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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Sands China, Ltd. announced on Tuesday a partnership that sees three new hotels in Macau join InterContinental Alliance Resorts within the next 18 months. Unfortunately, it appears that this announcement has also effectively created a new top category for award stays, as the two currently available properties are both pricing out at 75,000 points per night.

Effective immediately, The Venetian Macao and The Parisian Macao are full-fledged members of the alliance, which offers perks and amenities for members at non-IHG owned and operated properties. The Londoner Hotel in Macao will also be joining the alliance following its massive renovation efforts, which will see it transform from a Holiday Inn property to a high-end luxury resort. The hotel is due to open in 2020.

The three hotels join the The Palazzo at the Venetian Resort and The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, which confirmed Tuesday an extension of their existing partnership with IHG until 2027.

While the IHG Rewards Club doesn’t publish a formal award chart, top-tier properties have typically required no more than 70,000 points per night, including luxurious resorts like the InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso. However, despite paid rates as low as $150 per night, we’re seeing award rates at both of these locations that are 5,000 points higher than the current top price.

We’ve seen rumors of IHG moving toward more variable pricing in the future, but given that these rates aren’t directly tied to paid rates and are consistent across multiple dates, it’s safe to say that the program now effectively has a new top-tier.

Even if you don’t want to redeem your points here, the fact that these two properties are now under the InterContinental Alliance Resort program allows IHG members to earn points on paid stays, even though they aren’t officially under the IHG umbrella. And Ambassador members will still receive their elite benefits at these hotels, which include such perks as 4pm check-out and a guaranteed room upgrade — though regular IHG elite members won’t.

The Las Vegas resorts are also available to award redemptions — and have been for some time — with rates of 70,000 points/night. However, cash rates for stays in Las Vegas can be notoriously low, especially during the summer. As a result, you may be better of redeeming them elsewhere.

While adding new luxury resorts is a positive development for IHG, the apparent introduction of a new award category is not, and we can only hope this won’t expand to other top-shelf properties under the IHG umbrella.

Featured photo courtesy of Sands China, Ltd.

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