HomeHotel LoyaltyWill IHG Now Charge 100,000 Points/Night For Select Basic Rooms?

Will IHG Now Charge 100,000 Points/Night For Select Basic Rooms?

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IHG has now added 400 Mr & Mrs Smith properties to its booking engine and as of late yesterday, most of these properties are now available for cash or award bookings. Since these properties were added, I’ve been searching the IHG site to see if I could find any particular sweet spots or great-value award redemptions and while I haven’t noticed any notable good deals, I have noticed a point of concern.

The fact that IHG will happily charge 100,000 points per night for a room isn’t really news because the hotelier has been doing this for a considerable time. The news here is that where IHG has only previously charged as much as 100,000 points per night at all-suite properties or at properties where all the rooms are of an impressive nature, now it looks as if it may be prepared to charge 100,000 points for an award night at a room that’s not particularly special at all.

In the Maldives, the InterContinental charges Rewards Club members 100,000 points per night for most of the year…

a screenshot of a hotel

…but when you take a look a the room that’s on offer it turns out to be an amazing Overwater Villa with its own small pool.

a screenshot of a website

I don’t have too much of a problem with this pricing because I’d prefer IHG to charge 100,000 points per night and make rooms available for award bookings, than for it to claim to charge 70,000 points/night and make award bookings next to impossible (as it does with the InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa).

With some of the newly added Mr & Mrs Smith Properties, you’ll find IHG charging over 100,000 points for an award night

a screenshot of a computer a screenshot of a phone

…but you’ll also find that for that number of points, you’re being offered a 2-bedroom private villa

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…or rooms like a 38 sq m/410 sq ft suite:

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If you work out the math, a guest booking these awards would be getting between ~0.55 cents and ~0.61 cents of value out of each point used. That’s hardly a spectacular deal, but it’s not a terrible deal either.

None of this is a concern. It’s what a lot of people expected when we heard that IHG would be adding high-end boutique properties to its booking engine. What is a concern, however, is this:

IHG is currently pricing the newly added 11 Cadogan Gardens property at 100,000 points per night for select dates (the image below is for 15 May 2021).

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When I first noticed this price I assumed that, as with most (all?) other IHG properties that charge over 70,000 points for an award night, 11 Cadogan Gardens was offering something special. Being skeptical in nature, however, I decided to check just to be sure.

This is the room on sale:

a white background with black textAccording to the information provided, this room is 15sq m (~160sq ft) in size, has a queen-size bed, and is “ideal for a single traveler”. By most people’s standards, there’s nothing particularly special about that at all.

Yes, admittedly an award booking here would still see a guest getting ~0.57 cents/point of value, but that’s only a good deal if you think that what you’re paying for is worth it. Who in their right mind would pay ~$570/100,000 points for a night in a 160sq ft room when, assuming they wanted to stick to IHG properties in central London, the InterContinental Park Lane is offering a 200sq ft room for 65,000 points and 380sq ft suite for $595 on the same night?

On a positive note, IHG’s dynamic award pricing ensures that this room isn’t always priced quite so ridiculously…

a screenshot of a computer …but it’s hard to escape the fact that the IHG algorithm now very obviously allows some very ordinary rooms to be priced at 100,000 points per night when the nightly cash rate is high.

Hopefully, this only applies to Mr & Mrs Smith properties and not to the rest of the IHG portfolio but, even if that’s the case, now that the IHG algorithm is apparently programmed to allow basic, entry-level rooms to be priced this high, who knows how long it will be before we see more examples like these and how long it will be before we see standard rooms at various InterContinental properties costing 80,000, 90,000 and 100,000 points per night?

Bottom Line

For the time being, the example I’ve cited above is the only example I can find of a property pricing a small, basic room at 100,000 points per night so this may be an outlier, a glitch, or something that will only affect a handful of properties. Let hope that turns out to be the case.

Still, IHG is not shy of devaluing its loyalty program and it has a particularly poor track record of giving advance notice when it plans to push through a negative change so it’s worth staying cautious and keeping a close eye on the cost of award bookings…especially as IHG adds more Mr & Mrs Smith properties over the coming weeks.

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