Rewind the clock a couple of years for any hotel or airline program and the situations were mostly better for us than they are now. Thanks to devaluations, mergers, card issuers tightening things – it just isn’t as easy to secure some of the awesome deals that were around just a couple of years ago.
Is it Time for IHG to Ditch PointBreaks?
IHG PointBreaks – the Best Hotel Deals for Years
One of the best recurring deals has been IHG’s PointBreaks hotels. These were deals that came out a few times a year that allowed customers to book randomly selected hotels for just 5,000 points per night. As IHG started raising the top point amount for some hotels (70,000 points per night), it was always nice to see some 40k-50k hotel available for 5,000 points per night.
IHG Tightens up on Generous PointBreaks
Unfortunately, IHG began to be a little stingy with those hotels. It became more like 25k-35k point hotels that would be the best ones made available with PointBreaks. Then, IHG introduced a new scheme last year that made it a tiered system – 5,000 points, 10,000 points and 15,000 points per night for PointBreaks.
As you know (or could imagine), IHG didn’t really give a lot of great deals in the 5k bracket any more. Sure, there were some good deals for certain travelers or someone that needed a specific hotel for an event but they were no longer build-a-vacation-around-this-hotel-deal kind of thing.
You likely saw several posts yesterday about the IHG PointBreaks for this period of time and I went to write one but was seriously disappointed in the offerings. If you want to see the list and book any yourself, here they are. I mean, we are used to disappointing PointBreaks lists from before (which is why I wrote this post on 4 Ways to Make the Most of a Disappointing IHG PointBreaks List). In the past, when we had such a list, I would post that again to give people some ideas on how to make the most of them.
This time, I couldn’t even do it! There were not that many airport hotels on the list (though the new-ish InterContinental at MSP is!), many of the hotels I looked at were not great values, and I would not really build a trip around anything on that list.
There was likely some excitement about the top-tier brand of InterContinental having 5 hotels on the list. But, none of them are available at 5K points per night. 🙂 At the 10K point, we do have two and one of them does present some nice value (the InterContinental San Salvador-Metrocenter Mall). You could use 10,000 points instead of the $190 room rate. Not bad at all!
The other one is available for under $80 per night! Sure, that still gives IHG points a better value than what you would pay to buy them through sales but not something that gets me jumping up and down excited.
Value Can Still Be There
I can hear about 10 people yelling right now, “NO! Don’t ditch these PointBreaks!” 🙂 It is true, there is still going to be value for some travelers, especially travelers that are needing a hotel cheap for an upcoming stay.
But, with the recent IHG PointBreaks lists, it seems more like IHG is just tossing some low value properties out there with a couple of interesting ones to keep the good press going amongst blogs. With it confirmed that IHG is going to a variable pricing strategy for rewards this year, I can understand why they want everyone to look at them fondly.
Whatever you do, really think hard about transferring Ultimate Reward points to IHG for these hotels! For many hotels, you would likely be better booking through Ultimate Rewards than with PointBreaks!
The truth is that the IHG PointBreaks, as we knew and loved them, is essentially gone. What we have now is like an airline award sale – useful for some but not something to get excited about for most.
I was wondering if I would be the only blogger with this negative view but Mark over at Miles to Memories posted similar thoughts yesterday so it is nice to know I am not alone? 🙂
One thing for sure – a year ago, people were hoping IHG would never get rid of PointBreaks and here they have made them so uninteresting that I am wondering if they should get rid of them. 🙂
What do you think of this round of IHG PointBreaks?