  • IHG Rewards Club will be lowering the requirements for achieving Gold and Platinum status

IHG-Changes

It seems there’s one other announcement which they tried hard to cover up. IHG Rewards Club will be adjusting redemption rates for select hotels booked as of May 1, 2015.

If you look at the FAQs about the IHG Rewards Club program changes, you’ll notice the last question, at the very bottom of the page:

Are the point requirements for Reward Nights changing?

Our point requirements are changing slightly for 2015, effective 1 May 2015. We’ll be raising less than 300 hotels by 5,000 or 10,000 points and we’re lowering about 150 hotels by 5,000 points. The overall point requirement of 10,000 to 50,000 points for all Reward Nights is not changing.

Now, the change itself isn’t a big deal. IHG Rewards Club has 4,600+ properties around the world, so having fewer than 300 hotels go up in price and then having about 150 properties go down in price isn’t the end of the world. That’s a net increase in price at ~3% of properties.

But the lack of transparency here really pisses me off:

  • They’re saying that properties will change categories in about two weeks, though aren’t revealing which properties
  • They clearly tried to hide this change; rather than including it in the announcement itself, they only mention it in passing in the very last FAQ

C’mon IHG Rewards Club, that’s not how you run a loyalty program and communicate with your members regarding changes.

Am I the only one that’s peeved at how IHG Rewards Club is communicating with members here?

(Tip of the hat to @AlexMathewJr)

Comments

  1. uh… i just hope to use all the points i have and be done with this program. even considering transfer to aeroplan just to get rid of them.

  2. Does IHG have anything where we can shop through a portal or something to earn points so we can have “some activity” so the points won’t expire?

  3. The whole thing is an own goal. When I read that I thought ‘poo, IC’s up to 60,000 points’.

    You have to go to the FAQ to read that the 50k cap will remain, which is surprisingly generous.

    I also think the reductions will focus on places people actually want to go. Who redeems for a HIX in London at 35k when IC Park Lane is 50k?!

  4. IHG is at the bottom of all hotel loyalty programs. Only Best Western is lower than IHG in my opinion.

    Their hotel promotions are IT challenged and frustration filled adventures.

  5. HA. Wouldn’t you know it. I just got my IHG Rewards credit card and made the minimum spend in order to get enough points for 2 nights at one of their properties. Of course, those points aren’t going to show up until after May 1. Arrggghhh!

  6. Does IHG block reward stays for certain properties? the IC in Koh Samui has no reward availability for a year.

  7. What a terrible month for me with hotel point news… I was ecstatic to book my first Cathay flight for November in first class to Hong Kong and then business class to South Africa. I was planning on possibly burning some IHG points in Hong Kong and then using my Club Carlson points in Cape Town. The thing is, I had no intention of booking in hotels anytime soon as I was waiting until later in the summer to start planning excursions and potential daily itineraries…

    Now I need to speculate and possibly book different dates at different properties and just hope they work out or that IHG doesn’t raise those particular hotels, etc…

    Again, this is why I always try to stay diversified with at least a couple hundred thousand in each of 3 or 4 hotel programs. Just frustrating that IHG isn’t announcing which properties are changing in advance.

  8. The better question is how many of those 300 properties going up in price are ICs. I think the majority. Fully expect IC Amstel Amsterdam to go up to 50k a night from 40k.

  9. @ Luis — Yeah, there are some properties without “standard rooms” where they don’t seem to make redemptions available.

  10. @Luis – I have 10 nights booked at the IC KOH Samui, 17-27 December. 2 free nights from Into The Nights and 8 reward nights on points. Only through regular checking for availability did I manage to get them all, could only get 4 at first and then over time built up to the full 10. 25,000 points per night over this period is a steal, the basic rooms are GBP £420 per night so this is truly amazing value. Flying LHR-BKK in Club World on BA direct from London home using 120,000 Avios plus BA AmEx Companion Voucher on seats released on the day the BAEC devaluation was announced. Many thanks to Raffles’ Head for Points for making this trip a reality!

  11. @snic – You can change your payment due date to move up the statement date on your account. When you’re logged into your account click the drop down and select “change my due date”. I changed mine to the 25th to match my other Chase cards.

  12. @Ken – The option to change the due date is disabled – it says “possible reasons include: you have a new card…” It also says that changes are effective for the next billing cycle, not the present one. Were you able to change yours immediately after you got the card, and was it effective for the first cycle?

  13. So I just called Chase, and they’re happy to change the due date for the first billing period – to a *later* date, but not an earlier date. In other words, one can have the first billing period be longer than 30 days, but not shorter. That is precisely the opposite of what I want.

    By the way, is the free night certificate sent at the end of the first year or the beginning?

  14. Hmm, that’s weird. I changed the due date less than a week after activating the card on mine and my wife’s new card. I’ll know in 2 weeks if the statement was also moved up.

  15. @ snic — It’s sent upon your account anniversary. So if you opened your card in April 2015, you’d get it in April 2016.

  16. @Ken: The question is whether they changed your first billing period by making it longer or shorted. Based on what they told me, I’m guessing that they made it longer. But it could also be that the agent I talked to was misinformed.

  17. E-Rewards is an IHG partner. You can answer a few surveys and earn enough E-Rewards money (how quaint) to “buy” 1,000 IHG points and you have “qualified” to keep you IHG points alive for another year without going anywhere.

  18. Well, I’ll know in a week or so. In the past the statement DID close at the new, moved up date even though I was told that it would take 1-2 full billing cycles to update. Standard boilerplate statement.

  19. Seems like people are making this into a bigger deal than it is. There’s literally thousand of hotels in IHG that are staying at the same redemption levels, some are actually going down. I have no problem with it right now. My favorite part of IHG is their pointsbreak specials. Who else sells so many points priced rooms so cheaply on a regular schedule? So easy to spend and receive points in their program. Not hard at all to keep points from expiring. Hopefully those of us who are disgruntled and want to leave the program do and it makes it even easier to get the 5000 point rooms before they sell out.

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