IHG Introduces Members Only Rates — Are They Ever A Good Deal?

IHG has just announced that they’ll be introducing members only rates, called Your Rate by IHG Rewards Club. It’s available starting this month at IHG properties in the Americas and Europe, and later this year will be rolled out at hotels in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

IHG-Your-Rate

This special rate will offer discounts for IHG Rewards Club members who book directly through IHG, and is intended to prevent people from booking through online travel agencies. In this case IHG is following the lead of HiltonMarriott, and Hyatt, which have introduced similar programs over the past several months.

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These programs are an attempt by the major hotel chains to capture as much business as they can directly, so they don’t have to pay online travel agencies a ~10% commission on bookings. A lot of people still book their hotels through the big online travel agencies since they allow people to compare prices across many chains. Hotels want to change the way you search for availability, which is the logic behind this initiative.

The reality is that for the savvy traveller there’s really not much benefit to these members only rates. I haven’t found a single instance where the members only rate is lower than the AAA rate, which often knocks 10% off room rates (I have a AAA membership, though for what it’s worth, I’ve never been asked to present it). Of course both are capacity controlled, but there seems to be a lot of overlap between the availability of both rates.

So, how big are these member discounts offered by IHG? It seems they’re loaded for many US hotels already, and based on the few I’ve searched, the discounts are for around 6% at most. Meanwhile AAA rates will almost always knock 10% off.

IHG-Members-Only-Rate

The press release specifically says that “the new member benefit will be tailored to reflect the local dynamic in individual regions and markets,” so I’m not sure if that reflects the demand at specific hotels, or what.

InterContinental-Tampa

Bottom line

Ultimately these “member only” rates are a marketing campaign by the major hotel chains. In a vast majority of instances you’re still better off booking a AAA rate, since that gets you a 10% discount, rather than the 6% discount which IHG seems to be offering.

Comments

  1. AAA rates only apply to North America, no? While these member rates I’m guessing apply chainwide. So, overseas and down south this could save a bit more over the regular non-refundable options.

  2. IHG has had special members rates for a while now, so not sure why this is new. I can speak for Europe only, but the IHG Rewards member rates can be up to 20% lower than rack rates at some hotels I search. They’re often better than my corporate rates in some cases, as well (which are at minimum 10% of best available). The biggest discounts seem to be in England

  3. I don’t like how IHG and SPG show prepaid always as the 1st rate. It feels like I’m getting ripped off with the real rate. If I want prepaid, I’ll go to hotwire!

  4. @Shabs: AAA discount works outside of the US as well. It may be only for US hotel chains but I booked Hilton hotels in Italy for June using AAA rate.

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