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IHG 2019 Award Chart Devaluation by the Numbers

Jan. 07, 2019
7 min read
IHG 2019 Award Chart Devaluation by the Numbers
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Over the weekend, IHG Rewards revealed that it's changing the categories on nearly 700 hotels. While you still can't find any mention of these changes on IHG's website, a PDF of the changes was discovered online.

First, it's important to note that these changes haven't yet gone into effect. You still have until Jan. 24, 2019, to book hotels at current rates. Per the leaked PDF, the award chart changes go into effect on Jan. 25, 2019.

Here's the nitty-gritty of the changes:

Overall properties changing: 693

Of IHG's approximately 5,400 properties, just fewer than 700 of them are changing categories. That's around 13% of worldwide properties that are changing. All category changes are one category.

Properties increasing 1 category: 548

The bad news is that most of the changes are negative — in fact, 78.8% of them. 28 properties are spiking 50% from category 1 (10,000 points per night) to category 2 (15,000 points per night), and 113 properties are jumping 33% from category 2 (15,000 points per night) to category 3 (20,000 points per night). You're going to want to book awards at these properties as soon as possible.

Here are the 28 properties increasing from 10,000 points per night to 15,000 points per night:

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Holiday Inn Express San Jose ForumCosta RicaSan Jose
Holiday Inn Lyon - VaiseTassin La Demi LuneFrance
Holiday Inn Express Beijing Airport ZoneMainland ChinaBeijing
Holiday Inn Chongqing NorthMainland ChinaChongqing
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai GongkangMainland ChinaShanghai
Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Jinqiao CentralMainland ChinaShanghai
Holiday Inn Hangzhou XiaoshanMainland ChinaHangzhou
Holiday Inn Birmingham Walsall M6,Jct.10United KingdomWalsall
Holiday Inn Fort Myers - Downtown AreaUnited StatesFort Myers
Candlewood Suites Boise-MeridianUnited StatesMeridian
Holiday Inn Mount Prospect - ChicagoUnited StatesMt. Prospect
Candlewood Suites Ofallon, Il - St. Louis AreaUnited StatesOfallon
Holiday Inn Express Chicago-Palatine/N Arlngtn HtsUnited StatesPalatine
Holiday Inn Rock Island - Quad CitiesUnited StatesRock Island
Holiday Inn Rolling Mdws-Schaumburg Area Rolling MeadowsUnited StatesRolling Meadows
Candlewood Suites Chicago/NapervilleUnited StatesWarrenville
Candlewood Suites Flowood, MSUnited StatesFlowood
Candlewood Suites Dallas Market Cntr-Love FieldUnited StatesDallas
Candlewood Suites El PasoUnited StatesEl Paso
Candlewood Suites Dallas, Ft Worth/Fossil CreekUnited StatesFort Worth
Candlewood Suites Houston-WestchaseUnited StatesHouston
Candlewood Suites Houston-Clear LakeUnited StatesHouston
Candlewood Suites Houston IAH / Beltway 8United StatesHouston
Candlewood Suites Houston I-10 EastUnited StatesHouston
Candlewood Suites League CityUnited StatesLeague City
Candlewood Suites Austin-Round RockUnited StatesRound Rock
Candlewood Suites San Antonio NW MedicalUnited StatesSan Antonio
Holiday Inn HarareZimbabweHarare

Properties decreasing 1 category: 145

There are 145 properties that are dropping in value on Jan. 25. However, these aren't evenly spread around the world. More than 20% of these decreases (30) are in Mexico, and another 11% (16) are in China. 28 properties are dropping by 33% from category 2 (15,000 points per night) to category 1 (10,000 points per night).

US properties changing categories: 448

Of the 693 properties changing in value, almost two-thirds of these properties are in the United States. 387 properties are increasing while just 61 properties are decreasing. That makes the changes to US properties notably worse than the overall worldwide average, and by far the hardest-hit country by this devaluation.

