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IHG Crashes Their Program All The Way To The Bottom Of The Value Pile

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IHG Crashes Their Program

IHG Crashes Their Program All The Way To The Bottom Of The Value Pile

IHG, oh IHG, why do you do this to us?  You have found a way to weed out every small ounce of value in your program over the last few years.  First you took a jackhammer to the beloved Pointsbreak program, and then killed it altogether.  Then you nerfed the uncapped credit card free night, which was somewhat understandable, but still a dagger to the heart.  Lastly, you went to variable pricing.  That wasn’t the complete end of the world until you made that change nuclear this month as reported by Loyalty Lobby.

People complain about the value of Hilton points and you just went, hey Hilton…hold my 🍺🍺 buddy. Don’t worry, we got this!  The real kicker is, you can rack up Hilton points in bunches fairly easily.  No one wants your junk points at 1 point per dollar earning. Who are you kidding?  And all to stay at Holiday Inn Expresses? I’ll give that a hard pass.  As Bethany of Bougie Miles said to me, at least Marriott has nice hotels when they treat their program like trash.  You don’t even have that, do you?

Details Of This Implosion

I am not going to go to great depths here since Loyalty Lobby did a great job breaking it down and they deserve the click for that. It essentially boils down to the fact that someone went drunk with power on the points pricing across the board.  It amounts to a 30% increase in points cost for many hotels.  We are seeing hotel prices in the 120K a night range when the cap for IHG hotels was 50K a night not that long ago. The value of the points has dropped from around $0.007 per point 2-3 years ago to around $0.004 now.  That is less than what I value Hilton at ($0.0045).  And like I said above, I can rack those up at 6X with the Surpass vs 2X, at most, with the IHG cards. Something is amiss here.

Loyalty Lobby breaks down a whole bunch of reservations and their cents per point valuations.  Many fall below the $0.004 range bottoming out at as low as $0.0034.

Final Thoughts

I am now upset that I had my wife grab the IHG Premier card with the increased offer last year. I thought we should be good from a mass devaluation for a little bit after the one that hit just last year.  Boy was I wrong there.

Depending on how this shakes out I am not sure if the cards are even worth the annual fees for the free nights now.  It seems like finding a room for under 40K a night, even in B.F.E., can be a crapshoot these days. I will let it ride this year and see what it looks like after I have some time to poke around and will make a firm decision then.

Needless to say, this program was always a 3rd or 4th option for me since earning was never an easy proposition outside of paid stays.  It is now off the table for consideration moving forward for my family.  Massive no notice devaluations on an already poor program is not my cup of tea. IHG, you make Wyndham look competent these days.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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    • They backed off a lot of these after a lot of push back. I would burn them sooner rather than later because this is the future though

  1. Cancelling my card at renewal which was the only thing keeping me using IHG properties. They are trash now. Dispicable how they changed some redemptions to 41,000 so you can’t use the free night award. Shame on them.

  2. And the only hotel brand I know of that doesn’t even give free REAL coffee to it’s customers. Instant coffee in the rooms. How many times have I passed their restaurant when leaving at breakfast time and employees are standing around…..why?
    No free breakfast unless you stay at Holiday Express.

  3. Shame on IHG. If they don’t reverse this massive downgrade, we won’t scheduling any future business events at IHG properties. We used to schedule major annual events at an IHG Intercontinental property, but not any more if IHG doesn’t reverse this outrageous point downgrade. If enough of us tell that to IHG, maybe they will withdraw the downgrade, and if they don’t, then IHG will loose a lot of business on major events.

  4. The old IHG CC was my first toe into the points and miles world. Since 2015, I’ve been Ambassador/Spire with them. I can’t remember the last time I willingly looked to book their properties, and this just about closes the book for me. Like you, I’ll be watching how this develops over the next year, since my CC’s renew in January, but I’m not likely to renew any of the above at this point.

  5. Intercontinental is a sad story. The above really doesn’t matter to me as Intercontinental has gone down hill over the last 20 years. They have some prime locations around the world and they waste them with hotels and rooms that needed to be updated 15 years ago. The Intercontinental San Juan and specialty locations like Bora Bora are the only decent properties.

  6. This is why I canceled my IHG chase card. No way to use the free night certificate at a reasonable nice hotel and would have wasted money paying the annual fee.

  7. Good thing I just booked my 4 free award nights. They probably noticed that there was a mountain of IHG points piling up due to covid and decided to wipe them out by drastically devaluing their program. Probably was done by an immoral executive who couldn’t care less about what was best for the customer or the company. Great way to push potential customers away.

  8. And I will be cancelling my IHG card promptly upon renewal. I’ll stick with the big three. On the plus side, one less program to keep track of. Thanks Mark!!

  9. I reached Spire Elite out of luck. There was a promotion about 18 months ago that wasn’t widely reported when you could book any Viator “tour” and receive 1,000 IHG points which also counted towards status. I ended up spending around $100 for 130k points and received Spire Elite status on top. I had some really nice experiences at Kimptons in Denver and Chicago with suite upgrades and so on. But besides that, the program treats its top tier elites like trash and you receive less benefits than someone how buys a $200/year Ambassador membership. I was actually considering to use a newly opened 5/24 slot on the IHG Premier and am very grateful to not have pulled the trigger yet. I get the feeling that the Brand Loyalty department inside IHG gets overruled by anyone else working at that company, it makes absolutely no sense what they’re doing.

    Personally, I think Wyndham is way better now with the new credit card lineup and opportunities like 8x at gas stations. Being able to spend 15k a night for 1-bdr apartment at a Wyndham on Kauai seems much more valuable than earning 2x on IHG cards to end up paying 40k at a Holiday Inn Express in Nebraska (no disrepect to NE).

    • I had moved Wyndham up to my 3rd option (behind Hyatt and Hilton) when everything was 15K and then they moved most of the good hotels to 30K with their devaluation. There is still some good value in there at 15K for sure though.

  10. Stopping the Accerature promotion was a game changer for us. Marriott started running good promotions and that is where our business has went. We went form earning at least at least 200,000 points a year with IHG, down to no points last year or this year. We still have about 260,000 points to use and I don’t expect we will earn many more. Our cards are worth keeping since they are the $49 card but that is it.

    • The promotions have gone down hill for years for sure. Marriott, Hilton and especially Hyatt this year have kept them going. Not sure what IHG is shooting for here.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come back when things get back to normal but they will probably be meh offers like they were before the pandemic if / when they do.

  11. +1.

    IHG had been solid if largely unspectacular and not long ago it was pretty easy to stack earnings, which made the program worthwhile. Now I’m looking at cancelling my IHG card and letting my membership lapse. The juice just isn’t worth the squeeze on trying to find actual value now. It’s pretty sad when your hotel program is notably worse than Radisson’s.

    • Haha – yeah and at least Radisson gives you 5X per dollar on spend. They just need like 1,000 more Radisson Blu hotels :).

      IHG used to be fun to dabble in for sure with 5K pointbreaks, amazing earning promos (40K after one night etc.) and reasonably priced redemptions. Now there really isn’t much of a sure thing left in the program.


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