Award-price adjustments are a fact of life for participants in hotel loyalty programs. And the annual announcements of such changes are rarely good news. Inevitably, it seems, more award prices increase than decrease, resulting in a net devaluation of program members’ points.
The latest from InterContinental’s IHG Rewards Club is a case in point.
This week, the company posted a 39-page list (.pdf file is here) of hotels where award prices will change beginning on January 15, 2017. Of the 650 affected hotels, around 500 will cost more points, and just 150 will cost fewer points.
With IHG’s network of almost 5,000 properties, that amounts to price increases at a hefty 10 percent of its hotels.
For IHG Rewards Club members in the U.S., the news is even worse. More than 400 of the hotels changing prices are in the U.S., and the great majority of them will be more rather than less expensive.
As always with upcoming award-price changes, program members should peruse the list with an eye toward any planned award stays. Book stays at hotels that will rise in price before the January 15th increase. And in the rare cases where a hotel will be cheaper, wait to book until the new lower price takes effect.
More generally, any such devaluation is a good reason to reevaluate your loyalty to a hotel chain. That’s especially true today, with programs from Wyndham and Choice, among others, making a stronger bid for travelers’ hotel business.
Reader Reality Check
At what point do award-price increases become a deal-breaker for you?
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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.