How Much are IHG Rewards Club Points Worth? (MOST Valuable Hotel Currency?!?)

welcome back everyone A-Aron here today
we’re talking InterContinental Hotels
Group and their craptacular loyalty
program IHG Rewards Club their award
currency is currently the least valuable
on a per point basis of all hotel award
points I keep track of that would
include Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors
World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy
basically anyone that’s a partner of the
big three transferable credit card award
programs so yes even the paste flavored
bran muffin of the hotels and resorts
Choice has a more valuable award
currency than IHG
I almost didn’t want to make this video
because it’s such a boring topic IHG
Rewards Club and their points being
based in the UK are much like cars from
that continent they can be a bit flashy
their properties that is but they really
don’t hold their value very well as of
June 2019 I calculate a value of 0.29¢
per point that’s terrible the
fact there a one-to-one transfer
partners with Chase right alongside
Marriott and Hyatt makes it laughable
now I feel like because I rarely talk
about it on video now would be a good
time to quickly go over where that
number comes from I like to keep my
method reasonable and repeatable however
unlike valuing airline miles I don’t
take a lowest cost cash price approach
that’s because an airline route is semi
generic whereas a hotel is not every
Hotel will have some unique combination
of location amenities quality etc that
will set it apart from even the property
right next door I have a standard basket
of cities New York
Austin Rome Seoul Bangkok Toronto London
Beijing Los Angeles and San Juan Puerto
Rico I then look at the cash price of a
full week stay booked both 30 and 90
days in advance finally this is divided
by the number of points required for an
awards day now here is where it can get
a little controversial if a property is
bookable with cash but not with points I
then assign a value of zero for that
particular location and date data point
I do this because to my way of thinking
if a point is not usable then it is
effectively worthless finally to
compensate for things like risks of
future devaluation and the general
hassle involved with award stays
compared to cash I reduce by 10%
some people will disagree with that
method and I won’t say they’re wrong but
it’s just not how I see it nevertheless
for them I also publish a non-zero
this number only looks at data points
with award availability thus ignoring
zeros and I don’t further discount in
the case of IHG Rewards Club there are
30 days advance booking nonzero average
was 0.4 cents there 90 days advance was
0.5 two cents for an average of point
four six cents so that’s a big
discrepancy right 0.46 when we exclude
zeros and .29 when we include
them when this happens we can
immediately infer one thing IHG Rewards
Club has poor award availability
sixty-eight point four two percent to be
exact when looking for an awards day one
will frequently be met with the
following message no reward nights
available which is very odd because they
claim that one benefit available to all
IHG Rewards Club members is a lack of
award blackouts compared to other hotel
award currencies I track IHG Rewards Club
points are only rivaled in terribleness
by Hilton Honors the latter being worth
0.35 cents each
from there we only go up Choice
Privileges points are worth point seven
one cents each Marriott Bonvoy one
point one one and the most valuable
World of Hyatt comes in at one point
three eight cents per point let’s talk
about those last two for a minute I find
it very weird that Chase considers IHG
Rewards Club points broadly similar to
the far more valuable Marriott or Hyatt
award currencies I draw this conclusion
based on the fact that all currently
transfer at a rate of one to one it’s
very odd the absolute best redemption I
could find came from a week-long stay at
the InterContinental London Park Lane
this was offered for three thousand two
hundred eighty three dollars in cash or
four hundred twenty thousand points this
works out to a redemption rate of 0.7
eight cents on the other hand the worst
we could do excluding the zeros that
result from findings of no availability
was for a week-long stay at the
InterContinental Sydney it was being
advertised for one thousand fifty five
or 390 thousand points this makes our
Redemption value just 0.2 seven cents
per point one could easily redeem at a
rate at least three times better by
transferring ultimate rewards to World
of Hyatt or Marriott Bonvoy
alternatively last time I evaluated
United MileagePlus another Chase
transfer partner my best Redemption was
a business class flight between Dallas
and Hong Kong with the redemption rate
of nine point three four cents in other
words twelve times the best we could do
at IHG the bottom line is that I can
think of almost no scenario in which one
would logically convert a valuable
Ultimate Reward into a low value IHG
Rewards Club point these vast
discrepancies in per point value of why
it’s so important to consider both the
earn and the burnside in the return on
spend equation now the last thing I
always like to run over when we’re
talking about an award currencies per
point value is its normal distribution
or its bell curve this gives us an idea
of where our likely Redemption values
will fall when plotting IHG Rewards
Club’s distribution we get a relatively
steep curve this isn’t necessarily a bad
providing the average is respectable
what this means is that most
hypothetical redemptions are likely to
fall in a relatively narrow band of
values going one standard deviation in
either direction tells us that
statistically about 68% of all
redemptions should fall between point
zero eight and point five five cents
