Priority Club recently made changes to their award chart — without advance notice to members — which caused a flurry of activity on FlyerTalk.com from members not happy with the changes. Most specifically, members are unhappy that they were not given advance notice about the changes. Some Holiday Inn properties increased from 15,000 points per night to 25,000 and some InterContinental properties increased from the previous top-end redemption of 30,000 points to 40,000 points. A representative from Priority Club pointed out that the last time Priority Club Rewards adjusted their redemption structure was in 2002, and since that time, hotel industry average daily rates have increased an average of 18 percent in the U.S. with notable exceptions like New York, where the daily rates have increased 38 percent (source: Smith Travel Research). Gone are some of the true bargains that Priority Club members have been enjoying for these last few years.
The changes are not all bad news, some properties decreased in points and Priority Club has introduced PointBreaks — a new standard 5,000-point redemption level that is available on an ongoing basis at select global destinations for a select period of time. Priority Club promises that even their most premier properties will sometimes offer PointBreaks stays. It will pay to check back often to see what properties are included. Currently, Priority Club members can redeem free nights for 5,000 points at downtown Monterrey, Mexico’s new Holiday Inn or the Holiday Inn Damai Beach in Malaysia. Many other PointBreak stays are offered throughout the world with 50 Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites or InterContinental properties available at the reduced rate in the U.S. alone. Amy Ceriani-Nelson, Manager, Loyalty Programs, reports that these awards have already shown to be very popular — so much so that one member has redeemed a month’s stay. “We are thrilled to offer such a great value for our members.”
Editor’s note: Yes, some members are not happy with the changes and with not being told in advance of the changes. We should point out, however, that some Priority Club members were able to book hotels at the former rates when asking the reservations agent. So, in the long run, we guess a a couple of weeks warning is about the same as a couple of weeks reprieve. Like they say, “it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other.”