List Of IHG Rewards Club Hotels Changing Category May 1, 2015

Early last week I wrote about IHG Rewards Club’s sneaky announcement about some hotel category changes they’re making, which kick in for bookings as of May 1, 2015.

They buried these changes in the bottom of the frequently asked questions about some changes they’re making to their elite program.

IHG-Changes

As they explained the changes:

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.

The lack of transparency really pissed me off:

  • IHG Rewards Club is saying that properties will change categories, though isn’t revealing which properties
  • IHG Rewards Club clearly tried to hide this change; rather than including it in the announcement itself, it’s instead buried at the bottom of some FAQs

The good news is that IHG Rewards Club has listened to our feedback, and has now revealed the list of hotel category changes. IHG Rewards Club claims the changes will also be posted online a few days before they take place (why they’re not doing it sooner is beyond me, and also disappointing).

Here are screenshots of the property changes (feel free to click on them to see them in more detail):

IHG-2015-Point-Changes-33 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-32 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-31 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-30 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-29 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-28 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-27 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-26 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-25 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-24 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-23 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-22 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-21 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-20 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-19 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-18 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-17 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-16 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-15 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-14 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-13 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-12 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-11 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-10 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-09 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-08 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-07 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-06 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-05 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-04 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-03 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-02 IHG-2015-Point-Changes-01

As expected, these changes ultimately aren’t a huge deal, given that fewer than 10% of properties are changing categories. I still detest the way they approached these changes. At least under pressure they released a list, rather than leaving us completely blind until the changes kick in.

Bottom line

If you’d like to redeem points at a property going up in price, I’d highly recommend doing so before May 1, 2015. Even reservations for stays on subsequent dates will be honored, as long as the booking is completed before May 1, 2015.

Are there any category changes on the list which surprised you?

Comments

  1. Wow, several properties in China are going up 100%. That’s much worse than IHG was letting on at first.
    When they say nothing is going up more than 10,000 points, you don’t expect that to include places that were only 10,000 points to begin with.

  2. This is a joke, right? All the IC hotels that are changing categories are either going up TWO categories or becoming category 9. Meanwhile, the entire list of hotels going down are only going down ONE category, and of course they’re all either HIX or HI in the middle of nowhere Asia. Highest category hotel going down is a 5 to a 4. At least SPG made up/down category changes all throughout its chart. This is just a total screwjob. THANKFULLY it’s only 10% of their properties…

  3. Pretty brutal, IMHO. Quite a few IC hotels going way up in price (as if they were cheap to begin with). Also lots of properties in Texas. I think a great deal of their Houston hotels are on the list and most are +2 and not +1.

  4. Hi Lucky,
    Applied for this card last month through your site, finished spend today so I will not get miles posted fast enough to book nights in property that is going up by 10,000 pts. a night, right? Any options? Thanks!

  5. Thanks for posting the list. I just redeemed points for one of the hotels going up. Funny enough, the only hotels I have ever considered redeeming points for a stay or have actually redeemed points for a stay because I thought they were a decent value are the ones going up in price. I can think of only one property right now that I would still consider a decent value that didn’t make its way to the chart, but I am not going to mention its name because I don’t want to give IHG any ideas.

    As others have mentioned it seems like the hotels in the middle of nowhere went down 5000 points and the hotels at airport locations or popular tourist destinations went up. In fact, it feels like IHG is trying to make their points worth about 0.5 cents per point at most based on the changes whereas previously you could get close to 1 cent per point at some of these properties.

    Between the recent Club Carlson devaluation and now this devaluation, I may have to reconsider my hotel strategy and even get rid of one or both credit cards since their value proposition from a spend perspective became even worse then it was. I have to laugh that today I received a flyer from IHG telling me I should use my IHG Rewards Mastercard for dining because I earn 2 times points. However, when the points are worth 0.5 cents at best now in many instances or even worth 0.7 cents which is what many bloggers claim they are worth because that is the theoretical purchase price, that still equates to 1 to 1.4 cents max. When you can use the Citi Prestige and earn 3.2% back towards AA flights, or the Travelocity Amex, Fidelity Amex, and US Bank Flexperk Amex all with no annual fee that pay up to 2% for flights, or the Barclays Arrival Card or BankAmericard Privileges with Travel Rewards that earn 2.2% back on travel related purchases why would I use such a low earning card. It just seems like the hotels can’t restrain themselves from flooding the market with points and then devaluing them soon after. Either they are really smart and realize that a sucker is born every minute or they are destroying the value proposition of selling points to credit card companies and other companies as the points become worth less and less. I guess the only reason they may be able to do this is that many of their hotels are franchised so the franchises have to buy points from IHG for all of the paid hotel stays which may make up a much larger share of the sold points revenue than credit card companies whereas the airlines don’t sell points to franchises since they own (technically lease in most instances) their planes.

  6. Lucky, I am interested in more details regarding the IHG and Kimpton relationship. Can I book a Kimpton property with IHG points? If I stay in a Kimpton property will I get IHG points? Thanks

  7. @ James Caso — Unfortunately not yet. Their programs aren’t reciprocal yet, so you can’t earn or redeem IHG Rewards Club points for Kimpton stays as of now.

  8. @ Darla — Unfortunately if you don’t have the points by May 1 there’s not a way to book it at the old rate. Sorry!

  9. Sadly the 50k top tier redemption category is now under serious pressure given the small differential between this and much worse properties for only 10k less – u think there’s a much bigger devaluation still to come!

  10. Well, my wife and I will still be keeping our IHG cards just for the annual free night and platinum status. Those don’t get hurt by the individual properties changing categories. It’s certainly going to make things more difficult though if/when we want to book vacations that are longer than 2 nights. We will probably have to hop properties a bit more now.

  11. I had about 120,000 points and booked stays to use almost all the points for places that I MAY stay through early 2016.
    I probably won’t complete most of the stays, but there is nothing to lose because you can cancel the reservations if not used.
    Very dissapointing development
    All they need to do is limit the Categories for the Free Annual credit card Night, and I’ll be gone!
    Mike

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