IHG Details Award Category Changes at Nearly 700 Properties, Increases Redemption Level at Highest Category

Jan 2, 2018

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InterContinental Hotels Group, also known as IHG, has announced changes coming to its award structure for 2018. And for travelers who frequently stay at IHG properties, the changes coming for 2018 generally aren’t favorable. Not only has the number of points needed per award night increased for many, more desirable properties, but there’s also a new maximum redemption level — 70,000 points per night.

A FlyerTalk user reported finding a list of the 2018 award category changes on IHG’s site. In all, nearly 700 properties across the IHG portfolio of properties will be changing category. As reported by Point Me to the Plane, 499 hotels are increasing in price by 5,000-10,000 points each, and 192 properties will be going down by 5,000 points per night. While IHG is still a huge company with more than 5,000 properties in its portfolio, the 499 properties increasing in price account for 10% of its worldwide offering.

Most of the changes affect properties in the US — a total of 437 hotels are changing category. China will see 36 IHG properties change categories in 2018, 35 will increase or decrease in category in the UK and 34 will change in Canada, among a slew of changes in smaller numbers in other countries around the world. You can find the full list of detailed changes, broken down by country on IHG’s website.

image courtesy of the hotel
InterContinental Hong Kong

Not only will IHG change the categories of so many of its properties, but the program is also introducing what appears to be a new highest redemption level. Whereas the program’s most premium properties were previously capped at 60,000 points per night, that level has increased to 70,000 points per night. As a result, many of the most desirable properties in its portfolio have increased to the 70,000-point category.

The following properties now fall into the 70,000-point category:

Property Country City 2017 Category (points/night) 2018 Category (points/night)
InterContinental Paris – Le Grand France Paris 60,000 70,000
InterContinental Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong 60,000 70,000
InterContinental – ANA Manza Beach Resort Japan Okinawa 60,000 70,000
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa Tahiti Bora Bora 60,000 70,000
Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora Tahiti Bora Bora 60,000 70,000
InterContinental London Park Lane UK London 60,000 70,000
InterContinental The Clement Monterey USA Monterey, CA 60,000 70,000
InterContinental San Francisco USA San Francisco, CA 60,000 70,000
InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco  USA San Francisco, CA 60,000 70,000
InterContinental The Willard Washington D.C. USA Washington, DC 60,000 70,000
InterContinental Boston USA Boston, MA 60,000 70,000
InterContinental New York Barclay USA New York, NY 60,000 70,000
InterContinental New York Times Square USA New York, NY 60,000 70,000

At this point, it’s not yet known when these changes — the increases, decreases and 70,000-point cap — will take effect. As of publishing, the IHG site is still showing all properties that are scheduled to change category at their 2017 level. If you’re thinking about booking an award stay at one of the properties scheduled to jump in category, you’ll want to book sooner rather than later, as these changes could kick in at any time. On the other hand, if you’re looking to book a stay at a property that’s dropping in category, wait it out until the changes take effect to save you a few thousand points.

It’s not uncommon for IHG to change award categories for its properties. In January 2016, IHG announced changes at 400 locations, in December 2016 there were changes at more than 650 properties and in April 2015, 450 properties saw a change in award category.

Keep in mind, too, that you can use the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card to get a free night certificate each account anniversary. That free night can be used at almost every property in the IHG portfolio — including those jumping to the 70,000-point level. Currently, the card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. You’ll earn 5x points at IHG properties, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1x points on everything else. The card also comes with complimentary Platinum Elite status and a $49 annual fee.

Featured image of the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora by IHG.

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