IHG adjusts award charts on Feb 17: Indian hotels going down, new category introduced!

IHG Rewards Club, the loyalty and awards program for the InterContinental Hotels Group, with brands like InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and several others, has announced changes to the redemption levels of 400 hotels with effect from February 17, 2016.

With an offering of over 4900 hotels, the chain is executing reward category changes at about 8 percent of their overall portfolio, and there could be many reasons, but usually the key ones are to ensure the redemption value captures the correct cost of the hotel currently, including the forex movement with respect to IHG’s home currency, perhaps US Dollars, and the hotel local currencies.

A list is published on the IHG website, which gives the old and new redemption values for the properties which are undergoing a change in their award categories. 200 hotels require 5-10K more points per night and 200 hotels require 5-10K less points per night. This should help you make any redemption requests at hotels with the prices going up before the February 17, 2016 date, since the old redemption rates will be honoured for these redemptions.

InterContinental Bora Bora is going up in Redemption Pricing

InterContinental Bora Bora is going up in Redemption Pricing

Two New Redemption levels introduced

IHG’s maximum redemption levels were at 50,000 points, but this time around, there are two new categories at 55,000 and 60,000 points, making a total of 11 categories for hotel redemptions. The new redemption levels impact a select set of the high end InterContinental properties.

60,000 IHG Reward Club Points

  • InterContinental Cannes
  • InterContinental Paris – Avenue Marceau
  • InterContinental Paris – Le Grand
  • InterContinental Le Moana, Bora Bora
  • InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa, Bora Bora
  • InterContinental Hong Kong
  • InterContinental London Park Lane
  • InterContinental The Clement Monterey
  • InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco
  • InterContinental San Francisco
  • The Venetian, Las Vegas
  • The Palazzo, Las Vegas
  • InterContinental, New York Times Square

55,000 IHG Reward Club Points

  • InterContinental Rome
  • InterContinental The Williard Washington DC
  • InterContinental Boston
  • InterContinental Sydney
  • InterContinental Melbourne

I have been fortunate to stay at 5 of the 13 properties which are going up to 60,000 points for the more reasonable cost of 50,000 points. I will be writing reviews of some of these properties shortly.

Inflation Trends

Inflation trends look ridiculous in some of these cases. I can live with the fact that many a world cities are getting a higher level of points, such as New York, Paris and London, which are all expensive properties, also by virtue of the fact that these are high street addresses. However to ask for 40,000 points for a Holiday Inn Express is ridiculous.

Indian IHG Hotels

IHG’s Indian Hotel portfolio, however is only seeing changes where the hotels are becoming less expensive on points going forward. While all the 28 hotels are not being reshuffled, there is 12 of them which are seeing changes. Here are the ones with changes:

  • InterContinental Mahabalipuram Resort, Chennai (30,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Holiday Inn Express, Ahmedabad (10,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Holiday Inn Express, Chennai Mahindra World City (15,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Hyderabad (20,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Crowne Plaza, Electronic City Bangalore (25,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Crowne Plaza, Chennai Adyar Park (25,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Crowne Plaza, Greater Noida (25,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Crowne Plaza, Ahmedabad (25,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Crowne Plaza, Gurgaon (25,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Crowne Plaza, Okhla (30,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Crowne Plaza, Rohini (15,000 points –5,000 points)
  • Holiday Inn, Chandigarh Panchkula (15,000 points –5,000 points)

Bottomline: Readjustments are a part of loyalty programs on an ongoing basis, and we got to make the most of the opportunity presented to us at any point of time. I feel good that I’ve redeemed most of my IHG Balances over the years and not sitting on anything big at this point of time. Lets hope with increased pricing, some hotels such as Bora Bora don’t be stingy on redemption availability anymore.

I’d recommend if you are looking to redeem at a property going up in redemption points price, to lock in your redemption by February 16. If there is a redemption coming up where a property goes down in prices, you could redeem now or later. In the past, IHG has made good the difference in points when properties go down, but they haven’t confirmed this at the moment.

What is your plan with your IHG Rewards Club balances? How are you playing this upcoming change?

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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