Big news – and bad news, from my point of view! Priority Club has announced that they are annoucing new reward tier levels – effectively increasing the number of points required for a free night at many of their properties. According to their member email, these changes will take effect January 18.
Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, and Candlewood Suites are adding a new 20,000 point level, Staybridge Suites is adding a new tier level at 25,000 points, Crowne Plaza & Hotel Indigo have added a 35,000 point level, and Intercontinental is adding a 50,000 point tier. That’s an overall increase of 5,000-10,000 points per night for many properties. Yikes!
Until January 18, we won’t know exactly which hotels are being switched to the new tier levels, so it’s hard to entirely value the re-segmentation at this point. I am hoping many properties will remain at their current redemption levels with only the “best of the best” being re-tiered. Wishful thinking? I hope not.
Although most of the brands are only adding new, higher levels (50,000 for a single night at an Intercontinental!), Holiday Inn Express & Holiday Inn have a unique tier in the middle of their exisiting levels. Unfortunately, I have to assume this is only to move properties from the 15,000 level to the new 20,000 level rather than having a few properties move from the old 25,000 level down to 20,000 points.
This could potentially be a game-changer for me. I’ve always preferred Priority Club because of the ability to consistently get a free hotel night at a low level of points, which has not been the case at competitors Hilton or Marriott. Whereas before I could almost always snatch a HIX reward stay at 15,000 points, I may have to budget 20,000 points for the same stay going forward – essentially getting 33% less value from my points. I can’t say that I’ll switch my loyalty entirely, as I have been very happy with my stays and there’s the possibility many of these properties will remain at the 15,000 point level, but I might diversify and shop around a little more.
If you have any upcoming stays you already know about, I’d suggest booking now to take advantage of the lower redemption values. Remember, there is no deposit required on reward stays, and a fairly lenient cancellation policy (usually as long as you cancel 24-48 hours in advance, there’s no fee) so you have nothing to lose by locking in your rewards nights now.
UPDATE: One Mile at a Time shares a great extra tidbit. Priority Club is offering a two-month grace period where you can call in and request the old points rate for reward stays even though online bookings will be at the new rates only. So if you need to book a rewards stay before mid-March, you can still save a few points if you take the time to call in. After that, the new rates will be in effect and at full force.