IHG Rewards Club have announced a list of hotels that are changing award category in 2017. These changes will take effect on 15 January 2017. The full list can be found here. IHG Rewards Club doesn’t actually have “award categories” per se, but charges between 10,000 and 60,000 points (in 5,000 point increments) for a free award night, depending on the hotel.
The list is somewhat unwieldy, with 39 pages of hotels listed. The list seems to be organised by country, with further organisation based on brand. Accordingly, it is hard to reach specific conclusions, other than to state that roughly 600-700 hotels seems to be changing price. And it also appears to me that the vast majority of changes are negative – i.e. attractive hotels are going to cost more.
This isn’t necessarily a surprise. IHG is known for offering attractive promotions, with many bonus points on offer. Too many points in circulation often results in a devaluation. But IHG’s “award chart” structure means that they don’t really need to “devalue” in an open, loyalty-destroying way, but merely to charge more points for select hotels. Many IHG members simply won’t notice…
Although you might have better things to do this holiday season, I recommend you check the list for any hotels you might be considering for 2017 travels. You can book award nights at the current prices as far into the future as IHG’s IT systems will allow. However any changes after 15 January will result in a re-pricing of your reservation. A useful trick to get around this is to book your stay on a single night by single night basis. On check-in, everything will be merged together, but if you need to adjust your stay by a night or two, you can merely cancel that particular night’s reservation, leaving the rest intact.