Some people do not like my take on devaluations like this one (a change in hotel categories that causes many hotels to cost more points) but the truth is that these happen on a regular basis and our job is to try and find ways to continue taking advantage.
With this latest IHG devaluation, it will hurt those that redeem points but provides more value for those that have the IHG credit card (thanks to the annual free night).
New IHG Devaluation Increases Value of IHG Credit Card
Link: IHG 2018 Points Change
There were almost 700 hotels that changed in categories (in regards to the points required for a free night) but the really bad part was the addition of yet another tier. This tier now requires 70,000 points for a single night for top IHG hotels. The top hotels used to require 50,000 points and then went up to 60,000 and now we are at 70,000 points for one night!
Here are the top IHG hotels that changed to 70,000 points per night:
- InterContinental the Clement Monterey (Monterey, CA)
- InterContinental San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
- InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
- InterContinental The Willard Washington D.C. (Washington, DC) – see a review of this great hotel here
- InterContinental Boston (Boston, MA)
- InterContinental New York Barclay (New York, NY)
- InterContinental New York Times Square (New York, NY)
- InterContinental London Park Lane (London, UK)
- InterContinental – ANA Manza Beach Resort (Okinawa, Japan)
- InterContinental Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
- InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa (Bora Bora)
- InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora (Bora Bora)
- InterContinental Paris – Le Grand (Paris, France)
All of those hotels will now cost you (after the change which should be in the next couple of weeks) 70,000 points for a single night! To see all the changes, visit the link above.
How Does This Make the IHG Credit Card More Valuable?
Which brings us to the title – that the IHG credit card just became more valuable. It is not because of the sign-up bonus but because of the anniversary benefit of this card – the free night at any IHG hotel. With an annual fee of only $49, that has always been a steal but now could save you a lot of points if you like to redeem for a high end hotel!
As long as they leave the IHG credit card anniversary night alone, that card’s annual benefit is going to offer some huge value. Thanks to IHG devaluing their top tier of hotels (sarcasm, of course!), that benefit just became even more valuable than it was before, thanks to it remaining constant as a free night.
However, I would not expect them to leave it like that forever! I foresee them either hiking up the annual fee (which would still be a great deal depending on the property you redeem at) or, more likely, limiting it to a certain “category” of hotels – something like hotels through the 40,000 point level. Hyatt does that with their anniversary night so I would not be surprised to see something similar here.
There are many hotels that dropped in price as well so check out the list. On a personal note, I cannot believe they are raising the point amount for the Holiday Inn Thessaloniki! I checked it thinking they had dropped it but was surprised to see it go up. At present, it is in a developing area of the city with a lot of construction and I did not find the hotel itself that great. Oh well, at least it makes appearances on the IHG Points Break list (which this devaluation did not affect).