Priority Club has completely revamped their award chart.

The current redemption table prices hotels based on their brand (and in most cases there are a couple of points levels within each brands, with the more expensive hotels tending to cost more points).

Last year’s new-ish ‘multiple levels for each brand chart’ just went into effect a year ago. Since the change was done without notice, they provided a ‘grace period’ if you knew to call and ask where they would credit you points back into your account to make up for award price increases.

Under the new chart which goes into effect January 18, awards still cost between 10,000 and 50,000 points but hotels will be assigned to one of 9 categories (like how other hotel chains do it, but with more categories) instead of pricing based on brand.

They haven’t published a list of which properties are in which categories. It looks like we may have to wait until the new chart applies on January 18, then check each and every hotel in order to build such a list ourselves. If the categories are even stable. Here’s what Priority Club says about the category assignements:

Priority Club Reward Night prices vary per hotel property and are classified per price category. To find the number of points required for your stay, simply check the availability of your preferred location and stay dates.

Unsurprisingly the price of the hotel dictates the category, that’s more or less how it works with Starwood and with Hyatt (Marriott is a little bit different as frequency of redemption at a particular hotel plays a role as I understand it).

But it’s interesting that they tell you to find out a hotel’s category, you need to check availability of your preferred location and stay dates. It may just be that you have to enter dates as though you were making a reservation in order to bring up award pricing. Or it may be that the pricing could vary on specific dates (when a hotel is more expensive, the points price is more expensive, and vice versa). My guess is the former, my fear is the latter. But we won’t know for sure it seems for another 11 days.

Hotels are more or less revenue-based for earning points from in-hotel spending, you earn points based on how much money you drop on property in eligible categories.

But redemptions are set for a year based on ranges of room price. When the price is much higher on a given night, you can get a really good deal with points. If a chain did vary points price based on the rate a hotel was charging on a given night that would be a huge shift. Occasionally there would be a gain from paying fewer points on cheap nights, much more offset by never getting outsized per-point values.

Expect some Crowne Plaza properties in the world’s most expensive lodging cities to now hit 50,000 points… some Intercontinentals to get a bit cheaper when they’re located in cheaper cities, and now to find a middle ground for some at 45,000.

At the very least Priority Club seems to be getting much more granular by going to a whopping nine categories in contrast to Hyatt’s 6 and Starwood’s 7.

If it were me I’d spend the time that went into revamping the award chart on improving award choice such as introducing ways for members to spend points on upgraded rooms. Not to mention finding a way not to be the only chain which excludes most elite benefits on award nights. But then clearly I’m not running this program..

(HT: Reader Ken W.)

Update: Priority Club has confirmed that their award categories will work like other hotel chains and not, as I feared, change based on a hotel’s rate for a given night. Specifically, they are saying that pricing is not ‘dynamic’ as of now. This could well be a change sometime into the future, still..

  1. Andrew said,

    Time for some speculative bookings to get award nights in at a good value since we may get screwed soon when it goes to a price based award chart. Luckily the current cancellation policy allows me to recredit my points if I cancel the stay more than 72 hours prior to check in.

  2. redcat255 said,

    So I’m guessing this makes Priority Club an even worse transfer option for Ultimate Rewards? Seems like we’ll be getting under 1 cpm for top-tier properties now…

  3. DaninSTL said,

    I may be shifting my future hotel choices as the main reason I like PC was the simplicity of the reward nights. Sad.

  4. Ryan said,

    Didn’t think PC could get any worse. Guess I was wrong again

  5. AdamH said,

    I think this has to go into the category of wait and see.

    9 reward levels does not really seem like a stretch as PC does by far have the most wide ranging level of properties of any larger chain. I am almost surprised they don’t have a category below 10k points as there are several Holiday Inns in the middle of the country where a $100 rate would even be a stretch.

  6. MileageUpdate said,

    Still disappoints me that you spend time earning elite status only to have Priority Club exclude you from said benefits on the award stays you earned getting to elite status. This is the joke of all hotel programs.

  7. LOL said,

    Enough Gary…

    We all see how you always post immediately after you read LoyaltyLobby.

  8. MDDCFlyer said,

    Ouch. This is bad. There goes my favorite (and only) redemption from PC – Staybridge in NYC.

  9. Kon said,

    Plagiarism:

    Flyertalk thread user Fims”: “I guess we should make a list of the redemption rates of most interesting current properties, as Jan 18 to Mar 18 we would need to know if the rate has changed and if so, do a phone redemption.”

    Gary Leff: “I guess we should make a list of the redemption rates of most interesting current properties, as Jan 18 to Mar 18 we would need to know if the rate has changed and if so, do a phone redemption.”

    I expected better of you Gary.

  10. tassojunior said,

    For some reason they still haven’t changed to new Pointbreak hotels this quarter.

  11. Gary said,

    Kon – to be clear early this morning when I was writing this on my way out the door I copied and pasted the email that the reader I cited sent to me into the post, and I simply failed to delete a paragraph. It wasn’t something I meant to include in the post at all and i had no idea where it came from. I’ve deleted it since it was never supposed to be included in the first place and certainly was not at all intentional thatI would include someone else’s sentence.

  12. Gary said,

    @LOL hardly. LoyaltyLobby also posts after I do. I have cited LoyaltyLobby, LoyaltyLobby has never cited me. Fine. But this is a big major change to a program, why WOULDN’T I be writing about it? Silliness.