worth noting is that values on this
chart take into account zeros aka
findings of no availability but are not
otherwise discounted in other words it’s
a straight mean because the average
value of an IHG Rewards Club point is so
pathetic this overall is a very poor
showing love let’s for a moment compare
to United here our bell curve is wider
and hypothetical redemptions are not
tightly bound what this tells us is that
one has an outside
but realistic chance of an ultra-high
value award redemption
like most hotel loyalty programs IHG
Rewards Club operates on a set point
schedule meaning each property in their
network will cost a preset amount of
this means your best redemptions occur
when rates are highest think the summer
travel season for resort destinations or
at least in the northern hemisphere now
elite status like much of the program
overall is a little wonky to describe at
its most basic level it has four well I
guess what I’ll refer to as normal tiers
club member, gold, platinum, and spire I
won’t run through the granular
differences between the levels now but
because IHG website looks like it was
designed by MBAs and CPAs and without
anyone with any background and user
experience present I have compiled a
nice little chart it’s on my website and
I’ll go ahead and place a link below now
I mentioned a moment ago that the
program is a bit on the wonky side of
the spectrum that’s because it’s above
and to some degree below all the
aforementioned status tiers we have
InterContinental Ambassador it’s at the
top because it has benefits like
guaranteed room upgrades and free
weekend nights and Peart exclusive to
this status however it’s sort of at the
bottom because anyone can get it for the
relatively reasonable price of $200 or
40,000 points included in this pay to
play package is automatic platinum
status so what we’ve actually got is an
elite tier that you buy that actually
gives you another status that would
otherwise be had for 40 paid nights a
year and thinking about that kind of
just makes my head hurt it also makes me
wonder why would anyone be particularly
loyal to IHG when the price of admission
is otherwise so low let’s face it most
people want status for the room upgrades
and sometimes extended check-in /out
hours in my opinion most of the other
benefits kind of fall into the doesn’t
excite me at all mental bucket I guess
what I’m saying is that forty nights is
a lot of nights especially for the non
hardcore business traveler like me I
have no brand loyalty when it comes to
hotels they’re all just big faceless
corporations that don’t actually care
about you it’s not like you’re
supporting a local business whose owner
is just trying to make ends meet every
major hotel conglomerate has some trash
properties and some beautiful ones so it
would make no sense
to go out of my way to spend that much
time at a certain company’s properties
when I could just get the same results
by sending $200 one time if there is one
redeeming quality about IHG Rewards Club
it’s the fact that points are relatively
easy to earn one gets a base ten points
per dollar at most properties and five
at Staybridge and Candlewood Suites this
goes up to twenty and ten points per
dollar if you were a spire elite due to
the points earning bonus now just for
fun let’s compare earn on spend at IHG
properties and those under the Hyatt
umbrella to really make it exciting
let’s assume one is a Spire elite at IHG
and has no status at Hyatt because of
our status we’re earning twenty points
per dollar worth point two nine cents
each or a return of five point eight
percent over at world of hyatt we’ve got
five points per dollar but they’re worth
one point four cents each this gives us
a return of spend of seven percent
in other words top tier elites at IHG or
less than anyone does over at Hyatt now
in addition to the traditional points on
stays chase offers a co branded credit
card the IHG Rewards Club Premier it’s
currently offering a signup bonus of
80,000 points worth two hundred thirty
two dollars at current valuations in
addition one gets automatic platinum
elite status a free anniversary night
and the fourth night free on awards days
considering this card only costs $89
it’s actually a pretty good value it
along with my United
Explorer are great
candidates for sock drawer cards the
chase IHG Rewards Club Premier card
advertises 25 points per dollar at IHG
but I feel this is a bit misleading in
reality one gets ten points from the
card and the other 15 from being on an
ihe platinum member non ihe spent earns
two points per dollar on gas stations
grocery stores and restaurants plus one
point four dollar on everything else
making this card about as worthless as
one can be as an everyday spender
finally we’ve got some oddball ways to
earn that most people including myself
will never use things like bonus points
on Apple purchases points for consumer
surveys and restaurant partners there
greener stay program offers 500 points
if one declines housekeeping so that’s
an option if clean sheets and towels
aren’t worth a dollar 45 to you overall
IHG Rewards Club is a loyalty program
that doesn’t excite me at all their
points are the least valuable of any
that I track the fact that platinum
elite status can be bought for $200 or
acquired via once chase IHG Rewards Club
Premier credit card means that brand
loyalty really doesn’t pay off if one is
so inclined to stockpile hotel points
over generally more valuable
transferable ones I’d say stick with
Hyatt or Marriott that said I do like
Chases co-branded card offering if for
no other reason then the fact that $89
buys one status and the annual free
night pays for the card and that will
about do or for today if you found any
of this useful a like share or sub is
greatly appreciated all right take care


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