The IHG devaluation 2019 was supposed to have gone into effect yesterday, but somebody leaked the devaluation list, and now it’s been postponed until January 25. It’s kind of funny how these leaks find their way into the public domain – if memory serves me, the IHG devaluation 2018 list was also leaked around the same time last year. Coincidence?
I could’ve vented and ranted about the newest IHG devaluation, but I will not. Been there, done that.
IHG devaluation 2019: Keeps going and going
IHG keeps making its loyalty program more and more irrelevant, which, to be fair, is fully consistent with what they’ve been doing in the last several years. Basically, IHG would ease up on destinations few people want to go to, while making you pay more for more popular locales. I don’t believe the quality of affected accommodations had anything to do with their decision process.
Here are some tidbits (HT: Lionheart on Flyertalk).
There are 696 properties which are having their points requirements changed on January 14th.
570 i.e. 82% of these properties are increasing in points value.
Approximately 440-450 of the hotels affected are in the U.S.A.
The average property value is changing from (an average) of 24,000 points to 27,180 points.
There are no new 70,000 point properties.
There are no properties >70,000 points.
As I promised, I’m not going to yell, vent, or rant. Instead, I’ll just calmly inform you that 99.9 percent of the places on this list – where you might actually want to go – are going 5,000 points up. Not a huge increase until we remember that last year they already devalued about the same number of hotels. And the year before. And the year before that. And their most important credit card benefit – a free night at any hotel in the world – was replaced with a lame free night at an up-to-40,000-points hotel.
Well, this 2019 IHG devaluation makes their last year credit card devaluation even worse. Here are the hotels where you won’t be able to book your free night after 1.25.19 (so book now).
IHG hotels moving up from 40,000 to 45,000 points in 2019 (that will be ineligible for the Chase free annual night after 1.25.19)
- Australia: Holiday Inn Old Sydney
- Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre (Broadway)
- Holiday Inn Niagara Falls – by the Falls
- Kimpton Saint George Hotel Toronto
- InterContinental Toronto Centre Toronto
- InterContinental Toronto Yorkville Toronto
- Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame
- Holiday Inn Paris – Gare Montparnasse
- Maldives: Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma – South Male Atoll
- United Arab Emirates: Crowne Plaza Dubai – Festival City
- Holiday Inn London – Kensington Forum
- Holiday Inn London – Regent’s Park London
- Holiday Inn London – Camden Lock London
- Holiday Inn London – Bloomsbury
- Hotel Indigo York
- Hotel Indigo Napa Valley
- Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach And Marina – Redondo Beach CA
- Holiday Inn Washington-Central/White House – Washington DC
- Holiday Inn Key Largo Key Largo – FL
- Holiday Inn Port Of Miami-Downtown Miami – FL
- Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista Orlando – FL
- InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta – GA
- Hotel Indigo Savannah Historic District Savannah – GA
- Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago-Downtown Chicago – IL
- Hotel Indigo New Orleans Garden District New Orleans – LA
- Holiday Inn French Quarter-Chateau LeMoyne New Orleans – LA
- InterContinental Kansas City At The Plaza Kansas City – MO
- Holiday Inn West Yellowstone West Yellowstone – MT
- Holiday Inn Manhattan-Financial District New York – NY
- Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown Charleston – SC
- Holiday Inn Nashville-Vanderbilt (Dwtn) Nashville – TN
- Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown-University Austin – TX
- Hotel Indigo Waco-Baylor Waco – TX
- Holiday Inn Va Beach-Oceanside (21st St) – VA
- Holiday Inn & Suites Virginia Beach – North Beach – VA
But no worry: IHG got your back! Look at this hotel, which is down from 45,000 to 40,000 points and is now available to book with your annual free night:
- Mainland China InterContinental OneThousand Island Lake Resort – Hangzhou ZJ
There are also some good news for frequent travelers to Caracas, Venezuela. Your suitcase of bolívars is about to go farther now that InterContinental Tamanaco Caracas is moving down from 30,000 to 25,000 points.
What do you mean – not good enough? Come on, people, stop pushing your luck!
IHG devaluation 2019 sweet spots
I’ve found very few sweet spots created by the recent changes, but all these places are worth visiting even if Mexico City, Belgrade, and Hanoi are not considered touristy.
- Mexico Holiday Inn & Suites Mexico Zona Rosa: 15,000 → 10,000
- Holiday Inn Express Belgrade City: 15,000 → 10,000
- South Africa Holiday Inn Cape Town: 20,000 → 15,000
- InterContinental Hanoi Landmark72: 35,000 → 30,000
And a special bonus for UFO
- Holiday Inn Roswell – Roswell, NM: 20,000 → 15,000
I value IHG points roughly at $0.005 per point, so the sweet spots above meet my criteria. There is a good chance that using points at these hotels might get you a better value than paying cash. If you’re planning on staying at one of the above properties – wait for 1.25.19.
And this is how I’ve cracked the devaluation algorithm
IHG has increased redemption levels for about 80% of its U.S. hotels on the list. They started weak by moving Hotel Indigo Birmingham Five Points S – UAB, Alabama, down from 30,000 to 25,000 points, but picked up steam right after that. 6 up – one down, 26 up – one down, 13 up – one down, and so on and so forth, They’ve run from Alabama to New York, generously sprinkling additional 5,000 points on almost everything in sight until they got to the letter “O”. At which point, something broke inside them (I guess).
Out of 10 IHG Ohio hotels 5 moved up and 5 moved down. I’ll bet Ohio never saw it coming.
Oklahoma did even worse. 4 hotels moved down, and only one moved up. I’ll bet they never knew what hit them, either.
On an unrelated note, Alva, OK gave me a strange sense of déjà vu. At first, I hadn’t been able to place it, but then it dawned on me!
Anyhow, after IHG “decimated” Oklahoma, it picked up again and finished the alphabet on a very “positive” note: 119 up – 26 down.
Good job, IHG.