Point value after the 2015 category changes
2015 has seen a number of alterations to hotel loyalty schemes. One of the most important has been changes to the number of points needed to redeem free nights. With the aim of most point’s collectors being to save for free nights, understanding these changes is important. Six of the major chains have, through one or more announcements, altered the categories that they assign hotels to for the purchase of free night redemptions. We look here at these changes for each program. Overall, the general trend has been for more points to be required for free nights. This has had the effect for most collectors of reducing the value of the hotel loyalty scheme. There are several areas though where points required have been reduced, and if used in these areas then of course they are better value than before!
This chart shows the total number of hotels in each category for the six hotel chains, both before the category changes (in 2014) and after the changes (in 2015). The major shifts are highlighted on the charts. Marriott for example moves to a higher proportion of top category properties. Carlson and IHG also see increases at the top end. SPG and Hyatt see small increases in the proportion of the lowest category hotels.
This puts into perspective the changed category hotels versus the total size of each chain’s portfolio. Hilton for example maintains the same portfolio distribution, despite the changes.
For the collector of hotel points, the most dramatic changes in value are when hotels shift up or down multiple categories. This chart shows, for each hotel program, the proportion of hotels shifting through 1, 2 or 3 categories. The general trend follows what is seen in other charts; Marriott for example showing a larger number of category increases than decreases, and the opposite for Hyatt.
The rises or falls or 2 or 3 categories are of special interest; IHG here showing the most number of 2 category increases, with Hilton also having some. Hilton and Carlson show the most 2 or 3 category decreases, and Hyatt also has a small number of these. For collectors who stay at these specific properties, they will see shifts in value much worse, or better, than the general average. Looking at the areas that there have been big drops can be a good way to increase the value of points.
In this chart we see directly the proportion of the total hotel portfolio of each program which changes in category. Marriott clearly shows the largest number of properties switching category (both in absolute number and percentage of portfolio), and Hilton the smallest (with only around 1% of properties changing category).
We can also easily distinguish the changes of more than one category, with deeper shading in the charts.
This chart summarises the change in value of points in the hotel loyalty schemes. As the main use of points is to redeem for reward nights, the change in points needed directly reflects point value.
Four of the programs have seen the points per night increase, implying a reduction in point value. Marriot has suffered the worst with a 4.5% increase in points, followed closely by Carlson with 3.8%. IHG has increased points by 1.7% and Hilton remains almost the same as last year, with only a 0.2% increase. And 2 schemes, SPG and Hyatt, have seen the points required reduce, hence an increase in average points value.
These general value changes though do not reflect the specific areas which have seen positive or negative changes, as shown in other charts.