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We’re almost at the end of January and so far we haven’t seen any of the big hotel loyalty programs announce any changes to their award pricing structures nor have we seen any of the programs change the categories in which their properties sit but we may have just heard about the first stealth devaluation of 2020.
Based on recent history IHG usually uses the beginning of a new year to put through some negative changes to its loyalty program (in 2018 top-tier redemptions became more expensive and in 2019 over 570 properties became more expensive) but so far 2020 has seen IHG Rewards remained unchanged…until now.
IHG’s PointBreaks deals have long been one of the more popular aspects of its loyalty program and, even though IHG made the deals considerably less appealing when it took the decision to go from charging 5,000 points/night for all participating properties to between 5,000 and 15,000 points/night, PointBreaks has remained one of the easier ways that people could get outsized value from their points.
The most recent set of IHG’s PointBreaks deals is due to end on 31 January 2020 and with just a few days to go before that deadline we’ve been expecting to see IHG announce a new set of PointBreaks deals to cover the next three months.
Specifically, we were expecting to see or hear about a new set of PointBreaks deals by yesterday afternoon…but no list ever materialized.
Loyalty Lobby took the initiative and contacted IHG Rewards to ask when the program was planning to publish its latest PointBreaks list and, in reply, received this bit of information:
We do not have a new IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks promotion planned currently. However, our guests can take advantage of our current offers, City Lights (advisory attached) and the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card promotion. We look forward to sharing more details on other promotions in the coming weeks.
The language used in the reply makes it unclear whether IHG has ended the PointBreaks promotions for good or whether the deals are on a brief hiatus and will return in the future…but my money is on the former.
Not letting members know that one of the more popular elements of IHG Rewards is not coming back (at least not any time soon) is straight from the IHG playbook as the hotelier is notoriously bad at communicating bad news or giving members much advance warning that a negative change is on the way, so the fact that no official public announcement isn’t much of a surprise.
It’s disappointing but not surprising.
We can’t be sure that we’ve seen the last of IHG’s PointBreaks but the signs don’t look good.
Personally, I haven’t been able to make much use of the Pointbreaks deals for the past couple of years but I know that a lot of people have and that a lot of people have, historically, justified buying IHG Rewards points by pointing to the value they can get out of them every time a new PointBreaks list is published…but those days now seem to be at an end.
For those that haven’t been able to find deals that work for them in recent PointBreaks promotions this probably won’t be seismic news but, for everyone else, IHG Rewards just became a little less useful and a little less valuable.