In general, I consider IHG points to be worth around a half a cent, although there are times when you can get significantly more than that. So far, the most value I’ve been able to wring was around a full cent at the Intercontinental Amsterdam (50,000 points vs ~$500 in cash), although that’s a pretty high daily rate for that hotel. While I was happy to get a good value for my points, had I been staying on another weekend, it would have been much closer to the 1/2 cent average.
However, as part of planning this trip to Italy next year, I stumbled on a new IHG hotel in Milan – the Indigo Corso Monforte. I don’t have any prior experience with Indigo hotels, but they always look pretty nice from the pictures, if not as luxurious as some Intercontinental properties. Part of me wondered if IHG was going to roll Indigo into Kimpton, since both brands are positioned in the boutique niche, but I guess if IHG is continuing to open Indigos, it means that they’re going to keep them separate for the time being. (I also get the sense that Indigo offers more limited service than Kimpton, although I’ve never stayed at a Kimpton either.)
Because the Indigo Milan isn’t actually open yet, I don’t know how nice it actually is, but the pictures online look very promising. This immediately jumped out as a great candidate for my annual free night from the IHG credit card, but then I noticed that it’s also a fantastic value on points.
From the limited searches I did, the cash price is between $300 and $450, depending on the season. However, award nights are available for 30,000 points, which (for IHG), is about as good as it gets outside of an elusive award night at the Intercontinental Bora Bora or something.
If you’re talking about Milan on a points and miles blog, you pretty much have to mention the Park Hyatt Milan, which is usually described as the absolute best hotel in the world (just like every other Park Hyatt in Europe or Asia). And while it looks pretty damn elegant, the pictures I’ve seen still have that classic “monks chanting in a cloister” aura that I get from a lot of Parks Hyatt (including the two I’ve stayed in). Anyway, my point in bringing it up is that I’d much rather save my Chase points for flights (instead of transferring 60k to Hyatt) and stay at the Indigo using points I got through maximizing IHG’s Accelerate promotions. Especially when the value per point difference between IHG and Hyatt is so small.
This is why I like IHG so much as a program. While Hyatt and SPG are undeniably the best hotel points to hold, unless you’re road warrioring and earning your top-tier status along with a boatload of points through actual stays, it’s tough to build up much of a balance. (Sure Hyatt points are easy to earn via Chase, but I’m presuming that you have other uses for those Chase points besides just transferring them to Hyatt.) In contrast, I earned over 100k IHG points last year just through a couple work trips and one personal trip, thanks to IHG’s generous promotions.
While the points themselves are usually not worth very much, IHG still has some really good opportunities for value if you look hard enough (or if you get lucky like I did and simply find one at a hotel in a city you’re already visiting). How about my loyal reader(s)? Have you found any amazing IHG redemption values? And does anyone have any plans to visit the new Indigo in Milan?