IHG Rewards Club a week ago published their list of category changes for 2018: Almost 500 hotels will cost 5,000-10,000 points more than last year. Less than 200 hotels see their award price reduced by 5,000 points. In addition, the top hotels see the rate go up from 60,000 points to 70,000 points (after just going up from 50,000 points two years ago)! Now, they have also set the effective date to January 16th. I you want to lock in the old, lower rates, book now!
As far as hotel category changes go, this is a big one and a bad one: with about 10% of hotels going up in price, this change is significant. And by increasing the top rate by another 10,000 points makes aspirational stays at luxury properties even more difficult and expensive than it already is!
As with similar devaluations, many hotels you’d actually want to stay at (and use points) are going up in price, including some of my favorites:
InterContinental Thalasso Bora Bora – from 60,000 to 70,000
InterContinental Hong Kong – from 60,000 to 70,000
InterContinental San Francisco – from 60,000 to 70,000
Many hotels in popular destinations in the US, like San Francisco or New York, in Europe, like Paris or London, and in Asia, like Hong Kong or Singapore, are impacted by this increase, so if you are planning a trip there, you should book as soon as possible to take advantage of the current rates. IHG Rewards Club has not announced an effective date, but you can expect it to be very soon, so time is of the essence. You can see a full list of properties effected here! Brian at The Gate has an easier to read, color-coded list published on his blog!
If you are planning to stay at a hotel that is getting more expensive, book your stay before January 16th, 2018 and don’t change it later. If you do, chances are you will have to pay the new, higher price. If you are planning to stay at one of the hotels going down in price, wait till January 17th to book!
Given the increase in the award rate for top hotels, the free night certificate that comes with the IHG Rewards MasterCard becomes even more valuable – check out my review how to get a free night every year for only a $49 fee!
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