Although travelers are spending less money on travel these days, members of loyalty programs are reportedly spending more loyalty currency. InterContinental Hotel Group recently published information on members’ redemption of points in the current economic climate. In Nov. and Dec. 2008, Priority Club Rewards members increased their redemption of merchandise awards by 20 percent compared to the same time period in 2007, presumably to give as gifts for friends and family members during the holidays. The most popular merchandise items redeemed were iPods, GPS systems and digital cameras.
Members have also increased the number of points they are spending on hotel awards. The number of hotel award night redemptions in January 2009 increased 25 percent over those redeemed in January 2008–the largest monthly increase the program has seen in years.