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Wallet Watch: Award-Price Increases at 10% of InterContinental Hotels

Update from IHG, including effect date for new prices: “All reservations booked beginning Jan. 16, 2018, will use the new Reward Nights point prices. This is part of an annual review into the number of points needed for a Reward Night, and we’ll communicate to members through our regular channels, including email and our website.”

Changes to award prices—an annual exercise for most hotel chains’ loyalty programs—are rarely happy-making events. The latest from InterContinental Hotels Group is no exception.

For 2018, the prices IHG Rewards members will pay for free nights will change at 691 hotels. At 499 properties, the prices have gone up, while prices at 192 properties have decreased. While the changes affect just over 13 percent of IHG’s 5,000-plus hotels, the net effect is, predictably, a devaluation. There’s a lot more bad news than good news.

Added to the bad-news side of the ledger, the changes include a new higher-priced tier in the IHG Rewards chart: 70,000 points. So, for example, the InterContinentals in New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong, all of which previously required 60,000 points for an award night, will now cost 70,000 points.

The new rates are not in effect yet, and IHG’s website neglects to provide a start date for the changes. An email query to IHG seeking clarification hadn’t been responded to at press time.

As always with imminent award-price changes, program members should check the list of price-changing hotels to see whether any of their upcoming stays will be affected. If so, they should book award stays before prices rise or after they decline, to get the most value from their accumulated points.

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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