Unsettling News! IHG Plans to Test Variable Award Night Pricing Later This Year

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I’m going to be straight here, I’m NOT excited about this news.

With IHG’s recent 2018 year-end results report, they mentioned they’ll be testing variable award pricing sometime this year. The report frames it in a way that makes it sound like it’ll be a positive change for their loyalty program, but I’m not convinced of that at all. Will a change like this remove the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from the ranks as one of the best hotel credit cards?

Here’s what we know so far and how these changes might affect you.

I Recently Spent a Night at the InterContinental Hong Kong, and It Probably Ranks as One of the Best Award Redemptions I’ve Ever Made. The Hotel Was Incredible! But Variable Award Pricing Could Change That.

IHG Testing Variable Award Pricing

Currently, IHG uses a simple rewards chart where free nights cost anywhere from 10,000 to 70,000 IHG points. But that could soon change.

In their recent year-end results report, IHG noted numerous stats regarding their loyalty program including the increase in room revenue from loyalty program members and how those members contribute to revenue in a variety of ways.

The report then mentioned that they planned on:

Testing new features for 2019 roll-out, designed to increase member engagement with variable point pricing

They didn’t get into any specifics as to what, exactly, they mean by “variable pricing,” but that’s normally NOT good news for us points enthusiasts. It could mean that they plan on tying points prices to the cash price of a room, or they might offer lower points rates during slower periods and higher rates during peak times.

It’s also possible that they’ll implement something like Hilton’s loyalty program has with their Points & Money awards, where you can use any number of points towards the cost of a stay. And that would likely help them increase member engagement because most members aren’t savvy miles & points hobbyists.

Whatever the case, it’s much easier when a hotel sticks to an award chart because you’ll always know exactly what the room will cost. When the cash price of a room goes up, you can use your points to save and get a great value from your rewards. When rates drop, you can pay cash and save your points for a better redemption value in the future.

How do you feel about the possibility of IHG moving to a variable rewards pricing program? Do you think it will help or hurt the loyalty program as a whole? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Meghan Hunter is an editor for Million Mile Secrets. She covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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