What You Need to Book Now: IHG 2016 Category Changes

As you’ve probably heard by now, IHG has introduced two new categories that will cost 55,000 and 60,000 points. This isn’t at all surprising since similar Hilton HHonors hotels can run as much as 95,000 points per night.

Many people in the hobby are saying that the program is now totally gutted. I respectfully disagree. To me, IHG still delivers the best bang for your buck when you factor in lucrative promotions and outstanding coverage. Honestly, I’m not that concerned about these two new categories because I won’t be going to Bora Bora any time soon. I doubt most of my readers will be  either.

Of course, IHG also announced that a  number of properties will be changing categories. Some will cost less, some more. Much more. You can see the full list here Overall, I don’t think it’s anything drastic and simply has to do with the law of supply vs. demand. Most of the changes make a lot of sense. I say “most” because for the life of me I can not figure out why a Holiday Inn Express by the airport would cost 40,000 points.

Anyway, let me highlight the changes in my home state of Florida. I know many of my readers like to vacation here whether it’s visiting Disney or staying at the beach.

ihg changes 2016

Here are a few properties you might be interested in. As you can see, the price hike isn’t huge, but still.  If you’ve been thinking about reserving a stay at one of these places, you have till February 17th to make an award booking. I wouldn’t say that paying 35,000 per night is a steal, but if you are planning to visit during holidays or high season, it could definitely make sense.

I wrote about my recent stay in Hotel Indigo in Sarasota and mentioned that it was a very good deal on points. Well, someone at IHG must have read my post, y’all! It’s going up from 25,000 to 35,000 points per night. Not surprising since rates here hover around $200 or more per night. I thought about booking one last getaway at this property but decided to pass. While it’s nice, I wouldn’t  say it’s anything extraordinary or unique.

My reader Erik said this about his recent stay at Indigo property: “I’m not sure what market they are targeting with this brand, my impression of the property was something like “Holiday Inn Express made over in a trendy spa theme” (without the free breakfast!)”  This is spot on, and exactly how I felt about this particular hotel in Sarasota. I do think they mostly target hipster crowd (with no kids), but can’t quite get it right.

Essentially, aside from hardwood floors which I loved, everything in the room was a slightly  upgraded version of a mid-scale hotel, but for twice the price.  I can’t imagine anyone paying $200 to stay here, but to each his own. Still, for 25,000 IHG points per night it is a good deal for posh Sarasota area. I will say that Hotel Indigo in St.Petersburg definitely has more character, but it occupies an old building with lots of unique history.

Thankfully, the rate on all the other beachfront hotels in Florida is not changing. Most will still cost 35,000 points per night, which is a decent deal during high season. If you factor in  10% rebate from IHG credit card, potential upgrade, plus  ease of accumulating points, all of it adds up to an affordable beachfront family vacation. See my review of Holiday Inn Sanibel and  Holiday Inn Sarasota Lido

Let’s say you can acquire IHG points for 0.3 cents each via various promos (see the end of this post for more). After rebate, it will cost you 31,500 points per night. You will end up paying $94.50 all-in and might even get a suite. While it’s obviously not free, those same hotels run at $300 per night or more during spring months or Christmas break. You can read about IHG credit card in this page. Note that I have added a non-affiliate link that gives an extra $50 credit.

Bottom line

Some IHG hotels will be changing categories on February 17th. Make sure to book your desired property now since you can always cancel and get your points back if your plans change.

Readers, are you affected by these changes?

If you found my content beneficial, look at my Support Me page  for ways you can help keep the site running. Also, please, subscribe to receive free blog updates through email and recommend me to your family and friends. You can also follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook  and download my e-book 


6 thoughts on “What You Need to Book Now: IHG 2016 Category Changes

  1. Looks like I need to book the Holiday Inn Aruba for this fall! None of the point changes seem all that drastic to me, but I might as well book at the lower rate.


    • @Holly It’s funny, I was thinking about Aruba too! I actually meant to mention it in the post and just forgot. I don’t know the dates yet, but I could always cancel, I suppose. I was looking at Aruba for our anniversary getaway. Hmm… So many choices.


      • It’s going to be a little tricky cause the Southwest calendar isn’t open through October yet – doesn’t open til February 18th~
        But, I could always add a day or two at the Hyatt in Aruba on either end of my trip to line up with the flights I want. That’s my plan at this point. I’m going to book 3 nights in my name, 2 in my husbands. That way, I can cancel either reservation or add on Hyatt nights as needed.


    • @Holly Hope it works out for you. I’m looking at September, but Southwest schedule isn’t extended that far yet. I don’t know, I might pass on this Aruba trip. We have so many things planned, my husband will kill me if I add one more!


  2. Less and less “sweet spots” to be found on IHG redemptions. All the IHG hotels we booked for previous vacations in the last 2 years, are going now for at least 70% more points. Glad we took advantage of those deals while we could!


    • @TropicGal I actually agree with you. IHG is not what it used to be. That’s what happens when a program floods the market with its currency. I plan to do a post with more on the subject. Still, if you acquire IHG points dirt cheap and have flexibility, there is value to be had. Emphasis on “dirt cheap.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s