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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. 13, 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: 694
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: 547
The bad news is that most of the changes are negative — in fact, 78.8% of them. 27 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 27 properties increasing from 10,000 points per night to 15,000 points per night:
|Holiday Inn Express San Jose Forum||Costa Rica||San Jose|
|Holiday Inn Express Beijing Airport Zone||Mainland China||Beijing|
|Holiday Inn Chongqing North||Mainland China||Chongqing|
|Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Gongkang||Mainland China||Shanghai|
|Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Jinqiao Central||Mainland China||Shanghai|
|Holiday Inn Hangzhou Xiaoshan||Mainland China||Hangzhou|
|Holiday Inn Birmingham Walsall M6,Jct.10||United Kingdom||Walsall|
|Holiday Inn Fort Myers – Downtown Area||United States||Fort Myers|
|Candlewood Suites Boise-Meridian||United States||Meridian|
|Holiday Inn Mount Prospect – Chicago||United States||Mt. Prospect|
|Candlewood Suites Ofallon, Il – St. Louis Area||United States||Ofallon|
|Holiday Inn Express Chicago-Palatine/N Arlngtn Hts||United States||Palatine|
|Holiday Inn Rock Island – Quad Cities||United States||Rock Island|
|Holiday Inn Rolling Mdws-Schaumburg Area Rolling Meadows||United States||Rolling Meadows|
|Candlewood Suites Chicago/Naperville||United States||Warrenville|
|Candlewood Suites Flowood, MS||United States||Flowood|
|Candlewood Suites Dallas Market Cntr-Love Field||United States||Dallas|
|Candlewood Suites El Paso||United States||El Paso|
|Candlewood Suites Dallas, Ft Worth/Fossil Creek||United States||Fort Worth|
|Candlewood Suites Houston-Westchase||United States||Houston|
|Candlewood Suites Houston-Clear Lake||United States||Houston|
|Candlewood Suites Houston IAH / Beltway 8||United States||Houston|
|Candlewood Suites Houston I-10 East||United States||Houston|
|Candlewood Suites League City||United States||League City|
|Candlewood Suites Austin-Round Rock||United States||Round Rock|
|Candlewood Suites San Antonio NW Medical||United States||San Antonio|
|Holiday Inn Harare||Zimbabwe||Harare|
Properties decreasing 1 category: 147
There are 147 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 694 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 694 properties changing value, the average change is 2,882 points per night. However, when you average the total changes (2,000,000 points across the 694 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 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:
|Property||Points Before||Points After|
|Crowne Plaza Melbourne||45,000||50,000|
|InterContinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas||45,000||50,000|
|InterContinental Dar Al Tawhid Makkah||45,000||50,000|
|Crowne Plaza Ft. Lauderdale Airport/Cruise||45,000||50,000|
|Crowne Plaza New Orleans French Quarter||45,000||50,000|
|Crowne Plaza Lake Placid||45,000||50,000|
|Crowne Plaza Seattle-Downtown||45,000||50,000|
|InterContinental Sydney Double Bay||50,000||55,000|
|Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Causeway Bay||50,000||55,000|
|InterContinental ANA Tokyo||50,000||55,000|
|InterContinental Tokyo Bay||50,000||55,000|
|InterContinental Yokohama Grand||50,000||55,000|
|Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam||50,000||55,000|
|Hotel Indigo London – Paddington||50,000||55,000|
|Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown||50,000||55,000|
|Hotel Indigo San Diego-Gaslamp Quarter||50,000||55,000|
|Hotel Indigo Asheville Downtown||50,000||55,000|
|Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York||50,000||55,000|
|Hotel Indigo Nashville||50,000||55,000|
|InterContinental Los Angeles Century City||60,000||65,000|
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 400 properties (547 increases less 147 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.