Recently IHG announced it was changing around its elite offering and also snuck in that there would be some minor changes to the award chart. Now IHG have released the chart (PDF). The changes come into effect on 1 May 2015, you can book up to about a year in advance at current rates until then. So get your award bookings in for any hotels that are going up in redemption cost.
Amazingly, a small number of properties are doubling in redemption cost. As far as changes down under are concerned:
Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach Sydney up 10,000 to 45,000
Holiday Inn Sydney Airport up 10,000 to 35,000
Crowne Plaza Melbourne up 5,000 to 45,000
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto up 10,000 to 50,000
Crowne Plaza Queenstown up 10,000 to 40,000
Holiday Inn Rotorua up 10,000 to 20,000
The changes to the Sydney and Melbourne hotels in particular is surprising considering that the AUD has slid over 30% in the last year against the USD, which would result in lower reimburseables to the properties down under in USD terms (ie the cost to IHG Rewards Club).
Of particular note, fourteen InterContinental properties around the world are going up in redemption category, and none are coming down. Perhaps we should be grateful that IHG did not introduce a new higher tier for InterContinental properties above the top 50,000 point band.
In addition to The Rialto in Melbourne mentioned above, the properties going up are:
Three key North American properties
Five global city properties
InterContinental Hong Kong up 5,000 to 50,000
InterContinental Amsterdam Amstel up 5,000 to 50,000
InterContinental Dubai Festival City up 5,000 to 50,000
InterContinental ANA Tokyo up 5,000 to 50,000
InterContinental Hangzhou up 5,000 to 30,000
Five resort properties
InterContinental Hua Hin up 10,000 to 35,000
InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort up 10,000 to 35,000
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort up 10,000 to 35,000
InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort up 5,000 to 30,000
InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Resort & Spa up 10,000 to 40,000
The changes for these resort properties are interesting too. Given how difficult it is to fill a remote resort to 90% occupancy, presumably there is a different formula used to reimburse resort properties? Or perhaps not. That might explain why it is practically impossible to find reward night inventory at the InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort (which seems to keep its best flexible rate for its base room category above AU$500 all in). The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort has much better availability (we’ve seen best flexible rate for its base room category as low as AUD ~500 all in, and as high as AUD ~1,000).