Wow! IHG ‘Dynamic Pricing’ Is Offering Great Deals (For Now)

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In the miles and points hobby, the term ‘dynamic pricing’ is often met with eye rolls.

If you’re not familiar with ‘dynamic pricing,’ it’s the practice where the number of points you spend is directly tied to your room rate. The more expensive the room, the more points you need for the redemption (and conversely, a cheap room = few points).

In the past, fixed award charts (see below) have allowed customers to achieve extreme value by exchanging minimal points for expensive rooms. These are known as “sweet spots.” However, with the new trend of dynamic pricing taking place within hotel chains (and airlines), customers never get a great deal….well sort of.

BACKGROUND

In early 2019, IHG Rewards Club announced they had plans to implement variable award pricing (aka dynamic pricing) however, we haven’t seen any signs of it…until last month.

In April, we began to see dynamic award pricing at various properties in Asia but award pricing around the world continued to align with IHG’s fixed award chart.

For historical context, here’s a look at IHG’s (old) award chart and how many points were required per night for a free stay. I’ve also included a conservative points valuation per category.

Hotel CategoryPoints Required
(per night)
Points Value (based on
.5 cents/point)
Category 110,000$50
Category 215,000$75
Category 320,000$100
Category 425,000$125
Category 530,000$150
Category 635,000$175
Category 740,000$200
Category 845,000$225
Category 950,000$250
Category 1055,000$275
Category 1160,000$300
Category 1265,000$325
Category 1370,000$350

In other words, if you planned to stay at a Category 1 hotel for one night and the hotel was charging either $150 (cash rate) or 10,000 points, it would be better to redeem points because 10,000 points are only “worth” $50. Of course, you would rather pay $50 than $150, right?

On the other extreme, if you were looking to stay at a hotel that was charging either $200 (cash rate) or 70,000 points per night, it would be better to pay cash.

ELIMINATION OF THE AWARD CHART

Well, sometime during the past week, IHG eliminated their award chart and have fully implemented dynamic pricing in the US and it has presented some interesting deals. Let’s just dive in with some examples…

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile (Chicago)

  • Hotel Category Before Removal of Award Chart: Category 9
  • (Old) Required Points: 50,000 points per night
  • Typical Rate In Fall: $410 per night
  • Dynamic Pricing Points Required: 20,000 points per night

Kimpton Gray Hotel (Chicago)

  • Hotel Category Before Removal of Award Chart: Category 9
  • (Old) Required Points: 50,000 points per night
  • Typical Rate In Fall: $415 per night
  • Dynamic Pricing Points Required: 20,000 points per night

Kimpton EPIC Hotel (Miami)

  • Hotel Category Before Removal of Award Chart: Category 10
  • (Old) Required Points: 55,000 points per night
  • Typical Rate In Spring: $500+ per night
  • Dynamic Pricing Points Required: 25,000 points per night

Kimpton Angler’s Hotel South Beach (Miami)

  • Hotel Category Before Removal of Award Chart: Category 10
  • (Old) Required Points: 55,000 points per night
  • Typical Rate In Spring: $500+ per night
  • Dynamic Pricing Points Required: 25,000 points per night

Kimpton Hotel Palomar, South Beach (Miami)

  • Hotel Category Before Removal of Award Chart: Category 10
  • (Old) Required Points: 55,000 points per night
  • Typical Rate In Spring: $500+ per night
  • Dynamic Pricing Points Required: 25,000 points per night

Hotel occupancy rates have been in the single digits for weeks and in an effort to stimulate business hotels have been decreasing their cash rates across the board.

Typically with dynamic pricing, the award rates are directly tied to cash rates. However, in my research, I did not find any correlation between the cash price and award rate. Some hotels were expensive with discounted award rates, and some hotels were cheap with even cheaper award rates.

Regardless, those are only some of the examples that I found in the states. I was also able to find great deals for international locations as well. Take a look at the InterContinental Hotel Danang Sun Peninsula Resort (Danang, Vietnam). This property is usually 70,000 points per night but you can now book it for 40,000 points.

Tell me a few days in this room below wouldn’t set your mind and soul at ease. 😎

InterContinental Hotel Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

SO HOW DO I GET IHG POINTS?

There are several ways to get IHG points but the three main ways are:

Note #1: Do you remember THIS BLOG when I recommended getting 140,000 IHG points? You’re welcome! 😉

Note #2: Personally, I wouldn’t transfer points from Chase to IHG as there are better uses for Chase points. (Topping off your IHG account with a small amount is one of the understandable exceptions).

FINAL STAMP

While you may not find discounted rates at every hotel yet (I’m looking at you NYC), there appears to be a good trend at the moment.

I trust that once occupancy rates reach a desirable level, we may see the cash prices rise and thus the award prices too but who knows. It’s a good time to be in the points game.

Additionally, if you have an existing book, I would definitely recommend checking to see if rebooking makes sense.

Does anyone plan on taking advantage of the reduced award rates?

2 comments

  1. Yes I remember that post and I can’t wait to use my reward points! I already looked into Caymen Islands for December and 4 nights (one free) gives me a hotel for 75k points total. I should doublecheck again to see if the points value went down, but Regardless, I plan to use my points strategically.

    Liked by 1 person

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