It’s that time of the quarter again when IHG release their much (but increasingly, less) anticipated PointBreaks hotels. Pointbreaks involves the quarterly release of a number of IHG global properties at an impressively low 5,000 points a night.
But there’s a couple of fairly major issues with them…
1) The choice has become very poor
Unless you’re after a Holiday Inn Express in Darlington or the middle of Malaysia, you may well find PointBreaks disappoints. Back in the day you’d generally find a decent sprinkling of Intercontinentals and Crowne Plazas. Sadly, this has fallen away over time, and we’ve generally been left with Holiday Inns in non-descript places.
IHG have tried to fix that via the next issue I’m flagging, but with that comes a second problem…
2) They’re not all 5K points anymore
Nope. PointBreaks have now been “enhanced” to three tiers, such that hotels are available at 5K points, 10K points and 15 K points. IHG’s explanation for this is that customers wanted a wider range of hotels, and they are certainly right in that.
However, the beauty of PointBreaks was that they were just so cheap, they generally smashed everything else into touch (at least if a hotel in the offer worked for you). That is certainly no longer the case.
So what’s the best option now?
For me, the best value budget redemptions now firmly sit with SPG and Hilton.
First, to put this into context, I value IHG reward points at 0.4p a point. Accordingly, the effective “prices” of the new PointBreaks rooms are £20, £40 and £60.
SPG offers Category 1 hotels at 2K-3K SPG points a night, and Category 2 hotels at 3K-4K hotels a night. I value Starpoints at 1.5p each, so you’re paying an effective price of £30, £45 or £60 for these nights.
There’s also Hilton, with a very good range of decent hotels in the 5K or 10K points a night range. I value Hilton points at 0.4p each, so prices here are £20 or £40.
IHG of course offers its own “permanent” range of reward nights, starting at 10K points (£40). However, save for a few isolated examples, I don’t think this comes close to matching the Hilton 5K or SPG 2K options for value.
In short, I’d argue that many of the Hilton 5K properties, and indeed a number of their 10K properties, are the best value reward night you can find. Two standout examples of this are the Hampton Krakow, and the Hilton Salalah Oman Resort.
But aren’t these all very similar prices? Why are PointBreaks worse?
Note that the SPG and Hilton options are also superior to PointBreaks on the basis that they are available 365 days a year, subject to availability. Compare that to the limited range and timescale of PointBreaks.
That said, it remains to be seen exactly what hotels will be offered through PointBreaks at the 5K, 10K and 15K levels. If you find an opulent InterContinental in there, you may yet snag a bargain.