As of January 18, 2012, Priority Club frequent guest loyalty program reward levels at approximately 25 percent of InterContinental hotel properties worldwide will increase. This means that — with the exception of Holiday Inn Club Vacations — there will be multiple reward night points levels within all InterContinental hotel brands.
For example, Crowne Plaza hotels — which used to only have a 25,000-point level — has now added a 35,000-point level for certain properties.
However, the Priority Club point level requirements for approximately 20 percent of InterContinental hotel properties are reportedly also decreasing, primarily at the lower-end properties. As an example, a 20,000 point level has been added to Holiday Inn properties. Does this mean a decrease for some 25,000-point properties, or an increase from some 10,000-point properties and 15,000-point properties? That depends on the property in question.
Although January 18 is the date when the expected devaluation is expected to take effect, you can still take advantage of the old redemption rates by request until March 18, 2012.
As a Hilton HHonors member with elite VIP status, I took advantage of the Luckiest Loser promotion by Priority Club — launched as a response to a significant devaluation of Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points — two years ago and won a plethora of Priority Club points. However — despite the irony of the changes just announced regarding the Priority Club frequent guest loyalty program and that I eschew the devaluation of points in a frequent guest loyalty program — I would say that Priority Club has gone to some great lengths to lessen the bitterness of this devaluation, as evidenced by the lowering of the point level requirements of some InterContinental hotel properties and the introduction of a two-month grace period.
Also, let us not forget how easy it is to collect Priority Club points without spending any money or staying at an InterContinental hotel property — at least for me, it is much easier to earn free Priority Club points than points from most frequent guest loyalty program programs. That also helps take the sting out of the supposed devaluation of Priority Club points for me.
My initial conclusion is that if you prefer to stay in higher-end InterContinental hotel properties, this will most likely indeed be a devaluation for you. However, if you simply need a reasonably comfortable place to sleep and opulence and extravagance are unimportant, you not only might be unaffected by these changes — you might also come out slightly ahead.
I will most likely not be negatively affected, as my intention is to use my Priority Club points at InterContinental hotel properties with the lowest Priority Club point levels at destinations where I need little more than a place to sleep. If I want to be at a hotel property which comes with amenities and elite-level benefits such as executive lounge access and turn that property itself into a destination, I will redeem my Hilton HHonors points — and I also have my Starwood Preferred Guest, Hyatt Gold Passport and Marriott Rewards hotel points to redeem for additional options.
By the way, I also have Club Carlson as a new option since I took advantage of this recently-expired promotion…