Countries with a net decrease in rates: 11

While these changes are bad news for those hoping to redeem for stays in the US, there are 11 countries that will have a net decrease in award rates. Topping the list is Mexico. Of the 31 changes to hotel categories in Mexico, 30 of these are decreases and there's just one increase: InterContinental Presidente Mexico City (30,000 to 35,000 points per night).

China also fared generally well with 16 properties decreasing and 10 properties increasing in value. Other countries with net decreases:

  • Turkey (4 decreases)
  • Brazil (3 decreases)
  • Russia (4 decreases, 1 increase)
  • South Africa (2 decreases, 1 increase)
  • Serbia (Holiday Inn Express Belgrade City decrease from 15k to 10k)
  • Argentina (InterContinental Mendoza decrease from 25k to 20k)
  • Laos (Crowne Plaza Vientiane decrease from 25k to 20k)
  • Venezuela (InterContinental Tamanaco Caracas decrease from 30k to 25k)
  • Vietnam (InterContinental Hanoi Landmark decrease from 35k to 30k)

Average points increase per property: 370

Among the 693 properties changing value, the average change is 2,908 points per night. However, when you average the total changes (2,015,000 points across the 693 properties) and average it across the entire IHG portfolio, that's an average change of around 370 points per property.

Properties no longer eligible for capped free night stay: 38

Both the old IHG Select Credit Card and the new IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card offer an anniversary free night. Historically, the Select card offered an uncapped free night, but that benefit was devalued in April 2018 for certificates issued beginning May 1, 2019. Going forward, these free nights are limited to properties that cost 40,000 points per night or fewer. The IHG Premier Credit Card launched with this restricted benefit.

Now there's 38 hotels that are no longer available for 40,000 points or less per night. And there's just one hotel that will be newly eligible: the InterContinental OneThousand Island Lake is dropping from 45,000 points per night to 40,000 points per night. Be sure to check out this story on the best free night awards to book before Jan. 25.

High-end properties increasing: 25

There are 25 properties currently available for 45,000 points or more per night that are increasing to 50,000 points or more. While a 5,000-point per night increase is smaller percentage-wise at these properties, this price increase will still sting for those who have been saving up for one of these properties. Here are the 25 that you might want to consider booking before the changes go into effect:

PropertyPoints BeforePoints After
Crowne Plaza Melbourne45,00050,000
InterContinental Montreal45,00050,000
InterContinental Porto - Palacio das Cardosas45,00050,000
InterContinental Dar Al Tawhid Makkah45,00050,000
Crowne Plaza Ft. Lauderdale Airport/Cruise45,00050,000
Crowne Plaza New Orleans French Quarter45,00050,000
Crowne Plaza Lake Placid45,00050,000
Crowne Plaza Seattle-Downtown45,00050,000
InterContinental Sydney Double Bay50,00055,000
Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Causeway Bay50,00055,000
InterContinental Dublin50,00055,000
InterContinental ANA Tokyo50,00055,000
InterContinental Tokyo Bay50,00055,000
InterContinental Yokohama Grand50,00055,000
Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam50,00055,000
Hotel Indigo London - Paddington50,00055,000
Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown50,00055,000
Hotel Indigo San Diego-Gaslamp Quarter50,00055,000
Hotel Indigo Asheville Downtown50,00055,000
Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York50,00055,000
Hotel Indigo Nashville50,00055,000
InterContinental Melbourne55,00060,000
InterContinental Düsseldorf55,00060,000
InterContinental Sydney60,00065,000
InterContinental Los Angeles Century City60,00065,000

Bottom Line

This award chart change is certainly a devaluation, and it's especially hard-hitting for those looking to redeem for award nights in the US. However, all told, it could've been worse. This devaluation is creating a net increase at 403 properties (548 increases less 145 decreases) of the approximately 5,400 IHG properties — or about 7.4% of worldwide properties.

This post has been updated since publishing to reference the delayed implementation of the award category changes to January 25, 2019 and a listing of the changes provided by IHG showing that there are 695 hotels changing categories instead of 694 changes. After duplicates were found and removed, the number decreased again to 693.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.