  13. Kon said,

    The paragraph before the one you copied and then deleted one is essentially an uncredited rip off too:

    Flyertalk Fims: “Expect some Crowne Plaza properties in the world’s most expensive lodging cities to now hit 50,000 points… ”

    Gary: “Indeed, think this could easily mean that some CP-s can spur up to 50k level as well and some 40k IC-s can become mid-level 45k..”

  14. Gary said,

    @Kon sorry but what you call a ‘rip off’ is smply OBVIOUS to any observer of these programs.

  15. phil said,

    any chance they’re going to change their ridiculous rule of no upgrades on award stays if you’re an ambassador?

  16. Gene said,

    This change doesn’t strike me as a big deal. The most expensive ICs won’t be increasing, so it won’t matter much for my stay patterns.

    Maybe, just maybe, they will bring back full benefits on award stays…We were denied free minibar on an award stay for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it was very tacky. This saved the hotel absolutely nothing, since we consumed more beverages in the Club Lounge (instead of from the minibar) and brought waters, sodas, etc. from the club to the room.

  17. Gene said,

    @phil — I’ve been RA for several years, and I’ve never been denied an upgrade on an award stay (yet!).

  18. phil said,

    As a rule though, ambassador’s are not supposed to get upgrades if it’s a free stay. I dropped my ambassadorship for it, as it was hit or miss….wrote a letter to the head of the rpogram, got a copy/paste letter from a person at their corp hq and some points….but still dropped it. Got tired of traveling for biz and getting an upgrade when I could’ve cared less, then travel on vaca using points and not getting one when I cared

  19. LOL said,

    Gary, I really like your blog and your knowledge is so above the rest but I did notice this pattern time and again (on Twitter). Could be a coincidence…

  20. Gary said,

    @LOL blogs write about many of the same things because those are the things that are news within our universe. Each time someone will write it first. Those times that LoyaltyLobby may write first I suspect it’s a function of time zone, I had this email in my inbox when I awoke and wrote about it first thing. But as I say, I’ve seen LoyaltyLobby write about the same things I do, things I was the first one to write, but never cites me. Still, when I get something from that blog I cite it.

    (And in fact I notice Loyalty Lobby just wrote about a promotion I was first one 20 minutes earlier. Such is the way of these things! But as I say if you search my blog you’ll see plenty of times where I *do* reference that one. Search that one and see how often the reverse is true!)

  21. Steve T said,

    Unfortunately, I expect an increase in the cost of Point Redemptions among Candlewood, Staybridge and the Holiday Inn (express or otherwise) in high value cities (New York for example). There goes my redemptions at the Candlewood Suites on W. 39th Street in NYC.
    I hope they keep Point Breaks. Wouldn’t be surprised if they raise Point Break redemptions to 10,000 points or on a percentage discount (like HH Point Stretchers was).

  22. CP@YOW said,

    @Steve T – my thoughts exactly. That Candlewood has become my go-to in NYC. At $70 + 10,000 points (i.e. $140 all in) it was great value.

  23. How Bad Will New Priority Club Award Chart Be? - Mommy Points said,

    [...] Suite that is located in an expensive city since it is a brand that is priced very low.  Thanks to View From the Wing for a copy of the old award [...]

  24. Andyandy said,

    This change might make Anyhotel and Meeting Credit cards a slightly more attractive redemption option, particularly if you have the PC visa and can shave 10% more off the points cost. I look at some valuations on my most recent blog post. I occasionally use these cards to do an (expensive) end run around IC/PC’s lack of status recognition on award stays.

  25. News And Notes For Friday, January 11th, 2013 « Pizza In Motion said,

    [...] Club program).  But, I figured there may still be a few folks who hadn’t heard the news.  View From The Wing has a very detailed breakdown of what we know so far.  At risk is the areas of higher value in the Priority Club program.  See, the current model has [...]

  26. Gary said,

    Here’s a great example of LoyaltyLobby pulling a deal from me without attribution:
    http://loyaltylobby.com/2013/02/04/gha-discovery-platinum-status-for-signing-up/

    Although I continue to credit that blog whenever I find something there I didn’t know about previously.

  27. Hilton’s Dramatic Devaluation Comes March 28: Time to Unload My HHonors Points - View from the Wing said,

    [...] is, apparently, hotel loyalty program devaluation season. Since the first of the year Priority Club introduced a new 9-tier reward chart, Starwood raised the price of cash and points awards, Marriott introduced a new more expensive [...]

  28. Priority Club Changing its Name But Not Becoming Good - View from the Wing said,

    [...] increasing their award night pricing over the course of the past several years. In January we got more award categories and generally more expensive awards. A year ago January award price increases, too. In 2007 PointBreak awards (discounted award nights) [...]

  29. Punktzahl für Reward-Night plötzlich verdoppelt?! - Seite 2 said,

    […] Letzter Stand war allerdings keine dynamische Pointsanpassung je nach Datum: Update: Priority Club has confirmed that their award categories will work like other hotel chains and not, as I feared, change based on a hotel’s rate for a given night. Specifically, they are saying that pricing is not ‘dynamic’ as of now. This could well be a change sometime into the future, still.. Quelle: Priority Club Completely Revamping Reward Night Chart in 11 Days – View from the Wing – View from th… […]

  30. Devaluations Galore... - Globetrotter HQ said,

    […] since the beginning of this year. I quote, “Since the first of the year Priority Club introduced a new 9-tier reward chart, Starwood raised the price of cash and points awards, Marriott introduced a new more expensive […]

  31. New IHG Rewards PointBreaks Hotel List to Be Revealed Tomorrow - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] night to redeem and are a fantastic deal, especially for higher end hotels that may otherwise run 50,000 points per night. (And you can buy these points at 7/10ths of a cent […]

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